Advice on leaving trial level clerkship a couple weeks in.

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PotLuck

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Advice on leaving trial level clerkship a couple weeks in.

Postby PotLuck » Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:07 am

I recently accepted a state trial level judicial clerkship with a judge that will be retiring this year. However, my main focus has always been to work in a business transactional setting. I had an interview for an in-house corporate job essentially doing exactly the type of work I want to be doing. However, they took nearly a month to get back to me and during that time I took this clerkship (because I thought they had passed on me - I had sent them multiple emails asking for a status update and never received one). They contacted me the other day and offered me the job. I told them I needed a couple of days to think it over.

I desperately want to take the job because it honestly is what I want to do. I haven't seen a job like this in a few years. My obvious dilemma is that I just started this clerkship (barely a week in) and I would have to quit, even though I said I'd give it a year. I realize this would burn bridges, but I honestly don't really want to do trial work anyway. I spoke to some law school friends who were completely mixed on it. Some said take it because a trial level clerkship does not offer a guarantee for a job. Others said not honoring my commitments would look awful.

Assuming I did take the job, I have no idea how to discuss this with the judge. It stresses me out to no end. Fwiw, part of the reason I want to quit is for personal health detriments (mainly the sitting all day and limited bathroom breaks).

Any advice on whether I should take the job and how to speak with the judge would be greatly welcomed.

ClubberLang

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Re: Advice on leaving trial level clerkship a couple weeks in.

Postby ClubberLang » Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:29 am

Just stop showing up, they'll figure it out.

Seriously though, nothing you can say to the judge will make you seem like less of a flake. I'd probably take the new job knowing that your reputation with this judge is shot.

1styearlateral

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Re: Advice on leaving trial level clerkship a couple weeks in.

Postby 1styearlateral » Fri Dec 30, 2016 12:06 pm

You gotta do what's good for you. The judge will find a replacement.

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kellyfrost

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Re: Advice on leaving trial level clerkship a couple weeks in.

Postby kellyfrost » Fri Dec 30, 2016 12:17 pm

Explain the situation to the judge, but i wouldn't include the non-sense about sitting and limited bathroom breaks as I do not feel those are genuine, at all.

The judge won't force you to work at the clerkship and you are free to take the job at the in-house position. Just as other posters have stated, your reputation with the judge is now shot. You have no way of knowing how far the judge's impression of your will reach, or if it will reach to your next job either.
Last edited by kellyfrost on Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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jchiles

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Re: Advice on leaving trial level clerkship a couple weeks in.

Postby jchiles » Fri Dec 30, 2016 12:36 pm

It's going to suck but you should quit. Not being able to go to the bathroom when you want day in and day out would get old too but I would probably not bring this up.

I think leaving now is probably less damaging than if you left when you had more work piled up and they had sunk more time into teaching you things.

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Re: Advice on leaving trial level clerkship a couple weeks in.

Postby tyroneslothrop1 » Fri Dec 30, 2016 1:09 pm

You should have an honest conversation with the judge. You should explain the situation. Half way through he very well may interrupt you and say "[whatever your name is] I think you should take the job." Or he may hate you forever. Either way, you should probably take the job. This state trial judge is not going to be able to harm your career at an in-house corporate position

ClubberLang

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Re: Advice on leaving trial level clerkship a couple weeks in.

Postby ClubberLang » Fri Dec 30, 2016 2:25 pm

I disagree with the "explain the situation" crowd. Look, you're quitting a week in, you screwed up timing, there's nothing to explain. Just let the judge know it isn't working out and you are quitting. Being upfront about your intentions, rather than explaining how you screwed up, may at least salvage some respect. I'd respect someone who said "I'm leaving" a lot more than if they said, "Golly gee, I chose this job as a backup and now my primary has come to fruition."

pml87

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Re: Advice on leaving trial level clerkship a couple weeks in.

