Clerks Taking Questions

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
So the above quote is not true at HLS, but it still makes me wonder what the equivalent cutoffs are. What do people think is the grade distribution that is the minimum for a shot at feeder clerkship? All Hs and a smattering of DSs?

All or substantially all Hs *is* necessary for feeders from HLS. There may be a few exceptions, but in the main this is the case. The feeder candidates I have seen had ~90% Hs with 5+ DS.


How have you seen feeder candidates' transcripts? Not trolling; just genuinely asking. Because I can't imagine a lot of HLS feeder candidates bragging about their grades to people.

Come on. It does not take a lot of thought to determine how it was I saw the transcripts.

You are the clerkship adviser at HLS? You clerk for every feeder judge in the country? You are secretly Richard Posner? Was just asking.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:re SLS grades, I've never heard of a feeder judge requiring all Hs. I'm also (well, was also) a 3L at Stanford and I have heard that nobody in my class had all Hs. What I was told was that if you could count your Ps on one hand, you had a good shot at a feeder clerkship.


So the above quote is not true at HLS, but it still makes me wonder what the equivalent cutoffs are. What do people think is the grade distribution that is the minimum for a shot at feeder clerkship? All Hs and a smattering of DSs?

All or substantially all Hs *is* necessary for feeders from HLS. There may be a few exceptions, but in the main this is the case. The feeder candidates I have seen had ~90% Hs with 5+ DS.


How have you seen feeder candidates' transcripts? Not trolling; just genuinely asking. Because I can't imagine a lot of HLS feeder candidates bragging about their grades to people.


I'm assuming that poster clerks/clerked for a feeder (or really any COA judge in a coastal city). Unlike what the poster below suggested, there is massive overlap of clerkship applications between chambers.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:18 pm

how do letters of rec work - do professors just write a standard one to go to all judges?

Is a mail-merge version of a cover letter a good idea so its not personal at all? I will focus on ties where I have them - but for most of them I dont have ties.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:28 pm

Right. When I was clerking, we got huge numbers of HLS applications. My judge interviewed a few HLS students & explained his general cutoff for HLS applicants, developed over many years. He also indicated which other judges most frequently hired from the same group of people (similar grades, resume characteristics, etc.). This made it possible to come up with a basic idea of how many Hs is necessary.

There were other sources in addition to the judge's own hiring. Some applicants sent letters indicating they had accepted a clerkship with Judge X. In those cases, we saw the applicant's transcript and the name of the judge who hired them. Other times, my judge would call someone to offer an interview, only to hear that they had already accepted an offer with Judge X. Same deal. When another judge on the circuit hired someone, we occasionally heard about it later on. Most of the time, the person had applied to my judge as well. Also, a few of the people who had truly impressive HLS transcripts are currently clerking on SCOTUS (or will be next term).

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:how do letters of rec work - do professors just write a standard one to go to all judges?

Is a mail-merge version of a cover letter a good idea so its not personal at all? I will focus on ties where I have them - but for most of them I dont have ties.


Depends on the prof. Some prof's will customize letters if they know a judge or think a particular student would fit exceptionally well with a particular judge. Otherwise, it's standardized letter that's mail merged.

Mail merged cover letters are fine. Customizing is not really worth the time unless there is a really unique tie/something special for a given judge. Generally, though, you'd make far better use of your time applying more broadly than customizing letters.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby GeePee » Fri Jun 22, 2012 5:33 pm

Due to some part-user, part-system error, my course schedule for 3L is not full yet, and because of add/drop restrictions, it will not be full until late August. What is the best way to address this? Is this a clarification to be made on a cover letter?

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 22, 2012 6:32 pm

GeePee wrote:Due to some part-user, part-system error, my course schedule for 3L is not full yet, and because of add/drop restrictions, it will not be full until late August. What is the best way to address this? Is this a clarification to be made on a cover letter?

No need to say anything. But if you feel compelled to do so, just append something (short) to your transcript.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby traydeuce » Sat Jun 23, 2012 12:05 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Anyone feel like giving me odds on a CoA clerkship? (I am geographically flexible but would love 7th circuit or Midwest.)

- Top 5% (just over) at Cornell/GULC
- Senior Board on LR
- Solid, not spectacular recs (w/ phone calls)
- V10 SA
- No moot court

Better from Cornell than from GULC, if for no other reason than class size. At Cornell, top 5% is something on the order of top ten students; at GULC, it might be top 30 to 40 students depending on the number of evening and transfer students. GULC's clerkship placement has been pretty spotty lately, too -- at least relative to its rank.

