Clerkship Vacation?

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Anonymous User
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Clerkship Vacation?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:22 pm

Accepted a COA clerkship starting in the fall. Apparently my judge is kind of soft as far as his clerks' workloads, but I have no idea about vacation days.

I'm assuming we'll get Christmas off, but will it just be the minimum vacation days, or will everything shut down for a week around Christmas? Do clerks get to take any other vacation during their clerkship year?

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Re: Clerkship Vacation?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:58 pm

Based on my experience in district court, whether you only get the federal holidays or accrue time off depends on whether your judge is willing to sign you up for the Leave Act (it's at their discretion, but it's opt-in, not opt-out). I totally forget how much leave you accrue per hours worked, though I don't think it's very much for a new employee. Otherwise, you just get official holidays - the court doesn't shut down for the week around Christmas, for instance.

In practice, it really depends on your judge. My judge is very mellow and had no problem with me traveling over the holiday, so I was gone from the weekend before Xmas until Jan 1 (however, I did remote in and work from home 4 of those days). He's also fine with us taking time for e.g. doctor's appointments, and often sends us home early on Fridays, that kind of thing. This is all dependent on getting your work done, of course (the flip side is that during trial we can be here all hours).

However, I know of a judge here who gives his/her clerks NO time off, and in fact, is rumored to require them to sign an agreement that they'll get all their doctor's appointments and the like done before their term starts rather than take any time away from chambers. The latter may be exaggerated, but the general point is those clerks don't get ANY time off.

You might want to just ask your judge what his policies are.

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Re: Clerkship Vacation?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:54 pm

Slightly off topic, but i'm curious. Does anyone know which 9th Circuit judges are known for treating their clerks well and/or having lighter work requirements?

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Re: Clerkship Vacation?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:10 am

Anonymous User wrote:Based on my experience in district court, whether you only get the federal holidays or accrue time off depends on whether your judge is willing to sign you up for the Leave Act (it's at their discretion, but it's opt-in, not opt-out). I totally forget how much leave you accrue per hours worked, though I don't think it's very much for a new employee. Otherwise, you just get official holidays - the court doesn't shut down for the week around Christmas, for instance.

In practice, it really depends on your judge. My judge is very mellow and had no problem with me traveling over the holiday, so I was gone from the weekend before Xmas until Jan 1 (however, I did remote in and work from home 4 of those days). He's also fine with us taking time for e.g. doctor's appointments, and often sends us home early on Fridays, that kind of thing. This is all dependent on getting your work done, of course (the flip side is that during trial we can be here all hours).

However, I know of a judge here who gives his/her clerks NO time off, and in fact, is rumored to require them to sign an agreement that they'll get all their doctor's appointments and the like done before their term starts rather than take any time away from chambers. The latter may be exaggerated, but the general point is those clerks don't get ANY time off.

You might want to just ask your judge what his policies are.


Thanks. I'm not expecting my year to be anything other than a lot of hard work, but I've also heard the pace is a little less intense on the circuit courts as opposed to district court (I'm assuming, based on your mention of " trial"). Anyone else want to chime in? I'd love to be able to spend some time with my family at Christmas.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerkship Vacation?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:16 am

When I was clerking on the Ninth, I heard very nice things about how well Judge Graber treats her clerks in terms of dress code/vacation time, but she has only three clerks so their workload may be higher. (On the other hand, I heard she and her two JAs do a lot of the stuff clerks have to do in other chambers, so things might even out.)

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legalese_retard
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Re: Clerkship Vacation?

Postby legalese_retard » Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:15 pm

If you are subject to the Leave Act, you get 13 vaction days, 13 sick days, and 10 holidays off per year. You might get more free days around the holidays, but it depends on your judge/district. The judges in my district issued a district-wide order that shut down the courthouses on the day before Christmas and New Years. But some judges are strictlers when it comes to time off. I know of one judge that requires the clerks to work on Saturdays even though they don't get paid for the extra day.

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Re: Clerkship Vacation?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:When I was clerking on the Ninth, I heard very nice things about how well Judge Graber treats her clerks in terms of dress code/vacation time, but she has only three clerks so their workload may be higher. (On the other hand, I heard she and her two JAs do a lot of the stuff clerks have to do in other chambers, so things might even out.)


Same courthouse, different judge: any insight on how things in Judge O'Scannlain's chambers tend to go?

Thanks!

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Re: Clerkship Vacation?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:47 pm

legalese_retard wrote:If you are subject to the Leave Act, you get 13 vaction days, 13 sick days, and 10 holidays off per year. You might get more free days around the holidays, but it depends on your judge/district. The judges in my district issued a district-wide order that shut down the courthouses on the day before Christmas and New Years. But some judges are strictlers when it comes to time off. I know of one judge that requires the clerks to work on Saturdays even though they don't get paid for the extra day.

