Clerks Taking Questions

Seek and share information about clerkship applications, clerkship hiring timelines, and post-clerkship employment opportunities.
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theaccidentalclerk
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby theaccidentalclerk » Fri May 11, 2012 6:21 pm

What exactly could be different in 10 years with the clerkship than without
Are you referring to partnership chances


First, you'll effectively be closing certain career doors -- academia, USAO, etc. And if your grades are good enough that you can be confident of landing a clerkship ITE, those very easily could be options.

Second, in certain niche practice areas, a lot of attorneys look down on colleagues who didn't clerk. No, they're not big areas, but they tend to be disproportionately fun.

Third, a temporary one or two year job in a random city is much easier to swing when you are 25 and just out of law school. It can be very disruptive when you are 30 with a spouse and a kid and a house and a midlevel associate job.

theaccidentalclerk
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby theaccidentalclerk » Fri May 11, 2012 6:24 pm

Do you mean applying as an alum is easier logistically, or easier to actually land a clerkship?


The latter. Actually applying as an alum is probably a little more inconvenient because (1) you aren't on campus to ask for recs (and profs will be less likely to remember you), and (2) it can be difficult to identify the judges who prefer alums (though I think OSCAR is going to be modified to make this easier this time around).

vegeta
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby vegeta » Sat May 12, 2012 1:19 pm

Thanks for all the advice guys. I thought I would post a question here that I made in another thread since that one didn't get any responses.

--


I was wondering if anyone has either done this or might have some insight into the process. I was thinking of clerking for a state court of appeals judge and then applying/clerking for a federal district judge. All my applications currently are for federal district court judges, but the idea of clerking for a state judge started to interest me, too. Thoughts on this? Is that possible? I tried searching the internet through a quick google search but didn't see anyone talking about it.

I'd love to clerk for a federal judge, but my grades are about top 25-30%, and I know it'll be tough. So I was thinking of going that state court to federal court route. Any other advice that you think would be helpful I would appreciate, too! Thanks.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 12, 2012 5:05 pm

Out of idle curiosity. Hypothetically, let's say someone was on LR (but not a board member) while in school, and went DA (or possibly DA-> Mid/BigLaw.) Would it be absurd if the lawyer tried to get a federal DCT clerkship? This person had grades that would not even get a clerkship interview straight out of law school.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 16, 2012 12:11 pm

When do alumni clerkship interviews happen? I'm a graduating law student applying for a clerkship in Fall of 2013 (mostly in flyover areas).

theaccidentalclerk
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby theaccidentalclerk » Wed May 16, 2012 12:49 pm

They can happen at any time. But most seem to occur in June through August, probably because most clerkships start in late August/early September, so that's about the time when judges start thinking about clerk hiring.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 16, 2012 12:57 pm

I have yet to get my spring grades back, but I expect to have around a 3.5 from M. From what I gathered this more or less forecloses the possibility of a CoA clerkship (fed.). Gradewise am I in decent shape for a federal district court clerkship?

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Tangerine Gleam
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Tangerine Gleam » Wed May 16, 2012 2:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I have yet to get my spring grades back, but I expect to have around a 3.5 from M. From what I gathered this more or less forecloses the possibility of a CoA clerkship (fed.). Gradewise am I in decent shape for a federal district court clerkship?


Where does that put you, rank-wise? I'm at a "peer" school, and we're told that you have to be top 25% to have any shot at district court clerkships.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 16, 2012 2:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I have yet to get my spring grades back, but I expect to have around a 3.5 from M. From what I gathered this more or less forecloses the possibility of a CoA clerkship (fed.). Gradewise am I in decent shape for a federal district court clerkship?


Assuming that's top 25%, it gives you a longshot at less competitive districts, odds are slightly improved if you have connections to flyover districts. I think nowadays, from MVP - top5%=strong shot at COA and top10%=strong shot at federal district.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 16, 2012 2:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have yet to get my spring grades back, but I expect to have around a 3.5 from M. From what I gathered this more or less forecloses the possibility of a CoA clerkship (fed.). Gradewise am I in decent shape for a federal district court clerkship?