Assuming Cornell, I think your chances are pretty good, provided (1) you apply very broadly; (2) you start applying RIGHT NOW and get your recommenders moving quickly; (3) you make intelligent use of the faculty calls; and (4) everything else about your application is strong (writing sample, etc.). You have already missed out on lots of COA judges by virtue of early 3L hiring and alumni hiring, but a fair number remain in play and a small number will still have most of their slots open in September. Networking with current and former clerks from your school is one of the best ways to work your way into an interview, so get on that immediately. If you follow this advice I think you are better than a 50% shot to land COA. Your odds in the Seventh Circuit are much lower, owing to the fact that some of the judges there are full (Posner, Easterbrook, Tinder) and others have no track record of hiring from your school.


Following up on this, if GULC, I give you about 25% odds or less. GULC placed about just 6 or 7 '12 grads in COA clerkships this year. Of course, the entire top 5% of the class didn't apply, but those who did get clerkships were closer to top 1% than top 5%.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 23, 2012 6:03 pm

traydeuce wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Anyone feel like giving me odds on a CoA clerkship? (I am geographically flexible but would love 7th circuit or Midwest.)

- Top 5% (just over) at Cornell/GULC
- Senior Board on LR
- Solid, not spectacular recs (w/ phone calls)
- V10 SA
- No moot court

Better from Cornell than from GULC, if for no other reason than class size. At Cornell, top 5% is something on the order of top ten students; at GULC, it might be top 30 to 40 students depending on the number of evening and transfer students. GULC's clerkship placement has been pretty spotty lately, too -- at least relative to its rank.

Assuming Cornell, I think your chances are pretty good, provided (1) you apply very broadly; (2) you start applying RIGHT NOW and get your recommenders moving quickly; (3) you make intelligent use of the faculty calls; and (4) everything else about your application is strong (writing sample, etc.). You have already missed out on lots of COA judges by virtue of early 3L hiring and alumni hiring, but a fair number remain in play and a small number will still have most of their slots open in September. Networking with current and former clerks from your school is one of the best ways to work your way into an interview, so get on that immediately. If you follow this advice I think you are better than a 50% shot to land COA. Your odds in the Seventh Circuit are much lower, owing to the fact that some of the judges there are full (Posner, Easterbrook, Tinder) and others have no track record of hiring from your school.


Following up on this, if GULC, I give you about 25% odds or less. GULC placed about just 6 or 7 '12 grads in COA clerkships this year. Of course, the entire top 5% of the class didn't apply, but those who did get clerkships were closer to top 1% than top 5%.


Holy crap. Is that including '12 folks who have 2013-2014 clerkships lined up?

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby GeePee » Sat Jun 23, 2012 6:05 pm

traydeuce wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Anyone feel like giving me odds on a CoA clerkship? (I am geographically flexible but would love 7th circuit or Midwest.)

- Top 5% (just over) at Cornell/GULC
- Senior Board on LR
- Solid, not spectacular recs (w/ phone calls)
- V10 SA
- No moot court

Better from Cornell than from GULC, if for no other reason than class size. At Cornell, top 5% is something on the order of top ten students; at GULC, it might be top 30 to 40 students depending on the number of evening and transfer students. GULC's clerkship placement has been pretty spotty lately, too -- at least relative to its rank.

Assuming Cornell, I think your chances are pretty good, provided (1) you apply very broadly; (2) you start applying RIGHT NOW and get your recommenders moving quickly; (3) you make intelligent use of the faculty calls; and (4) everything else about your application is strong (writing sample, etc.). You have already missed out on lots of COA judges by virtue of early 3L hiring and alumni hiring, but a fair number remain in play and a small number will still have most of their slots open in September. Networking with current and former clerks from your school is one of the best ways to work your way into an interview, so get on that immediately. If you follow this advice I think you are better than a 50% shot to land COA. Your odds in the Seventh Circuit are much lower, owing to the fact that some of the judges there are full (Posner, Easterbrook, Tinder) and others have no track record of hiring from your school.


Following up on this, if GULC, I give you about 25% odds or less. GULC placed about just 6 or 7 '12 grads in COA clerkships this year. Of course, the entire top 5% of the class didn't apply, but those who did get clerkships were closer to top 1% than top 5%.

Wow. Those are some pretty pathetic placement stats.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 26, 2012 12:22 pm

Rather than litter the forum with chances threads, this seemed more appropriate. I'm pretty pessimistic about my chances but I figured I'd ask. Shooting mostly for District Courts, and prefer 2014-15 to 2013-14, although will apply broadly to both. Will also apply to COA, but given my preference for district courts I'll probably only be applying down the east coast.

