DC District Court 1L Judicial Internship

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redsoxrox
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Joined: Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:36 pm

DC District Court 1L Judicial Internship

Postby redsoxrox » Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:41 pm

Hi everyone! I really want a judicial internship with the DC federal district court and was lucky enough to get a few interviews. Does anyone have any advice on interviewing with judges in general (or perhaps have a link to a good thread)? Or has anyone worked for a judge on the DC district court that I can PM?

Thanks so much!

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UnfrozenCaveman
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Re: DC District Court 1L Judicial Internship

Postby UnfrozenCaveman » Sat Feb 01, 2014 3:44 pm

If your school keeps any sort of records on that sort of stuff, sometimes that can be a help.

AdamDeMamp
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Re: DC District Court 1L Judicial Internship

Postby AdamDeMamp » Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:21 pm

I have had three interviews with DC Dist. Ct. judges so far (or rather, for internships in their chambers--explanation later), so can offer a few pointers.

1) I am also from the DC area, if that means anything to you, so I was able to emphasize wanting to come home for the summer.

2) You may or may not actually be interviewing with the judge him/herself. Of my three interviews, in only one did I actually speak to the judge; in the other two I only spoke to clerks. The one judge I actually interviewed with was a much more relaxed interview--those were mostly getting to know you questions, as opposed to the clerks, who actually (and surprisingly) asked me some somewhat substantive questions.

3) You need to have good answers for three questions: 1) why a judicial internship; 2) why DDC; and 3) why this specific judge? I know standard practice is basically to apply to every judge or almost every judge on the DDC (that's what I did), and in my first interview I was completely unprepared to say why I wanted this specific judge (I know, I'm a moron, and I was punished for my stupidity because I didn't get the job). The other two judges I interviewed with later came from public service backgrounds, so I talked about being interested in that and the transition from there to judging.

4) One thing that's seemed to work for me is really emphasizing multitasking ability--I worked as a paralegal before law school, so I talked about how I was given lots of discrete tasks to complete at once while I was there, which made me develop organizational skills to get everything done on time, which has helped me in law school vis-a-vis grades, which I think would be useful in chambers.

5) In terms of substantive questions--one set of clerks actually asked me about my theory of statutory interpretation (it wasn't couched in exactly those terms, but that was basically the question). So I'd try and have at least a passing familiarity with that, as well as other types of cases that tend to come before the DDC (APA, FOIA, FCA, FCPA, etc.)--it's pretty impressive if you can throw around those acronyms and seem like you know what you're talking about.

6) Results--one ding (as mentioned above, because I was not prepared for the "why this judge" question); one offer; and one undetermined (I'm going to withdraw because I've decided to take the offer I already have). Good luck!

AdamDeMamp
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Re: DC District Court 1L Judicial Internship

Postby AdamDeMamp » Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:45 pm

One other thing I remembered--every single interview I asked what interesting cases the judge had/will have on his or her docket by the time summer rolls around, and have been told "good/great question" every time. So I'd recommend you ask that if they don't tell you themselves before you can ask.

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fltanglab
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Re: DC District Court 1L Judicial Internship

Postby fltanglab » Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:10 am

For the in person interviews I had, I think the biggest challenge was adapting to the situation. I had an interview where I was sitting at a conference table with the judge and the entire staff in chambers, but I also had an interview with just the clerks, followed by the judge. Usually (in my experience), clerks will screen you and you only move on if you pass the clerks.

You should prepare a lot for these interviews because as the poster before me said, clerks will test you. Judges usually don't test you and will ask fun questions about your resume. I had a lot of conversations about my interests and my past experiences. Another common question is your favorite/least favorite class and sometimes they'll ask about your biggest challenge so far. There isn't a single right answer, but there are a lot of wrong answers.

redsoxrox
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Re: DC District Court 1L Judicial Internship

Postby redsoxrox » Sun Feb 02, 2014 7:38 pm

Thanks guys!! Could you elaborate on what you mean by substantive questions? Does that mean questions on first year topics or current events/big dc cases? Any advice on how to prepare for those?

