What's so great about clerking?

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Lawquacious
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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby Lawquacious » Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:32 am

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



As a backdoor, or as in chances of making partner???

mrloblaw
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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby mrloblaw » Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:35 am

TheFriendlyBarber wrote:And if you're comfortable with your 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 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.

I still don't see how clerking, taken alone, exudes more ambition than most any other law student career choice.


Clerking doesn't. Continuing to resume pad once it's possible to coast into six figures does. Clerking is one way of resume padding.

I'm loosely defining ambition as the antithesis of the "being happy with what you've got" mindset.

Edit: to directly address the lateraling thing, if I really wanted to move from one peer firm to another, I'd still try to pad the resume as much as possible to make the outcome more likely.

This whole tangent spun off because I chose my words inarticulately half a dozen posts back, since I rather envy people who aren't ambitious, as I've used the term.

mrloblaw
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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby mrloblaw » Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:39 am

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



As a backdoor, or as in chances of making partner???


The latter is one thing I've wondered about, but didn't mention because I've got zero data: any chance that the people who make partner are more likely to be those with more diverse careers than just "started working here at 25; steadfastly remained until 33"?

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby TheFriendlyBarber » Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:41 am

mrloblaw wrote:
TheFriendlyBarber wrote:And if you're comfortable with your 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 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.

I still don't see how clerking, taken alone, exudes more ambition than most any other law student career choice.


Clerking doesn't. Continuing to resume pad once it's possible to coast into six figures does. Clerking is one way of resume padding.

I'm loosely defining ambition as the antithesis of the "being happy with what you've got" mindset.

This whole tangent spun off because I chose my words inarticulately half a dozen posts back, since I rather envy people who aren't ambitious, as I've used the term.


This is a more reasonable approach, though it could be the case that those who choose not to clerk are using their free time to pad their resumes in other ways (or they simply don't want to handcuff themselves into a resume fluffer that entails a year-long commitment).

But I agree, slacking is hardly ambitious.

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Lawquacious
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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby Lawquacious » Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:44 am

TheFriendlyBarber wrote:
mrloblaw wrote:
TheFriendlyBarber wrote:And if you're comfortable with your 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 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.

I still don't see how clerking, taken alone, exudes more ambition than most any other law student career choice.


Clerking doesn't. Continuing to resume pad once it's possible to coast into six figures does. Clerking is one way of resume padding.

I'm loosely defining ambition as the antithesis of the "being happy with what you've got" mindset.

This whole tangent spun off because I chose my words inarticulately half a dozen posts back, since I rather envy people who aren't ambitious, as I've used the term.


This is a more reasonable approach, though it could be the case that those who choose not to clerk are using their free time to pad their resumes in other ways (or they simply don't want to handcuff themselves into a resume fluffer that entails a year-long commitment).

But I agree, slacking is hardly ambitious.
f


But its more fun (not that you are nec disagreeing)...

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Lawquacious
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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby Lawquacious » Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:45 am

mrloblaw wrote:
TheFriendlyBarber wrote:And if you're comfortable with your 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 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.

I still don't see how clerking, taken alone, exudes more ambition than most any other law student career choice.


Clerking doesn't. Continuing to resume pad once it's possible to coast into six figures does. Clerking is one way of resume padding.







I'm loosely defining ambition as the antithesis of the "being happy with what you've got" mindset.

Edit: to directly address the lateraling thing, if I really wanted to move from one peer firm to another, I'd still try to pad the resume as much as possible to make the outcome more likely.

This whole tangent spun off because I chose my words inarticulately half a dozen posts back, since I rather envy people who aren't ambitious, as I've used the term.





Solid LR skills broheim... (I'm srs.. enjoyed reading)..

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby TheFriendlyBarber » Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:56 am

mrloblaw wrote:
TheFriendlyBarber wrote:And if you're comfortable with your 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 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.

I still don't see how clerking, taken alone, exudes more ambition than most any other law student career choice.