Assuming that's top 25%, it gives you a longshot at less competitive districts, odds are slightly improved if you have connections to flyover districts. I think nowadays, from MVP - top5%=strong shot at COA and top10%=strong shot at federal district.


around top quarter. I expect to end up somewhere between a 3.5 and a 3.6...but could well end up with a fucking 3.49....time will tell.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 17, 2012 8:51 am

Anonymous User wrote:I have yet to get my spring grades back, but I expect to have around a 3.5 from M. From what I gathered this more or less forecloses the possibility of a CoA clerkship (fed.). Gradewise am I in decent shape for a federal district court clerkship?


Check out M's clerkship GPA tracker. Plenty of people get district level clerkships with sub 3.5, and some get COA as well. I think you might do well to apply, or if need be re-apply, after a year or two of work experience, by which time you'll presumably have practitioners who can vouch for you with judges they know.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 18, 2012 10:02 pm

I'll be clerking for the next two years for the same court and then going on the job hunt. Hoping to work biglaw. I'm at a T10. I had decent grades overall (honors) but received a single B- this semester which is obviously a red flag. How much do firms weigh grades in the post-clerk job hunt against versus, say, the court or the specific judge's recommendation?

vegeta
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby vegeta » Fri May 18, 2012 10:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have yet to get my spring grades back, but I expect to have around a 3.5 from M. From what I gathered this more or less forecloses the possibility of a CoA clerkship (fed.). Gradewise am I in decent shape for a federal district court clerkship?


Check out M's clerkship GPA tracker. Plenty of people get district level clerkships with sub 3.5, and some get COA as well. I think you might do well to apply, or if need be re-apply, after a year or two of work experience, by which time you'll presumably have practitioners who can vouch for you with judges they know.


Sorry if I'm ignorant, but what is "M"? Really appreciate it.

Citizen Genet
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Citizen Genet » Sat May 19, 2012 12:06 am

vegeta wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have yet to get my spring grades back, but I expect to have around a 3.5 from M. From what I gathered this more or less forecloses the possibility of a CoA clerkship (fed.). Gradewise am I in decent shape for a federal district court clerkship?


Check out M's clerkship GPA tracker. Plenty of people get district level clerkships with sub 3.5, and some get COA as well. I think you might do well to apply, or if need be re-apply, after a year or two of work experience, by which time you'll presumably have practitioners who can vouch for you with judges they know.


Sorry if I'm ignorant, but what is "M"? Really appreciate it.


Michigan.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 21, 2012 6:26 pm

Is it appropriate to parlay interview offers when you're an alum and applying off-plan? Or is parlaying something that is only appropriate for for on-plan clerkship applications?

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 21, 2012 6:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Is it appropriate to parlay interview offers when you're an alum and applying off-plan? Or is parlaying something that is only appropriate for for on-plan clerkship applications?

Parlaying usually is appropriate off-plan. Your success rate may be lower, as some judges are not yet underway, but the inquiry itself is just as acceptable now as it is in September. In general, you should only try to parlay with judges to whom you have already applied.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 23, 2012 1:39 pm

Has anyone ever heard of judges actually calling letter of recommendation writers? I have one professor who offered to write that I know will write a brilliant letter but is extremely awkward to speak to--so awkward that the sincerity of his letter may be put into question after talking to him on the phone.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 23, 2012 4:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Has anyone ever heard of judges actually calling letter of recommendation writers? I have one professor who offered to write that I know will write a brilliant letter but is extremely awkward to speak to--so awkward that the sincerity of his letter may be put into question after talking to him on the phone.


There are several situations in which a judge would call a recommender (I have seen all of these while clerking for a COA judge). First, a 2L applying off plan might not be allowed to send official letters, in which case the judge would call the recommenders. Second, a judge trying to rank candidates from the same school might call a recommender they have in common. Third, a judge who knows the recommender personally might call both to shoot the breeze and to ask about the applicant.

