State Court Appellate Clerkships

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Anonymous User
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State Court Appellate Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:06 pm

Has anyone here ever done one? How competitive do they tend to be? What opportunities do people have exiting them?

Anonymous User
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Re: State Court Appellate Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:20 pm

Also curious about this, does anyone know what the application time frame is for most states?

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Re: State Court Appellate Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:00 pm

I did one. I think they can vary quite a bit by state. I was in a non-coastal state, not Illinois or Texas (not that I even know if either Illinois or Texas hires law students as state appellate clerks - just giving context) with a fairly small/insular legal market. I personally was on the intermediate court of appeals, not the state supreme court (not sure which you meant).

Competitiveness: Clerks tended to fall into two groups: highly-ranked students from local law schools, and students from national schools (Harvard, Michigan, Northwestern) whose rankings I don't know (but I kind of have to assume they weren't spectacular or they'd have been able to get federal clerkships? or at least state supreme?). Myself, I was top 20% (which isn't especially impressive, but I had WE my judge really valued). While I was there, my judge hired the #2 student from the other local law school for a future term. The EIC of the other local law school's LR was on that court as well; other local students were Order of the Coif (not all, but some), LR, the EIC of the secondary journal at my school, that kind of thing. The national students usually had local ties (grew up in state or had a SO who had).

(The above held pretty true for the supreme court clerks, too, just with higher cut-offs - top 10-15 local students rather than top 10%.)

Application time frame: check out the Vermont Law School guide to state clerkships - your CSO should be able to give you access. (http://www.vermontlaw.edu/Resources/Jud ... ources.htm). This also varies by state, but if you're thinking of applying this cycle, I think a lot of states have hired by now - a lot hire the end of 2L. But again, you'd have to check for the individual state.

Exit options: Also hard to generalize. Most of the clerks I knew who had Biglaw (or even what poses for Biglaw out here, which is really not very big) got their offers out of 2L SAs. Two of my co-clerks did manage to wrangle Biglaw offers over the course of their term (they really, really hustled and networked, and one didn't get hired until about the last week of her clerkship). One of my cohort is going to a federal agency. It's fairly common for someone on my court to do a second clerkship, either with that court, the state supremes, or (less common but still happens) federal district court. Conversely, it's not unheard of for others to be scrambling for jobs to the very end. One person in my cohort had nothing lined up in July but managed to snag a second clerkship when one of the career clerks resigned. Most of the people in my cohort seemed to be going to firm jobs, but I know of former clerks at the appellate divisions of the AG and the PD.

I learned a TON doing this clerkship (I also lucked out with my judge), and it can certainly help you get a job in the local market - the judges are usually very connected, and some will really push to get jobs for you. However, some are really uncomfortable doing that (they worry about abusing their position), and in most cases, I doubt it's going to radically transform your employability. For instance, unlike in some trial court positions, you don't actually meet/interact with other lawyers very much - you talk to your judge and your co-clerks and that's about it. But it can definitely be a boost.




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