Clerking doesn't. Continuing to resume pad once it's possible to coast into six figures does. Clerking is one way of resume padding.

I'm loosely defining ambition as the antithesis of the "being happy with what you've got" mindset.

Edit: to directly address the lateraling thing, if I really wanted to move from one peer firm to another, I'd still try to pad the resume as much as possible to make the outcome more likely.

This whole tangent spun off because I chose my words inarticulately half a dozen posts back, since I rather envy people who aren't ambitious, as I've used the term.


True, but in the context of clerking, it will not do you much good to clerk if the opportunity you forwent in order to clerk ends up being more desirable to those deciding whether or not to hire you as a lateral.

Somehow we've conceived of our world as one where not clerking and slacking are invariably linked.

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minnbills
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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby minnbills » Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:59 am

TheFriendlyBarber wrote:Somehow we've conceived of our world as one where not clerking and slacking are invariably linked.


I'm just an OL but I haven't gotten that memo. It seems to me like most people on TLS think of clerking as either a backdoor to biglaw if they struck out of OCI or something interesting/worthwhile to do before starting your real career- which can also benefit you if it's sufficiently preftigious.

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby mrloblaw » Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:00 am

TheFriendlyBarber wrote:
Somehow we've conceived of our world as one where not clerking and slacking are invariably linked.


Costs of clerking:

Opportunity costs - One year not practicing law, two years with less free time (gunning 2L/3L)
Monetary costs - One year with lower salary

Outside some super specialized career plan, the only thing I can think of that would be better to do in law school would be a semester internship or four. The other costs aren't relevant until two to three years down the line.

Have I missed something?

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby TheFriendlyBarber » Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:19 am

mrloblaw wrote:
TheFriendlyBarber wrote:
Somehow we've conceived of our world as one where not clerking and slacking are invariably linked.


Costs of clerking:

Opportunity costs - One year not practicing law, two years with less free time (gunning 2L/3L)
Monetary costs - One year with lower salary

Outside some super specialized career plan, the only thing I can think of that would be better to do in law school would be a semester internship or four. The other costs aren't relevant until two to three years down the line.

Have I missed something?


It doesn't need to be "super specialized." For transactional attorneys, one year at Wachtell, Cravath, etc is far more valuable than spending a year reviewing habeas petitions on the 8th Circuit. Similarly, for public interest-minded firms, a Skadden fellowship could very well be more disable than a clerkship on a court sitting in bankruptcy on the other side of the country. Point being, there are more variables at play than are captured by your current opportunity/monetary cost table. Clerking is a great option for many people, but it is not the be-all, end-all some people think it is.

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby mrloblaw » Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:46 am

TheFriendlyBarber wrote:
It doesn't need to be "super specialized." For transactional attorneys, one year at Wachtell, Cravath, etc is far more valuable than spending a year reviewing habeas petitions on the 8th Circuit. Similarly, for public interest-minded firms, a Skadden fellowship could very well be more disable than a clerkship on a court sitting in bankruptcy on the other side of the country. Point being, there are more variables at play than are captured by your current opportunity/monetary cost table. Clerking is a great option for many people, but it is not the be-all, end-all some people think it is.


Right. I assumed we were talking litigators, where the general idea I get from partners I speak to is "We'll love you if you leave for a year to clerk." I've only had one partner tell me that he'd prefer someone with an extra year of lit experience instead. For transactional attorneys, I don't know much except that the value of clerking is somewhat diminished. For PI lit, I know they like clerks, but I don't know how to weigh the merits of clerking against PI specific things.

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby pany1985 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 2:07 am

Clerking looks good on your resume. Also, there are probably some benefits to working closely with a judge and seeing the inner workings of a court. Plus, (this depends greatly on the particular judge) it could be a chance to work a normal 40 hour workweek instead of whatever hellish schedule might be required in Biglaw and still make 60k or so, which isn't an amazing salary for a lawyer but certainly isn't living in poverty.