Postby pml87 » Fri Dec 30, 2016 2:51 pm

Rather than burning bridges with the judge right away, why not try to negotiate with the in-house to see if you can join them in six months, since part of your predicament is on them due to their lack of communication? If they agree, you notify the judge of your early departure and offer to help finding a replacement, hopefully six month is enough to find one. Have a sincere conversation with the judge about your mistake in taking the post. All in all, a reasonable judge would much appreciate an attempt at salvaging the situation and making his life easier.

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elendinel

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Re: Advice on leaving trial level clerkship a couple weeks in.

Postby elendinel » Fri Dec 30, 2016 2:58 pm

I wouldn't try to "explain the situation" to the judge either. Chances are that, only a week in, the judge doesn't care about your life story and ambitions; he just wants someone to help him do work, and will want to know if you're going to continue to be the one to do it. And explaining to him that you took his position more as a last-resort than out of a genuine desire to do the work and now you're jumping for a better offer, isn't exactly going to help mend fences.

Just say you can already tell this isn't for you, and you're leaving to go in a different direction. He'll probably still have a problem with your leaving, but outside of staying in this job for which you're making every excuse to leave, you don't have a whole lot of other options.

Did you also explain your situation to the company? Maybe you can leave 6-12 months from now, rather than immediately.

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Re: Advice on leaving trial level clerkship a couple weeks in.

Postby albanach » Fri Dec 30, 2016 3:04 pm

elendinel wrote:I wouldn't try to "explain the situation" to the judge either. Chances are that, only a week in, the judge doesn't care about your life story and ambitions; he just wants someone to help him do work, and will want to know if you're going to continue to be the one to do it. And explaining to him that you took his position more as a last-resort than out of a genuine desire to do the work and now you're jumping for a better offer, isn't exactly going to help mend fences.

Just say you can already tell this isn't for you, and you're leaving to go in a different direction. He'll probably still have a problem with your leaving, but outside of staying in this job for which you're making every excuse to leave, you don't have a whole lot of other options.

Did you also explain your situation to the company? Maybe you can leave 6-12 months from now, rather than immediately.


Alternatively, try and get a start date in 6-12 weeks so the judge has some time to find a replacement. Ideally they'll let you start sooner if the judge asks you to stop work straight away. You'll burn far fewer bridges with the judge if there's a seamless transition.

PotLuck

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Re: Advice on leaving trial level clerkship a couple weeks in.

Postby PotLuck » Fri Dec 30, 2016 4:17 pm

Thanks for the advice so far!

The company wants me to start asap. I have not informed them that I am currently in a clerkship. Should I have done this? I didnt think it was necessary since it was in house. Even if I could extend it another few weeks I doubt that would help. Other clerks have told me it takes months to learn this job. Most of the job is administrative and there is so much detail required that I can't imagine I'd be useful.

I was planning on telling him everything. I feel like if I tried to not disclose why I'm leaving he would just pry into it and ask either way. Fwiw I feel like the biggest piece of shit for wasting his time.

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mjb447

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Re: Advice on leaving trial level clerkship a couple weeks in.

Postby mjb447 » Fri Dec 30, 2016 5:05 pm

I'd take the new job. Yeah, you wasted the judge's time, but at least you'll be opening a clerkship spot for someone who might value it more and get more career mileage out of it.

PotLuck

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Re: Advice on leaving trial level clerkship a couple weeks in.

Postby PotLuck » Sun Jan 01, 2017 12:55 am

Yeah, that's true. I'm mostly just terrified on how to actually approach the situation. Like I said, I feel awful about it, especially because sticking around for another few weeks while he finds another clerk likely wont work because I know so little.

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mjb447

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Re: Advice on leaving trial level clerkship a couple weeks in.

Postby mjb447 » Sun Jan 01, 2017 1:50 am

Totally understandable that you feel that way. Sorry you're going through it. (And I agree about sticking around an extra week or two - if your clerkship is like most, you probably won't be doing the judge much of a favor by sticking around, and you wouldn't want to jeopardize your position with the firm.)



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