Relevant details:
- HLS 2L, 12H/5P, no DS
- One of HLAB/BSA (not sure if either matters or which)
- Fairly strong recommendations (1 from professor for whom I TA'ed/RA'ed who seems willing to make a couple of calls)
- 2L SA at NY office of strong lit firm
- Only really have NY ties, throughout the state

Not sure how my application will stand out of the pile. May possibly have something published eventually, but not far enough along submission process yet to say either way. Is there any other way at this point to increase odds? Working on developing relationships at my firm but not sure anything will come of them at this point.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Rather than litter the forum with chances threads, this seemed more appropriate. I'm pretty pessimistic about my chances but I figured I'd ask. Shooting mostly for District Courts, and prefer 2014-15 to 2013-14, although will apply broadly to both. Will also apply to COA, but given my preference for district courts I'll probably only be applying down the east coast.

Relevant details:
- HLS 2L, 12H/5P, no DS
- One of HLAB/BSA (not sure if either matters or which)
- Fairly strong recommendations (1 from professor for whom I TA'ed/RA'ed who seems willing to make a couple of calls)
- 2L SA at NY office of strong lit firm
- Only really have NY ties, throughout the state

Not sure how my application will stand out of the pile. May possibly have something published eventually, but not far enough along submission process yet to say either way. Is there any other way at this point to increase odds? Working on developing relationships at my firm but not sure anything will come of them at this point.


COA will be very difficult, but not impossible if you can get in a few well-placed calls from faculty. I know of some recent HLS graduates who landed COA w/ similar stats. A major east coast COA may be out of the picture, though.

Your chances at district courts are better, though by no means a lock. When I applied 3L fall, I had 11H/6P, but two of those H's were DS. Ended up w/ a handful of major city district court interviews, but nothing panned out. HLAB/BSA should provide a boost, but probably not a big one. I was on the board of a secondary journal, so that's probably comparable. Honestly, I'm not even sure why my applications were pulled from the piles. Nothing terribly unique about my resume, though one CD Cal judge mentioned that he placed some weight on the fact that one of my DS was in contracts...?

I applied again during spring of 3L and landed a major district court (following a strong 3L fall). Off-cycle applications will definitely treat you more kindly, as there are fewer apps competing against yours, and many judges prefer alumni applicants.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:20 pm

GTL can you (or anyone) give me an idea of what proportion of feeders do their hiring during 2L Spring? I've looked through Clerkship Scramble (which is an awesome resource btw, so thanks a lot) and the comments beneath the hiring pages, but I'm just trying to get a fuller picture. Would you say something like a third of feeders are done by late Spring 2L year? Half? More???

I'm a rising 2L with very competitive grades but really no prospective recommenders, and I'm wondering if I should load up on seminars on top of my black-letter lectures this Fall to try and build faculty relationships before the Spring. The obvious downside would be carrying the max credit load, making it potentially more difficult to maintain my grades. But I'm worried that if I only develop one relationship this Fall and wait to the Spring to develop another, I'll be too late for most feeders. Thoughts?

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:42 pm

Can someone talk a little bit about State Supreme Court clerkships? Specifically, I was wondering

(1) Whether they are useful as launching pads to a COA clerkship (or if they are specifically looking for district court experience)
(2) How they generally rank presige-wise (for example, is a larger-state clerkship (say, Texas) more impressive than a district court clerkship in North Dakota? Or is any fed clerkship > any state clerkship?)
(3) More generally, whether they are useful for going into biglaw litigation

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:39 pm

Curious as to my chances for anything in CA (preferably San Francisco or Los Angeles) and for anything on the 9th Circuit.

Stanford, 1 prize, 11 Hs, 7 Ps, 2 not yet received, 4 mandatory pass. No law review. Profs will make calls.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:23 am

Anonymous User wrote:Curious as to my chances for anything in CA (preferably San Francisco or Los Angeles) and for anything on the 9th Circuit.

Stanford, 1 prize, 11 Hs, 7 Ps, 2 not yet received, 4 mandatory pass. No law review. Profs will make calls.


Former 9th Circuit clerk here (not SF/LA). Unfortunately, no law review and >2-3 Ps would not get you a second look in our chambers unless someone like Pam Karlan or Judge McConnell made a very supportive phone call. It's a tough clerkship market out there.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:09 am

What do you all think about Judge Kozinski's continuing viability as a feeder? I have heard mixed things as the Court has changed composition.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:46 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Curious as to my chances for anything in CA (preferably San Francisco or Los Angeles) and for anything on the 9th Circuit.

