Six Months Between Clerkships

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Six Months Between Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 31, 2014 10:56 pm

Due to some bad timing in two judges' schedules, I will find myself with about six months of unemployment between federal clerkships. I spent a year and a half at a V40 before starting the first clerkship. I'll be moving to a different city for the second clerkship so it doesn't really matter where I am for the six months between.

Any thoughts on what I could/should do in that time? I would love to collect a paycheck but I'm not sure where I could get a job for such a short time. I am not really interested in going back to my old firm, and I'm not sure they'd bring me back just to leave again a few months later. I thought about perhaps trying to find a different firm with the understanding that I would return after clerkship #2, but feel like it's a long shot.

Thanks for any advice!

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kalvano
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Re: Six Months Between Clerkships

Postby kalvano » Thu Jan 01, 2015 1:23 pm

Temporary doc review? A lot of places hire out for short-term doc review jobs.

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Re: Six Months Between Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 01, 2015 2:11 pm

Does the six months include a period over the summer? A lot of firms hire "summer associates" who are between clerkships. There are always a couple in my firm's summer class.

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Re: Six Months Between Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 02, 2015 5:35 pm

OP here. Thanks for the responses so far! My thoughts:

kalvano wrote:Temporary doc review? A lot of places hire out for short-term doc review jobs.
Not to sound like a jerk, but I'm not really interested in doing $25/hr contract work after leaving biglaw for consecutive, well-regarded clerkships. I think I'd rather spend a few months volunteering for legal aid or something like that, trusting that I will recover my expenses in a clerkship bonus later on, than be a doc review monkey. Maybe that's shitty of me to say, but there it is.

Anonymous User wrote:Does the six months include a period over the summer? A lot of firms hire "summer associates" who are between clerkships. There are always a couple in my firm's summer class.
Unfortunately not. It'll be fall and winter, a few months before the new year and a few after. It's inspiring to know that some firms hire people between clerkships, though. My big concern is getting a job after saying "I am going to leave in five months, but I promise I'll come back a year later."

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runinthefront
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Re: Six Months Between Clerkships

Postby runinthefront » Fri Jan 02, 2015 5:37 pm

lol @ wanting to collect a paycheck but preferring to volunteer instead of collecting $25/hr as a temporary
"doc review monkey"

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Re: Six Months Between Clerkships

Postby Cogburn87 » Fri Jan 02, 2015 6:11 pm

runinthefront wrote:lol @ wanting to collect a paycheck but preferring to volunteer instead of collecting $25/hr as a temporary
"doc review monkey"

lol @ not understanding that he wants to draw a paycheck but that failing that volunteer experience is clearly superior to temp doc review work for someone in his position.

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Re: Six Months Between Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 02, 2015 6:13 pm

runinthefront wrote:lol @ wanting to collect a paycheck but preferring to volunteer instead of collecting $25/hr as a temporary
"doc review monkey"
OP here. What can I say? I am lucky/accomplished enough that I didn't have to do mind-numbing contract work to make ends meet out of law school. In the grand scheme of things, the gap between clerkships isn't that long, and I don't need money badly enough to do low-pay doc review. I don't have any problem with making $25/hr or whatever the paycheck would amount to. I just have a problem doing something that won't benefit either my career goals or my community. That's why I mentioned the idea of going to a firm where I'd actually want to return after my second clerkship. If I can't do something like that, I'd rather be a happy, contributing member of society and trust that the clerkship bonus will cover me later on.

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Re: Six Months Between Clerkships

Postby Desert Fox » Fri Jan 02, 2015 6:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
runinthefront wrote:lol @ wanting to collect a paycheck but preferring to volunteer instead of collecting $25/hr as a temporary
"doc review monkey"
OP here. What can I say? I am lucky/accomplished enough that I didn't have to do mind-numbing contract work to make ends meet out of law school. In the grand scheme of things, the gap between clerkships isn't that long, and I don't need money badly enough to do low-pay doc review. I don't have any problem with making $25/hr or whatever the paycheck would amount to. I just have a problem doing something that won't benefit either my career goals or my community. That's why I mentioned the idea of going to a firm where I'd actually want to return after my second clerkship. If I can't do something like that, I'd rather be a happy, contributing member of society and trust that the clerkship bonus will cover me later on.


How are you going to fund your living expenses for those 6 months.

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Re: Six Months Between Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:41 pm

Desert Fox wrote:How are you going to fund your living expenses for those 6 months.
OP here. I saved enough money from biglaw that this would not be a problem. Obviously I'd prefer not to live on savings if I don't have to, but I would prefer a little belt tightening and smart budgeting over a miserable, low-paying job.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

AspiringAcademic
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Re: Six Months Between Clerkships

Postby AspiringAcademic » Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:42 pm

You do have the option of spending 6 months traveling in low COL countries without having a noticeable resume gap. South America is lovely in January.

No thoughts on actual employment options.

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Re: Six Months Between Clerkships

Postby Desert Fox » Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:56 pm

If you are going back to the same firm you already worked at, maybe they will take you back. Even if you want to split after the second one.

