Applying for multiple 1L judicial internships

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TurtleLaw03
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:01 pm

Applying for multiple 1L judicial internships

Postby TurtleLaw03 » Sat Jan 12, 2013 8:56 pm

Current 1L here with plans to apply for internships with multiple judges in PA at all levels (State Supreme, Appellate, Federal Circuit, etc.). I've spoken with several different people and many have said that you don't want to turn down a judge if he/she extends you an offer no matter what. If this is the case, then what do you do if multiple judges make an offer? You can't escape without turning someone down.

Also, some Qs about the cover letter: First, how do I address the judge? Do I write, "Dear Judge Smith," or do I write, "To the Honorable Judge Smith..."? Something else? Not quite sure on this one. Second, I'm also a little hazy on what type of info I should include. For example, what types of experience should I highlight, and what should I say for why I'm interested in a particular court? I'm not exactly interested in federal bankruptcy court, but I'll definitely take it if I can get it. So what would I say to this kind of judge (same for a federal magistrate)? I would greatly appreciate any insight anyone may have.

Thanks for the help!

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Richie Tenenbaum
Posts: 2162
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 6:17 am

Re: Applying for multiple 1L judicial internships

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:09 pm

TurtleLaw03 wrote:Current 1L here with plans to apply for internships with multiple judges in PA at all levels (State Supreme, Appellate, Federal Circuit, etc.). I've spoken with several different people and many have said that you don't want to turn down a judge if he/she extends you an offer no matter what. If this is the case, then what do you do if multiple judges make an offer? You can't escape without turning someone down.

Also, when drafting my cover letter, how do I address the judge? Do I write, "Dear Judge Smith," or do I write, "To the Honorable Judge Smith..."?

Thanks for the help!


Saying "no" to a judge for a judicial internship is a bit different than saying "no" to a judge for a judicial clerkship, but it still is a good guideline to generally follow. And multiple offers are unlikely to happen since the other part of the general wisdom is for you to accept on the spot, making multiple offers close to impossible. (Once again though that "rule" is more for judicial clerkships, but still a good policy to follow in most cases.) Timing wise, many judges give offers on the spot or later that day of the interview. If you have interviews that are close together, you can ask the first judge you interview with when you expect to hear back from him or her and tell them that you have an interview coming up on X date. Even if the judge isn't able to get back to you before your next interview and you get an offer at the end of that interview, which you accept, it's not like you are turning the first judge down. Just contact his or her chambers and withdraw from consideration for the internship.

As for titles:
It's common to do something like:

The Honorable John Smith
U.S. District Judge
U.S. District Court for the District of X
Address
Address

Dear Judge Smith,

XXXXX

Respectfully,

XXXX

TurtleLaw03
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:01 pm

Re: Applying for multiple 1L judicial internships

Postby TurtleLaw03 » Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:42 pm

Richie Tenenbaum wrote:
TurtleLaw03 wrote:Current 1L here with plans to apply for internships with multiple judges in PA at all levels (State Supreme, Appellate, Federal Circuit, etc.). I've spoken with several different people and many have said that you don't want to turn down a judge if he/she extends you an offer no matter what. If this is the case, then what do you do if multiple judges make an offer? You can't escape without turning someone down.

Also, when drafting my cover letter, how do I address the judge? Do I write, "Dear Judge Smith," or do I write, "To the Honorable Judge Smith..."?

Thanks for the help!


Saying "no" to a judge for a judicial internship is a bit different than saying "no" to a judge for a judicial clerkship, but it still is a good guideline to generally follow. And multiple offers are unlikely to happen since the other part of the general wisdom is for you to accept on the spot, making multiple offers close to impossible. (Once again though that "rule" is more for judicial clerkships, but still a good policy to follow in most cases.) Timing wise, many judges give offers on the spot or later that day of the interview. If you have interviews that are close together, you can ask the first judge you interview with when you expect to hear back from him or her and tell them that you have an interview coming up on X date. Even if the judge isn't able to get back to you before your next interview and you get an offer at the end of that interview, which you accept, it's not like you are turning the first judge down. Just contact his or her chambers and withdraw from consideration for the internship.

