I want BigFed. Should I clerk? Do my plans make any sense?

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I want BigFed. Should I clerk? Do my plans make any sense?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 02, 2015 9:27 am

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Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon Oct 19, 2015 5:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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TTH
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Re: I want BigFed. Should I clerk? Do my plans make any sense?

Postby TTH » Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:12 pm

Sounds like your reasoning is solid. I couldn't spend the time away from my family, but if it would work for you and your wife, then that's good. I doubt you'll be able to get straight from the firm you're at now to an A-USA job, and even if you could, you probably only have a realistic shot of that in the district where you practice. Copping the A3 clerkship would broaden your appeal to employers outside your region and will certainly make you more marketable for BigFed.

Assuming you have considered and are ok with the practical things (LDR, money), doing the clerkship sounds like the right move for career reasons.

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Re: I want BigFed. Should I clerk? Do my plans make any sense?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 03, 2015 1:37 am

TTH wrote:Sounds like your reasoning is solid. I couldn't spend the time away from my family, but if it would work for you and your wife, then that's good. I doubt you'll be able to get straight from the firm you're at now to an A-USA job, and even if you could, you probably only have a realistic shot of that in the district where you practice. Copping the A3 clerkship would broaden your appeal to employers outside your region and will certainly make you more marketable for BigFed.

Assuming you have considered and are ok with the practical things (LDR, money), doing the clerkship sounds like the right move for career reasons.


Thanks man.

Yeah, the thought of being away from my wife for a year is pretty tough for me, and I think it would've been unthinkable a year ago. That said, while she's def the single most important thing in my life, we've both started realizing that neither of us wants the other to compromise career-wise, at least not at this point. And, as I see it, it's entirely possible (depending on where she ends up) that the alternative to clerking is potentially staying at my job after she's already left until I can find a job wherever she is. i.e., we could be spending time apart anyways, and I might as well make sure it's useful. The real alternative to LDR might be... unemployment. Even with how unpredictable her assignment process can be, it's probably still easier for her to follow me places than vice-versa, but I really don't want to ask her to put herself in that bind and limit her options.

Money really isn't a concern. We're fortunate enough to have manageable debt loads and have been living frugally (in a low COL market) over the past couple of years to aggressively pay off loans.

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Re: I want BigFed. Should I clerk? Do my plans make any sense?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 04, 2015 11:59 pm

Any chance a mod could move this to LE? Looking for a little more feedback. Thanks :)

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Re: I want BigFed. Should I clerk? Do my plans make any sense?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 05, 2015 12:01 pm

This sounds very familiar. We did the whole clerking in one city, spousal job in another for several months -- with a bunch of kids. The clerkship was in a big city, and her job was only four days a week, so the family all moved to the big city for the year, and she commuted Monday morning through Thursday night. It was difficult, but we managed (a great nanny helped, even if we blew through our savings).

Anyway, I have good news and bad news. Bad news first. AUSA hiring is a total and complete crapshoot right now. One of my co-clerks was trying to land a spot before I even started my clerkship, and she didn't get it until a few months ago, MANY years later. A USDC clerkship probably will help you, but only in a "raises your chances from 1% to 3%" sense. I wouldn't be making life decisions based on it.

Now for the good news! I totally don't regret doing a midcareer clerkship, even though it didn't really help with my pie-in-the-sky career goal (academia in a tanking market). It helped me transition from a job that wasn't a great long term fit to one that might be (and one that pays a lot better). It gave me a great credential, and while that seems silly, those things matter in a lot of contexts in this industry, especially in some markets where elite-law-school-plus-AIII-clerkship isn't a super common resume. The work itself was really fun, and my judge has turned into a great reference and mentor. I just emailed with him in the last week about an upcoming oral argument in federal court I have in a few days -- he gave me some really valuable tips on what to do and what not to. You also learn a lot in terms of what is and isn't effective advocacy. Finally, I think that a lot of lawyers who graduate from the top schools that produce a lot of AIII clerks can have a bit of an inferiority context if they don't clerk, and if doing an alumni clerkship gives you a sense of confidence in that regard, well, it's silly, but a lot of stuff that gives you confidence is silly. You're still confident, and that goes a long way.

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Re: I want BigFed. Should I clerk? Do my plans make any sense?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:18 pm

Thanks for the advice!

Yeah, the ability to transition from one job/market to another is a factor for me here. On the AUSA front, I figure it has to help to clerk for a longtime judge who might help you make the all important inside connection, even if in the same flyover district.

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Re: I want BigFed. Should I clerk? Do my plans make any sense?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 05, 2015 3:20 pm

You may consider clerking and then trying to go to a small district's USAO. It's less competitive and less prestigious, but you get your foot in the door and it's easier to move to bigger district later rather than trying to go to a competitive district directly. A few of my friends did this and are very happy.

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Re: I want BigFed. Should I clerk? Do my plans make any sense?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 05, 2015 3:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for the advice!

Yeah, the ability to transition from one job/market to another is a factor for me here. On the AUSA front, I figure it has to help to clerk for a longtime judge who might help you make the all important inside connection, even if in the same flyover district.


I'm a d. ct. clerk. One of my judge's recent clerks is now an AUSA in our district. He really pulled for her. He also really pulled for former co-clerk, who is now an AUSA. But she applied to I think 3 dozen AUSA positions. She got one interview, but hey it worked out.

And because it's relevant: my judge is insanely connected. For instance, he's on a first-name basis with a SCOTUS justice. AUSA hiring seems to be as much, if not more, of a crapshoot than clerkship hiring.

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Re: I want BigFed. Should I clerk? Do my plans make any sense?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 19, 2015 7:40 pm

<OP here back again>

I didn't end up copping the clerkship back in April.

In the interim, I've had 3 interviews for AUSA spots and one with Main Justice. No dice (relative lack of experience repeatedly given as the reason). I have another interview coming up next week. (don't ask me how I'm getting all of these interviews, I'm not quite sure myself)

Have been offered an interview for a 2015 D.Ct. spot with a judge in a small town of a major (crim-heavy) district. No interest in being in this district long-term, could probably handle it medium term.

Same logic still applies, right? Even though I've been getting USAO interest, still probably best to clerk for an A3 judge, I think. Plan if I can't cop an AUSA spot straight out of that would be to do some state prosecution and get some trial experience, or try for a state AG gig. Feel like I'd check all the boxes at that point (clerkship+firm+trial exp). Is my thinking off? Zero interest in being in private practice long-term - just not for me.




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