Leaving a Firm to Clerk (And possibly returning?)

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Leaving a Firm to Clerk (And possibly returning?)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:09 pm

I'm a recent grad starting at a secondary market biglaw firm this fall. I applied for clerkships but missed the clerkship boat. I would still like to clerk someday, and I know CSO and a lot of former clerks say "Well even though you missed the boat now, you can always try to clerk again once you're a few years out." However, I like the firm I'm heading to, and while I'm not so naive as to think I'll being working here the rest of my career or something, I do see a future at this place and want to establish myself as a litigator there.

How do most firms view leaving to clerk for a year, and are most cool with holding a spot for you to come back? Would it be less likely to work out at a secondary market firm? Is this something that would be worth doing, or is it something that could hurt me long-term (e.g., partnership prospects)? I know so much of this is dependent on the firm, the individual, etc., but I'm looking for some general insight and anecdotes if you've got any.

For reference, I'm in my mid-20s (K-JDer), graduated top 15% from a T20, am going to be in the general litigation department, and would be looking to clerk for the state SCT or a district court. My firm's office is in the state capitol and the biggest city in the state, so I would likely stay in the same city for a clerkship.

anonymous2012
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Re: Leaving a Firm to Clerk (And possibly returning?)

Postby anonymous2012 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:56 pm

You should be fine. I know of people who have left lit. positions at an amlaw 50-100 to clerk for magistrate judges for a year in the same city (secondary market, not a state capitol).

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DildaMan
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Re: Leaving a Firm to Clerk (And possibly returning?)

Postby DildaMan » Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm a recent grad starting at a secondary market biglaw firm this fall. I applied for clerkships but missed the clerkship boat. I would still like to clerk someday, and I know CSO and a lot of former clerks say "Well even though you missed the boat now, you can always try to clerk again once you're a few years out." However, I like the firm I'm heading to, and while I'm not so naive as to think I'll being working here the rest of my career or something, I do see a future at this place and want to establish myself as a litigator there.

How do most firms view leaving to clerk for a year, and are most cool with holding a spot for you to come back? Would it be less likely to work out at a secondary market firm? Is this something that would be worth doing, or is it something that could hurt me long-term (e.g., partnership prospects)? I know so much of this is dependent on the firm, the individual, etc., but I'm looking for some general insight and anecdotes if you've got any.

For reference, I'm in my mid-20s (K-JDer), graduated top 15% from a T20, am going to be in the general litigation department, and would be looking to clerk for the state SCT or a district court. My firm's office is in the state capitol and the biggest city in the state, so I would likely stay in the same city for a clerkship.


A friend of mine started his clerkship after 2 years of big-law. They gave him credit for his time spent clerking and extended an open offer while he was doing his clerkship. Judges apparently like experienced hires.

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Re: Leaving a Firm to Clerk (And possibly returning?)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 17, 2013 2:25 pm

That's what I'm thinking. I'd definitely like to do it, but I'm just concerned about 1) not getting an offer to come back, in which case I would just not do the clerkship, or 2) having it negatively impact my long-term prospects at the firm (i.e., negatively affecting my shot at partnership).

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BVest
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Re: Leaving a Firm to Clerk (And possibly returning?)

Postby BVest » Wed Jul 17, 2013 2:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:That's what I'm thinking. I'd definitely like to do it, but I'm just concerned about 1) not getting an offer to come back, in which case I would just not do the clerkship, or 2) having it negatively impact my long-term prospects at the firm (i.e., negatively affecting my shot at partnership).


Most firms not only keep the spot open for you but also track your salary and your experience towards partner as if you had been there. You can see why it would be disadvantageous for them not to. If they don't, they would be afraid you would lateral to someone who did.

NALP directory actually includes this on their survey form. If your firm is in NALP, look under Compensation & Benefits to see if they answered the question.

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Re: Leaving a Firm to Clerk (And possibly returning?)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:01 pm

BVest wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:That's what I'm thinking. I'd definitely like to do it, but I'm just concerned about 1) not getting an offer to come back, in which case I would just not do the clerkship, or 2) having it negatively impact my long-term prospects at the firm (i.e., negatively affecting my shot at partnership).


Most firms not only keep the spot open for you but also track your salary and your experience towards partner as if you had been there. You can see why it would be disadvantageous for them not to. If they don't, they would be afraid you would lateral to someone who did.

NALP directory actually includes this on their survey form. If your firm is in NALP, look under Compensation & Benefits to see if they answered the question.

Good call. I checked, and it says no bonus but they give credit for the clerkship. But I still wonder if this is just for clerks right out of law school or if it also includes clerks who leave the firm. I suppose I should just ask someone I trust about it when I get there. A lot of the partners in the lit department last summer were strongly pushing the idea of clerking, so I imagine they'd be cool with it as long as the firm's hiring folks were.




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