But yea, I probably wouldn't do doc review either. Go take a long vacay in cheap ass parts of the world.

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Re: Six Months Between Clerkships

Postby XxSpyKEx » Sat Jan 03, 2015 9:29 pm

AspiringAcademic wrote:You do have the option of spending 6 months traveling in low COL countries without having a noticeable resume gap. South America is lovely in January.

No thoughts on actual employment options.


+1. Seriously, it's incredibly difficult to find yourself with 6 months to travel as a working professional. Personally, I'd jump on that opportunity. Most of the paid employment options you're going to have for solely a 6 months period are probably not going to be very worthwhile (unless you're able to and willing to go back to your firm for those 6 months).

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Re: Six Months Between Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:28 pm

I'm not in a major market, but I latched on at a lit boutique who had a big need for extra support for a specific case. Working in a specific case that interests you is a good gig. If you can, I'd say your best option would be to work as a SAUSA for six months tho.

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Re: Six Months Between Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 06, 2015 2:48 pm

Due to similar reasons I ended up with 7 month gap in between my clerkship. I just used that time to travel since I knew I would not get such opp again. It was the best 7 months of my life lol

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Re: Six Months Between Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 06, 2015 3:57 pm

I have a bit of an even tougher situation. I've got a clerkship one year out from the bar exam. Really happy with the judge and the location but not sure at all what to do for a year. I've talked to my CSO and they said any firm I work for will give me a crappy reference if I leave after a year and it will be tough to get someone to take me on for that time. Plus I've got some interest in DOJ and working for a firm/doing nothing takes me out of the running for honors programs (have to have consecutive clerkships).

So right now I'm seeing if I can't land another district clerkship that will work with my restricted schedule or at least a magistrate one. Other than that there is State Supreme Court but my state's judges seem to be in a pretty dry year in terms of clerks. All and all I'm happy I got my clerkship but it pretty much means I'll be working in shitlaw or sitting on my butt for a year, neither of which is going to look great on my resume. I think I would be better off (even from a purely professional standpoint) doing something that looks like I am very passionate about or doing something exciting like traveling. That said my situation is more tenuous than the OP's because I am not an established professional yet, all I really have is my clerkship and it's probably a mistake to think that's all I have to do to have a decent resume Any advice is appreciated.

My financial situation is solid. No debt with 50k in savings. This at least means I won't bleed out from debt this year.

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Re: Six Months Between Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 07, 2015 1:01 am

Anonymous User wrote:I have a bit of an even tougher situation. I've got a clerkship one year out from the bar exam. Really happy with the judge and the location but not sure at all what to do for a year. I've talked to my CSO and they said any firm I work for will give me a crappy reference if I leave after a year and it will be tough to get someone to take me on for that time. Plus I've got some interest in DOJ and working for a firm/doing nothing takes me out of the running for honors programs (have to have consecutive clerkships).

So right now I'm seeing if I can't land another district clerkship that will work with my restricted schedule or at least a magistrate one. Other than that there is State Supreme Court but my state's judges seem to be in a pretty dry year in terms of clerks. All and all I'm happy I got my clerkship but it pretty much means I'll be working in shitlaw or sitting on my butt for a year, neither of which is going to look great on my resume. I think I would be better off (even from a purely professional standpoint) doing something that looks like I am very passionate about or doing something exciting like traveling. That said my situation is more tenuous than the OP's because I am not an established professional yet, all I really have is my clerkship and it's probably a mistake to think that's all I have to do to have a decent resume Any advice is appreciated.

My financial situation is solid. No debt with 50k in savings. This at least means I won't bleed out from debt this year.

Others should weigh in hear but I think this is not good advice from your CSO? I know plenty of people who work at a firm for year with a clerkship already lined up (or are going to). If you go back to the firm then nobody really cares and if you don't nobody is waiting around to burn you a year later.

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Re: Six Months Between Clerkships

Postby XxSpyKEx » Wed Jan 07, 2015 1:29 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have a bit of an even tougher situation. I've got a clerkship one year out from the bar exam. Really happy with the judge and the location but not sure at all what to do for a year. I've talked to my CSO and they said any firm I work for will give me a crappy reference if I leave after a year and it will be tough to get someone to take me on for that time. Plus I've got some interest in DOJ and working for a firm/doing nothing takes me out of the running for honors programs (have to have consecutive clerkships).

So right now I'm seeing if I can't land another district clerkship that will work with my restricted schedule or at least a magistrate one. Other than that there is State Supreme Court but my state's judges seem to be in a pretty dry year in terms of clerks. All and all I'm happy I got my clerkship but it pretty much means I'll be working in shitlaw or sitting on my butt for a year, neither of which is going to look great on my resume. I think I would be better off (even from a purely professional standpoint) doing something that looks like I am very passionate about or doing something exciting like traveling. That said my situation is more tenuous than the OP's because I am not an established professional yet, all I really have is my clerkship and it's probably a mistake to think that's all I have to do to have a decent resume Any advice is appreciated.

My financial situation is solid. No debt with 50k in savings. This at least means I won't bleed out from debt this year.

