Good news, but a difficult choice

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Litigreenhorn
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Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:36 am

Good news, but a difficult choice

Postby Litigreenhorn » Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:54 am

The law firm I've been working for offered me a position post-graduation... and they also said they would defer that offer if I wanted to pursue the two judicial clerkships I have upcoming interviews for. The firm is about 40 attorneys and does a lot of work locally where these particular Judges are - they are state trial court judges. I was surprised and flattered, because I know this isn't something they often offer people.

It seems like half the partners thought I should try for the clerkship, while others want me to start working for them now. I like the job (I'd be doing pretty much the same stuff when I start there full-time) and it was generally my first choice before this because I feel like the nonstop research and writing of a clerkship would get old fast and I think I probably have more to gain from just hitting the ground running at the firm. I also worry that there's risk associated with the deferral because a lot could change at the firm in a year's time. But would I be undercutting my career if I pass up the clerkship opportunity? Would it make me more marketable if, for example, I wanted (or meeded) to make a lateral move a couple years down the road?

eerie_erie
Posts: 174
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:05 pm

Re: Good news, but a difficult choice

Postby eerie_erie » Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:21 pm

Hey, congrats, that's great to hear. I think you should try for the clerkships. These are invaluable experiences from what I hear. I understand a lot could change while you're gone, but clerkships set you up for higher hiring bonuses should you have them under your belt (I think this applies for lateral hires too, but this is complete speculation unless someone can back me up). Also, a lot of attorneys tell me that first year associates actually make the firm lose money, but I think that chance goes down should you possess clerkship experience (again, not sure about the causation or even if this is true, but as for me I'll be going in basically not knowing anything whereas my classmates doing clerkships will have spent months immersed in drafting judicial opinions...so...)

Myself
Posts: 1372
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 1:36 pm

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Postby Myself » Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:47 pm

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Last edited by Myself on Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

Litigreenhorn
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:36 am

Re: Good news, but a difficult choice

Postby Litigreenhorn » Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:42 am

ajax adonis wrote:The person who is most in charge of hiring you, is he on board with you clerking first? If so, I'd clerk.


Thanks for the congratulations - I know this is a good problem to have, and I'm certainly not complaining!

The people in charge are split - come of them did clerkships and think I should go for it, while others think I'm better off (will make partner faster, potentially) if I start asap. They're not providing any incentive in the form of bonuses, that I'm aware of - this is not a big firm. My sense of it is really that they're giving me the ability to choose which I, personally, want to do. The problem is that I, personally, am just not sure!

I'm waiting to hear back from others I've reached out to who have clerked in the same court and/or for the Judges I'm interviewing with. I might be swayed if they say it was the best experience ever or something, but right now I'm leaning towards just starting with the firm because I'm just not sure I would enjoy a year of clerking as much.

Anonymous User
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Re: Good news, but a difficult choice

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:35 am

I don't think a state court trial judge is going to give you that much of a boost in the future if you decide to leave this firm. But if it's someone the firm deals with on a regular basis, that can be really valuable experience for you and the firm. Personally, if I had the choice, I'd probably go clerkship. Most people find them quite pleasant, and you'll probably become a stronger litigator by spending a year researching, writing, listening to what a judge finds persuasive, and watching examples of good and bad litigators. But it's not an Art III clerkship, and if you personally don't want to do it, don't.

aces
Posts: 157
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:06 pm

Re: Good news, but a difficult choice

Postby aces » Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:02 pm

Unfortunately, clerking for a state trial-level judge is not the type of credential that travels well. That means that if you stay in the jurisdiction and practice regularly before that judge, it may be useful insofar as you have some inside information on how that judge thinks, in addition to the other benefits of clerking (see below). But it might not help you a lot in terms of being a valued credential in lateralling down the road, especially if you want to move geographic areas or are targeting a firm with a different mix of practice areas (read: biglaw). Other small/mid-level firms in the area might see your clerkship as a plus, but firms in other areas and larger firms won't.

That said, if you plan on staying in the jurisdiction (especially if it's in a smaller legal market) and aren't gunning for biglaw, that type of clerkship can be immensely valuable. You make a ton of contacts, including the local DAs and PDs, and that kind of exposure to the local bar is crucial for those who work in smaller law firms. The experience will be helpful as well, as noted by the last poster.

I would definitely talk to former clerks, though. The mix of cases you get at the state trial level is not always, shall we say the most stimulating, and churning through DUIs and such might not appeal to you. Also definitely get as much intel as you can on the specific judges-- the quality of judges varies a lot more on the state trial level, and getting stuck with a bad judge makes for a miserable experience.

utlaw2007
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Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 9:49 pm

Re: Good news, but a difficult choice

Postby utlaw2007 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:03 pm

I think you should take the clerkship. Trial court clerkships have been known to give biglaw opportunities if that clerkship is in the same region. I know two people who did this. And a clerkship also makes you more marketable to firms that are similar in size to the firm of which you speak. And that can't hurt.

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holdencaulfield
Posts: 478
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Re: Good news, but a difficult choice

Postby holdencaulfield » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:24 pm

aces wrote:Unfortunately, clerking for a state trial-level judge is not the type of credential that travels well. That means that if you stay in the jurisdiction and practice regularly before that judge, it may be useful insofar as you have some inside information on how that judge thinks, in addition to the other benefits of clerking (see below). But it might not help you a lot in terms of being a valued credential in lateralling down the road, especially if you want to move geographic areas or are targeting a firm with a different mix of practice areas (read: biglaw). Other small/mid-level firms in the area might see your clerkship as a plus, but firms in other areas and larger firms won't.

That said, if you plan on staying in the jurisdiction (especially if it's in a smaller legal market) and aren't gunning for biglaw, that type of clerkship can be immensely valuable. You make a ton of contacts, including the local DAs and PDs, and that kind of exposure to the local bar is crucial for those who work in smaller law firms. The experience will be helpful as well, as noted by the last poster.

I would definitely talk to former clerks, though. The mix of cases you get at the state trial level is not always, shall we say the most stimulating, and churning through DUIs and such might not appeal to you. Also definitely get as much intel as you can on the specific judges-- the quality of judges varies a lot more on the state trial level, and getting stuck with a bad judge makes for a miserable experience.



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