As for titles:
It's common to do something like:

The Honorable John Smith
U.S. District Judge
U.S. District Court for the District of X
Address
Address

Dear Judge Smith,

XXXXX

Respectfully,

XXXX


Thanks, Richie.

Do you (or anyone else) have any thoughts as to what type of content I should include? E.g. the reasoning I would use for why I want to intern for a particular court? In all honesty, I'm just trying to get an internship with the best court possible...but I don't think I can make that the thrust of the letter. Perhaps something like "It is my goal to practice law in the state of PA and an internship with the [name of court] will afford me substantive exposure to the PA state [or US district/federal circuit] judicial system..."? Would that work? What other kinds of things do judges like to see in a cover letter?

Appreciate the feedback!!
Last edited by TurtleLaw03 on Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ph14
Posts: 3225
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:15 pm

Re: Applying for multiple 1L judicial internships

Postby ph14 » Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:43 pm

TurtleLaw03 wrote:
Richie Tenenbaum wrote:
TurtleLaw03 wrote:Current 1L here with plans to apply for internships with multiple judges in PA at all levels (State Supreme, Appellate, Federal Circuit, etc.). I've spoken with several different people and many have said that you don't want to turn down a judge if he/she extends you an offer no matter what. If this is the case, then what do you do if multiple judges make an offer? You can't escape without turning someone down.

Also, when drafting my cover letter, how do I address the judge? Do I write, "Dear Judge Smith," or do I write, "To the Honorable Judge Smith..."?

Thanks for the help!


Saying "no" to a judge for a judicial internship is a bit different than saying "no" to a judge for a judicial clerkship, but it still is a good guideline to generally follow. And multiple offers are unlikely to happen since the other part of the general wisdom is for you to accept on the spot, making multiple offers close to impossible. (Once again though that "rule" is more for judicial clerkships, but still a good policy to follow in most cases.) Timing wise, many judges give offers on the spot or later that day of the interview. If you have interviews that are close together, you can ask the first judge you interview with when you expect to hear back from him or her and tell them that you have an interview coming up on X date. Even if the judge isn't able to get back to you before your next interview and you get an offer at the end of that interview, which you accept, it's not like you are turning the first judge down. Just contact his or her chambers and withdraw from consideration for the internship.

As for titles:
It's common to do something like:

The Honorable John Smith
U.S. District Judge
U.S. District Court for the District of X
Address
Address

Dear Judge Smith,

XXXXX

Respectfully,

XXXX


Thanks, Richie.

Do you (or anyone else) have any thoughts as to what type of content I should include? E.g. the reasoning I would use for why I want to intern for a particular court? In all honesty, I'm just trying to get an internship with the best court possible...but I don't think I can make that the thrust of the letter. Perhaps something like "It is my goal to practice law in the state of PA and an internship with the [name of court] will afford me substantive exposure to the state judicial system..."? Would that work? What other kinds of things do judges like to see in a cover letter?

Appreciate the feedback!!


I would keep it short and sweet, personally.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273175
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Applying for multiple 1L judicial internships

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 13, 2013 3:44 pm

ph14 wrote:
TurtleLaw03 wrote:Do you (or anyone else) have any thoughts as to what type of content I should include? E.g. the reasoning I would use for why I want to intern for a particular court? In all honesty, I'm just trying to get an internship with the best court possible...but I don't think I can make that the thrust of the letter. Perhaps something like "It is my goal to practice law in the state of PA and an internship with the [name of court] will afford me substantive exposure to the state judicial system..."? Would that work? What other kinds of things do judges like to see in a cover letter?

Appreciate the feedback!!


I would keep it short and sweet, personally.

