3L firm search, with clerkship in 2015

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When should I mention the clerkship?

Poll ended at Tue Aug 06, 2013 12:48 pm

Don't mention the clerkship at all until just before it's time to leave the job.
1
11%
Mention it in screener interviews.
1
11%
Mention it in call backs.
0
No votes
Put it front and center on my resume/cover letters.
7
78%
 
Total votes: 9

Anonymous User
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3L firm search, with clerkship in 2015

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 23, 2013 12:48 pm

Hi all, I'm a current 3L, top 1/3rd @ a top 6 school, EIC of a 2dary journal. I have accepted a D.Ct. clerkship in a competitive district that starts in mid-2015, but because I wasn't able to get a SA position as a 2L (had some interviewing problems I've since resolved), I don't have work at a firm lined up for before the clerkship. I'm trying to figure out which of the following options makes the most sense as I look for a 1st yr associate position, given that a firm may not want to make the investment in me for just 9 months:

a) Don't mention the clerkship at all until just before it's time to leave the job.
b) Mention it in screener interviews.
c) Mention it in call backs.
d) Put it front and center on my resume/cover letters.

My career office sees the clerkship as a liability, so suggests option a, but that seems short-sighted (I expect no one will have any illusions about the fact that I knew this before I took the job). I've spoken to about 8 partners/former partners of firms, all of whom suggest potential employers will see the scheduled clerkship as a positive thing, and thus I should go with b,c, or d. I'm pretty certain I'm going with the b/c/d option, but I'd deeply appreciate any suggestions or anecdotes that help me select among them or that help me be confident in my decision to act contrary to my career office's suggestion.

Thanks!

[anon because I'm pretty close to identifiable just from this information anyway, and I'm trying to keep option a open]
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lolwat
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Re: 3L firm search, with clerkship in 2015

Postby lolwat » Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:07 pm

I did d, but then again, I wasn't able to find a firm job for my gap year. I did have a callback with a firm, just didn't turn into an offer.

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Re: 3L firm search, with clerkship in 2015

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:09 pm

This is OP. Do you think you'd have done better with any of the other options? Thanks

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ManOfTheMinute
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Re: 3L firm search, with clerkship in 2015

Postby ManOfTheMinute » Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:25 pm

Anything wrong with doing half and half?

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Re: 3L firm search, with clerkship in 2015

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:35 pm

Regarding splitting option a and the other options, I think it's possible, though I'd like to commit one way or another on this choice, since I would need to keep the clerkship relatively secret if I'm going with option a. I also think the fact that everyone I've spoken with besides my career office says option a is a mistake pushes me away from going that route at all. I haven't asked the judge's thoughts yet, but I plan to soon.

Regarding splitting among b/c/d, that's certainly an option I'm going to consider, though it's obviously more helpful to pick the most effective one and stick with it. My sense is there's too small a sample size of people who have been in this position to determine which that is.

JusticeJackson
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Re: 3L firm search, with clerkship in 2015

Postby JusticeJackson » Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:01 pm

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Last edited by JusticeJackson on Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 3L firm search, with clerkship in 2015

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:04 pm

All of that is really helpful advice. Thanks! Glad to hear Latham's on that list, since they're one of very few firms interviewing 3Ls at OCI.

lolwat
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Re: 3L firm search, with clerkship in 2015

Postby lolwat » Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:09 pm

Here's my impressions on it . . . a firm tends to lose money on its first-year associates (the work you do isn't worth the $160k you get). So firms will be wary of hiring you as a first-year knowing you will leave after that year to clerk, and not having any guarantees that you aren't going to shop around and trade up on them. A SA heading off to clerk before starting at the firm is less of a money-sink for them, and they don't REALLY have that much of a choice anyways.

So that means even clerk-friendly firms won't look at a year-out clerkship the same way they would a right-after-graduation clerkship. If you look at Covington they do note something about preferring graduates to clerk right after graduation but understanding that they might have to clerk a year out... but I don't know if they HIRE for that gap year.

