Work ->clerk -> AUSA

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Anonymous User
Posts: 273117
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Work ->clerk -> AUSA

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:38 pm

3L here. So it looks like struck out on federal clerkships this year. I think my stats were good enough to land a clerkship somewhere but I didn't really have professors going to bat for me. I'll be heading to a V10 after graduation and, as the title indicates, I'm looking to work at the firm, clerk (hopefully district court then COA), and then ideally make the transition into being an AUSA.

1. Is this a feasible goal?
2. Will the firm WE significantly increase my chances for a clerkship? Maybe a only a slight bump? Does it depend on the judge/district?
3. What is the ideal number of years to work at a firm in order to give myself the best chance at both clerkships and AUSA jobs? Does only 1 year at a firm look bad? Should I put in 2 or 3 instead?

Any info/advice is appreciated.

anon168
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:36 pm

Re: Work ->clerk -> AUSA

Postby anon168 » Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:3L here. So it looks like struck out on federal clerkships this year. I think my stats were good enough to land a clerkship somewhere but I didn't really have professors going to bat for me. I'll be heading to a V10 after graduation and, as the title indicates, I'm looking to work at the firm, clerk (hopefully district court then COA), and then ideally make the transition into being an AUSA.

1. Is this a feasible goal?

Yes

Anonymous User wrote:2. Will the firm WE significantly increase my chances for a clerkship? Maybe a only a slight bump? Does it depend on the judge/district?

Not really, but it will depend somewhat on the judge. Majority of judges like recent grads, however. They want to have to deal with conflicts and older clerks generally create a weird dynamic in chambers when the other clerk (or clerks) are younger and recent grads.

Anonymous User wrote:3. What is the ideal number of years to work at a firm in order to give myself the best chance at both clerkships and AUSA jobs? Does only 1 year at a firm look bad? Should I put in 2 or 3 instead?

No such thing as "ideal number of years".

Like I said above, most judges will not hire clerks who have worked several years at a firm. 2 is probably the ceiling for a clerkship. USAO will just vary.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273117
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Work ->clerk -> AUSA

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
1. Is this a feasible goal?

Yes

2. Will the firm WE significantly increase my chances for a clerkship? Maybe a only a slight bump? Does it depend on the judge/district?

It depends, in part, on the judge. Some prefer to hire only clerks straight from law school; others like those with a year or two of work experience. Another advantage of WE is that your many of your co-workers have clerked. If those in your office have clerked for a specific judge for whom you would like to clerk, buy them lunch and ask them about their experiences and for their advice. A final advantage: You will not be bound by the Plan, which applies to law students applying to federal clerkships.

3. What is the ideal number of years to work at a firm in order to give myself the best chance at both clerkships and AUSA jobs? Does only 1 year at a firm look bad? Should I put in 2 or 3 instead?

I know attorneys who left to clerk after their first year. I also know attorneys who left after their second and third years. I'm not sure which is the best year, if there is any.

Any info/advice is appreciated.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273117
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Work ->clerk -> AUSA

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:57 pm

anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:3L here. So it looks like struck out on federal clerkships this year. I think my stats were good enough to land a clerkship somewhere but I didn't really have professors going to bat for me. I'll be heading to a V10 after graduation and, as the title indicates, I'm looking to work at the firm, clerk (hopefully district court then COA), and then ideally make the transition into being an AUSA.

1. Is this a feasible goal?

Yes

Anonymous User wrote:2. Will the firm WE significantly increase my chances for a clerkship? Maybe a only a slight bump? Does it depend on the judge/district?

Not really, but it will depend somewhat on the judge. Majority of judges like recent grads, however. They want to have to deal with conflicts and older clerks generally create a weird dynamic in chambers when the other clerk (or clerks) are younger and recent grads.

Anonymous User wrote:3. What is the ideal number of years to work at a firm in order to give myself the best chance at both clerkships and AUSA jobs? Does only 1 year at a firm look bad? Should I put in 2 or 3 instead?

No such thing as "ideal number of years".

