Former COA Clerk and DC BIGLAWyer Taking ?s

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heyguys
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Re: Former COA Clerk and DC BIGLAWyer Taking ?s

Postby heyguys » Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:20 am

The OP or TTT could probably speak to this: Fed CoA v. Fed District Court--what are the differences? How much more competitive is the former? How would one or the other impact future prospects?

tengorazon
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Re: Former COA Clerk and DC BIGLAWyer Taking ?s

Postby tengorazon » Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:03 pm

heyguys wrote:The OP or TTT could probably speak to this: Fed CoA v. Fed District Court--what are the differences? How much more competitive is the former? How would one or the other impact future prospects?


They each have their pros and cons, and some people end up doing both (I seriously considered this, but glad I didn't from an opportunity cost standpoint). With a COA clerkship, you're mainly researching and writing...basically the same stuff you did in law school, except your memo becomes the basis for an opinion. At the district court, you're dealing with motions, trials, conferences, etc. Much more in the nitty gritty. If you want to be a litigator, there's a good argument that a district court clerkship would serve you better. But for whatever reason, COA clerkships are more "prestigious," and there are, of course, far fewer COA judges, so those clerkships are indisputably harder to obtain. As for future prospects, you can't really go wrong either way, although, again, COA clerkships are considered more prestigious. But it won't likely affect your employment outcome unless you're planning to go into academia or want to go to an elite litigation shop (especially one that does primarily appellate work, e.g., Robins Russell). In either case, you should try to get an appellate clerkship.

jimmyd11011
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Re: Former COA Clerk and DC BIGLAWyer Taking ?s

Postby jimmyd11011 » Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:44 pm

How does the timeline generally work for getting a clerkship and then going into biglaw? And for you specifically, if it was different? I assume you were a summer associate after your 2L year. Do you generally get offered a full-time job at the end of your 2L summer, then apply for clerkships during 3L year, then defer starting at that firm until after you clerking year? Or do you just go into the clerking year with no set plans for after and apply for jobs while you clerk?

Esc
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Re: Former COA Clerk and DC BIGLAWyer Taking ?s

Postby Esc » Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:03 am

If you feel comfortable answering, would you mind telling us what you did in your summers in law school, and how your summer jobs factored into your clerkship application process or how they prepared you for your clerkship?

tengorazon
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Re: Former COA Clerk and DC BIGLAWyer Taking ?s

Postby tengorazon » Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:20 am

jimmyd11011 wrote:How does the timeline generally work for getting a clerkship and then going into biglaw? And for you specifically, if it was different? I assume you were a summer associate after your 2L year. Do you generally get offered a full-time job at the end of your 2L summer, then apply for clerkships during 3L year, then defer starting at that firm until after you clerking year? Or do you just go into the clerking year with no set plans for after and apply for jobs while you clerk?


People do both; I did the first. I accepted the offer from my 2L summer firm during the fall of my 3L year and never looked back. The primary reason people apply during their clerkship year is that they did not like their 2L summer job and want to go somewhere or do something different. More recently, of course, it might also be because they were no-offered or their offers were revoked.

tengorazon
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Re: Former COA Clerk and DC BIGLAWyer Taking ?s

Postby tengorazon » Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:22 am

Esc wrote:If you feel comfortable answering, would you mind telling us what you did in your summers in law school, and how your summer jobs factored into your clerkship application process or how they prepared you for your clerkship?


1L summer, I worked at DOJ; 2L summer, I worked at a firm. They prepared me for the clerkship in the same way law school did: practice in researching, understanding, and writing about the law. The primary way they factored into the clerkship app process was that my boss from my 1L job wrote one of my recs. My judge told me that it was detailed and glowing and one of the reasons he selected me. So stuff like that matters.

Esc
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Re: Former COA Clerk and DC BIGLAWyer Taking ?s

Postby Esc » Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:41 am

tengorazon wrote:
Esc wrote:If you feel comfortable answering, would you mind telling us what you did in your summers in law school, and how your summer jobs factored into your clerkship application process or how they prepared you for your clerkship?


1L summer, I worked at DOJ; 2L summer, I worked at a firm. They prepared me for the clerkship in the same way law school did: practice in researching, understanding, and writing about the law. The primary way they factored into the clerkship app process was that my boss from my 1L job wrote one of my recs. My judge told me that it was detailed and glowing and one of the reasons he selected me. So stuff like that matters.


good info. thanks for answering Q's.

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1848
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Re: Former COA Clerk and DC BIGLAWyer Taking ?s

Postby 1848 » Sun Jan 24, 2010 1:02 am

Can you speak at all about your experience hiring or working with 1L summer judicial interns? Were you the one sorting through their resumes and cover letters? If you were, was there anything you particularly looked for outside the obvious (good school, good gpa, etc)? Thanks!

tengorazon
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Re: Former COA Clerk and DC BIGLAWyer Taking ?s

Postby tengorazon » Sun Jan 24, 2010 3:34 pm

1848 wrote:Can you speak at all about your experience hiring or working with 1L summer judicial interns? Were you the one sorting through their resumes and cover letters? If you were, was there anything you particularly looked for outside the obvious (good school, good gpa, etc)? Thanks!