Others should weigh in hear but I think this is not good advice from your CSO? I know plenty of people who work at a firm for year with a clerkship already lined up (or are going to). If you go back to the firm then nobody really cares and if you don't nobody is waiting around to burn you a year later.


It sounds like that anon is looking at shitlaw/small non-boutique firms, which typically operate differently than biglaw in that they won't just be able to tell him to enjoy the clerkship and that a job will be waiting there for him when he gets back (should he choose to come back). It sounds more like he'll be accepting a job in shitlaw/small non-boutique firm without mentioning the clerkship, and then bouncing a year later to do the clerkship. Imagine most of those types of firms wouldn't offer him the position if he mentions that he will be taking off to clerk in a year (since they don't want to train him for a year only to have him leave and then have to hire someone new). Obviously, if he can pick up a biglaw offer between now and graduation, he should take it--biglaw firms have associates run off to clerk all that time, and typically leave a job waiting for them for when they are done clerking.

I'm actually kind of surprised the judge offered him a clerkship for a year out after he takes the bar exam when he didn't have anything lined up for after graduation. Many judges wouldn't have.

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Re: Six Months Between Clerkships

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Jan 07, 2015 1:34 am

XxSpyKEx wrote:I'm actually kind of surprised the judge offered him a clerkship for a year out after he takes the bar exam when he didn't have anything lined up for after graduation. Many judges wouldn't have.

Really? I know of a bunch of judges who hire that far out, and I don't think they necessarily care what the person is doing during that time. I think a lot of judges think someone they hire will be able to find something else (often another clerkship).

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Re: Six Months Between Clerkships

Postby Iforgotmylastone » Wed Jan 07, 2015 1:33 pm

If you do the six months of travel, consider signing up for language courses as you go. It gives you skill to bring back and lets you meet people as you adventure. If it is an obscure language, it also is a great talking point when you get back. (I took some Irish lessons in the Gaeltacht, which was awesome.)

Another option is combining public service/volunteering and travel by working for a non-profit abroad. I have some experience with that, so if you want more details feel free to PM me.

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Re: Six Months Between Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 07, 2015 1:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I have a bit of an even tougher situation. I've got a clerkship one year out from the bar exam. Really happy with the judge and the location but not sure at all what to do for a year. I've talked to my CSO and they said any firm I work for will give me a crappy reference if I leave after a year and it will be tough to get someone to take me on for that time. Plus I've got some interest in DOJ and working for a firm/doing nothing takes me out of the running for honors programs (have to have consecutive clerkships).

So right now I'm seeing if I can't land another district clerkship that will work with my restricted schedule or at least a magistrate one. Other than that there is State Supreme Court but my state's judges seem to be in a pretty dry year in terms of clerks. All and all I'm happy I got my clerkship but it pretty much means I'll be working in shitlaw or sitting on my butt for a year, neither of which is going to look great on my resume. I think I would be better off (even from a purely professional standpoint) doing something that looks like I am very passionate about or doing something exciting like traveling. That said my situation is more tenuous than the OP's because I am not an established professional yet, all I really have is my clerkship and it's probably a mistake to think that's all I have to do to have a decent resume Any advice is appreciated.

My financial situation is solid. No debt with 50k in savings. This at least means I won't bleed out from debt this year.


Long story short, I had the same exact scenario. It will definitely disqualify you from most honors programs. If you are really gun ho about the honors program, I would advise you take any clerkship to preserve your eligibility. As far as the type of firm gig you can land after your clerkship, it really depends on the strength of your clerkship (i.e. the location of your clerkship). The more prestigious the clerkship, the more options you have. For most big law firms, a year gap on your resume is something you would have to explain. I did not really care so I just spent the time traveling like it was mentioned on here. Although I lost my honors eligibility for most fed agencies as a result, I still landed an honors program (note there are many fed honors program just for current judicial law clerks or fellows so you still would be eligible for those. Make sure you stay on top of the deadlines). It did not really affect me that much to have a year off, in fact it was not even a topic of discussion -- but I have no other evidence to say this is the norm.

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Re: Six Months Between Clerkships

Postby XxSpyKEx » Wed Jan 07, 2015 3:17 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
XxSpyKEx wrote:I'm actually kind of surprised the judge offered him a clerkship for a year out after he takes the bar exam when he didn't have anything lined up for after graduation. Many judges wouldn't have.

Really? I know of a bunch of judges who hire that far out, and I don't think they necessarily care what the person is doing during that time. I think a lot of judges think someone they hire will be able to find something else (often another clerkship).


I'm a few years out from when I went through the clerkship hiring cycle, but it seemed like judges that hired more than a year out past graduation at least asked about what you would be doing after law school. Most of the people who I know that got clerkships that far out had biglaw (or anther clerkship) that they could be do until their clerkship. Hiring someone for a clerkship a year or more out who doesn't have anything lined up for after graduation seems kind of like hiring someone for a 3L SA who doesn't have a clerkship (with the assumption the person will just go find a clerkship to do in between the SA and starting as an associate more than a year later). It's not crazy, but I think it's a bit unusual.




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