Like I said above, most judges will not hire clerks who have worked several years at a firm. 2 is probably the ceiling for a clerkship. USAO will just vary.
Good info, thanks. So, in your opinion, would it be best to do only 1 year at the firm for clerkship purposes? I'm just worried about it looking bad that I only spent 1 year there. And FWIW, I'll be relatively young when I graduate law school. Could this mitigate that aversion to hiring experienced clerks that you mentioned?

anon168
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:36 pm

Re: Work ->clerk -> AUSA

Postby anon168 » Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:3L here. So it looks like struck out on federal clerkships this year. I think my stats were good enough to land a clerkship somewhere but I didn't really have professors going to bat for me. I'll be heading to a V10 after graduation and, as the title indicates, I'm looking to work at the firm, clerk (hopefully district court then COA), and then ideally make the transition into being an AUSA.

1. Is this a feasible goal?

Yes

Anonymous User wrote:2. Will the firm WE significantly increase my chances for a clerkship? Maybe a only a slight bump? Does it depend on the judge/district?

Not really, but it will depend somewhat on the judge. Majority of judges like recent grads, however. They want to have to deal with conflicts and older clerks generally create a weird dynamic in chambers when the other clerk (or clerks) are younger and recent grads.

Anonymous User wrote:3. What is the ideal number of years to work at a firm in order to give myself the best chance at both clerkships and AUSA jobs? Does only 1 year at a firm look bad? Should I put in 2 or 3 instead?

No such thing as "ideal number of years".

Like I said above, most judges will not hire clerks who have worked several years at a firm. 2 is probably the ceiling for a clerkship. USAO will just vary.
Good info, thanks. So, in your opinion, would it be best to do only 1 year at the firm for clerkship purposes? I'm just worried about it looking bad that I only spent 1 year there. And FWIW, I'll be relatively young when I graduate law school. Could this mitigate that aversion to hiring experienced clerks that you mentioned?


Age isn't really the issue. I wouldn't do more than 2 years like I said above. Why are you worried it would look bad to work only 1 year? Look bad to who?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273117
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Work ->clerk -> AUSA

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:07 pm

anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:3L here. So it looks like struck out on federal clerkships this year. I think my stats were good enough to land a clerkship somewhere but I didn't really have professors going to bat for me. I'll be heading to a V10 after graduation and, as the title indicates, I'm looking to work at the firm, clerk (hopefully district court then COA), and then ideally make the transition into being an AUSA.

1. Is this a feasible goal?

Yes

Anonymous User wrote:2. Will the firm WE significantly increase my chances for a clerkship? Maybe a only a slight bump? Does it depend on the judge/district?

Not really, but it will depend somewhat on the judge. Majority of judges like recent grads, however. They want to have to deal with conflicts and older clerks generally create a weird dynamic in chambers when the other clerk (or clerks) are younger and recent grads.

Anonymous User wrote:3. What is the ideal number of years to work at a firm in order to give myself the best chance at both clerkships and AUSA jobs? Does only 1 year at a firm look bad? Should I put in 2 or 3 instead?

No such thing as "ideal number of years".

Like I said above, most judges will not hire clerks who have worked several years at a firm. 2 is probably the ceiling for a clerkship. USAO will just vary.
Good info, thanks. So, in your opinion, would it be best to do only 1 year at the firm for clerkship purposes? I'm just worried about it looking bad that I only spent 1 year there. And FWIW, I'll be relatively young when I graduate law school. Could this mitigate that aversion to hiring experienced clerks that you mentioned?


Age isn't really the issue. I wouldn't do more than 2 years like I said above. Why are you worried it would look bad to work only 1 year? Look bad to who?
I'm primarily worried about it looking bad to the USAO (mostly in the sense of less WE I think) and I guess to any other future employers.

anon168
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:36 pm

Re: Work ->clerk -> AUSA

Postby anon168 » Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm primarily worried about it looking bad to the USAO (mostly in the sense of less WE I think) and I guess to any other future employers.


