Best summer jobs for clerking?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Ravenclaw23
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:46 pm

Best summer jobs for clerking?

Postby Ravenclaw23 » Tue Jun 02, 2015 8:51 pm

If my goal is to clerk after graduation, what would be the best way to spend my 2L summer? I know plenty of people SA for a firm 2L summer & then clerk, but would I be better off working for a judge next summer? (I'm working for a major State's Attorney's Office this summer).

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22824
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Best summer jobs for clerking?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Jun 02, 2015 8:54 pm

What do you want to do for your career, after you clerk? Do something over 2L summer that will help you get that job. If you want experience with a judge, intern/extern during the school year. (I think working for a judge can be helpful, if you can get a reference out of it, but it's not necessary to spend your 2L summer doing so.)

Anonymous User
Posts: 273186
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Best summer jobs for clerking?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 04, 2015 11:34 am

Ravenclaw23 wrote:If my goal is to clerk after graduation, what would be the best way to spend my 2L summer? I know plenty of people SA for a firm 2L summer & then clerk, but would I be better off working for a judge next summer? (I'm working for a major State's Attorney's Office this summer).


I'm a law clerk right now and my recommendation is to work for the fanciest, most well-known, best-connected law firm you can get. I've reviewed a lot of applications and not working for a firm as a 2L is unusual. That's either a neutral thing--person is really into public interest--or it's a marked negative--person couldn't get a firm job. Working for a fancy law firm is often a useful proxy for the quality of your grades and other things.

User avatar
bruinfan10
Posts: 510
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2011 12:25 am

Re: Best summer jobs for clerking?

Postby bruinfan10 » Thu Jun 04, 2015 2:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Ravenclaw23 wrote:If my goal is to clerk after graduation, what would be the best way to spend my 2L summer? I know plenty of people SA for a firm 2L summer & then clerk, but would I be better off working for a judge next summer? (I'm working for a major State's Attorney's Office this summer).


I'm a law clerk right now and my recommendation is to work for the fanciest, most well-known, best-connected law firm you can get. I've reviewed a lot of applications and not working for a firm as a 2L is unusual. That's either a neutral thing--person is really into public interest--or it's a marked negative--person couldn't get a firm job. Working for a fancy law firm is often a useful proxy for the quality of your grades and other things.

that would be a really odd hiring metric and it's not one i have found to be very common. V5/V10 summers are a dime a dozen, and if we're talking a NY office, you probably just needed median grades at a T14 (and an extreme lack of creativity) to get there. It's also kind of a worthless proxy for grades since chambers can see your actual grades.

now if you worked for Keker, Williams & Connolly, Boies, or a similarly insanely selective boutique, that might mean something. otherwise i don't think your S&C or DPW summer is going to turn any heads, certainly it's not going to give you a boost over some kid who worked at Morgan Lewis or some lower end biglaw firm like that. working at a USAO, JAG, the ACLU, whatever the fedsoc version of the ACLU is, etc etc would look just as good.

if a clerk gives a boost to V5 apps, it's likely just because they somehow still cling to the idea of vault prestige, likely based on where they're headed after their clerkship, but most clerks will have gotten over that mindset by the time they start reviewing apps.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273186
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Best summer jobs for clerking?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 04, 2015 3:18 pm

bruinfan10 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Ravenclaw23 wrote:If my goal is to clerk after graduation, what would be the best way to spend my 2L summer? I know plenty of people SA for a firm 2L summer & then clerk, but would I be better off working for a judge next summer? (I'm working for a major State's Attorney's Office this summer).


I'm a law clerk right now and my recommendation is to work for the fanciest, most well-known, best-connected law firm you can get. I've reviewed a lot of applications and not working for a firm as a 2L is unusual. That's either a neutral thing--person is really into public interest--or it's a marked negative--person couldn't get a firm job. Working for a fancy law firm is often a useful proxy for the quality of your grades and other things.

that would be a really odd hiring metric and it's not one i have found to be very common. V5/V10 summers are a dime a dozen, and if we're talking a NY office, you probably just needed median grades at a T14 (and an extreme lack of creativity) to get there. It's also kind of a worthless proxy for grades since chambers can see your actual grades.

now if you worked for Keker, Williams & Connolly, Boies, or a similarly insanely selective boutique, that might mean something. otherwise i don't think your S&C or DPW summer is going to turn any heads, certainly it's not going to give you a boost over some kid who worked at Morgan Lewis or some lower end biglaw firm like that. working at a USAO, JAG, the ACLU, whatever the fedsoc version of the ACLU is, etc etc would look just as good.

if a clerk gives a boost to V5 apps, it's likely just because they somehow still cling to the idea of vault prestige, likely based on where they're headed after their clerkship, but most clerks will have gotten over that mindset by the time they start reviewing apps.


I didn't say the fanciest Vault firm. But a key issue in clerkship hiring is determining how good an applicant's grades are. It's often remarkably hard to tell. Each T14 and beyond plays different games with grades--some do H/P, some inflate, some are cagey about class rank--so any extrinsic signal of that person's grades are useful. Often a fancy law firm is a useful signal--S&C, for example, but also Williams & Connolly and whatever else. It's incontrovertible that the average S&C summer is going to have higher grades than a DLA Piper summer. That is useful information. Certainly S&C is going to be more impressive than DLA Piper (or Morgan Lewis).

