What's so great about clerking?

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20121109
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What's so great about clerking?

Postby 20121109 » Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:56 pm

So as a 2L, life is just way more chill than I had anticipated. I'm only on 12 credits, have class 3 days a week, and 3 of my classes take class participation and effort into account. (One class is judged solely on CP and effort, and another weighs it as 80% of the grade.) It's kind of a joke compared to 1L. After OCI, all I want to do is make it to next summer.

But I see that so many people are still gunning hard for clerkships...I guess my question is, am I missing something? Am I too relaxed right now? What is so awesome about being a clerk? Is it a prerequisite for a successful career in academia? Certain kinds of litigation? If I'm all corporate-focused, does clerking have any benefit?

Sorry if I sound completely clueless, but I just genuinely want to know.

Transferthrowaway
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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby Transferthrowaway » Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:59 pm

I will continue to work hard towards a Federal COA clerkship because...
1) I want to teach and a clerkship tends to help reach that goal.
2) The chances of me actually ever becoming a federal COA judge approach zero. As a result, this will be the closest I ever get to the decision-making seat.

Otherwise, I would just be fucking chilling at this point.

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Lawquacious
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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby Lawquacious » Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:12 pm

GAIAtheCHEERLEADER wrote:So as a 2L, life is just way more chill than I had anticipated. I'm only on 12 credits, have class 3 days a week, and 3 of my classes take class participation and effort into account. (One class is judged solely on CP and effort, and another weighs it as 80% of the grade.) It's kind of a joke compared to 1L. After OCI, all I want to do is make it to next summer.

But I see that so many people are still gunning hard for clerkships...I guess my question is, am I missing something? Am I too relaxed right now? What is so awesome about being a clerk? Is it a prerequisite for a successful career in academia? Certain kinds of litigation? If I'm all corporate-focused, does clerking have any benefit?

Sorry if I sound completely clueless, but I just genuinely want to know.



Being that you are at HLS I'm not exactly sure why everyone is still gunning for these, because I am assuming that almost all students there can have some sort of a market-paying firm job if desired: clerkships are a good backdoor to a firm job if striking out at OCI--that is frankly the biggest benefit I see to a clerkship. But obviously some ppl might be interested in working for a judge for its own sake, because of the prestige involved, and/or because it is a great training experience. But if your goal is biglaw and you have met that goal (so far), I'm not sure there is a reason to gun for a clerkship, unless perhaps your firm encourages you to do this for training purposes.

I think for going into academia it can often be important, but obviously not everyone wants to do that. Perhaps it is mainly because it is generally considered prestigious or considered to be great training experience that many of your HLS peers are seeking this (assuming they are not going for it as a backdoor entrance to a firm, which is why I think a number of ppl at my T20 are interested).

I agree that 2L is WAY easier so far than 1L (no writing and research classes, less mid-term assignments), almost to the point where it is freaking me out. But I'm not on a Journal (which I think consumes major time), and I haven't started moot court competition yet (which I regret signing up for, but such is life).

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20121109
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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby 20121109 » Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:27 pm

Solid insight so far guys, thank you. So I assume there is no tangible benefit for corporate work?

As a side note, it seems like students aren't the only ones gunning for the best...

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MrKappus
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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby MrKappus » Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:31 pm

You're on law review and finding 2L easy?

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20121109
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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby 20121109 » Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:32 pm

MrKappus wrote:You're on law review and finding 2L easy?


lulz.

Definitely not on LR

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby MrKappus » Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:39 pm

GAIAtheCHEERLEADER wrote:
MrKappus wrote:You're on law review and finding 2L easy?


lulz.

Definitely not on LR


Oh. Sorry...not sure why I thought that. Anyway, everything people said here's right. We're in a prestige-obsessed profession, and federal clerkships are prestigious (Also sine qua non for professoring.) Not many reasons for transactional biglawyers to do it, but then again a few friends of mine who were transaction-minded took a year off to clerk and are happy they did. Seems to be more about if your personality's the type that would enjoy clerking, than if it will have some direct utility for your future practice. Just my $0.02 though.

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby Brassica7 » Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:58 pm

2L is way harder than 1L, at least for me. OCI, LR, and juggling classes take up a lot of time. I am at a T2 and did fairly well, but not so well that I feel I can sit back and relax. OCI screeners are just finishing in my secondary market, so I still have no idea if I will get an offer. At least for me, the pressure is still on. Blarghh.

