Summer Judicial Internship Interview Questions

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Anonymous User
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Summer Judicial Internship Interview Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 23, 2014 1:45 pm

Hi there...apologies if this is a repeat topic, but I didn't find anything particularly on point using search. (Anon for good cause, I swear.)

I have several interviews with federal District Court judges' chambers for 1L summer judicial internships coming up, and I was wondering what sorts of interview questions I should expect. Also, what are some good questions to ask? I know that for at least some of the interviews, I'll be interviewing only with the clerks.

Thanks!

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bk1
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Re: Summer Judicial Internship Interview Questions

Postby bk1 » Tue Dec 23, 2014 7:38 pm

From clerks I'd expect generic, normal interview questions (this is usually because they are often fresh grads with little-to-no prior interviewing experience). Clerks will also generally throw it back to you for questions of them sooner than most other interviewers.

For judges, dunno.

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Avian
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Re: Summer Judicial Internship Interview Questions

Postby Avian » Wed Dec 24, 2014 3:24 am

I can share what my interview with a federal judge consisted of. It was my first interview and I accepted that judge's offer. Consequently, I have no idea if this is typical, but from what I've heard anecdotally from others, I think it is.

I first interviewed with the clerks for about 20 minutes. They told me about themselves, the judge, and the type of work I could expect to do. They asked me questions about my resume, my favorite class in law school, and what I liked best about law school. I then interviewed one-on-one with the judge who asked why I wanted to intern for a judge and other questions about my resume. The judge also asked about my interests outside of school and some volunteer work I had done.

Judges by and large are on a quick hiring schedule because they don't have a lot of time to waste searching for interns. If a judge is willing to interview you, I would generally expect that they are also prepared to hire you based on your resume assuming that you seem like someone they would get along with in the interview. The interview is therefore more of a fit interview, although I have heard of some people being asked substantive legal questions (especially at the COA level). Occasionally a judge may leave the hiring entirely up to his or her clerks, in which case you may not even meet the judge during the interview.

In terms of questions to ask, it's always good to ask about the specific type of work the judge has his interns do (bench memos, default/summary judgments, habeas decisions, other opinions). You can also ask about the observation opportunities, does the judge let his interns sit in on everything? Do they anticipate that the judge will have a trial over the summer? Can you observe other things in the courthouse? How much interaction does the judge have with his interns? Is the judge available to discuss cases with his interns or will you primarily interact with the clerks? The last one is particularly important because interning for a judge who talks to his interns about his cases will generally be much more interesting than working for someone who is just looking for a grunt to take some work off his clerks' hands. I heard an old story about a judge who was attending a social function at the courthouse towards the end of the summer. He struck up a conversation with one of his own interns on some topic or other and then said, "By the way, I'm Judge X, who are you?"

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Hopefully2012
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Re: Summer Judicial Internship Interview Questions

Postby Hopefully2012 » Wed Dec 24, 2014 2:44 pm

Avian wrote:I can share what my interview with a federal judge consisted of. It was my first interview and I accepted that judge's offer. Consequently, I have no idea if this is typical, but from what I've heard anecdotally from others, I think it is.

I first interviewed with the clerks for about 20 minutes. They told me about themselves, the judge, and the type of work I could expect to do. They asked me questions about my resume, my favorite class in law school, and what I liked best about law school. I then interviewed one-on-one with the judge who asked why I wanted to intern for a judge and other questions about my resume. The judge also asked about my interests outside of school and some volunteer work I had done.

Judges by and large are on a quick hiring schedule because they don't have a lot of time to waste searching for interns. If a judge is willing to interview you, I would generally expect that they are also prepared to hire you based on your resume assuming that you seem like someone they would get along with in the interview. The interview is therefore more of a fit interview, although I have heard of some people being asked substantive legal questions (especially at the COA level). Occasionally a judge may leave the hiring entirely up to his or her clerks, in which case you may not even meet the judge during the interview.

In terms of questions to ask, it's always good to ask about the specific type of work the judge has his interns do (bench memos, default/summary judgments, habeas decisions, other opinions). You can also ask about the observation opportunities, does the judge let his interns sit in on everything? Do they anticipate that the judge will have a trial over the summer? Can you observe other things in the courthouse? How much interaction does the judge have with his interns? Is the judge available to discuss cases with his interns or will you primarily interact with the clerks? The last one is particularly important because interning for a judge who talks to his interns about his cases will generally be much more interesting than working for someone who is just looking for a grunt to take some work off his clerks' hands. I heard an old story about a judge who was attending a social function at the courthouse towards the end of the summer. He struck up a conversation with one of his own interns on some topic or other and then said, "By the way, I'm Judge X, who are you?"


I did quite a few interviews for judges during my 1L year and my experience was similar to Avian's. +1

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Re: Summer Judicial Internship Interview Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 24, 2014 4:01 pm

Awesome, thanks for the tips! (OP here.)

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Yardbird
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Re: Summer Judicial Internship Interview Questions

Postby Yardbird » Wed Dec 24, 2014 5:38 pm

Avian wrote:Occasionally a judge may leave the hiring entirely up to his or her clerks, in which case you may not even meet the judge during the interview.
This was my experience last year. In fact, the interview was with one of the judge's clerks over the phone and I received the offer about 30 minutes later by phone. This was common among many of my friends who did interviews by phone, though some did speak briefly with the judge. All the people I know who had in person interviews met with the judge and the clerks; I can't speak to what questions the judge would ask in an interview.




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