State clerk --> Fed clerk? Honors? Idk.

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judgefudge

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State clerk --> Fed clerk? Honors? Idk.

Postby judgefudge » Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:41 pm

Graduated from a school in the top 40, in the top 42% of the class. So, super average overall in terms of that.
I'm clerking at the state level right now and have a clerkship lined up in the appellate division (also state) next year. Passed the bar (woooo!).
I was a SLIP in the civil div 2L summer, and DOJ has been my #1 goal since. Unfortunately, I've applied for the honors program twice and have never even received an interview.

I'm seeking advice on where should I go from here. I could start applying to federal clerkships now to give my resume the extra boost. But, if I do that and I'm lucky enough to get one, I'm putting off DOJ by another year and possibly moving to a fly-over state. Again, I know I'd be lucky to get a federal clerkship, but it would still suck. I also am unsure how much yet another clerkship would help me in terms of future career goals, even if it is a federal one. Does clerking for too long start to look bad on a resume?

So, the options I see are:

1) Man up and apply to federal clerkships now and, if I get one, just save DOJ Honors for next year.
2) Apply for DOJ in September and, if I don't get it, start applying to federal clerkships then.
3) Forget the clerkship, try to find a good firm job in commercial lit, and just apply to the DOJ the regular way when they have an opening.

Looking for advice from anyone, but if a former federal clerk and/or DOJ Honors attorney and/or DOJ non-honors attorney is lurking around, would be awesome to hear from them specifically! Thanks, in advance! :D

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Re: State clerk --> Fed clerk? Honors? Idk.

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:53 pm

Just anecdotally, a federal clerkship seems to be a big boost for honors. (Source: anecdotes about me/others not getting anything pre-federal clerkship and getting honors after.)

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grand inquisitor

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Re: State clerk --> Fed clerk? Honors? Idk.

Postby grand inquisitor » Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:56 pm

given your numbers and the difficulty of achieving your objectives, i think the only answer is you try to do all three and see what shakes out, but go ahead and develop some back-ups. my experience is very limited but i have never met someone who went state clerkship-->fed clerkship. i'm sure it's happened but my sense is those tend to be two different pools of candidates.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: State clerk --> Fed clerk? Honors? Idk.

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:10 pm

I actually know a number of people who went state clerkship --> federal, including me, but it may be fairly market specific (not NY/DC/Chi/LA/SF, for instance).

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Re: State clerk --> Fed clerk? Honors? Idk.

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:50 pm

I recommend an all of the above approach, especially with regard to #1 and #2. I'm a clerk in a flyover district. The clerk before me had done state trial ct.--> state app. ct (not SC) --> Federal d. ct. So it is definitely possible, especially if your judge has some connections with local federal judges. That's going to be your best bet.

Many people will tell you that a federal clerkship is almost a requirement for DOJ honors, but there are obviously still a lot of people hired straight out of law school. The fact that you did SLIP definitely helps.

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ilovesf

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Re: State clerk --> Fed clerk? Honors? Idk.

Postby ilovesf » Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:25 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I actually know a number of people who went state clerkship --> federal, including me, but it may be fairly market specific (not NY/DC/Chi/LA/SF, for instance).

My friend is doing this in sf so dreams do come true. She is getting it because she knows someone who recommended her, so it's a little different

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Re: State clerk --> Fed clerk? Honors? Idk.

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:30 pm

ilovesf wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:I actually know a number of people who went state clerkship --> federal, including me, but it may be fairly market specific (not NY/DC/Chi/LA/SF, for instance).

My friend is doing this in sf so dreams do come true. She is getting it because she knows someone who recommended her, so it's a little different


I know someone doing this as well, it's not impossible

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ilovesf

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Re: State clerk --> Fed clerk? Honors? Idk.

Postby ilovesf » Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:46 pm

In my limited experience, working for any judge will help you obtain whatever job you want down the line. All of my friends who have worked for judges or clerked have spoken about judges helping them network and reaching out to contacts on their behalf at the end of the clerkship. State judges have good connections too, so you can't go too wrong accepting this gig.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: State clerk --> Fed clerk? Honors? Idk.

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:45 pm

ilovesf wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:I actually know a number of people who went state clerkship --> federal, including me, but it may be fairly market specific (not NY/DC/Chi/LA/SF, for instance).

My friend is doing this in sf so dreams do come true. She is getting it because she knows someone who recommended her, so it's a little different

Oh good! I wasn't sure whether it was just being in a secondary market or not.

(I agree that working for a judge is really helpful.)

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stannis

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Re: State clerk --> Fed clerk? Honors? Idk.

Postby stannis » Fri Apr 14, 2017 12:50 am

I'm in a smaller secondary market and have externed at the federal court so I got a sense of the 2 rotations of clerks credentials. I didn't meet a single clerk who externed at the state trial court or court of appeals, but quite a few who had previously clerked at the state supreme court.



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