I would assume the biggest potential upside is for students who didn't triumph at OCI and land a sweet SA gig and want to use a clerkship as a potential stepping stone to better post-clerkship career options.

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby r6_philly » Sat Sep 24, 2011 8:52 pm

I have met a handful of lawyers 15-30 years out of law school whose careers really impressed me, and almost every single one of the clerked. The ones who clerked highly value their clerkships, and the ones who didn't express regret that they didn't. I don't think I am knowledgeable enough to list all the benefits, but I will trust the recommendation from the same people whose careers I admire.

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby Magnificent » Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:05 pm

There are some jobs you simply can't get without a federal clerkship. Elite litigation firms like Susman, Kellog Huber, Bartlit Beck, plus W&C and MTO come to mind.

I guess if you know you want to do corporate and nothing else then maybe its not necessary. But even then, its always nice to have a clerkship on your resume because of the prestige. It can help you later on if you are looking to lateral to another firm since its considered prestigious.

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby foxtrottortxof » Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:06 pm

r6_philly wrote:I have met a handful of lawyers 15-30 years out of law school whose careers really impressed me, and almost every single one of the clerked. The ones who clerked highly value their clerkships, and the ones who didn't express regret that they didn't. I don't think I am knowledgeable enough to list all the benefits, but I will trust the recommendation from the same people whose careers I admire.


Correlation/causation alert, but I see your point.

In the end, if you're firm-bound, it really depends on whether you want to switch firms, or whether the firm you are going to views it as something very important. For example, my 1L SA firm thought it was super, super important, whereas my future 2L SA firm is much more "Good experience, but don't worry about it if it doesn't work out."

Also, note on the hours: they are easily considerably more than 40 hours, depending hugely on the judge, but just a word to the wise.

And don't discount going to clerk after working for a year or two or more--it happens more and more (and you generally get up to two years of class credit for your salary).

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby r6_philly » Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:28 pm

foxtrottortxof wrote:Correlation/causation alert, but I see your point.



I think we are all looking for correlations. Career causation is something maybe no one can prove/disprove. So in terms of guiding my career (aside from the strong hand of luck), I will have to use signs of correlation. And it's pretty strong because they can subjectively tell me the benefit of their clerkship - the biggest one seems to be, uniformly, their judges helped them land the positions they want after firm practice, either directly or indirectly. So I believe clerkship could be something that's still useful 5-10 years afterwards. Now if your firm pays clerkship bonuses, then the opportunity cost isn't so great. $30-60k v. having a federal judge as friend, mentor, and resource (granted, he/she has to like you) is a clearly cut decision, at least to me.

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby foxtrottortxof » Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:46 pm

r6_philly wrote:
foxtrottortxof wrote:Correlation/causation alert, but I see your point.



I think we are all looking for correlations. Career causation is something maybe no one can prove/disprove. So in terms of guiding my career (aside from the strong hand of luck), I will have to use signs of correlation. And it's pretty strong because they can subjectively tell me the benefit of their clerkship - the biggest one seems to be, uniformly, their judges helped them land the positions they want after firm practice, either directly or indirectly. So I believe clerkship could be something that's still useful 5-10 years afterwards. Now if your firm pays clerkship bonuses, then the opportunity cost isn't so great. $30-60k v. having a federal judge as friend, mentor, and resource (granted, he/she has to like you) is a clearly cut decision, at least to me.


I think we're actually looking for causation rather than correlation, since a sign of correlation could be that the awesomeness that got the clerkship was the awesomeness that propelled the career, making clerking irrelevant. I don't really care what clerks also do, I want to know what clerking does for them. But anyway, there still might be some causation in there, especially if they're pulling strings, though that is not something I've heard much about having talked to a ton of former clerks.

