No DOJ Honors - now what?

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Anonymous User
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No DOJ Honors - now what?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 21, 2012 12:47 pm

Hi all. My fiancee was a finalist for DOJ Honors (criminal section), but hasn't gotten a call so it seems she won't be getting an offer. She's pretty bummed and I'd like to be able to talk through options with her - but I'm not a law student or attorney (I only know about this site because she checks it so often, ha). She's clerking for a court of appeals judge right now, and has a big law firm she can go back to next year. What I'm wondering is if it's possible for her to still get a district court clerkship for next year? I know on-plan hiring already happened, but is the notion that there will still be some hiring totally ridiculous? I don't want to bring it up and have her tell me I'm being overly optimistic and don't know what I'm talking about. Or any other paths she could take that would make the Honors program a possibility next year?

Thanks in advance, from a confused non-lawyer.

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okinawa
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Re: No DOJ Honors - now what?

Postby okinawa » Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:25 pm

She's a COA clerk with a biglaw offer. No offense but she's probably very smart and clearly knows enough about legal hiring to get two of the most competitive jobs that exist and probably doesn't need a non-lawyer, however well meaning, to do research into her job options.

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Re: No DOJ Honors - now what?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:52 pm

The prior poster obviously doesn't empathize with what the spouses/partners of law students/lawyers go through having to watch all the anxiety and feeling powerless over this process.

However, you likely won't get a lot of sympathy for your fiancee because many of us are in the same boat - but DON'T have the firm job waiting for us as backup and AREN'T Court of Appeals clerks. Having that in her arsenal is a great advantage. Though, I have to imagine that you mean her clerkship is at the state level and not an Article III judge. If not, I don't think your fiancee would want to go from COA>District. People usually go the other way around. Either way, if she doesn't get a gov't or clerkship gig, then she goes to the firm. Has she changed her mind about that - why is that so bad? One or two years at the firm and she can jump to something else.

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Re: No DOJ Honors - now what?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:01 pm

I went through a similar thing, except it involved my husband not getting any job out of Harvard Business School recruiting. I found it unproductive to suggest potential jobs to him... it seemed to backfire. Your fiancee seems to have good options and seems like a competitive candidate, so I think she's feeling hurt about losing out on her dream job. Therefore, I would just focus on being as supportive as you can... cooking, listening, etc. This definitely is not the end of her government dreams... you can always remind her that people make the transition from big law to government, and if she networks and sets her eyes on it, it can become a reality.

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Re: No DOJ Honors - now what?

Postby Citizen Genet » Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hi all. My fiancee was a finalist for DOJ Honors (criminal section), but hasn't gotten a call so it seems she won't be getting an offer. She's pretty bummed and I'd like to be able to talk through options with her - but I'm not a law student or attorney (I only know about this site because she checks it so often, ha). She's clerking for a court of appeals judge right now, and has a big law firm she can go back to next year. What I'm wondering is if it's possible for her to still get a district court clerkship for next year? I know on-plan hiring already happened, but is the notion that there will still be some hiring totally ridiculous? I don't want to bring it up and have her tell me I'm being overly optimistic and don't know what I'm talking about. Or any other paths she could take that would make the Honors program a possibility next year?

Thanks in advance, from a confused non-lawyer.


I kind of agree with the response above (she's a brilliant person who can evaluate her options) but for your sake, I'll answer the question.

There are very, very few District Court spots left. As in, probably less than a couple dozen. The open spots are likely from judges who don't participate in the typical hiring process that uses a centralized system (called OSCAR). Short of calling every federal judges' chambers, there is no real way to find out who those judges are. The one exception I can think of is a federal district court judge in Dallas who uses OSCAR but says he does not hire until the Spring. The only other hope of spots opening up is for judges who are appointed between now and next fall. All of that means there are so few spots that even the most sterling resume (top of class at Yale, already completed clerkshiop) could not count on securing a District Court clerkship. So I wouldn't bring it up because bringing it up is essentially like telling her that she should look into buying a lottery ticket. On the other hand, if she is really, really wishing she could be a District Court clerk and is willing to look for any chance, those are the best avenues she has.

The only other path she could take to HP is the Presidential Management Fellowship or another fellowship that can preserve her eligibility status. For info about eligibility, see http://www.justice.gov/careers/legal/en ... ility.html ; for info about PMF, see http://www.pmf.gov/ . Be warned, the number of legal jobs available through PMF is small. However, many components - even non-legal ones - allow an individual to go to a USAO for a 6 month period. (I don't have any great information on which ones do or do not.) If she can make it into a PMF law job she'll preserve he eligibility and if she works at a USAO, she'll have excellent experience to re-apply to the HP. Note that the PMF application is due Nov. 26.

All of that being said, you're walking a tightrope man - giving advice to a SO about career options, particularly when she is so competent, is a dangerous thing to do in a relationship.

