Is clerkship a prerequisite to do appellate litigation?

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Is clerkship a prerequisite to do appellate litigation?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 18, 2015 2:49 pm

I’m currently a 1L at a T14 school and interested in litigation in general. I’ve heard from some sources that it would be very hard to land in appellate litigation jobs without clerking for (circuit?) judges. However, as a non-citizen, my opportunities to clerk are very limited. At this point I am not particularly enthusiastic about appellate work, but I am wondering if this is still an option for me. What can I do (other than having good grades) to improve my chance without clerking?

Any input is very much appreciated!

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First Offense

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Re: Is clerkship a prerequisite to do appellate litigation?

Postby First Offense » Sun Oct 18, 2015 4:06 pm

There aren't a ton of appellate positions anyway. Chances depend on the firm, and range from not good to no chance. Some firms require it - I think Gibson does for instance - others jus prefer it.

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jbagelboy

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Re: Is clerkship a prerequisite to do appellate litigation?

Postby jbagelboy » Sun Oct 18, 2015 5:27 pm

You could try for the 1st circuit in Puerto Rico or the 9th circuit judges that sit in Alaska or Hawaii. There may also be state supreme court opportunities that would compensate you. If you're a high powered foreign applicant (you have strong grades from a t6) and you have the right background, you could also consider an appellate international tribunal clerkship experience, e.g. The Hague. I've seen appellate litigators at top DC firms with a mix of federal and international clerkship experience. (Obviously this isn't as relevant to US practice as a COA clerkship, but firms with premier international practices don't consider it wholly irrelevant).

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Re: Is clerkship a prerequisite to do appellate litigation?

Postby Pulsar » Sun Oct 18, 2015 5:38 pm

jbagelboy wrote:You could try for the 1st circuit in Puerto Rico or the 9th circuit judges that sit in Alaska or Hawaii. There may also be state supreme court opportunities that would compensate you. If you're a high powered foreign applicant (you have strong grades from a t6) and you have the right background, you could also consider an appellate international tribunal clerkship experience, e.g. The Hague. I've seen appellate litigators at top DC firms with a mix of federal and international clerkship experience. (Obviously this isn't as relevant to US practice as a COA clerkship, but firms with premier international practices don't consider it wholly irrelevant).


I would think that Hawaii gig would be hella competitive.

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Re: Is clerkship a prerequisite to do appellate litigation?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 18, 2015 7:24 pm

jbagelboy wrote:You could try for the 1st circuit in Puerto Rico or the 9th circuit judges that sit in Alaska or Hawaii. There may also be state supreme court opportunities that would compensate you. If you're a high powered foreign applicant (you have strong grades from a t6) and you have the right background, you could also consider an appellate international tribunal clerkship experience, e.g. The Hague. I've seen appellate litigators at top DC firms with a mix of federal and international clerkship experience. (Obviously this isn't as relevant to US practice as a COA clerkship, but firms with premier international practices don't consider it wholly irrelevant).


OP here. Thank you very much for the suggestions!

My primary concern is about H1B visa. From what I know, working with a firm right after graduation gives me two chances to participate in the H1B lottery before my OPT expires. I heard that we may work in overseas offices first and transfer back, but such arrangement has too many uncertainties.

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Re: Is clerkship a prerequisite to do appellate litigation?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 18, 2015 7:31 pm

OP here. Thanks for the above posts!

Two follow-up questions:
If I go to a firm doing both trial and appellate work, is it practical to hope that I can handle more appellate work over time if I am doing well with it?
I plan to do some litigation work my 1L summer to test interests, what kind of jobs can provide substantial lit experience? Lit boutique? Public interest firms? Orgs like ACLU?

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Re: Is clerkship a prerequisite to do appellate litigation?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 18, 2015 7:41 pm

First Offense wrote:There aren't a ton of appellate positions anyway. Chances depend on the firm, and range from not good to no chance. Some firms require it - I think Gibson does for instance - others jus prefer it.


OP here. Would it make a difference if I'm aiming for NY? Or is there even less appellate work in NY? Thanks!

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First Offense

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Re: Is clerkship a prerequisite to do appellate litigation?

Postby First Offense » Sun Oct 18, 2015 7:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
First Offense wrote:There aren't a ton of appellate positions anyway. Chances depend on the firm, and range from not good to no chance. Some firms require it - I think Gibson does for instance - others jus prefer it.


OP here. Would it make a difference if I'm aiming for NY? Or is there even less appellate work in NY? Thanks!

Like I said - depends on the firm. Not a ton of these jobs to begin with. Probably want to research the firms you're interested in when you get to that point.

You're a 1L, right? A little cart before the horse right now.

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