SSC vs. No Clerkship?

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SSC vs. No Clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:37 pm

I'm currently a 2L in the top 30% with LR at DNCG, with a V50 SA. I was thinking about applying for a SSC clerkship. However, I was wondering if it would make sense (assuming I got an offer which I know is a stretch) to take it, if it's not a state where I want to practice. I've heard loads of good things about clerking, even from profs who teach corporate classes. Would it be worth it?

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Re: SSC vs. No Clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 12, 2014 3:38 pm

Just get an offer at the V50. SSC only matters if very prestigious state or if it's where you want to practice.

Work at the V50 and try to clerk for an article III judge down the line. Any if there's any way at all, try to clerk in the area you want to practice.

Taking random SSC if the firm won't let you defer will probably hurt your career. My personal opinion is that it will really hurt your career.

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Re: SSC vs. No Clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:28 pm

Is your firm in a state that doesn't hire term clerks at the SSC level? I'm not sure why you would consider a SSC in a different state from where your firm is located over the local SSC, unless your firm is in a state where you don't intend to remain permanently. Or are you thinking of trying to cast your net widely and apply to multiple SSCs?

I'm not an expert, but I went through the process of applying to both federal and state clerkships. SSCs can be really cool, but their value declines once you leave the state. For that reason, I wouldn't target multiple SSCs if I were you. However, I'm not sure this applies to the same extent in the NE where a lot of the states are very close together (I only have anecdotal evidence to draw upon, however). I've also heard that the Delaware Court of Chancery (I know it's not an SSC) can have some utility outside of the DE/PA/NJ/NY area if your firm does a lot of litigation involving Delaware law (though I'm not sure how far it really goes once you leave that region).

Leaving those aside, I suggest targeting the SSC located in the same state as your firm (unless you don't want to stay in that area or the state doesn't hire term clerks). You can also target flyover district courts that have hired students with your credentials in the past. However, I wouldn't spam SSCs while hoping that your firm will give you credit for it when you have no intention of practicing law in that state.

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Re: SSC vs. No Clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:52 am

I got a SSC in my home state far away from my SA firm and they were going to let me defer. It is definitely the kind of thing you should ask the recruiting office of your firm about, but I imagine the vast majority of V50 firms with healthy litigation practices would do the same. At the worst, there might be an issue with the clerkship bonus with some firms.

As for whether you should do it, you just have to decide whether the benefits of the clerkship outweigh the lost income. Clerking for a SSC in a state you don't plan on practicing will still improve your writing, give you a mentor (maybe without the local connections, but still), and teach you a lot. All it lacks compared to a local SSC is that it won't help you network or drastically increase your employment prospects in your target market. But most employers will still see it as a positive thing.

One thing that I think you should consider: What happens if you don't get an offer from your firm (assuming their offer rate isn't 100%)? The firm I summered at had financial problems with their litigation section and no-offered a significant number of people who were only interested in litigation, including myself. Luckily, I had interviewed with my judge in the spring and got an offer mid-summer. The funny thing is, after working at the firm, I had decided I didn't want to clerk. I really liked the big firm gig and didn't plan on applying to federal judges. Now, with the death of the hiring plan, I would have been fucked. I had good grades, but I'm glad I didn't have to scramble for a job in the joke that is 3L hiring.

Based on that, I'd apply to the SSC if it is in a market you could possibly live in. While it might not help you as much as a SSC in the state your firm is in or a federal clerkship, it is still unlikely to hurt you and gives you options. If it somewhere you have a connection to -- like your home state, where your law school is, where you went to undergrad -- you will be able to explain to an employer why you wanted to clerk there. I'd also shoot apps to the important states. I had an interview scheduled with a Del/Mass/NY/Texas SSC judge without being from the state or having particularly spectacular grades before accepting with my judge. A clerkship in one of those states might carry you far.

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Re: SSC vs. No Clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:40 pm

Fwiw I took a not-preftigious clerkship and am very glad I did. Not only was it a pretty chill year to ease me into the working world, but I started out significantly ahead of others in my associate class skills wise. That said, if you're at an elite firm, you'll certainly be able to apply for better clerkships after 2-3 years if you still want to.

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Re: SSC vs. No Clerkship?

Postby ggocat » Thu Feb 13, 2014 4:58 pm

Assuming your firm will defer to your decision, I think it is worth it. You will likely eventually want to (or be forced to) leave your V50 gig, and for many employers, having a SSC will be beneficial even if it's not in your state. It will definitely give you a leg up for a subsequent, more prestigious clerkship or staff attorney position, or any appellate work. A lot of people wash out of firms and want to transition elsewhere; some people end up doing doc review. Having a clerkship will help set you apart regardless of where you're applying. There will not be drawbacks career-wise; there are only benefits.

Whether those intangible benefits are worth the money you lose from a year of clerking, that's up to you.




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