USAO and judicial internships -- how much of a resume boost?

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Anonymous User
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USAO and judicial internships -- how much of a resume boost?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 09, 2013 1:45 am

I'm going to be a 3L at a T2. I went to an Ivy undergrad. My law school grades are mediocre (top half), but I have lucked out on getting two USAO internships and a judicial internship my 1L summer. I'm not sure how it all happened, but I'm more than grateful for the experience. I struck out during OCI understandably because of my shitty grades. I didn't make it onto moot court, but I'm published in a secondary journal and about to serve as the editor-in-chief this year.

My question is, how much will my Ivy undergrad, the USAO and judicial internships, and journal accomplishments counterbalance my mediocre grades? I'm interested in civil litigation, more specifically employment, commercial, and torts defense. I'm not restricted geographically for the short term, so I'm open to state court clerkships and law firms that provide good trial experiences. Someone who used to recruit for the DOJ Honors Program suggested I apply because of my USAO experiences, but she didn't know about my grades, so I'm taking that advice with a large grain of salt.

Anyone have advice, speculation, or anecdotes? Anything is appreciated.

Anonymous User
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Re: USAO and judicial internships -- how much of a resume boost?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 09, 2013 3:04 am

I did USAO as a 1L and after 2L summer interviews I don't think I ever really mentioned it again except in passing and I don't think anyone was really all that impressed.

edit: some of the attorneys were helpful as references/networking/mentoring going forward
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sun Jun 09, 2013 3:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

rad lulz
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Re: USAO and judicial internships -- how much of a resume boost?

Postby rad lulz » Sun Jun 09, 2013 3:10 am

Judicial internships are a dime a dozen

USAO experience is fine but it actually would have been better to cop PD/DA so you could get some more courtroom oriented experience

Plus PD/DA alums often go into private practice lit firms after a couple years

I suppose it depends on your T2 but median at a T2 is a BAD place to be

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Re: USAO and judicial internships -- how much of a resume boost?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 09, 2013 12:35 pm

rad lulz wrote:Judicial internships are a dime a dozen

USAO experience is fine but it actually would have been better to cop PD/DA so you could get some more courtroom oriented experience

Plus PD/DA alums often go into private practice lit firms after a couple years

I suppose it depends on your T2 but median at a T2 is a BAD place to be



OP here. Are grades really that fatal to someone's prospects? My legal writing grades were above average, and I've done well in journal. On top of that, I've been told that I interview well (aka I'm not an awkward, unlikeable person). Shouldn't those all somewhat counterbalance my grades?

rad lulz
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Re: USAO and judicial internships -- how much of a resume boost?

Postby rad lulz » Sun Jun 09, 2013 12:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
rad lulz wrote:Judicial internships are a dime a dozen

USAO experience is fine but it actually would have been better to cop PD/DA so you could get some more courtroom oriented experience

Plus PD/DA alums often go into private practice lit firms after a couple years

I suppose it depends on your T2 but median at a T2 is a BAD place to be



OP here. Are grades really that fatal to someone's prospects? My legal writing grades were above average, and I've done well in journal. On top of that, I've been told that I interview well (aka I'm not an awkward, unlikeable person). Shouldn't those all somewhat counterbalance my grades?

Bro there are some places that will just toss your resume if you don't have the grades they want

Govt tends to not care as much though as long as you can show commitment, but for like say DA/PD there are people who have been gunnin for that since day 1

In my experience doing 3L hiring people cared about the GPA number as a whole not the individual classes so much

The stuff that WILL get you noticed is people from those previous jobs or profs making personal calls around town and making introductions

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nevdash
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Re: USAO and judicial internships -- how much of a resume boost?

Postby nevdash » Sun Jun 09, 2013 12:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
rad lulz wrote:Judicial internships are a dime a dozen

USAO experience is fine but it actually would have been better to cop PD/DA so you could get some more courtroom oriented experience

Plus PD/DA alums often go into private practice lit firms after a couple years

I suppose it depends on your T2 but median at a T2 is a BAD place to be



OP here. Are grades really that fatal to someone's prospects? My legal writing grades were above average, and I've done well in journal. On top of that, I've been told that I interview well (aka I'm not an awkward, unlikeable person). Shouldn't those all somewhat counterbalance my grades?

Yes, they are. With median grades from a T2, hardly any employers will take the time to discover all of the other awesome things about you before binning your resume.

Anonymous User
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Re: USAO and judicial internships -- how much of a resume boost?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 09, 2013 12:57 pm

OP here. I'm looking at small or mid-sized firms, or state court clerkships (trial courts). Still makes a difference?

TooOld4This
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Re: USAO and judicial internships -- how much of a resume boost?

Postby TooOld4This » Sun Jun 09, 2013 1:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
rad lulz wrote:Judicial internships are a dime a dozen

USAO experience is fine but it actually would have been better to cop PD/DA so you could get some more courtroom oriented experience

Plus PD/DA alums often go into private practice lit firms after a couple years

I suppose it depends on your T2 but median at a T2 is a BAD place to be



OP here. Are grades really that fatal to someone's prospects? My legal writing grades were above average, and I've done well in journal. On top of that, I've been told that I interview well (aka I'm not an awkward, unlikeable person). Shouldn't those all somewhat counterbalance my grades?