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby Extension_Cord » Fri Sep 23, 2011 7:35 pm

Brassica7 wrote:2L is way harder than 1L, at least for me. OCI, LR, and juggling classes take up a lot of time. I am at a T2 and did fairly well, but not so well that I feel I can sit back and relax. OCI screeners are just finishing in my secondary market, so I still have no idea if I will get an offer. At least for me, the pressure is still on. Blarghh.


When you say that, are you looking for like any attorney job?

I work in a law firm that I worked at for the past year. It employs between 30-50 attorneys and another 100 clerks, paralegals. Its not exactly the type of law I want to work in, but I think I could get a job there if I needed to upon graduation as I know one of the partners fairly well and obviously know a good deal of the attorneys.

Is this something hugely benefitial to me? Or do most people have these options open and they are just looking for a more prestigious offers?

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby Big Shrimpin » Fri Sep 23, 2011 7:55 pm

GAIAtheCHEERLEADER wrote:What is so awesome about being a clerk?


For the debt-ridden student without aspirations of academia, I don't see how the experience is worth more than the forgone first-year salary difference. As soon as I got my SA gig last fall, I threw 'er into cruise control and didn't look back. It's worked out incredibly well so far--my stress has regressed to UG-levels.

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby mrloblaw » Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:58 pm

If your aspirations don't go higher than biglaw, get the SA gig and stay in cruise control for the rest of your life (well, provided that "cruise control" involves 3k+ billables for the duration which, to those who aren't completely entitled, really isn't that bad).

If you want to do more with your career, clerking seems pretty helpful. I personally don't see how kids that are HYS bright have no more ambitious endgames in mind than a coupe years at S&C, etc. followed by a cushy inhouse/banking gig.

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby Grizz » Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:31 pm

mrloblaw wrote:If you want to do more with your career, clerking seems pretty helpful. I personally don't see how kids that are HYS bright have no more ambitious endgames in mind than a coupe years at S&C, etc. followed by a cushy inhouse/banking gig.

Umm that's a pretty good endgame there duderino

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby TheFriendlyBarber » Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:55 pm

mrloblaw wrote:If your aspirations don't go higher than biglaw, get the SA gig and stay in cruise control for the rest of your life (well, provided that "cruise control" involves 3k+ billables for the duration which, to those who aren't completely entitled, really isn't that bad).

If you want to do more with your career, clerking seems pretty helpful. I personally don't see how kids that are HYS bright have no more ambitious endgames in mind than a coupe years at S&C, etc. followed by a cushy inhouse/banking gig.


And some of us are soo ambitious that we would rather not resign ourselves to the COA clerkship-->SCOTUS clerkship-->Professorship endgame.

In a world where there's so much fucking money to had, clerking does little to arouse the excitement of the budding entrepreneur law student who knows better than to accept the herd mentality of his peers.

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby mrloblaw » Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:21 pm

TheFriendlyBarber wrote:
mrloblaw wrote:If your aspirations don't go higher than biglaw, get the SA gig and stay in cruise control for the rest of your life (well, provided that "cruise control" involves 3k+ billables for the duration which, to those who aren't completely entitled, really isn't that bad).

If you want to do more with your career, clerking seems pretty helpful. I personally don't see how kids that are HYS bright have no more ambitious endgames in mind than a coupe years at S&C, etc. followed by a cushy inhouse/banking gig.


And some of us are soo ambitious that we would rather not resign ourselves to the COA clerkship-->SCOTUS clerkship-->Professorship endgame.

In a world where there's so much fucking money to had, clerking does little to arouse the excitement of the budding entrepreneur law student who knows better than to accept the herd mentality of his peers.


I'm puzzled how someone who was in to chase money might end up in law school in the first place. Maybe if they were at HY on a (near?) full scholly, but otherwise the lost money and opportunity costs would be a pretty big deal.

My point is mainly that clerking, at least for the usual suspect courts, is a pretty clear path to upward mobility in the legal world. And while biglaw associates can lateral into other jobs with a better pay/QoL balance, there doesn't seem to be nearly as much opportunity to move up by just banking on the 2L SA, outside that 1 in X chance at making partner. Thus, unless someone is comfortable never moving higher in the legal world than they start out, clerking seems like a pretty good idea.