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby quiver » Sat Sep 24, 2011 11:54 pm

Everyone I every talked to who clerked (probably like 40-50 people; ~5 were transactional) said it was an amazing experience and many of them said it was the best job they ever had. Not a single negative comment about clerking.

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby TheFriendlyBarber » Sun Sep 25, 2011 12:33 am

I think everyone should clerk. Yes, everyone.

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby lzyovrachievr » Sun Sep 25, 2011 4:43 am

TheFriendlyBarber wrote:I think everyone should clerk. Yes, everyone.

Dean Revesz, is that you?

Sorry, maybe not. But NYU's dean just said that exactly about 3 weeks ago. (And he said it like it was something we would all have the opportunity to do but would somehow choose not to.)

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quiver
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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby quiver » Sun Sep 25, 2011 10:18 am

lzyovrachievr wrote:
TheFriendlyBarber wrote:I think everyone should clerk. Yes, everyone.

Dean Revesz, is that you?

Sorry, maybe not. But NYU's dean just said that exactly about 3 weeks ago. (And he said it like it was something we would all have the opportunity to do but would somehow choose not to.)

Yeah, that's the real problem. I don't doubt that tons of students would love to clerk (at least at the federal level) but the number of students who actually have a chance at a federal clerkship are minuscule compared to the overall law student population.

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby citydweller09 » Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:10 pm

I'm curious where people got the idea that clerking can be a "back door" to a big firm if one strikes out at OCI, because that doesn't make much (if any) logical sense. If someone doesn't have the credentials to get a firm job through OCI, it's highly unlikely that they'll be able to land any federal clerkship, let alone one prestigious enough to overcome whatever deficiencies they had that led to the strikeout in the first place. It certainly makes sense that getting a prestigious clerkship could help someone "trade up" to a better firm than what they got at OCI, but that's a different thing.

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby mrloblaw » Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:24 pm

citydweller09 wrote:I'm curious where people got the idea that clerking can be a "back door" to a big firm if one strikes out at OCI, because that doesn't make much (if any) logical sense. If someone doesn't have the credentials to get a firm job through OCI, it's highly unlikely that they'll be able to land any federal clerkship, let alone one prestigious enough to overcome whatever deficiencies they had that led to the strikeout in the first place. It certainly makes sense that getting a prestigious clerkship could help someone "trade up" to a better firm than what they got at OCI, but that's a different thing.


Clerkships look at two years of numbers (or three, if it's a post-employment clerkship); 2L SAs look at one year. Thus, for transfers from lower tiered schools or kids who sucked horribly during 1L (but somehow can bring grades up to something respectable), clerking can be a backdoor.

It's just not one you want to bet on if you don't have to.

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quiver
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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby quiver » Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:37 pm

mrloblaw wrote:
citydweller09 wrote:I'm curious where people got the idea that clerking can be a "back door" to a big firm if one strikes out at OCI, because that doesn't make much (if any) logical sense. If someone doesn't have the credentials to get a firm job through OCI, it's highly unlikely that they'll be able to land any federal clerkship, let alone one prestigious enough to overcome whatever deficiencies they had that led to the strikeout in the first place. It certainly makes sense that getting a prestigious clerkship could help someone "trade up" to a better firm than what they got at OCI, but that's a different thing.


Clerkships look at two years of numbers (or three, if it's a post-employment clerkship); 2L SAs look at one year. Thus, for transfers from lower tiered schools or kids who sucked horribly during 1L (but somehow can bring grades up to something respectable), clerking can be a backdoor.

It's just not one you want to bet on if you don't have to.
Yeah I agree. With the caveat that if someone sucks too horribly 1L year, they probably can't bring their grades up to the clerkship level. I think it more applies to borderline biglaw candidates who raise their grades. But yeah, I get your point; especially true with respect to transfers.

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Re: What's so great about clerking?

Postby jb9 » Sun Sep 25, 2011 7:00 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote: . . . and better litigation training than most first year associates get.

Not appellate clerkships.




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