Gunning for elite COA clerkship what classes should I take?

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Magnificent
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Gunning for elite COA clerkship what classes should I take?

Postby Magnificent » Sun Apr 17, 2011 9:38 pm

Like most law schools, I'll have my choice of any classes to take next year as a 2L. I want to put myself in the best position to get a clerkship in either the DC/2nd/9th circuit. What classes do judges like to see that their potential clerks have taken 2L year.

thanks

Renzo
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Re: Gunning for elite COA clerkship what classes should I take?

Postby Renzo » Sun Apr 17, 2011 9:43 pm

No "Law &" classes, that's the big thing. Judges won't be fooled. Take black letter classes and do well.

dakatz
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Re: Gunning for elite COA clerkship what classes should I take?

Postby dakatz » Sun Apr 17, 2011 9:45 pm

Yeah, no BS classes and you will be fine. Things like federal courts, evidence, tax, etc. can only help you. But law & philosophy? Not so much.

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vamedic03
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Re: Gunning for elite COA clerkship what classes should I take?

Postby vamedic03 » Sun Apr 17, 2011 10:43 pm

Magnificent wrote:Like most law schools, I'll have my choice of any classes to take next year as a 2L. I want to put myself in the best position to get a clerkship in either the DC/2nd/9th circuit. What classes do judges like to see that their potential clerks have taken 2L year.

thanks


Focus on judges, not the circuits.

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prezidentv8
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Re: Gunning for elite COA clerkship what classes should I take?

Postby prezidentv8 » Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:04 pm

Magnificent wrote:Like most law schools, I'll have my choice of any classes to take next year as a 2L.


Grammar and style are important.

reverendt
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Re: Gunning for elite COA clerkship what classes should I take?

Postby reverendt » Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:24 pm

Like everyone said, avoid the lawschool equivalent of bastketweaving 101.
Take evidence, Federal Courts, Administrative law, 1st amendment, Employment Discrimination,...stuff that is federal law.
Advanced legal writing might not be a bad idea either.

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Cupidity
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Re: Gunning for elite COA clerkship what classes should I take?

Postby Cupidity » Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:30 pm

If your school offers a judicial externship program, it may provide you valuable contacts.

cornellbeez
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Re: Gunning for elite COA clerkship what classes should I take?

Postby cornellbeez » Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:02 am

Jurisdiction, Fed Courts, Evidence, Admin. Not sure how important other doctrinal courses are, because you're probably going into litigation. But maybe I'd also take secured transactions, bankruptcy, stuff like that.

ziggysmarley
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Re: Gunning for elite COA clerkship what classes should I take?

Postby ziggysmarley » Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:48 pm

Try to take classes based on the professors. Look for the famous professors, professors with connections with judges, etc.

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vamedic03
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Re: Gunning for elite COA clerkship what classes should I take?

Postby vamedic03 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:03 am

ziggysmarley wrote:Try to take classes based on the professors. Look for the famous professors, professors with connections with judges, etc.


This isn't really a good strategy. Search for the professors who have a reputation for being a good teacher and for professors you get along with. The best recommendation comes from a professor who knows you well.

A strong recommendation and phone call from a lesser known/unknown professor goes a lot further than a lukewarm recommendation from a 'famous' professor who doesn't make the effort.

Further, without significant inside information, it's difficult to know which professors have connections to which judges. It's more important to just build relationships with your favorite professors (and ideally professors you gave you good grades).

Also, there is an argument that outside of 1 or 2 professors at most schools, most professors aren't 'famous' outside of academia.

Renzo
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Re: Gunning for elite COA clerkship what classes should I take?

Postby Renzo » Tue Apr 19, 2011 9:55 pm

vamedic03 wrote:
ziggysmarley wrote:Try to take classes based on the professors. Look for the famous professors, professors with connections with judges, etc.


This isn't really a good strategy. Search for the professors who have a reputation for being a good teacher and for professors you get along with. The best recommendation comes from a professor who knows you well.

A strong recommendation and phone call from a lesser known/unknown professor goes a lot further than a lukewarm recommendation from a 'famous' professor who doesn't make the effort.

Further, without significant inside information, it's difficult to know which professors have connections to which judges. It's more important to just build relationships with your favorite professors (and ideally professors you gave you good grades).

Also, there is an argument that outside of 1 or 2 professors at most schools, most professors aren't 'famous' outside of academia.


And, I would add that in my experience, the "famous" professors couldn't give two fucks about teaching, which makes it harder to build a real relationship with them, and thus harder to get a real meaningful recommendation.

ziggysmarley
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Re: Gunning for elite COA clerkship what classes should I take?

Postby ziggysmarley » Wed Apr 20, 2011 2:11 am

Renzo wrote:
vamedic03 wrote:
ziggysmarley wrote:Try to take classes based on the professors. Look for the famous professors, professors with connections with judges, etc.


This isn't really a good strategy. Search for the professors who have a reputation for being a good teacher and for professors you get along with. The best recommendation comes from a professor who knows you well.

A strong recommendation and phone call from a lesser known/unknown professor goes a lot further than a lukewarm recommendation from a 'famous' professor who doesn't make the effort.