I agree. I've reviewed applicant letters and unless there's something really specific to that judge/chambers - e.g. "I took Constitutional Law with your former clerk X, who spoke highly of her experience in your chambers and suggested I apply for an internship with you" - it's really not necessary to say anything much about why you want to be with that particular court. Judges know why interns want to intern with them. If you're applying from out of state because you want to go back to that state after graduation, it might be worth mentioning that. But way more applicants err on the side of being too long in the cover letter than saying too little.

TurtleLaw03
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:01 pm

Re: Applying for multiple 1L judicial internships

Postby TurtleLaw03 » Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:25 am

Anonymous User wrote:
ph14 wrote:
TurtleLaw03 wrote:Do you (or anyone else) have any thoughts as to what type of content I should include? E.g. the reasoning I would use for why I want to intern for a particular court? In all honesty, I'm just trying to get an internship with the best court possible...but I don't think I can make that the thrust of the letter. Perhaps something like "It is my goal to practice law in the state of PA and an internship with the [name of court] will afford me substantive exposure to the state judicial system..."? Would that work? What other kinds of things do judges like to see in a cover letter?

Appreciate the feedback!!


I would keep it short and sweet, personally.

I agree. I've reviewed applicant letters and unless there's something really specific to that judge/chambers - e.g. "I took Constitutional Law with your former clerk X, who spoke highly of her experience in your chambers and suggested I apply for an internship with you" - it's really not necessary to say anything much about why you want to be with that particular court. Judges know why interns want to intern with them. If you're applying from out of state because you want to go back to that state after graduation, it might be worth mentioning that. But way more applicants err on the side of being too long in the cover letter than saying too little.


Thanks, Anonymous User. Just to clarify - are you saying it's bad for people to write too much in a cover letter to a judge? Also, if I'm not supposed to go into detail about my reasons for wanting to clerk with a judge, it would stand to reason that the main way they select interns is by grades (or if you know someone important). Please correct me if I'm wrong. Thanks for the help, all!

Anonymous User
Posts: 273175
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Applying for multiple 1L judicial internships

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:53 am

TurtleLaw03 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
ph14 wrote:
TurtleLaw03 wrote:Do you (or anyone else) have any thoughts as to what type of content I should include? E.g. the reasoning I would use for why I want to intern for a particular court? In all honesty, I'm just trying to get an internship with the best court possible...but I don't think I can make that the thrust of the letter. Perhaps something like "It is my goal to practice law in the state of PA and an internship with the [name of court] will afford me substantive exposure to the state judicial system..."? Would that work? What other kinds of things do judges like to see in a cover letter?

Appreciate the feedback!!


I would keep it short and sweet, personally.

I agree. I've reviewed applicant letters and unless there's something really specific to that judge/chambers - e.g. "I took Constitutional Law with your former clerk X, who spoke highly of her experience in your chambers and suggested I apply for an internship with you" - it's really not necessary to say anything much about why you want to be with that particular court. Judges know why interns want to intern with them. If you're applying from out of state because you want to go back to that state after graduation, it might be worth mentioning that. But way more applicants err on the side of being too long in the cover letter than saying too little.


Thanks, Anonymous User. So if I'm not supposed to go into detail about my reasons for wanting to clerk with a judge, it would stand to reason that the main way they select interns is by grades (or if you know someone important). Please correct me if I'm wrong. Thanks for the help, all!

Yes and no - judges will certainly go by grades, but also work experience, where you go to law school (some prefer alums from their alma maters), what kinds of things you've done in law school (I realize that's less helpful for 1L than later) - that kind of thing. All else being equal, most judges will go for grades, although some judges look for people who have certain backgrounds (public interest, for example).