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby NightHooded » Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:30 pm

mrloblaw wrote:[
I'm puzzled how someone who was in to chase money might end up in law school in the first place. Maybe if they were at HY on a (near?) full scholly, but otherwise the lost money and opportunity costs would be a pretty big deal.


Don't get your reasoning here. As far as I know, there is no full scolly for HY(or S). And what's so special about HY - other than they are highly bankable for a firm job? Do you mean they carry intangibles that help produce money? Or lead to non-law jobs?

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby MrKappus » Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:32 pm

NightHooded wrote:
mrloblaw wrote:[
I'm puzzled how someone who was in to chase money might end up in law school in the first place. Maybe if they were at HY on a (near?) full scholly, but otherwise the lost money and opportunity costs would be a pretty big deal.


Don't get your reasoning here. As far as I know, there is no full scolly for HY(or S). And what's so special about HY - other than they are highly bankable for a firm job? Do you mean they carry intangibles that help produce money? Or lead to non-law jobs?


I suppose they can get you Wachtell, which pays more than the standard lockstep scheme. Or maybe hedge funds/PE companies recruit there. I wouldn't know.

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby TheFriendlyBarber » Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:37 pm

mrloblaw wrote:
TheFriendlyBarber wrote:
mrloblaw wrote:If your aspirations don't go higher than biglaw, get the SA gig and stay in cruise control for the rest of your life (well, provided that "cruise control" involves 3k+ billables for the duration which, to those who aren't completely entitled, really isn't that bad).

If you want to do more with your career, clerking seems pretty helpful. I personally don't see how kids that are HYS bright have no more ambitious endgames in mind than a coupe years at S&C, etc. followed by a cushy inhouse/banking gig.


And some of us are soo ambitious that we would rather not resign ourselves to the COA clerkship-->SCOTUS clerkship-->Professorship endgame.

In a world where there's so much fucking money to had, clerking does little to arouse the excitement of the budding entrepreneur law student who knows better than to accept the herd mentality of his peers.


I'm puzzled how someone who was in to chase money might end up in law school in the first place. Maybe if they were at HY on a (near?) full scholly, but otherwise the lost money and opportunity costs would be a pretty big deal.

My point is mainly that clerking, at least for the usual suspect courts, is a pretty clear path to upward mobility in the legal world. And while biglaw associates can lateral into other jobs with a better pay/QoL balance, there doesn't seem to be nearly as much opportunity to move up by just banking on the 2L SA, outside that 1 in X chance at making partner. Thus, unless someone is comfortable never moving higher in the legal world than they start out, clerking seems like a pretty good idea.


It would be helpful if you could reveal your hierarchy of jobs along this "upward mobility" continuum within the legal profession.

Some people are content with starting out at a V5, making partner ~8 years later, and leading quite a comfortable life from then on. Others are content with clerking, working at a firm for a few years, and transitioning into academia afterwards. Others don't give much of a crap about law and are content with spending a few years at a firm and transitioning into the business side later on. Others will receive their law degrees and never spend a day practicing law at all, choosing instead to engage in other (less ambitious?) pursuits.

Is one mindset more or less ambitious than the others? Please, do tell!

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby mrloblaw » Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:50 pm

NightHooded wrote:
mrloblaw wrote:
Don't get your reasoning here. As far as I know, there is no full scolly for HY(or S). And what's so special about HY - other than they are highly bankable for a firm job? Do you mean they carry intangibles that help produce money? Or lead to non-law jobs?


Err...sorry. Opportunity costs and tuition are largely the same, probability of market or higher pay decreasing rapidly from HYS -> T14 -> etc. The lower tiered the school, the worse a gamble going to law school solely to make money becomes.

By "ambition" I was revealing a wholly subjective bias against the notion of having one's entire career trajectory determined based on where they ended up as a 2L. While it's great if you love where you SA (and that's the ideal), having the creds to make switching to another firm easier, if desired, wouldn't seem like a bad thing. I've further only spoken to a small number of practicing attorneys who didn't think that at least a prestigious clerkship would help with upward mobility.

Granted, *if* you're dead set on M&A and got Wachtell or are in a similar situation, what I've said is largely rubbish, since you can't go higher than you've ended up as a SA. I presume that's not the case for the overwhelming majority of even successful law students here. But if I was dead-set on M&A and got a random v10, I'd think "Hey, maybe working my ass off for CoA -> SCOTUS would get me into Wachtell. Worth a shot."