Well, not all judges have interns. We had only one, for the fall semester, and he was the son of a friend of the judge. From what I gathered, most of the previous interns were like this...some personal connection to the judge (e.g., friend, alma mater, mentee, etc.). But I think the process of reviewing resumes for most competitive positions is the same in that you're looking for someone who sticks out from the pile of otherwise equally qualified candidates. Some people accomplish this through jobs, others through ECs, others through recs. Whatever your strength is, play it up.

jimmyd11011
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Re: Former COA Clerk and DC BIGLAWyer Taking ?s

Postby jimmyd11011 » Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:54 pm

tengorazon wrote:I would certainly recommend clerking for anyone who can. However, the benefits aren't really tangible. It's like law review: people in the profession respect it as a stellar credential...and whatever that entails. Perhaps it enhances your chances for partner (90% of the people at my firm clerked), it would certainly be useful if you were to change jobs, it likely adds to your general perception among clients and other lawyers, etc. My question is, why not? The only reason I can think of is the loss of $30-50k, which is certainly nothing to sneeze at...but rather small in the grand scheme of things. It's not like you'll be living on the streets during that year. So yeah, I don't really see a reason not to clerk.

ETA: I suppose there is less of a reason to clerk if you're certain you want to be a transactional attorney. In that case, it might be better to start gaining the experience that will help you in your career, and that would not likely come from a clerkship (aside from, perhaps, on the Delaware Chancery Court).


In the post above you refer to a loss of $30-$50K...I assume that is compared to a biglaw starting salary of around $160K. How did you come up with this number? How much do clerkships usually pay? Did your biglaw firm give you a bonus for clerking, and if so, about how much was it? Thanks

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TTT-LS
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Re: Former COA Clerk and DC BIGLAWyer Taking ?s

Postby TTT-LS » Sun Jan 24, 2010 5:20 pm

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

tengorazon
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Re: Former COA Clerk and DC BIGLAWyer Taking ?s

Postby tengorazon » Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:15 pm

TTT-LS wrote:The calculation will vary depending on one's biglaw base salary, bonus, and tax rate. I believe that it is also possible for clerk salaries to vary according to locality adjustments and one's prior federal government experience.

Assuming, a fairly standard package of 160k base, 10k bonus (NYC the bonus might be higher; elsewhere peraps lower), and 40% total effective tax rate (federal, state, local), one ends up with post-tax earnings of about $102k. By comparison, my understanding is that most clerks make just about 60k in salary, and, if they are returning to a biglaw firm, get a 50k one-time bonus. Assuming a slightly lower effective tax rate of 33% (since the total income is lower), and ignoring any locality adjustments or prior government service, the clerk would come out with 110k in gross earnings and about 74k in post-tax earnings.

The above are all approximations, and I may be off at several points. But as a rough guide, the figures do show what kind of financial opportunity cost might exist. Mitigating that cost are a host of benefits former clerks enjoy once they start practicing, so in the long run it may be a financial wash or even a benefit. I'm not well equipped to say which.


Exactly correct. I personally think the foregone income is worth a year of clerking. Of course, there are arguments about the time value of money and such, but I think the experience and credentialing outweigh that lost money. However, I did not (and do not) find the marginal value of clerking for a second year to outweigh the opportunity cost of doing so, even though many firms will pay a higher bonus (e.g., $75k). Of course, if you get a SCOTUS clerkship, the calculation changes dramatically.

Obi-Wan Kenobi
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Re: Former COA Clerk and DC BIGLAWyer Taking ?s

Postby Obi-Wan Kenobi » Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:44 pm

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Last edited by Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tue Nov 30, 2010 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Former COA Clerk and DC BIGLAWyer Taking ?s

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:30 pm

Do you apply for district clerkships & COA clerkships at the same time? The reason I ask is to guage whether you can apply for COA clerkships and if you strike out, then apply for district clerkships.

Assuming you were a summer at a firm that did mostly litigation and wanted to do corporate work can you leverage a clerkship into those types of jobs even though a clerkship focuses more on litigation?

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TTT-LS
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Re: Former COA Clerk and DC BIGLAWyer Taking ?s

Postby TTT-LS » Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:38 pm

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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JAP1985
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Re: Former COA Clerk and DC BIGLAWyer Taking ?s

Postby JAP1985 » Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:45 pm

Do you ever browse any of the other threads in this forum? Any area that seems a bit misleading or misinformed (especially as it relates to law firm hiring/school rank)?

helvidius2010
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Re: Former COA Clerk and DC BIGLAWyer Taking ?s

Postby helvidius2010 » Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:38 am

Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:Any thoughts on how big of a role ideology plays in COA clerkship hiring? Does having Fed Soc/ACS on your resume play an important/somewhat important role with most judges or does it not particularly matter? Thanks.


Judges all have their own criteria. Some care about aligning ideologies, some do not. I have even heard of judges who like to bring in opposite minded clerks to "challenge" them. The thing that matters in this hyper competitive process is getting your application noticed. Having Fed Soc or ACS may help you get noticed, but it will also reduce the number of judges who will even consider you. If your application stands out to begin with, you may be better off omitting any indication of ideology.

anli
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Re: Former COA Clerk and DC BIGLAWyer Taking ?s

Postby anli » Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:00 am

. . .
Last edited by anli on Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Former COA Clerk and DC BIGLAWyer Taking ?s

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 27, 2010 4:50 am

Given the current state of the economy, what advice would you give to people who are skeptical about if they should still pursue law school and all of that debt?




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