To clarify what I should have said, a lot of people have a tendency to talk about all the reasons why working for a judge will be wonderful for them ("I want to improve my writing/research skills/gain exposure to this area of law" etc.) that are generic to absolutely any judge in any chambers. That's not helpful. If you have ties to the area that aren't evident on your resume, it can be helpful to mention that (especially if you're applying from out of state; less relevant if you're applying to the judge round the corner from your school). If the judge has some kind of specialty docket that's relevant to your interest, you can mention that ("I'm particularly interested in getting experience in juvenile/bankruptcy/whatever law because before law school I taught elementary school/did something else relevant and I would like to work in juvenile law/consumer finance protection after graduation") - judges like to see that you know what they do. But it's not necessary to go on about this stuff at length. Applicants have a tendency to rewrite their resume in the cover letter, which is repetitive, and a lot of people don't even look at the cover letter but go straight to the resume anyway. So use the cover letter to highlight maybe one or two things that aren't immediately evident from your resume - highest grade on LRW memo? something about a past job/educational experience that shows writing/research/ability to work to deadlines? When in doubt, though, shorter is better.

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dood
Posts: 1639
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 11:59 am

Re: Applying for multiple 1L judicial internships

Postby dood » Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:57 am

TurtleLaw03 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
ph14 wrote:
TurtleLaw03 wrote:Do you (or anyone else) have any thoughts as to what type of content I should include? E.g. the reasoning I would use for why I want to intern for a particular court? In all honesty, I'm just trying to get an internship with the best court possible...but I don't think I can make that the thrust of the letter. Perhaps something like "It is my goal to practice law in the state of PA and an internship with the [name of court] will afford me substantive exposure to the state judicial system..."? Would that work? What other kinds of things do judges like to see in a cover letter?

Appreciate the feedback!!


I would keep it short and sweet, personally.

I agree. I've reviewed applicant letters and unless there's something really specific to that judge/chambers - e.g. "I took Constitutional Law with your former clerk X, who spoke highly of her experience in your chambers and suggested I apply for an internship with you" - it's really not necessary to say anything much about why you want to be with that particular court. Judges know why interns want to intern with them. If you're applying from out of state because you want to go back to that state after graduation, it might be worth mentioning that. But way more applicants err on the side of being too long in the cover letter than saying too little.


Thanks, Anonymous User. Just to clarify - are you saying it's bad for people to write too much in a cover letter to a judge? Also, if I'm not supposed to go into detail about my reasons for wanting to clerk with a judge, it would stand to reason that the main way they select interns is by grades (or if you know someone important). Please correct me if I'm wrong. Thanks for the help, all!


have u even talked to ur career center...these are pretty basic questions.

1) yes, there's a standard format, dont deviate from it
2) only 2 reasons they hire u, first is grades and second is local connections (ie ur law school, UG, state ur from)

example of #2:
my judge "bro, i see u went to university of XYZ"
my response "yeah, so did my dad and my bro and cousin"
judge "cool u'r hired"

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dood
Posts: 1639
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 11:59 am

Re: Applying for multiple 1L judicial internships

Postby dood » Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:04 am

"If this is the case, then what do you do if multiple judges make an offer? You can't escape without turning someone down."

have u honestly not paid any attn to career services? are they gonna make u the offer at the exact same time on the same phone call? dogg, just use common sense

TurtleLaw03
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:01 pm

Re: Applying for multiple 1L judicial internships

Postby TurtleLaw03 » Mon Jan 14, 2013 2:22 pm

dood wrote:"If this is the case, then what do you do if multiple judges make an offer? You can't escape without turning someone down."

have u honestly not paid any attn to career services? are they gonna make u the offer at the exact same time on the same phone call? dogg, just use common sense

Hi dood!

To answer your question, I honestly have paid attention to career services. One of the reasons I came here is because my law school has a judicial internship workshop coming up and I wanted to go in armed with some backup info. Also, people generally respond faster on TLS (e.g. you) than my career services office and I think it's good to get outside takes from students at different law schools. Thanks for highlighting my ignorance, though. I honestly, earnestly, sincerely, and wholeheartedly appreciate your thoughtful response.




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