Should I clerk?

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Anonymous User
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Should I clerk?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:08 pm

2L at a school ranked 40-60. Top 1%. Permanent job offer in my desired market with my 1L firm that will remain open for one year if I decide to clerk. I want to do litigation. There is no clerkship bonus, but I will receive a year of partnership credit. My ultimate goal is to become a partner at a large firm in this market. I have no desire to teach and don't think I would want to be a judge.

I really do not want want to relocate far from where my job will be. I would only do federal (D. Ct. or COA).

I know this seems early, but I might have an opportunity that would require action in the next few weeks. It's a great opportunity, but would involve both a D. Ct. and a COA clerkship, which would unfortunately put me past the guaranteed offer at the firm I really liked. Plus, I'm really not sure I want to move 3 times in the next 3 years to clerk for 2 years before getting going in the firm.

I think I would enjoy clerking, but it's not something that has always been a real goal of mine. In fact, I never thought about it until the last few months. I realize that clerkships are highly competitive, that I'd be fortunate to have one, and that nothing is a guarantee.

What would you do? Is there anything I should be asking or looking into?

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patrickd139
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Re: Should I clerk?

Postby patrickd139 » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:17 pm

Would love to hear more about how you're locking down both a D.Ct. and COA clerkship in your 2L year.

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Re: Should I clerk?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:19 pm

OP here. Didn't say I was locking anything down, and I'm not trying to sound like a jerk. I'm just looking for advice on whether or not to clerk.

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Wholigan
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Re: Should I clerk?

Postby Wholigan » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:25 pm

First of all, your firm will almost certainly hold your offer open or make you a new offer if you are able to do D. Ct/COA clerkships back to back and want to return there. You would be getting two years of training without them having to subsidize it, and would add prestige to the firm by returning as an associate with those clerkships under your belt.

Secondly, you would have no problem finding a job as an associate in the litigation department of another firm if you are able to land the two clerkships. If you wanted to, you could also probably find one that will pay you a clerkship bonus, if this is a primary or secondary legal market that you are targeting.

As far as what to look for, I would read the profiles of the litigation partners at your firm and see how common it is that they clerked. If for example, 75% of the litigation partners did a clerkship, that would be something that I think you'd want to factor in, given that your goal is to be a litigation partner. It seems that at some firms, clerking is almost a necessary credential for partnership (in litigation), while at others it doesn't seem to matter much.

Also, if you don't want to move three times in three years, you could also consider foregoing the opportunity you believe you have now and doing the things you need during 2L year to put yourself in position for a clerkship offer next fall. (Build connections with recommenders, get a comment published, go out for LR board, etc). I would imagine that if you go about it properly you could probably find a one year clerkship on the usual clerkship timeline, which seems like you'd prefer to two years of clerking.

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L’Étranger
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Re: Should I clerk?

Postby L’Étranger » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:41 pm

Does anyone clerk anymore just for the sake of clerking (i.e working for a judge, learning more about litigation, improving persuasive legal writing skills)?

Anonymous User
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Re: Should I clerk?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:08 pm

L’Étranger wrote:Does anyone clerk anymore just for the sake of clerking (i.e working for a judge, learning more about litigation, improving persuasive legal writing skills)?


Me me me, I'm clerking for those reasons!

anon168
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Re: Should I clerk?

Postby anon168 » Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:2L at a school ranked 40-60. Top 1%. Permanent job offer in my desired market with my 1L firm that will remain open for one year if I decide to clerk. I want to do litigation. There is no clerkship bonus, but I will receive a year of partnership credit. My ultimate goal is to become a partner at a large firm in this market. I have no desire to teach and don't think I would want to be a judge.

I really do not want want to relocate far from where my job will be. I would only do federal (D. Ct. or COA).

I know this seems early, but I might have an opportunity that would require action in the next few weeks. It's a great opportunity, but would involve both a D. Ct. and a COA clerkship, which would unfortunately put me past the guaranteed offer at the firm I really liked. Plus, I'm really not sure I want to move 3 times in the next 3 years to clerk for 2 years before getting going in the firm.

I think I would enjoy clerking, but it's not something that has always been a real goal of mine. In fact, I never thought about it until the last few months. I realize that clerkships are highly competitive, that I'd be fortunate to have one, and that nothing is a guarantee.

What would you do? Is there anything I should be asking or looking into?


Clerk. No brainer.

Myself
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.

Postby Myself » Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:04 pm

.
Last edited by Myself on Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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ph14
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Re: Should I clerk?

Postby ph14 » Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:06 pm

ajax adonis wrote:why not?


Did you read the OP?...

OP: I vote to clerk. If you're exiting a clerkship, especially a CoA, you're a pretty desirable candidate and you probably will be able to get a job at a new firm or the same firm.

09042014
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Re: Should I clerk?

Postby 09042014 » Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:11 pm

With no bonus you take a huge financial hit.

Anonymous User
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Re: Should I clerk?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:25 pm

I appreciate the feedback thus far.