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Re: No DOJ Honors - now what?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:The prior poster obviously doesn't empathize with what the spouses/partners of law students/lawyers go through having to watch all the anxiety and feeling powerless over this process.

However, you likely won't get a lot of sympathy for your fiancee because many of us are in the same boat - but DON'T have the firm job waiting for us as backup and AREN'T Court of Appeals clerks. Having that in her arsenal is a great advantage. Though, I have to imagine that you mean her clerkship is at the state level and not an Article III judge. If not, I don't think your fiancee would want to go from COA>District. People usually go the other way around. Either way, if she doesn't get a gov't or clerkship gig, then she goes to the firm. Has she changed her mind about that - why is that so bad? One or two years at the firm and she can jump to something else.

Eh, there are any number of people who go from COA to District. Sometimes you just want trial experience after the heady air of appellate work. ;) But I do think that if your fiancee wants government work ultimately, a few years work at the firm and then lateraling to DOJ is probably a more straightforward path than clerking again (there may still be a few openings - but is she willing to go anywhere? because that's what it would probably require, unless she got lucky).

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Re: No DOJ Honors - now what?

Postby theaccidentalclerk » Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:33 pm

Actually, I wouldn't think the possibility of getting a District Court clerkship is so bleak at this point, provided that she's currently clerking with a federal COA judge. In my experience, a good chunk of USDC judges don't hire on a traditional track -- meaning that they hire outside of the Plan/Off-Plan 2L-3L hiring process that starts in March or so of the 2L year and then culminates with the Plan hiring period at the start of 3L year. Instead, these judges basically hire as needed or in clumps -- so when one of their current clerks leaves (which may or may not be scheduled a year in advance), or several clerkships years in advance when they do hire (because it's easier to hire six clerks in one sitting for the next four years than it is to hire two clerks three times over that period). These (for lack of a better term) off-off-plan judges may be in the minority, but it's a healthy one.

So, how does she find out about these openings? Well, check OSCAR, obviously. Also the US Courts job site, which posts some. But most importantly -- and almost certainly most lucratively -- she needs to go talk to her judge. She's been with him/her for two or three months now (I assume she started in August or September), so while that's a little early for a reference, it's not too premature -- though it's understandable if she wants to wait until January or February. She should tell him/her that while she loves the appellate work that she's currently doing, she thinks it would make her a better lawyer to get some exposure to trial work as well when her current stint is over. She should ask if her judge would be willing to put out a feeler to the USDC judges in the circuit (and preferably the same city or immediately nearby) to see if they anticipate any clerkship openings that would match with her schedule. If her judge is willing to do that, I suspect that there is an excellent chance that an in-circuit USDC judge might jump at the opportunity to hire a COA clerk if he or she anticipates an opening in the second half of 2013. (Whether there is such an opening will be the tricky bit, though it's not outside the realm of possibility.)

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worldtraveler
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Re: No DOJ Honors - now what?

Postby worldtraveler » Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:58 pm

I don't know if I would appreciate my significant other searching out job prospects for me when we're not in the same careers. It seems like she's extremely successful on her own and is probably pretty aware of her options. Just be supportive of her choices but I don't really think you need to worry about anything.

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Re: No DOJ Honors - now what?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:17 pm

OP here. Thanks, everyone, for your responses. As many of you noted and I'm quite aware, she is very competent and has great options ahead of her (she is clerking at the federal COA level). Honestly, she was just so bummed not to get it and I was feeling helpless having basically no idea what other options she may have - I know better than to try to really offer career advice, but wanted to see what potential options there may be (mostly so I don't sound like a jackass when I say something). I think she's going to talk to her judge and just see where things go, because as you all said she's in a good position regardless of DOJ disappointment. Thanks again!

rad lulz
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Re: No DOJ Honors - now what?

Postby rad lulz » Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:24 pm

Being really sad about not getting DoJ Honors when you have a CoA clerkship and a big firm offer to go back to? Cry me a fucking river.

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LeDique
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Re: No DOJ Honors - now what?

Postby LeDique » Thu Nov 22, 2012 9:37 pm

rad lulz wrote:Being really sad about not getting DoJ Honors when you have a CoA clerkship and a big firm offer to go back to? Cry me a fucking river.

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nevdash
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Re: No DOJ Honors - now what?

Postby nevdash » Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:28 am

rad lulz wrote:Being really sad about not getting DoJ Honors when you have a CoA clerkship and a big firm offer to go back to? Cry me a fucking river.

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Re: No DOJ Honors - now what?

