1L Judicial Internship Question

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karina
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:02 am

1L Judicial Internship Question

Postby karina » Tue Nov 26, 2013 5:04 pm

I'm a 1L student who's looking to apply for judicial internship for next year. I'm interested in working in NY after graduation, so I'm looking to apply to NY courts only. I have a few of questions:

1. What is the difference between working for a federal magistrate judge and working for a district judge?

2. Would law firms ever look down upon working for a state court (NY Supreme Court), as opposed to working for federal courts like SDNY or EDNY?

3. How many applications should I send in? I heard from a few 2Ls and 3Ls at my school that they typically send in 60-70.

Thanks a lot!

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ph14
Posts: 3224
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:15 pm

Re: 1L Judicial Internship Question

Postby ph14 » Tue Nov 26, 2013 5:08 pm

karina wrote:I'm a 1L student who's looking to apply for judicial internship for next year. I'm interested in working in NY after graduation, so I'm looking to apply to NY courts only. I have a few of questions:

1. What is the difference between working for a federal magistrate judge and working for a district judge?

2. Would law firms ever look down upon working for a state court (NY Supreme Court), as opposed to working for federal courts like SDNY or EDNY?

3. How many applications should I send in? I heard from a few 2Ls and 3Ls at my school that they typically send in 60-70.

Thanks a lot!


1. Probably nothing from a legal internship perspective, really.
2. No. (aside: New York Supreme Court is the trial level court if you didn't know that already)
3. Err on the side of more, rather than less. Especially if you are sending them via email, it isn't really too difficult to send a bunch. But what you should do is send them in waves. First wave, pick the 30 positions you are most interested in. If you aren't getting any bites from that, then send another 30-50 applications+. And so on and so forth.

Protip: It's worthwhile to figure out how to use mail merge. It will save you a lot of time and headache once you overcome the initial learning curve.

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ilovesf
Posts: 11742
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:20 pm

Re: 1L Judicial Internship Question

Postby ilovesf » Tue Nov 26, 2013 7:21 pm

What you do 1L doesn't really matter, outside of working for a firm.

The only real difference I can think of between magistrates and district court judges that might affect your experience is that (I don't think at least, I could be wrong) magistrates can't oversee felony criminal trials. During my 1L, my judge had a really interesting several week long trial involving lots of drugs and guns. It was a great experience to be able to watch the whole thing and talk to the judge about it. Although trials are rare, almost all of my friends who externed with district court judges were part of one. Since I was in the northern district of CA, there were also some cool patent cases that my friends worked on.

I just applied to every judge in the district I wanted, which I think was around 15-20 or something.

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fltanglab
Posts: 555
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:44 pm

Re: 1L Judicial Internship Question

Postby fltanglab » Wed Nov 27, 2013 11:33 pm

1. Magistrate judges work on a limited number of issues. Often these include discovery conferences and other limited proceedings that help the district judges. District judges will go to trial (it can be common or uncommon depending on your jurisdiction) and will deal with issues that don't get resolved by the magistrate judge.

2. It's not a "negative" thing. But in my experience a federal court experience can be more interesting if the firm is often in that court and/or in front of that judge.

3. I sent hundreds, but I also didn't know what I was doing/didn't understand the court system. I would say if you only want New York, just apply to all of them.

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Lwoods
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Re: 1L Judicial Internship Question

Postby Lwoods » Thu Nov 28, 2013 12:36 am

1.) The quality of your experience can vary dramatically depending on your specific judge. However, externing with a district court judge will lend itself to more substantive work than the same for a magistrate.
There was actually only one trial in the courthouse my 1L summer, and it wasn't in my judge's court. However, my judge did sit by designation for the court of appeals, so that was pretty cool.

2.) If you know you want a specific state, working for a state court judge won't be bad, but to the extent employers look at 1L jobs, a federal externship will likely be a smidge more eye-catching. If you think it's possible you might want to work in a different state, a federal externship will travel better.

3) I sent 14: 4 federal district, 3 federal bankruptcy, and the 7 state Supreme Court justices (I couldn't afford to live out of town). I ultimately received 3 offers (2 district court judges, 1 bankruptcy). I accepted the first one, which was the only interview I had. I was glad in retrospect that the state justices weren't interested as I've decided to practice in a different state. NY is a popular jurisdiction, so you'll have more competition. I think I benefited from applying early, but I think there can be an advantage to staggering your applications.




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