I think I would have "done better" with option (a) in terms of short-term employment . . . as they won't think "oh, you're leaving after a year, why should we hire you for this year if we're going to lose money on you?" But I don't know if I would have risked pissing people off / burning any bridges by doing that.

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Re: 3L firm search, with clerkship in 2015

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 23, 2013 4:33 pm

Yea, that's my fear. It sounds like a no-win situation. Hopefully the judge might have some insight and/or be willing to put me in touch with some people.

JusticeJackson
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Re: 3L firm search, with clerkship in 2015

Postby JusticeJackson » Tue Jul 23, 2013 7:35 pm

.
Last edited by JusticeJackson on Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 3L firm search, with clerkship in 2015

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 24, 2013 3:02 am

Thanks for the list!

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Re: 3L firm search, with clerkship in 2015

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 24, 2013 4:01 pm

Hey, so someone voted for option a. If that person's still around, I'd love to hear more about his or her thoughts. Thanks!

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Re: 3L firm search, with clerkship in 2015

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 24, 2013 4:40 pm

Use your discretion, I don't think you can crowd-source this.

If you're applying to a smaller firm that expects an investment and not having turn-over, maybe it's not something that would appeal to them? If they need the attorney's bandwidth, losing you is a problem.

However, if you're applying to larger firms, they expect turnover and probably like the chance of getting a former-clerk back after a gap which they don't care about.

It's probably a plus for most applications, but I think it's going to be conditional on who you're applying for.

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Re: 3L firm search, with clerkship in 2015

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 24, 2013 6:10 pm

That seems like a helpful way to think about it. Thanks.

lolwat
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Re: 3L firm search, with clerkship in 2015

Postby lolwat » Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:33 am

Anonymous User wrote:Use your discretion, I don't think you can crowd-source this.

If you're applying to a smaller firm that expects an investment and not having turn-over, maybe it's not something that would appeal to them? If they need the attorney's bandwidth, losing you is a problem.

However, if you're applying to larger firms, they expect turnover and probably like the chance of getting a former-clerk back after a gap which they don't care about.

It's probably a plus for most applications, but I think it's going to be conditional on who you're applying for.


I thought it would be the other way around. I'm talking out of my ass here, but my IMPRESSION is that smaller firms can hire on more flexible arrangements while larger firms have a structure that they probably aren't likely to deviate from. In other words, if a small firm needs some immediate help (for 9 months, coincidentally), they can hire you and pay you $20/hour or something. (Yes, this is suboptimal, but at lesat you'd have a jurb.) If a large firm hires you as a "first year associate" they might not really have the flexibility to offer you $80k instead of $160k. If the large firm hires contract/staff attorneys that might be something else to look into -- the only callback I had in this situation was with a firm that hires staff attorneys on temporary bases (and they had a lot of work going around at the time... I have no idea why I never got hired. I guess I just suck).

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Re: 3L firm search, with clerkship in 2015

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 25, 2013 4:37 pm

OP here: my thought would be that a smaller firm doesn't have the resources to throw around on someone who isn't likely going to come back after the clerkship.

lolwat
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Re: 3L firm search, with clerkship in 2015

Postby lolwat » Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:26 pm

OP here: my thought would be that a smaller firm doesn't have the resources to throw around on someone who isn't likely going to come back after the clerkship.


Well, the thought is that the smaller firm can compensate you for whatever they think you're worth, so they aren't sinking any money/resources--by negotiating lower salaries with you they're getting what they pay for. Also, smaller firms are generally the ones that don't hold offers open for people that leave to clerk for a year anyway (exceptions being the high end lit boutiques) because they don't know what their needs will be out a year later.

Paul Revere
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Re: 3L firm search, with clerkship in 2015

Postby Paul Revere » Sat Feb 20, 2016 7:38 pm

OP: how'd this turn out?

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Re: 3L firm search, with clerkship in 2015

Postby radio1nowhere » Sat Feb 20, 2016 8:20 pm

Paul Revere wrote:OP: how'd this turn out?


^ joined TLS in 2011, first post is in 2016 to revive a 2013 thread. Lurker status: maximum! :P




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