The firm is in a secondary market, and the financial hit would be ~50k/year. While it's not quite the disparity I may have had working elsewhere, it's still a good chunk of money.

There really aren't a ton of clerks at the firm (as a % of the litigation group). Again, my goal is to put myself in the best possible position to make partner when the time comes. I know it'd be good experience and that I could learn a lot, but I'm also afraid of losing out on a year of making connections in the firm and around town. Also, that's a lot of money. Also, the thought of being able to move to my market and begin my law firm career is pretty enticing.

anon168
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Re: Should I clerk?

Postby anon168 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:28 am

Anonymous User wrote:I appreciate the feedback thus far.

The firm is in a secondary market, and the financial hit would be ~50k/year. While it's not quite the disparity I may have had working elsewhere, it's still a good chunk of money.

There really aren't a ton of clerks at the firm (as a % of the litigation group). Again, my goal is to put myself in the best possible position to make partner when the time comes. I know it'd be good experience and that I could learn a lot, but I'm also afraid of losing out on a year of making connections in the firm and around town. Also, that's a lot of money. Also, the thought of being able to move to my market and begin my law firm career is pretty enticing.


Unless you cannot make ends meet and will be out on the streets, money should not be a consideration.

And clerking will only benefit your career in the long run, and clerking is the best way to "put [yourself] in the best possible position to make partner when the time comes."

Gorki
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Re: Should I clerk?

Postby Gorki » Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:39 am

L’Étranger wrote:Does anyone clerk anymore just for the sake of clerking (i.e working for a judge, learning more about litigation, improving persuasive legal writing skills)?


A rare few if TLS is a good indicator. Most either a) want clerkship bonus; b) struck out at OCI and are trying desperately at another roll of the dice

anon168
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Re: Should I clerk?

Postby anon168 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:42 am

L’Étranger wrote:Does anyone clerk anymore just for the sake of clerking (i.e working for a judge, learning more about litigation, improving persuasive legal writing skills)?


That's why I clerked.

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Byakuya769
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Re: Should I clerk?

Postby Byakuya769 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:54 am

What's the consensus on starting at a firm for 1-2 years, and then going for clerkships? I also read that age may be a determining factor for some judges (here on TLS), any merit to that?

anon168
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Re: Should I clerk?

Postby anon168 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:59 am

Byakuya769 wrote:What's the consensus on starting at a firm for 1-2 years, and then going for clerkships? I also read that age may be a determining factor for some judges (here on TLS), any merit to that?


Previously asked, and discussed, here: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=193862#p5878891

Short answer? Yes, you can clerk after working a year or two. Some judges are ok with it, some are not.

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bk1
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Re: Should I clerk?

Postby bk1 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:13 am

Gorki wrote:
L’Étranger wrote:Does anyone clerk anymore just for the sake of clerking (i.e working for a judge, learning more about litigation, improving persuasive legal writing skills)?


A rare few if TLS is a good indicator. Most either a) want clerkship bonus; b) struck out at OCI and are trying desperately at another roll of the dice


TLS doesn't indicate that at all. The clerkship bonus makes no sense since you're losing money compared to starting at a firm and most people on TLS (probably most people generally) who are looking for a clerkship already did or have lined up a 2L SA.

I think that most people accept that clerking has a lot of intrinsic value. I think that there is also the fact that TLSers tend to prestige whore (though this industry tends to do it by itself). People generally question whether the effort of applying, the loss of money, and the possible moving are worth it. They generally juxtapose these with prestige rather than actual experience gained. Granted there are a handful of people who are applying because they struck out or got no-offered.

09042014
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Re: Should I clerk?

Postby 09042014 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:50 pm

bk1 wrote:
Gorki wrote:
L’Étranger wrote:Does anyone clerk anymore just for the sake of clerking (i.e working for a judge, learning more about litigation, improving persuasive legal writing skills)?


A rare few if TLS is a good indicator. Most either a) want clerkship bonus; b) struck out at OCI and are trying desperately at another roll of the dice


TLS doesn't indicate that at all. The clerkship bonus makes no sense since you're losing money compared to starting at a firm and most people on TLS (probably most people generally) who are looking for a clerkship already did or have lined up a 2L SA.

I think that most people accept that clerking has a lot of intrinsic value. I think that there is also the fact that TLSers tend to prestige whore (though this industry tends to do it by itself). People generally question whether the effort of applying, the loss of money, and the possible moving are worth it. They generally juxtapose these with prestige rather than actual experience gained. Granted there are a handful of people who are applying because they struck out or got no-offered.


With a bonus, you don't lose as much money as you'd think. Without a bonus, it's a kick in the shorts.

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bk1
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Re: Should I clerk?

Postby bk1 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:11 pm

Desert Fox wrote:With a bonus, you don't lose as much money as you'd think. Without a bonus, it's a kick in the shorts.


True, but my point was that I don't think anybody is clerking for the reason of getting a clerkship bonus. More that it's a nice plus that helps mitigate one of the negatives of clerking.




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