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby 20121109 » Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:57 pm

mrloblaw wrote:
NightHooded wrote:
mrloblaw wrote:
Don't get your reasoning here. As far as I know, there is no full scolly for HY(or S). And what's so special about HY - other than they are highly bankable for a firm job? Do you mean they carry intangibles that help produce money? Or lead to non-law jobs?


Err...sorry. Opportunity costs and tuition are largely the same, probability of market or higher pay decreasing rapidly from HYS -> T14 -> etc. The lower tiered the school, the worse a gamble going to law school solely to make money becomes.

By "ambition" I was revealing a wholly subjective bias against the notion of having one's entire career trajectory determined based on where they ended up as a 2L. While it's great if you love where you SA (and that's the ideal), having the creds to make switching to another firm easier, if desired, wouldn't seem like a bad thing. I've further only spoken to a small number of practicing attorneys who didn't think that at least a prestigious clerkship would help with upward mobility.

Granted, *if* you're dead set on M&A and got Wachtell or are in a similar situation, what I've said is largely rubbish, since you can't go higher than you've ended up as a SA. I presume that's not the case for the overwhelming majority of even successful law students here. But if I was dead-set on M&A and got a random v10, I'd think "Hey, maybe working my ass off for CoA -> SCOTUS would get me into Wachtell. Worth a shot."


Wish I gave a shit about Wachtell.

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby mrloblaw » Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:00 am

GAIAtheCHEERLEADER wrote:Wish I gave a shit about Wachtell.


It's called a hypo. Law students tend to get used to them.

One sentence version: if you're comfortable with the greatest achievement in your professional life being making partner where you're SAing, slack like there's no tomorrow.

Really, enjoy the two years of basically free time.

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20121109
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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby 20121109 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:05 am

mrloblaw wrote:
GAIAtheCHEERLEADER wrote:Wish I gave a shit about Wachtell.


It's called a hypo. Law students tend to get used to them.

One sentence version: if you're comfortable with the greatest achievement in your professional life being making partner where you're SAing, slack like there's no tomorrow.

Really, enjoy the two years of basically free time.


Thanks, bro. Because as a 2L, I had never encountered a hypo before...I just made a flippant remark.

But seriously, thanks for your input. That settles it then. Goin back to coasting...just like I did in UG.

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby TheFriendlyBarber » Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:24 am

mrloblaw wrote:
GAIAtheCHEERLEADER wrote:Wish I gave a shit about Wachtell.


It's called a hypo. Law students tend to get used to them.

One sentence version: if you're comfortable with the greatest achievement in your professional life being making partner where you're SAing, slack like there's no tomorrow.

Really, enjoy the two years of basically free time.


And if you're comfortable with the greatest achievement in your professional life being lateraling into a prestigious firm, then make sure to work your ass off and land a clerkship? Huh?

Look, if you feel that those who seek out clerkships are "more ambitious" than those who do not simply on the basis that the former are putting in additional work while the latter are slacking and enjoying the last year of law school life, fine. I can see how one can reasonably attempt to link work ethic and ambition (and vice versa). However, all this nonsense about true ambition somehow being tied to not having your long-term career path being determined at the end of 2L summer is woefully unconvincing. In fact, the main example you set forth in support of your conception of "ambition" (i.e., the ability to lateral to a better firm later on in life) is all but self-defeatest--indeed, as you later point out, if you land an offer from a top firm after 2L summer, you won't need to (or even be able to, by definition!) move on to a better firm later on. So the fact that starting off at one of the best firms in the country prevents you from receiving upward mobility points down the road someone shows a lack of ambition? Oh, it's that the glory lies in the climb, right, not in reaching the mountain top?!

I still don't see how clerking, taken alone, exudes more ambition than most any other law student career choice.
Last edited by TheFriendlyBarber on Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby minnbills » Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:30 am

I thought it was common knowledge that getting a federal clerkship can help you quite a bit in biglaw?

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby Lawquacious » Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:31 am

[quote="TheFriendlyBarber"][/quote]

Like your tar dude.

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby TheFriendlyBarber » Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:31 am

minnbills wrote:I thought it was common knowledge that getting a federal clerkship can help you quite a bit in biglaw?


It most definitely can; it can also be quite useless.




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