Clerkships/Academia

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littleboyblue
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Clerkships/Academia

Postby littleboyblue » Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:17 am

So I was talking to a professor the other day about classes, grades, etc. He said that in order to go into Academia or get a top clerkship (not sure if he was just referring to SC) you basically need all As. I go to a top five school. I thought as long as you had a lot of As you would be fine but I had no idea how competitive the process actually is.
Can you move up the clerkship ladder w/o having all As? Meaning can you get an ok clerkship but then parlay that into an appellate court clerkship the following year?
What about academia? What if you are published but your grades are so-so?

270910
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Re: Clerkships/Academia

Postby 270910 » Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:18 pm

It's sort of complicated. Most successful candidates for professor positions have (traditionally):

1) Publication(s) - generally strong ones with upward potential
2) Credentials - this includes GPA, law school, journal experience, and work experience. With few exceptions, work experience = strong clerkship and VERY little private practice. Wouldn't want you learning anything practical.

To put it in perspective, a huge number of law faculty hires will be Yale grads with impressive clerkships and publications. There are so few positions, and the job is so sweet, that there isn't really much wiggle room on what it take to get hired.

There's been a recent trend towards hiring JD/PhDs, but it's hardly replaced the 'old' / 'traditional' model

For your specific questions, it depends on the school (both because the curve/competition matters and because the better the school, the more wiggle room you'll have with credentials).

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ihatelaw
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Re: Clerkships/Academia

Postby ihatelaw » Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:22 pm

I don't know how old your professor is/when they were on the job market, but what I heard from professors has generally been that grades are secondary and that its possible to do both without straight As or even a really high GPA in general. Not that those aren't helpful...

Grades matter a lot for prestigious clerkships and I'd imagine that grades matter a lot more for top law positions (as in teaching jobs at the the t30) as well. However, if you're goal is clerk on a circuit court and teach somewhere then grades aren't as important, publications/recommendations/connections are key.

I should also point out that I'm not saying that grades don't matter but, especially at t6 (and even more so at t3), don't treat this as get straight As or bust.

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TTT-LS
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Re: Clerkships/Academia

Postby TTT-LS » Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:39 pm

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Tue Jul 06, 2010 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ghasafrost
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Re: Clerkships/Academia

Postby ghasafrost » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:30 pm

TTT-LS wrote:For academic hiring, my understanding is that publishing is the coin of the realm. If you've published quality material several times in well respected journals, you've got a real shot. Clerkships, journal experience, grades, honors, other degrees, prior work experience, and things like that matter -- though to a slightly lesser degree.

As far as securing clerkships goes, one does not necessarily need all A's For feeder judges, you likely will need either straight As or something extremely close to that, depending on your school's curve. Top 5% usually isn't enough for these judges, whereas top 5-10 students usually is (requirement relaxed a little for YHS, I think). For non-feeder COA judges, top 10% from a T6 school + some other things like LR/publication puts you in the ballgame for sure, though you'd likely need top 5% to be a virtual lock given the recent surge in applications. District courts are less selective, but not tremendously so. Based on what I've heard, district court clerks do get a bump when applying for COA clerkships--though I don't know how large that bump really is.


This is what I've heard too. Grades are important, though not crucial. Really, grades are important for getting your foot in the door for clerkships and RA positions with a good professor. Otherwise, the focus is almost entirely on scholarship and to a far lesser extent, experience. As an academic, you will be writing. Schools thus care most about what you've written (so for instance at our school they recommend we have 3 papers by the time we graduate).

also as an aside on the "recent surge in applications," general consensus seems to be that the competitiveness hasn't increased much, if at all. really, you're always going to have the top kids that were competitive for clerkships. the surge in applications is more likely from students that never were in that group to begin with (the ones that didn't get a firm offer or that have been deferred). there may be some wiggle room, but for the most part the qualifications aren't changing.

You don't need all A's though, insofar as you only need good enough grades so as to get a good clerkship. It seems that every professor does COA at some point, but you don't have to be 2nd/DC/9th, and at least at our school a 3.5+ makes you relatively competitive for COA clerkships.

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TTT-LS
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Re: Clerkships/Academia

Postby TTT-LS » Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:39 pm

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Tue Jul 06, 2010 5:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ghasafrost
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Re: Clerkships/Academia

Postby ghasafrost » Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:43 pm

TTT-LS wrote:
ghasafrost wrote:also as an aside on the "recent surge in applications," general consensus seems to be that the competitiveness hasn't increased much, if at all. really, you're always going to have the top kids that were competitive for clerkships. the surge in applications is more likely from students that never were in that group to begin with (the ones that didn't get a firm offer or that have been deferred). there may be some wiggle room, but for the most part the qualifications aren't changing.

My understanding in talking with current clerks is that this statement is true as to COA clerkships, but less so as to D. Ct. clerkships. There are some people who applied this year who were a virtual lock in the past but who were squeezed out at the D. Ct. level this past fall. Put differently, it is true that the top 5% at most schools will usually apply for COA gigs and that there aren't more top 5% people now than there were before; what has changed is the fact that more people top 6-25% are now applying for D. Ct. and state supreme court clerkships--many of whom were not applying previously. Also, the number of applications per applicant surged in 2009, meaning that clerkships in less desirable areas became more competitive as people looked to a wider field of potential judges.


that makes sense. what I've heard has only been from people doing COA clerkships.

09042014
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Re: Clerkships/Academia

Postby 09042014 » Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:45 pm

littleboyblue wrote:So I was talking to a professor the other day about classes, grades, etc. He said that in order to go into Academia or get a top clerkship (not sure if he was just referring to SC) you basically need all As. I go to NYU. I thought as long as you had a lot of As you would be fine but I had no idea how competitive the process actually is.
Can you move up the clerkship ladder w/o having all As? Meaning can you get an ok clerkship but then parlay that into an appellate court clerkship the following year?
What about academia? What if you are published but your grades are so-so?




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