Clerks Taking Questions

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Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:03 pm

3.7 after 1st semester at a top 10 school. I'm not sure at all where this puts me rank-wise (I'm guessing between top 10% and top 20%), but I'm highly interested in clerking. Is this good enough for CoA, fed district, both, neither?

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TTH
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby TTH » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:04 pm

When should someone take Fed Courts, prior to applying or can a lawl student take it 3L year?

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tgir
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby tgir » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:15 pm

What are typical ways that a resume stands out during the hiring process?

Do COA judges still hire many people at all straight out of law school? And if not, is law school --> district court --> COA a reasonable/common pathway?

spondee
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby spondee » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:17 pm

Did you take the bar exam where your judge sits?

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francisConn
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby francisConn » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:17 pm

Tag, for future reference.

Lasker
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Lasker » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:18 pm

Does strength of undergrad play any role in landing a clerkship? What non law school related factors (such as pre-law school, non-legal WE), if any, do judges typically take into consideration?

twistedwrister
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby twistedwrister » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:20 pm

Thanks for taking ??

I'm a 3L at NYU and will be clerking for the next few years (D. Ct. in 2011, semi-feeder 2/9/D.C. COA in 2012). What's one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you started clerking? Are you shooting for a SCOTUS clerkship? How do you know if you're competitive (or more relevant to me, how will I know if I'm competitive?)

Thanks again.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby vanwinkle » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:21 pm

Can you put in a good word for me with your judge?

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tgir
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby tgir » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:45 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
tgir wrote:What are typical ways that a resume stands out during the hiring process?
A non-exclusive list: outstanding grades (e.g., top 2-5% from a T14, maybe top 10% from a T3); LOR saying the candidate is among the best in his/her class AND WHY, or the best applicant from that school in years (for schools outside the T14); interesting prior work experience (e.g., military intelligence work in Iraq) ; phone call from professor.

Do COA judges still hire many people at all straight out of law school? And if not, is law school --> district court --> COA a reasonable/common pathway?

My judge definitely still hires straight from law school, although s/he also looks at people coming off of D. Ct. clerkships too. The latter are much less common, both because there are less of them and because few have the requisite credentials. In other words, most people in our hiring pool look to clerk at the CoA level straight out or not at all.

For those judges who want experience, LS --> D. Ct. --> CoA is a perfectly legit, perhaps even common approach. LS --> firm/gov --> CoA is too.


Thanks! Also, I love the avatar and user name--hilarious.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:09 pm

Any thoughts on what steps I should be taking toward a COA clerkship at this point?

What's the theory behind researching judges if one is open to applying (super) broadly? Suggestions on how to research? Thanks!
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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ggocat
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby ggocat » Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:21 pm

How many draft opinions do you write in a month? How many of those are based on a memo from central staff?

spondee
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby spondee » Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:36 pm

How important is LR senior board? I'm not really interested in the work. I'd rather focus on writing a second or third article and aim for additional publications.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:47 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Any thoughts on what steps I should be taking toward a COA clerkship at this point?

Congrats on kicking ass in law school thus far! You can improve an already very strong position by solidifying relationships with recommenders, talking about where to apply with profs + why you want to clerk, networking with alumni from your school who have clerked (or people at your summer jobs who did so), working on landing a LR board position, and getting your comment published are all important. Nailing spring exams, too, as most judges will hire after those grades come out.

What's the theory behind researching judges if one is open to applying (super) broadly? Suggestions on how to research? Thanks!

I think the theory comes down to preferences, fit, and selectivity. You want to aim high, but not too high, and apply broadly, but not too broadly. One guy in my class applied to a bunch of early judges, landed some interviews, and then regretted it, since he realized he was probably in the running for much more highly-regarded clerkships. You can't really apply early and then turn down interview offers, at least without good reason.

Finding the sweet spot in your specific case can be really tough. There is so little good information out there, and of course many clerkships are very similar to one another. But your recommenders can help you start to narrow the list down. If I were you, I'd start by ruling the top few feeders out--unless, that is, you move into the top 4-5 students in your class after spring term. Of course, by the time you get those grades many of them will have already hired. I would also rule out judges in areas where you just flat out aren't willing to live for a year. That might not be a long list, but it is worth making. At that point, you still have quite a few judges who remain possibilities. Talking with alumni can serve as a guide to highlight a few judges you might really like, or who you would rather not work for.

If you know you are interested in certain areas of the law, you might be able to find judges with similar interests just by searching around. If you have ties to a specific part of the country, you can look there. There's more to it, but it is hard to generalize without knowing more about why you want to clerk and what you want to do afterwards. Also note that due to the level of competition for CoA slots right now, your list will need to be substantially overinclusive, in the sense that many judges will fill some or all of their slots before your app even gets a look.