Postby Citizen Genet » Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:49 am

Understand where the posters above are coming from, but I'll say that I know where your fiancee is coming from too. All of us can be relatively ungrateful. (For example, every poster here who is concerned about not getting BigLaw, knowing full well that they'll live better lives than 35-40% of the world's population thanks to the types of legal safety nets in the US that prevent them from falling into abject poverty and disease.) So yes, everyone here can talk about why she's being ridiculous, but certainly they've been ridiculous in some similar way. Fact is, she missed out on her dream and that is difficult to deal with, even if it may seem ridiculous.

So not everyone here wants to dig on you and your fiancee. Best of luck to both of you.

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Re: No DOJ Honors - now what?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:25 pm

nevdash wrote:
rad lulz wrote:Being really sad about not getting DoJ Honors when you have a CoA clerkship and a big firm offer to go back to? Cry me a fucking river.


Crap like this is why I don't post anymore. No one is this egalitarian when discussing which law school to attend. OP's fiancee faces a real dilemma. Just because it is of a different nature than that of the unemployed 3L doesn't mean its any less valid. If this for some reason bothers you, just don't read the freaking thread. But, this attitude is why it can be isolating for those at the top of the class - you aren't allowed to ask any questions about employment, even on TLS, for fear of offending those less fortunate than you.

A couple thoughts for OP:
- I know a fair number of people who have lateraled to a DOJ litigating component after ~4th-5th year in big law.
- I think it is very, very late in the game for a district court clerkship. But, your fiancee should keep on the lookout for new appointees. There are going to be a relatively large number of new appointees in the next few months and they will all be needing clerks. Although they would probably prefer an experienced district court clerk, I'm sure they would be very interested in a COA clerk. She could also look at doing a second COA clerkship with a new appointee. While I would normally be very hesitant on recommending two clerkships of the same time, it would be a good way to preserve eligibility.
-If she wants to apply to new appointees, she should go ahead and apply now, before they are confirmed. There's no harm in getting your materials to them now, and believe me, others are already doing it as well.

-DoubleClerk

jdhonest
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Re: No DOJ Honors - now what?

Postby jdhonest » Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:32 pm

To the OP: you have to understand and get used to the fact that lawyers and law students are socially awkward, money/prestige loving, jealous freak shows with absolutely zero perspective about most things involving human emotions.

1) If you want to be optimistic (you and ONLY you know if that's what she needs right now), be generally optimistic -- you don't need to mention specific job prospects because she has likely already researched all of her options and understands them better than you do. Also, you run the risk of annoying the shit out of her by pretending you understand what's going on.

2) (and I can't believe that everyone else missed this) If your fiancee constantly checks this site, then she'll probably see this. There's only so many people in her position, and I doubt enough of them are engaged females to have her possibly believe that this thread is about any other person. Furthermore, I very much doubt she'll appreciate you soliciting the advice of lawyers and law students on an internet message board about personal subjects, i.e. her employment prospects and emotional well-being. In other words: DELETE THIS THREAD BEFORE SHE CATCHES YOU!

rad lulz
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Re: No DOJ Honors - now what?

Postby rad lulz » Fri Nov 23, 2012 1:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
nevdash wrote:
rad lulz wrote:Being really sad about not getting DoJ Honors when you have a CoA clerkship and a big firm offer to go back to? Cry me a fucking river.


Crap like this is why I don't post anymore. No one is this egalitarian when discussing which law school to attend. OP's fiancee faces a real dilemma. Just because it is of a different nature than that of the unemployed 3L doesn't mean its any less valid. If this for some reason bothers you, just don't read the freaking thread. But, this attitude is why it can be isolating for those at the top of the class - you aren't allowed to ask any questions about employment, even on TLS, for fear of offending those less fortunate than you.

Truly an EMBARASSMENT of RICHES bro

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Re: No DOJ Honors - now what?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 23, 2012 2:30 pm

rad lulz wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
nevdash wrote:
rad lulz wrote:Being really sad about not getting DoJ Honors when you have a CoA clerkship and a big firm offer to go back to? Cry me a fucking river.


Crap like this is why I don't post anymore. No one is this egalitarian when discussing which law school to attend. OP's fiancee faces a real dilemma. Just because it is of a different nature than that of the unemployed 3L doesn't mean its any less valid. If this for some reason bothers you, just don't read the freaking thread. But, this attitude is why it can be isolating for those at the top of the class - you aren't allowed to ask any questions about employment, even on TLS, for fear of offending those less fortunate than you.

Truly an EMBARASSMENT of RICHES bro


This place has sunk to the level of autoadmit.

-DoubleClerk

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: No DOJ Honors - now what?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:49 pm

Your fiancee sounds like she's had an extremely successful life so far—maybe too successful, if losing out on one of the absolutely most competitive jobs out there is really this crushing to her. Most of us had to learn to deal with this kind of disappointment years ago, but for a rare brand of law students—Ivy undergrad, great grades, top law school, COA clerkship, etc.—it's a new experience. Just be supportive.




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