Sure, a person can work at a place other than a firm for a 2L summer, but generally the people I know at my T14 who didn't work at a firm fell into two groups: (1) Couldn't get a firm job for whatever reason (grades, personality) or (2) are genuinely committed to public interest in some form. The second category is great! If it fits with the rest of your resume and cover letter pitch. But you want to avoid any scent of the first category.

User avatar
rpupkin
Posts: 3864
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:32 pm

Re: Best summer jobs for clerking?

Postby rpupkin » Thu Jun 04, 2015 4:04 pm

bruinfan10 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Ravenclaw23 wrote:If my goal is to clerk after graduation, what would be the best way to spend my 2L summer? I know plenty of people SA for a firm 2L summer & then clerk, but would I be better off working for a judge next summer? (I'm working for a major State's Attorney's Office this summer).


I'm a law clerk right now and my recommendation is to work for the fanciest, most well-known, best-connected law firm you can get. I've reviewed a lot of applications and not working for a firm as a 2L is unusual. That's either a neutral thing--person is really into public interest--or it's a marked negative--person couldn't get a firm job. Working for a fancy law firm is often a useful proxy for the quality of your grades and other things.

that would be a really odd hiring metric and it's not one i have found to be very common. V5/V10 summers are a dime a dozen, and if we're talking a NY office, you probably just needed median grades at a T14 (and an extreme lack of creativity) to get there. It's also kind of a worthless proxy for grades since chambers can see your actual grades.

I completely agree with this. In fact, I'll go even farther: if we had two applicants with otherwise identical credentials (e.g., law school, grades, law review, publications), I think my judge would be slightly more inclined to interview the candidate who did not summer at the V5 firm. An applicant who, say, decided to work at a regional firm in his or her home market is going to look more interesting. Now, those other things (especially law school and grades) are way more important, but once you have those things, standing out from the crowd can help.

User avatar
bruinfan10
Posts: 510
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2011 12:25 am

Re: Best summer jobs for clerking?

Postby bruinfan10 » Thu Jun 04, 2015 4:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
bruinfan10 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Ravenclaw23 wrote:If my goal is to clerk after graduation, what would be the best way to spend my 2L summer? I know plenty of people SA for a firm 2L summer & then clerk, but would I be better off working for a judge next summer? (I'm working for a major State's Attorney's Office this summer).


I'm a law clerk right now and my recommendation is to work for the fanciest, most well-known, best-connected law firm you can get. I've reviewed a lot of applications and not working for a firm as a 2L is unusual. That's either a neutral thing--person is really into public interest--or it's a marked negative--person couldn't get a firm job. Working for a fancy law firm is often a useful proxy for the quality of your grades and other things.

that would be a really odd hiring metric and it's not one i have found to be very common. V5/V10 summers are a dime a dozen, and if we're talking a NY office, you probably just needed median grades at a T14 (and an extreme lack of creativity) to get there. It's also kind of a worthless proxy for grades since chambers can see your actual grades.


I didn't say the fanciest Vault firm. But a key issue in clerkship hiring is determining how good an applicant's grades are. It's often remarkably hard to tell. Each T14 and beyond plays different games with grades--some do H/P, some inflate, some are cagey about class rank--so any extrinsic signal of that person's grades are useful. Often a fancy law firm is a useful signal--S&C, for example, but also Williams & Connolly and whatever else. It's incontrovertible that the average S&C summer is going to have higher grades than a DLA Piper summer. That is useful information. Certainly S&C is going to be more impressive than DLA Piper (or Morgan Lewis).

Sure, a person can work at a place other than a firm for a 2L summer, but generally the people I know at my T14 who didn't work at a firm fell into two groups: (1) Couldn't get a firm job for whatever reason (grades, personality) or (2) are genuinely committed to public interest in some form. The second category is great! If it fits with the rest of your resume and cover letter pitch. But you want to avoid any scent of the first category.

HYS transcripts can be a little tough to read for sure, but thankfully most chambers that attract HYS apps tend to have at least one HYS person who knows how to decipher them (and applicants should be providing a document that allows chambers to roughly guess at class rank for schools below HYS). I'd actually be disappointed to see somebody from HYS settling for Skadden or S&C tbh--pretty sure the school does the positive signalling at that point not the megafirm.

User avatar
mi-chan17
Posts: 428
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2009 3:55 am

Re: Best summer jobs for clerking?

Postby mi-chan17 » Fri Jun 05, 2015 9:23 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:What do you want to do for your career, after you clerk? Do something over 2L summer that will help you get that job. If you want experience with a judge, intern/extern during the school year. (I think working for a judge can be helpful, if you can get a reference out of it, but it's not necessary to spend your 2L summer doing so.)


TITCR. Given how black-box/idiosyncratic clerkship hiring is, there is no one who can rely on getting one. Better to have options other than clerking just in case the clerkship thing doesn't work out. Besides, as you can see from just this thread, different clerks and judges value different things or interpret certain jobs differently. So there is no "best" summer job for clerking. Might as well do something that will get you ready for whatever you want to do after you clerk.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.