Wow, you just provided more useful information in a single post than my school's clerkship adviser has given me over the last year!

Any advice on going on-plan or off-plan? You sort of alluded to it in your post, but I'm not entirely clear on the ramifications. Is the only danger of going off-plan that I might end up having to accept an offer from a judge that is less well-regarded than others I may have had a shot with later?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:45 am

Thanks so much for this thread. I've gotten the impression that if you're not from a T10-20 school, getting a district court clerkship is a massive longshot no matter how good your credentials are, to the point that I'm even wondering if I should even bother applying this year, or just wait until after I've been working for a few years. I'm top 3% or so at a T50 school, EIC of LR, don't know yet if my note will be published. Thoughts?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:55 am

Assuming all else is equal between top applicants, would a judge care about having overcome personal adversity, e.g., a cancer diagnosis? Or would something like that be irrelevant or too personal? I am just wondering how to distinguish myself from other equally qualified applicants when the time comes.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:32 am

Rate my chances?

UCLA/UT 2L - Top 20%
Secondary Journal
Peace Corps/TFA Before LS
Nationally known DA Office 1L
Biglaw 2L
Will have one excellent rec and two mediocre ones.
Willing to work anywhere.

Any hope of landing a Dist Clerkship?

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prezidentv8
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby prezidentv8 » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:41 am

This might be a little outside of your expertise, but do you have any opinion on a bankruptcy or tax court clerkship?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:56 pm

I know that lots of firms are more than willing to help their 2L summer associates with the clerkship application process. What if, though, you are applying off-plan to judges who hire very early, that is, before or right around the time you go to work for your 2L summer firm. Is it weird to approach the firm for help then?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:14 pm

As long as you're doing chances.....mind chancing me?

GULC
Grades: ~ top 5% (a bunch of A+, which are still 4.0 here but look pretty on a transcript)
Journal: Secondary (no editor board)
LORs: 1 prof who really likes me + will make calls for me, 1 prof who will write a pretty good letter, and 1 from a V10 Partner
WE: Interesting, but not "prestigious: it just stands out on a resume (basically every interview I've had was almost exclusively about this job, since it's so rare for law students)

I'm shooting for District Court.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:55 pm

How are 2L grades considered in relation to 1L grades? My first year grades were good (around top 15% is my guess) but this first semester of 2L I have over a 4.0 a took all lecture classes, not seminars (think corps/admin/evidence type classes). I'm hoping this semester I can do almost as well (3.8+). I'm at CCNMVP w/o LR and will be mainly applying for d.ct. but hoping for an outside shot at a less competitive CoA.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:11 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:To the extent that judges/clerks differentiate between 1L and 2L grades, your 2L grades will probably weigh just as much as your 1L grades.


G. T. L. Rev. wrote:the lack of LR hurts. Even moreso if you're an xfer, since everyone knows it's easier to dominate 2L year than 1L.


Combining these two statements seems a bit odd.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:12 pm

Thanks for taking questions.

In your opinion, what makes the most effective writing sample?

I've heard various thoughts and some persons had recommended using orders drafted at a federal dist. ct. externship. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 02, 2011 12:02 am

Thanks so much for taking questions -- this is really helpful.

I have two questions... do you think top 20% at a T5 (plus non-LR journal) has any shot at a COA clerkship, or will my applications just get thrown out? and, when do clerkships generally begin?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 02, 2011 12:44 am

2L at HLS - not sure of ranking, but likely at least top 20% (7 H's 1L including a DS, 2 H's out of 3 courses from last semester)
Sadly no LR, but secondary journal
No significant WE before LS
One of the more prestigious USAO 1L summer
V5 2L summer gig
Will have one pretty strong rec from a very well-known professor, actively trying to cultivate other faculty recs this semester, though willing to rely on a fallback rec from a 2L summer employer

Aiming at SDNY, EDNY, D.Mass, D.D.C.
Any chance in hell at a non-feeder judge on 2/9/DC circuits?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 02, 2011 1:28 am

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:As far as timing goes, start dates vary. Some judges--particularly the feeders--start their clerks in May. I don't know why they do this, other than perhaps to have more time to get to know their clerks' work before the all-important fall SCOTUS hiring season. Most clerkships I am aware of start later, in August or September, after the bar exam. Sometimes the start date is negotiable, but in my chambers everyone starts on the same day.


Somewhat narrow question, but can you talk more about the SCOTUS hiring process? If you're interested in applying, do you apply the fall before the OT you want to clerk in? Two years before? Thanks!




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