Internship in Circuit Clerk Office

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godelfan

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Internship in Circuit Clerk Office

Postby godelfan » Wed Jan 25, 2017 7:57 pm

Has anyone had an internship in the Clerk's Office of a federal court? I am curious if anyone knows what it consists of. I've been invited to interview for one, and was told it involves drafting orders, reading emergency petitions, and dealing with jurisdictional issues, and that you have time to observe oral arguments. I'm unclear, though, on anything else about it - how much, if any, contact there is with the judges, if it would be a good way to boost my clerkship chances, etc. My career office doesn't have anyone who has done this internship.

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mjb447

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Re: Internship in Circuit Clerk Office

Postby mjb447 » Wed Jan 25, 2017 8:11 pm

It's going to vary by court, as they're all set up a little differently. In the courts I'm most familiar with, the Clerk's Office as a whole does very little substantive legal work (and you might get less as an intern), but others do more. It sounds like the office you'd be working in performs a lot of screening, i.e. to see if something is enough of an "emergency" to bother a judge or to see if a case can be dismissed easily on jurisdictional grounds. I'd also guess that the orders they're talking about are otherwise mostly procedural (briefing deadlines, motions to seal, that kind of thing). The Clerk's Office also usually has very limited contact with judges - they perform services that benefit the court as a whole, but their biggest function is to deal with a lot of stuff that the judges don't want to spend chambers resources on. You're obviously much more likely to get substantive legal work and judge contact with a chambers internship, but that's not an option for everyone, and doing something like this may signal your interest in the judiciary and in how courts work.

godelfan

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Re: Internship in Circuit Clerk Office

Postby godelfan » Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:04 pm

Thanks! I don't really see a chambers internship as an option - my school would likely fund this as public interest, but not a chambers internship. I'm really more interested in doing a lot of writing and research than anything else. I have an offer from a boutique firm where I'd have my own cases, short of going to court, and I think I'd get more substantive work and experience there. The clerk's office offers a bit more prestige, though, than a firm. On the other hand, I feel like it would be beneficial to see a firm at least once in school to see if I'd like it.

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mjb447

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Re: Internship in Circuit Clerk Office

Postby mjb447 » Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:11 pm

godelfan wrote:Thanks! I don't really see a chambers internship as an option - my school would likely fund this as public interest, but not a chambers internship. I'm really more interested in doing a lot of writing and research than anything else. I have an offer from a boutique firm where I'd have my own cases, short of going to court, and I think I'd get more substantive work and experience there. The clerk's office offers a bit more prestige, though, than a firm. On the other hand, I feel like it would be beneficial to see a firm at least once in school to see if I'd like it.

I'd take the firm job with those interests: I'm not sure you're missing out on a lot of prestige at a clerk's office, even at a circuit court.

RaceJudicata

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Re: Internship in Circuit Clerk Office

Postby RaceJudicata » Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:22 pm

godelfan wrote:Thanks! I don't really see a chambers internship as an option - my school would likely fund this as public interest, but not a chambers internship. I'm really more interested in doing a lot of writing and research than anything else. I have an offer from a boutique firm where I'd have my own cases, short of going to court, and I think I'd get more substantive work and experience there. The clerk's office offers a bit more prestige, though, than a firm. On the other hand, I feel like it would be beneficial to see a firm at least once in school to see if I'd like it.


The clerks office is not "prestigious" whatsoever. If its between the firm and clerks office, take the firm -- hands down. That said, you really should consider (if one is available) a chambers internship - in the district court or circuit cout. You said you were interested in "research and writing"... which is literally 100% of the work a chambers intern does. Also, far more "prestigious" than the Clerk's office.

ETA: Firm pays money; clerks office doesn't. Money is nice.

godelfan

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Re: Internship in Circuit Clerk Office

Postby godelfan » Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:45 pm

Thanks. That last bit is making a difference for me; hard to swing an unpaid internship that doesn't qualify as public interest. My interest in research and writing comes from my Legal Writing being my lowest grade, but the firm tells me I'd do plenty of writing. I also think I can get a semester judicial externship, either here or in DC (should be competitive for it) through the school. If the clerk's office doesn't carry the prestige of the circuit court with it, it's an easy choice for the firm. Is there an issue interviewing for the clerk's office and then not accepting the position if offered, the way there would be with a chambers internship or clerkship? I don't feel right declining the interview since I'd need to do it before visiting the firm.

Still hoping, overall, for a public interest firm in DC, but we'll see if they come through.



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