Further, without significant inside information, it's difficult to know which professors have connections to which judges. It's more important to just build relationships with your favorite professors (and ideally professors you gave you good grades).

Also, there is an argument that outside of 1 or 2 professors at most schools, most professors aren't 'famous' outside of academia.


And, I would add that in my experience, the "famous" professors couldn't give two fucks about teaching, which makes it harder to build a real relationship with them, and thus harder to get a real meaningful recommendation.


This is generally good advice. But, from my experience, some COA judges will only pick up the phone and talk to certain professors. A call from Dean Chemerinsky recommending a student often goes farther than a random Con Law I professor with no name for him or herself raving about a student. And since a ton of COA hiring is done off-plan, personal recommendations are that much more important.

And, by famous, what do you think I meant? I'm not talking about asking Professor Bono for a rec letter... I clearly meant "famous" big name professors in legal academic circles.

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arhmcpo
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Re: Gunning for elite COA clerkship what classes should I take?

Postby arhmcpo » Wed Apr 20, 2011 2:15 am

There are definitely certain profs you have the ears of specific judges; profs who by merely stating your name move you to the forefront of applicants. Certain profs are influential enough you don't need a "strong" letter of rec. you just need them to pick up the freaking phone and make the call. I pretty much disagree with the advice to stay away from famous impersonal profs - judges are impressed by more famous profs... plus you can use your other letters of rec on the profs who know you well.

Renzo
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Re: Gunning for elite COA clerkship what classes should I take?

Postby Renzo » Wed Apr 20, 2011 10:48 am

Edit: sorry, I misread a post.

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Cavalier
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Re: Gunning for elite COA clerkship what classes should I take?

Postby Cavalier » Wed Apr 20, 2011 10:58 am

1) Bread and butter classes. There's no one class that you need, but your transcript should be full of classes like evidence and corporations, and not law and the sexuality of goats

2) Classes with professors who will provide good recommendations

3) Classes that you can do well in

You probably don't know a lot about (2) and (3) now, but once you get onto your school's law review, you can get a lot of information just by talking to the 3Ls (e.g. "this professor knows a lot of judges in Florida," or "this professor gave two SCOTUS clerks their sole B+")

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vamedic03
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Re: Gunning for elite COA clerkship what classes should I take?

Postby vamedic03 » Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:26 pm

arhmcpo wrote:There are definitely certain profs you have the ears of specific judges; profs who by merely stating your name move you to the forefront of applicants. Certain profs are influential enough you don't need a "strong" letter of rec. you just need them to pick up the freaking phone and make the call. I pretty much disagree with the advice to stay away from famous impersonal profs - judges are impressed by more famous profs... plus you can use your other letters of rec on the profs who know you well.


The problem is that it's not the perceived fame of a professor that matters. What matters is whether or not a judge knows a particular professor. And, judges don't necessarily know only famous professors. It can be very random which judges a particular professor knows - perhaps they grew up together, perhaps they went to school together, etc.

The idea of singling out famous professors for classes for the sake of clerkships is just not a good idea. It's better to find professors that you like, that you mesh well with, and give you good grades.

Edited to add - judges aren't impressed by more famous profs, rather, they're impressed by recommendations from professors that they have personal connections with.
Last edited by vamedic03 on Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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vamedic03
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Re: Gunning for elite COA clerkship what classes should I take?

Postby vamedic03 » Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:28 pm

ziggysmarley wrote:
Renzo wrote:
vamedic03 wrote:
ziggysmarley wrote:Try to take classes based on the professors. Look for the famous professors, professors with connections with judges, etc.


This isn't really a good strategy. Search for the professors who have a reputation for being a good teacher and for professors you get along with. The best recommendation comes from a professor who knows you well.

A strong recommendation and phone call from a lesser known/unknown professor goes a lot further than a lukewarm recommendation from a 'famous' professor who doesn't make the effort.

Further, without significant inside information, it's difficult to know which professors have connections to which judges. It's more important to just build relationships with your favorite professors (and ideally professors you gave you good grades).

Also, there is an argument that outside of 1 or 2 professors at most schools, most professors aren't 'famous' outside of academia.


And, I would add that in my experience, the "famous" professors couldn't give two fucks about teaching, which makes it harder to build a real relationship with them, and thus harder to get a real meaningful recommendation.


This is generally good advice. But, from my experience, some COA judges will only pick up the phone and talk to certain professors. A call from Dean Chemerinsky recommending a student often goes farther than a random Con Law I professor with no name for him or herself raving about a student. And since a ton of COA hiring is done off-plan, personal recommendations are that much more important.

And, by famous, what do you think I meant? I'm not talking about asking Professor Bono for a rec letter... I clearly meant "famous" big name professors in legal academic circles.


Personal recommendations matter, but its not the 'fame' of the professor that matters. Rather, you need to find professors who will go to bat for you.

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JusticeHarlan
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Re: Gunning for elite COA clerkship what classes should I take?

Postby JusticeHarlan » Wed Apr 20, 2011 3:52 pm

cornellbeez wrote:Fed Courts
dakatz wrote:federal courts
reverendt wrote:Federal Courts

This course is obviously needed, but there is a school of thought for waiting to take it until after you've already gone through the clerkship hiring process.

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