Yes, and we got the day after Thanksgiving, too.

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Re: Clerkship Vacation?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:01 pm

legalese_retard wrote:Same courthouse, different judge: any insight on how things in Judge O'Scannlain's chambers tend to go?


He is on the more formal end of things (suit-and-tie kind of chambers). The clerks work very hard because he is one of the most active judges in the en banc process. But he also travels a lot, so things might be better for the clerks when he's away. He's high on the seniority list, so he's often presiding (meaning that he gets to pick which cases he wants, and he always picks the most interesting/high-profile ones). It's an intense clerkship, but he sends clerks to SCOTUS almost every term, so it may be worth it...

anon168
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Re: Clerkship Vacation?

Postby anon168 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 5:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Based on my experience in district court, whether you only get the federal holidays or accrue time off depends on whether your judge is willing to sign you up for the Leave Act (it's at their discretion, but it's opt-in, not opt-out). I totally forget how much leave you accrue per hours worked, though I don't think it's very much for a new employee. Otherwise, you just get official holidays - the court doesn't shut down for the week around Christmas, for instance.

In practice, it really depends on your judge. My judge is very mellow and had no problem with me traveling over the holiday, so I was gone from the weekend before Xmas until Jan 1 (however, I did remote in and work from home 4 of those days). He's also fine with us taking time for e.g. doctor's appointments, and often sends us home early on Fridays, that kind of thing. This is all dependent on getting your work done, of course (the flip side is that during trial we can be here all hours).

However, I know of a judge here who gives his/her clerks NO time off, and in fact, is rumored to require them to sign an agreement that they'll get all their doctor's appointments and the like done before their term starts rather than take any time away from chambers. The latter may be exaggerated, but the general point is those clerks don't get ANY time off.

You might want to just ask your judge what his policies are.


At the end of the day, it really doesn't depend whether you are on the Leave Act or not. Whether you get to take time off is really up to your judge.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerkship Vacation?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 10, 2013 6:16 pm

anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Based on my experience in district court, whether you only get the federal holidays or accrue time off depends on whether your judge is willing to sign you up for the Leave Act (it's at their discretion, but it's opt-in, not opt-out). I totally forget how much leave you accrue per hours worked, though I don't think it's very much for a new employee. Otherwise, you just get official holidays - the court doesn't shut down for the week around Christmas, for instance.

In practice, it really depends on your judge. My judge is very mellow and had no problem with me traveling over the holiday, so I was gone from the weekend before Xmas until Jan 1 (however, I did remote in and work from home 4 of those days). He's also fine with us taking time for e.g. doctor's appointments, and often sends us home early on Fridays, that kind of thing. This is all dependent on getting your work done, of course (the flip side is that during trial we can be here all hours).

However, I know of a judge here who gives his/her clerks NO time off, and in fact, is rumored to require them to sign an agreement that they'll get all their doctor's appointments and the like done before their term starts rather than take any time away from chambers. The latter may be exaggerated, but the general point is those clerks don't get ANY time off.

You might want to just ask your judge what his policies are.


At the end of the day, it really doesn't depend whether you are on the Leave Act or not. Whether you get to take time off is really up to your judge.

Yes, I should have clarified that. (The reason I don't know what the Leave Act gives you is that I go by what my judge wants, not what I do/don't have accrued. However, if you go to another federal job you can roll the leave over.)

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerkship Vacation?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:18 pm

To be fair, if your judge is willing to sign his clerks up for the Leave Act, he's probably more willing to be flexible about letting you use the leave that you've accrued (at least as long as it doesn't interfere with trial or the workflow in chambers). This isn't always the case, but it's probably pretty accurate as a rough proxy.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerkship Vacation?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:To be fair, if your judge is willing to sign his clerks up for the Leave Act, he's probably more willing to be flexible about letting you use the leave that you've accrued (at least as long as it doesn't interfere with trial or the workflow in chambers). This isn't always the case, but it's probably pretty accurate as a rough proxy.


My judge viewed signing his clerks for the Leave Act as a fair exchange for never giving us any vacation time (except the day after Thanksgiving and week after Christmas). Plus we had to stay without pay for an extra week to train our replacements. Not that I'm bitter or anything...

OP's best bet is to talk to the current clerks or JA to find out what his/her judge's vacation policies are.

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Re: Clerkship Vacation?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:50 pm

Definitely judge-dependent. My judge signed us up for the Leave Act, and I was able to go home for a couple of weeks (worked remotely), and I doubt that'll be counted against me in the long run. Then again, my judge's case management is so incredible that we barely hit the supposed minimum hours each week anyway because our work load is not as intense.




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