Sorry, but yes they really matter that much.

There are far more law students seeking legal jobs than there are legal jobs to be had. There are enough people who look better than you on paper and interview well to mean that there is no need for a potential employer to even look past your school and GPA before putting your application in the "no" pile.

You need to be doing a ton of research and networking right now. Figure out what employers regularly hire from your school and near your grades. You should have been doing informational interviews since 1L. If you haven't been, start ASAP. Target alumni that work in settings that are less likely to be receiving hundreds of applications for every open position. Ask people you have worked with who they would recommend you speak with. You need to bring something to the table to have people look past your grades and school. Unfortunately, you don't have any real skills yet. Therefore connections are your best bet. The toughest thing about hiring is figuring out the intangibles. Having someone to make the introduction can make a huge difference if you are remotely competitive for the position.

In short, you need to know where your resume (based on grades and school) will be competitive and focus applications there. You should also try to get your resume looked at through networking connections. You aren't sunk, but you have to count on getting a job through hustle.

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Re: USAO and judicial internships -- how much of a resume boost?

Postby TooOld4This » Sun Jun 09, 2013 1:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. I'm looking at small or mid-sized firms, or state court clerkships (trial courts). Still makes a difference?


Why would you think that they wouldn't?

If the places you are applying generally only receive resumes from students with lower grades and schools with reputations not as good as yours (and at the T2 level don't look at USNWR to figure this out), then you will have a decent shot. But you are looking at entry level positions. You are nearly indistinguishable from every other grad in terms of experience and skills. To stand out you need connections or better grades/school. It's not a conspiracy. From an employer's perspective, they can usually find a candidate that they like (interviews well, has decent experience, shows willingness to work hard/learn) by only talking to the 5 or 10 "best" resumes. There is no reason to waste time looking at resumes that fall beneath whatever arbitrary cut off they set.

Edited: this sounds harsher than I intended. I hope that you find the job search easy. You just need to be prepared for your résumé to be one of many and to realize that the easiest way to sort them is by school and grades. Do what you can to either bypass this or to apply to places where, by those metics, yours will be at the top of the heap.

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Re: USAO and judicial internships -- how much of a resume boost?

Postby kalvano » Sun Jun 09, 2013 1:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. I'm looking at small or mid-sized firms, or state court clerkships (trial courts). Still makes a difference?



You should give up on clerkships right now. They aren't going to happen.

anon168
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Re: USAO and judicial internships -- how much of a resume boost?

Postby anon168 » Sun Jun 09, 2013 1:59 pm

Stop talking to us and start talking to your CSO.

You need help and guidance that this board simply is not equipped to provide you.

But, yes, in general your grades will sink most of the prospects/options you've listed.

rad lulz
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Re: USAO and judicial internships -- how much of a resume boost?

Postby rad lulz » Sun Jun 09, 2013 2:00 pm

kalvano wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. I'm looking at small or mid-sized firms, or state court clerkships (trial courts). Still makes a difference?



You should give up on clerkships right now. They aren't going to happen.

Depends on the state

Where I'm from you could probably snag a state trial clerkship w those credentials

But around here state trial clerkships are not very well regarded and you don't learn much

So do some digging ab what the sitch is in your state but I definitely agree with the "examine other options" message

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kalvano
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Re: USAO and judicial internships -- how much of a resume boost?

Postby kalvano » Sun Jun 09, 2013 2:45 pm

rad lulz wrote:
kalvano wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. I'm looking at small or mid-sized firms, or state court clerkships (trial courts). Still makes a difference?



You should give up on clerkships right now. They aren't going to happen.

Depends on the state

Where I'm from you could probably snag a state trial clerkship w those credentials

But around here state trial clerkships are not very well regarded and you don't learn much

So do some digging ab what the sitch is in your state but I definitely agree with the "examine other options" message



True. I suppose I should qualify that with "clerkships that are worth doing or will help you get a job."

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Re: USAO and judicial internships -- how much of a resume boost?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 13, 2013 6:23 pm

kalvano wrote:
rad lulz wrote:
kalvano wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. I'm looking at small or mid-sized firms, or state court clerkships (trial courts). Still makes a difference?



You should give up on clerkships right now. They aren't going to happen.

Depends on the state

Where I'm from you could probably snag a state trial clerkship w those credentials

But around here state trial clerkships are not very well regarded and you don't learn much

So do some digging ab what the sitch is in your state but I definitely agree with the "examine other options" message



True. I suppose I should qualify that with "clerkships that are worth doing or will help you get a job."



In my flyover state, the OP could probably land a state trial level clerkship if he went to the local T2. Unlike the above posters, in my state, state trial level clerks have a great shot at the higher paying (90-110k/year) local firms, but probably not at the (even higher paying) national firms. I know a lot of people that turned around their prospects by doing a state trial court clerkship. That said, I'm sure that there are some that still struck out and ended up doing low-end legal work somewhere. Those guys still eat, but probably make 60k-ish per year with limited upward mobility at the small firms they're at.




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