E Board Position on Journal and Clerkships

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E Board Position on Journal and Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 10, 2012 4:10 pm

I'm a 2L at Seton Hall (please, no hating) and am on the LR. I've heard that our school does pretty good at securing D.N.J. clerkships, particularly in Newark where we're located. I've also heard that historically, Fed. judges (here and elsewhere) heavily prefer students who are on the E-Board of a journal. How important is a soft like this for a clerkship?

Obviously, anyone who has knowledge of this market would be particularly helpful, but I'd be interested in anecdotal evidence generally as well about the relationship between journal E-Board and Federal Clerkship offers. (And yes, I've already talked to people who are currently on the E Board. Looking for recent historical examples).

Thanks in advance.

zomginternets
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Re: E Board Position on Journal and Clerkships

Postby zomginternets » Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:01 pm

I don't have any personal experience in applying for clerkships, but I base the following advice from having externed at a fed. COA chambers, and talking to many federal clerks.

For clerking, any position is important, and order of desirability is usually:

EIC > Articles Editor > Managing Editor/Notes & Comments Editor > Everything else.

(The common wisdom is that judges want to see an interest in scholarship and legal theory, which is why articles editor usually trumps the other positions.)

However, as a general rule, your being on e-board is more or less just a "check-box"--i.e. they won't really care if you're on it, but they will definitely note it if you're not, because pretty much every competitive applicant will be on their law review's e-board. The only exception might be being EIC of your school's flagship law review, as it's obviously the most "prestigious" extra-curricular position available in law school.

fluffybunny
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Re: E Board Position on Journal and Clerkships

Postby fluffybunny » Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:37 pm

zomginternets wrote:For clerking, any position is important, and order of desirability is usually:

EIC > Articles Editor > Managing Editor/Notes & Comments Editor > Everything else.

(The common wisdom is that judges want to see an interest in scholarship and legal theory, which is why articles editor usually trumps the other positions.)

However, as a general rule, your being on e-board is more or less just a "check-box"--i.e. they won't really care if you're on it, but they will definitely note it if you're not, because pretty much every competitive applicant will be on their law review's e-board. The only exception might be being EIC of your school's flagship law review, as it's obviously the most "prestigious" extra-curricular position available in law school.


All of that is consistent with what I've heard or seen in this last hiring cycle. Fancy e-board position is definitely really nice, but not vital. This is true of all of the stuff people tell you that you HAVE to do to get a good clerkship--with the exception of really good grades. Pretty sure that's basically required. You just have to have enough of the fancy stuff to put together a good application, and then get lucky. It also helps not to be a total interview weirdo, although I think judges are more forgiving about that than firms are since the judge doesn't care if you'll alienate clients.

I think most people at my school who got federal or even state supreme court clerkships were on law review, but only one was on the executive board. That might be an artifact of how the school sets up LR though--every staffer makes the editorial board, but only 5 (maybe 6--whatever) get to be on the executive board. That might be how every LR works, I honestly have no idea.

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Re: E Board Position on Journal and Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:56 pm

I don't know whether this generalizes to other law schools, but at my T6 the distinction was clearly LR v. no LR; your exact position was essentially irrelevant.

fluffybunny
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Re: E Board Position on Journal and Clerkships

Postby fluffybunny » Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I don't know whether this generalizes to other law schools, but at my T6 the distinction was clearly LR v. no LR; your exact position was essentially irrelevant.


Yes. This is what I meant.

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Re: E Board Position on Journal and Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:51 am

Do you mind if I highjack the conversation a bit? At my school, anyone elected to e-board has to stay around campus during spring break. I've committed myself to doing a pro bono spring break trip instead, as I'm interested in public service and I think that that ultimately is better for the world than an e-board position. What would judges think of that? I'm not dead set on clerkships, but I wanted to keep my options open.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: E Board Position on Journal and Clerkships

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:Do you mind if I highjack the conversation a bit? At my school, anyone elected to e-board has to stay around campus during spring break. I've committed myself to doing a pro bono spring break trip instead, as I'm interested in public service and I think that that ultimately is better for the world than an e-board position. What would judges think of that? I'm not dead set on clerkships, but I wanted to keep my options open.

This is purely anecdotal, but: I do know of judges who really like candidates with a demonstrated commitment to public service, so would definitely prefer the pro bono work to e-board. I also think it's much harder to overcome not being on a journal at all than being on a journal but not being on e-board. So, I would think that if you've got the grades etc. to be competitive otherwise, doing the pro bono gig rather than e-board wouldn't hurt you. Yes, there may be some judges who use e-board membership to weed out applicants - but the thing is, there are so many applicants for clerkships that there's always going to be some relatively arbitrary weeding, and it's hard to 1) know what those arbitrary criteria are, and 2) cover all your bases so you can not be weeded out. So, no e-board might narrow your universe of judges a little, but I doubt it would make a major difference.

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Detrox
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Re: E Board Position on Journal and Clerkships

Postby Detrox » Sun Nov 11, 2012 7:45 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Do you mind if I highjack the conversation a bit? At my school, anyone elected to e-board has to stay around campus during spring break. I've committed myself to doing a pro bono spring break trip instead, as I'm interested in public service and I think that that ultimately is better for the world than an e-board position. What would judges think of that? I'm not dead set on clerkships, but I wanted to keep my options open.

This is purely anecdotal, but: I do know of judges who really like candidates with a demonstrated commitment to public service, so would definitely prefer the pro bono work to e-board. I also think it's much harder to overcome not being on a journal at all than being on a journal but not being on e-board. So, I would think that if you've got the grades etc. to be competitive otherwise, doing the pro bono gig rather than e-board wouldn't hurt you. Yes, there may be some judges who use e-board membership to weed out applicants - but the thing is, there are so many applicants for clerkships that there's always going to be some relatively arbitrary weeding, and it's hard to 1) know what those arbitrary criteria are, and 2) cover all your bases so you can not be weeded out. So, no e-board might narrow your universe of judges a little, but I doubt it would make a major difference.


This. Anything you lose on the judges who put extra emphasis on E-Board positions will be gained towards the plethora of judges who emphasize that they prefer candidates with demonstrated committment to public service.

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Re: E Board Position on Journal and Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 11, 2012 7:53 pm

I would only run for edboard if you actually enjoy the work and can lock down a top spot. I don't think that the benefits outweigh the downsides when you're looking purely at things like career / clerkship boosts. A lot of people blow the career / clerkship boost way out of proportion. I know a number of people at my school not doing edboard who have COA clerkships, and also know a former-SCOTUS-clerk alum who didn't do edboard.

Essentially, if you really love LR work, do edboard. If you don't, or just want a lot more free time during 3L, then don't.

Disclosure: I'm an LR member who didn't run for edboard.

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Re: E Board Position on Journal and Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:13 am

I went to a T40, was EIC of a secondary, and am currently clerking at a non-A3 federal court (take that as you will). Honestly, the only reason I was EIC was because I did as much as I possibly could to make up for my mediocre 1L grades (~40th percentile). I do enjoy editing and writing, but journal is fucking miserable and incredibly time-consuming. I think it's non-sense that employers consider it relevant at all for lawyering, though I do think it's decent managerial/leadership experience in some ways.

That said, I'm very glad I did it. My judge explicitly told me it was a big plus (said something along the lines of showing dedication, teamwork, etc.), and a lot of people act like it's much more impressive than it really is.

But, really, I think there's no good reason not to do it. With the exception of the higher up positions, it's really not much work at all.




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