A new model for Clerkship hiring?

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A new model for Clerkship hiring?

Postby Esc » Sun Sep 27, 2009 8:44 pm

For those of you going through the clerkship hiring process, and for those researching it, this may not be news. Apparently a good number of CoA judges are already hiring for 2011-2012, and several are at least interviewing for 2012-2013.


Now, I'm a 1L, graduating in 2012, and in my ideal world, if I get the grades and journal experience, I want to shoot for a 2012-2013 CoA clerkship. The fact that 3Ls and alums are already being interviewed for my target clerkships is rather disturbing, to say the least. It has been an open secret that a large number of CoA judges, including many of the most prestigious, hire off-plan. But when judges are hiring a cycle ahead of time, or even two cycles ahead of time, it seems like the hiring plan is falling apart completely.

What says the TLS community? Will 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 clerkships be snapped up by the Class of 2009 and 2010 graduates long before us 2011'ers and 2012'ers get our bite at the apple? Will it become standard for 3Ls to apply for clerkships that begin the year after they graduate? Or is this trend merely an aberration, rather than the new normal?


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Re: A new model for Clerkship hiring?

Postby underachiever » Sun Sep 27, 2009 8:50 pm

Wow, this economy really screws with my life at every turn.....I think this is just a merely an aberration by a few judges and god I hope I'm right.

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Re: A new model for Clerkship hiring?

Postby NewHere » Sun Sep 27, 2009 9:00 pm

Part of the shift may be that CoA judges prefer experienced clerks. It has long been the case that some CoA judges only hire clerks after a year of district court clerking, and other judges want a year or two of work experience. If more judges are joining this trend, that doesn't necessarily mean that you're out of luck, just that from now CoA clerking, for those who choose to do it, will come at a somewhat later stage in their career.

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Re: A new model for Clerkship hiring?

Postby TTT-LS » Sun Sep 27, 2009 10:00 pm

Last edited by TTT-LS on Sun Jul 04, 2010 1:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A new model for Clerkship hiring?

Postby charliec9 » Mon Sep 28, 2009 12:04 am

TTT-LS wrote:Fourth, I wonder whether an economic recovery would cut back on this practice. IIRC, Clurker hints at that possibility in his post. If the economy heats up and hiring starts to turn around, some people may regret binding themselves so far out into the future. As a result, next fall top applicants may not be pursuing 2012-13 clerkships at the rate they are pursuing 2011-12 clerkships now.

This. Presuming we start to see firm hiring recovery/a reduction in deferrals, I predict a number of people will retreat from clerking. I always wanted to clerk, but there are a number of applicants who, despite having LR and being in the top x percent (5, 10, etc.), would not have applied to clerk for a variety of reasons. Some want to do corporate or transactional, for which a clerkship has limited utility; some want to start making money; some have no interest in academia, etc.

I'd wager a bunch of people applied to clerk this cycle and last cycle due to having offers where they were already deferred to 2011 or were afraid of such. The alumni market was flooded, too, as an uncharacteristic number of attorneys with solid resumes were laid off or were afraid of such and applied to clerk to hide for a year or two years.

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Re: A new model for Clerkship hiring?

Postby Esc » Mon Sep 28, 2009 12:52 am

I guess the punchline is that me and my fellow 2012'ers will be sailing in uncharted waters. I'm interested in your idea of applying during the 2L year, TTT-LS. Do you such early applicants would gain an advantage, even though they wouldn't have spring 2L grades reported?

Here's a question that is really bugging me. Let's say a 2012'er gets a 2013-2014 clerkship. Clerkships, unlike firms, don't give paid deferrals. How the hell does one not starve in the intervening year? Aside from clerkships, what legal employers would be willing to hire paid employees for such a short-term period? It could be very difficult to find paid employment, pay back loans, not killself, etc.

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