Then go back to a firm after clerking and before applying to the USAO.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273117
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Work ->clerk -> AUSA

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:3L here. So it looks like struck out on federal clerkships this year. I think my stats were good enough to land a clerkship somewhere but I didn't really have professors going to bat for me. I'll be heading to a V10 after graduation and, as the title indicates, I'm looking to work at the firm, clerk (hopefully district court then COA), and then ideally make the transition into being an AUSA.

1. Is this a feasible goal?

Yes

Anonymous User wrote:2. Will the firm WE significantly increase my chances for a clerkship? Maybe a only a slight bump? Does it depend on the judge/district?

Not really, but it will depend somewhat on the judge. Majority of judges like recent grads, however. They want to have to deal with conflicts and older clerks generally create a weird dynamic in chambers when the other clerk (or clerks) are younger and recent grads.

Anonymous User wrote:3. What is the ideal number of years to work at a firm in order to give myself the best chance at both clerkships and AUSA jobs? Does only 1 year at a firm look bad? Should I put in 2 or 3 instead?

No such thing as "ideal number of years".

Like I said above, most judges will not hire clerks who have worked several years at a firm. 2 is probably the ceiling for a clerkship. USAO will just vary.
Good info, thanks. So, in your opinion, would it be best to do only 1 year at the firm for clerkship purposes? I'm just worried about it looking bad that I only spent 1 year there. And FWIW, I'll be relatively young when I graduate law school. Could this mitigate that aversion to hiring experienced clerks that you mentioned?


You'll get the most benefit from the clerkship early in your career. I know lots of people who worked for 1 year, then clerked, and then went to the government... it's a fairly common route.

ClerkAnon
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:06 pm

Re: Work ->clerk -> AUSA

Postby ClerkAnon » Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:54 am

1. V10 --> DCt --> CoA --> AUSA is a doable route. The only issue I see is whether you can go directly to an AUSA position from the CoA. In competitive districts, that will be hard, because the USAOs are getting many senior associates, junior partners, and their public sector equivalent with significant in-court/trial experience. I have COA clerkship friends who have been passed over by the USAOs for lack of on-their-feet experience; the (junior associate) biglaw + clerkship pairing has not been sufficient. For me, the takeaways are: if you want to go to the USAO as soon as possible ITE, be geographically flexible and be willing to consider accepting an AUSA position that deals with less sought-after subject matter. That can sometimes be a pathway into a competitive office. Also, be open to returning to a firm after your COA clerkship but before moving to the USAO, especially if you have a preference for a very competitive district.

2. Whether the firm WE increases your clerkship odds depends on the judge, not necessarily the district. A very few judges will ONLY hire 3Ls. A similarly small number of judges mandate at least three years of work experience (two years is not the WE ceiling for all clerkships. I have known several midlevel associates who left to clerk, as well as a smaller number of senior associates.) Most judges are open to considering both alums in their first years of practice and 3Ls, although they may have an unstated preference for one or the other. And many judges who hire term clerks like to have one career clerk, which demonstrates that those judges are clearly not averse to experienced clerks. I think that the district clerkship will significantly increase your competitiveness for many circuit clerkships, though (or vice versa, actually.)

3. I agree with your concern about having a one-year position on your resume - a bit more than the other posters. Everyone who has clerked or who values clerkships should sympathize with the idea that you may have up to three one-year positions on your resume - DCt, COA, and the year at a firm. But having that one-year firm position on your resume may restrict your ability to leave a post-COA job as quickly as you might want to, for fear of having *four* one-year positions on your resume and leading to the inference that you can't stick to any job. And even if it's not fair for people to factor term clerkships into this inference ... sometimes they do (unfortunately speaking from experience as a double term clerk.) So the bottom line is this: if you are only at your firm for one year pre-clerkships (which is okay), then make sure that your first post-clerkships employer is somewhere you can stay for a chunk of time, ideally 3+ years. If it's the USAO, great. If not, then try to find a firm where you can put in that stint pre-USAO.




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