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?