Anonymous User
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Re: DC District Court 1L Judicial Internship

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 04, 2014 5:12 pm

also interested in this

station4
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Re: DC District Court 1L Judicial Internship

Postby station4 » Thu Feb 06, 2014 3:47 am

Hey y'all - interned at another federal district court which is competitive for interns last summer and just wanted to pass along this advice about interviewing. It seems really basic, but read your writing sample over before the interview and be prepared to answer questions about it. My interview was basically the clerks and me talking about the legal issues involved in the writing sample. They didn't throw any hardball questions my way, but they had obviously both read it and were familiar enough with the substance that I could not have faked it had I forgotten what the issues turned on, etc.

Anyway, good luck!

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fltanglab
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Re: DC District Court 1L Judicial Internship

Postby fltanglab » Fri Feb 07, 2014 10:25 pm

redsoxrox wrote:Thanks guys!! Could you elaborate on what you mean by substantive questions? Does that mean questions on first year topics or current events/big dc cases? Any advice on how to prepare for those?


My hardest interview was for an appellate court and the clerks asked me if I had a favorite opinion that the judge wrote. They also grilled me on the court's docket and I was generally very flustered. However, I think this interview was unusual. I've since had appellate court interviews where I prepared for such a grilling and did not experience it. I had an interview where I was pressed on specifics about my interest in my practice area. I wasn't 100% sold on patents until after my 1L internship, so naturally it was a tough line of questions.

Anonymous User
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Re: DC District Court 1L Judicial Internship

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 08, 2014 12:48 am

redsoxrox wrote:Hi everyone! I really want a judicial internship with the DC federal district court and was lucky enough to get a few interviews. Does anyone have any advice on interviewing with judges in general (or perhaps have a link to a good thread)? Or has anyone worked for a judge on the DC district court that I can PM?

Thanks so much!


Anon posting because I've talked fairly extensively about my experience with people at my school and don't want to out myself.

I don't know about DDC specifically, but for SDNY, I don't know anyone who interviewed with the judge - everyone interviewed with the clerks.

In my case, I interviewed with all three clerks at once. They asked about every item on my résumé in some detail, including my interests section. As was said upthread, read your writing sample, read your résumé and know it inside and out. If you liked civ pro, talk about liking civ pro and why.

Ask about the way the internship is structured - different chambers do things very, very differently. In my internship, interns got assigned several motions over the summer and we worked largely on our own to manage time, write two drafts, and get help from the clerks when we asked for it. Other friends who interned in chambers got thrown a bunch of pro se habeas petitions up front and were expected to be making fast progress on all of them at once.

I also got asked why I wanted to intern in chambers. Don't remember what I said, but I feel like that's one question you absolutely will be asked, so have a good answer.

Finally, be prepared with a response if you're offered on the spot. I had a bunch of interviews lined up and, somewhat coincidentally, my first interview was also the judge I most wanted to intern for. After about a 20-30 minute interview, the clerks got really quiet and exchanged glances then extended an offer. I accepted immediately and cancelled all my other interviews. That said, if you don't want to cancel interviews or commit on the spot, have a polite, respectful answer. (My career counselor warned me it might happen and suggested that if I got an offer I didn't want to immediately accept that I should say thank you, I'm extremely interested, but I do have other interviews lined up and feel it would be impolite and disrespectful to cancel and/or go on the interview having accepted the internship, so could I get back to them after the last interview.) Also, not all chambers extend on-the-spot offers, however, so the flip side of that is don't get discouraged if you leave the interview without an offer. (I have friends who had my experience, friends whose phones were ringing by the time they got down to security, and friends who heard nothing for two weeks then got a call or e-mail with an offer.)

Also, general advice, get there early because you never know what the security line's going to look like. Some days it's three people, some days it's three hundred.

Anonymous User
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Re: DC District Court 1L Judicial Internship

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 04, 2014 9:59 am

tag

Lots of useful information!




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