That said, it wasn't very common for my judge to initiate calls except if he was really on the fence about someone or had concerns from the interview. I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 23, 2012 8:18 pm

How important are clerkship interviews? Do judges often have certain candidates they plan to hire based on their applications/the strength of their recommendations going into the interview, or is it basically a free for all among people who have interviews?

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 23, 2012 10:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:How important are clerkship interviews? Do judges often have certain candidates they plan to hire based on their applications/the strength of their recommendations going into the interview, or is it basically a free for all among people who have interviews?

Varies by judge. Some do the former, some the latter.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 23, 2012 11:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:How important are clerkship interviews? Do judges often have certain candidates they plan to hire based on their applications/the strength of their recommendations going into the interview, or is it basically a free for all among people who have interviews?


In my experience as a COA clerk, when you are invited for an interview, the job is presumptively yours, but it is surprisingly easy to blow it. We had a string of #1s and EICs come through our chambers and leave emptyhanded. Why? Maybe they were so socially awkward such that the clerks did not want to inflict that person on future co-clerks. Maybe they couldn't intelligently discuss their writing sample or even name any recent Supreme Court decisions. Maybe they were rude to the JA, who had veto power in our chambers.

That said, if you came into our chambers and were relatively clean cut, pleasant, and could say a few intelligent things about the law, you would get the job. It's mindblowing how few people with stellar resumes and recs fit those criteria.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 24, 2012 12:56 am

Based on personal experience, I would suggest that this is NOT necessarily the pattern that holds for district court judges. Having gotten several interviews in competitive districts last fall (but ultimately striking out), it seems like most district court judges interview at least 5-6 people for every spot they have, which is typically 2. I consider myself a fairly sociable person who can hold a conversation with strangers fairly easily, and my interviews were definitely strong. That said, my sense was that I was still passed over because the judges had essentially already ranked the candidates beforehand and that others higher up on the list (based on grades/recs) got the spots because they too had good interviews.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 24, 2012 3:45 pm

Are calls to judges from politicians a pro or a con? My family has close ties with both a (national) congressman and senator from our state who are willing to make calls to a (newly appted) COA judge from the same state on my behalf. They're of the same political leaning. I'm hesitant, however, since I know that judges like to distance themselves from the political process.

GTL: Your input on this one would be especially appreciated

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 24, 2012 5:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Are calls to judges from politicians a pro or a con? My family has close ties with both a (national) congressman and senator from our state who are willing to make calls to a (newly appted) COA judge from the same state on my behalf. They're of the same political leaning. I'm hesitant, however, since I know that judges like to distance themselves from the political process.

GTL: Your input on this one would be especially appreciated


Have you already interviewed with this judge? If not, and unless the congressman and senator knoww you well personally, I think you'd do a lot better by having a partner or prof well-regarded in the community put in a call.

N.B. I'm not GTL but did get an offer from a recent COA appointee and used this method to help get a foot in the door.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 24, 2012 5:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Are calls to judges from politicians a pro or a con? My family has close ties with both a (national) congressman and senator from our state who are willing to make calls to a (newly appted) COA judge from the same state on my behalf. They're of the same political leaning. I'm hesitant, however, since I know that judges like to distance themselves from the political process.

GTL: Your input on this one would be especially appreciated


Have you already interviewed with this judge? If not, and unless the congressman and senator knoww you well personally, I think you'd do a lot better by having a partner or prof well-regarded in the community put in a call.

N.B. I'm not GTL but did get an offer from a recent COA appointee and used this method to help get a foot in the door.


Thanks! No, I do not have an interview yet so figured it might help me get a foot in the door. They know me well enough that they could at least speak to some of my credentials, so it might be worth the shot. I just didn't know if the judge would view it as putting political pressure on him.




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