Stanford, 1 prize, 11 Hs, 7 Ps, 2 not yet received, 4 mandatory pass. No law review. Profs will make calls.


Former 9th Circuit clerk here (not SF/LA). Unfortunately, no law review and >2-3 Ps would not get you a second look in our chambers unless someone like Pam Karlan or Judge McConnell made a very supportive phone call. It's a tough clerkship market out there.


I'm a fellow SLS clerkship applicant. You may have a decent shot in LA with a call or two from profs. NDCA is nearly impossible- if you don't have particular connections then you're pretty much out of luck for the few spots left. There are more spots in CDCA, but I'm less plugged into that market. I'd think you could swing one of those judges though, because your grades aren't bad at all (although I do think the rest of your application would need to be quite strong). SDCA is pretty competitive as well, although not quite as crazy as NDCA or CDCA, and there are some great judges there. I'd guess that EDCA is a little insular and tough to crack unless one of your profs knows one of the judges, but I really don't know.

I agree that 9th Cir in CA is out. You may have a shot at some of the other 9th Circuit judges, and there are some awesome ones (Judge Thomas for example).

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:11 pm

Currently a fed mag clerk. TT, median grades, no LR. Planning on applying to District Judge clerkships after my term is up. Just having clerked for a mag is probably not enough to give me even a fighting chance at biglaw. But I'm curious how much a DJ clerkship would improve my chances? Would that be enough to overcome my crappy grades? Any clerks out there have any thoughts or advice? Thanks!

This is a repost from here: http://top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=187867

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:15 pm

A few questions.

1. About 4-5 pages back, GTL said not to call judges just because you're in the city. Someone posted a little later giving a slightly more nuanced answer. I guess my question is, does it matter where the clerkship is located? For example, let's say... one of the COA judges in Alaska. I believe Kleinfeld generally only interviews when he's in San Francisco, and I believe Christen was willing to do interviews via videoconference for her first round of clerkships, but would giving a call be (un)advisable if I'm going to be in Anchorage/Fairbanks for other, personal reasons (not for another clerkship interview)?

2. If I am already doing a district court clerkship, would doing a second one reflect badly on my resume in the future? The first one is in a flyover district with a great judge to work for; the second one would be in a highly competitive district, in which I'd like to work later on, and the judge hears a significant number of cases that would be highly relevant to my desired practice area.

3. Finally, it's generally accepted that a call from a recommender/professor is highly desirable. I've read through the last ~10 pages or so, but feel like I should still ask (a) whether it's still desirable to have someone call when you're an alumni applicant and not a 2/3L, and (b) how have you guys asked your professors to make a call? Is it basically just "hey, I'm applying to x clerkships, I was wondering if you would be willing to make a few calls on my behalf" even if they didn't clerk for those judges? (I think) I have a pretty good relationship with the particular professors that I'm thinking of asking to put in a call, but I'm always afraid of asking for such help. Just a personal thing.

Edit and addition to 3: Is there a practical limit to how many professors/recommenders you should have calling a judge (like, 1)? I'd assume you wouldn't want to annoy the crap out of them by having a million people call about you, but it just randomly popped into my head right after I posted, since the last paragraph I wrote mentions professors (plural).

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:A few questions.

1. About 4-5 pages back, GTL said not to call judges just because you're in the city. Someone posted a little later giving a slightly more nuanced answer. I guess my question is, does it matter where the clerkship is located? For example, let's say... one of the COA judges in Alaska. I believe Kleinfeld generally only interviews when he's in San Francisco, and I believe Christen was willing to do interviews via videoconference for her first round of clerkships, but would giving a call be (un)advisable if I'm going to be in Anchorage/Fairbanks for other, personal reasons (not for another clerkship interview)?


I can only speak to my experience with this. I called one judge to let him/her know that I would be in the city in which he/she sits. I didn't have another interview in that city. It worked for this judge, but some may not be so receptive.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 29, 2012 2:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:1. About 4-5 pages back, GTL said not to call judges just because you're in the city. Someone posted a little later giving a slightly more nuanced answer. I guess my question is, does it matter where the clerkship is located? For example, let's say... one of the COA judges in Alaska. I believe Kleinfeld generally only interviews when he's in San Francisco, and I believe Christen was willing to do interviews via videoconference for her first round of clerkships, but would giving a call be (un)advisable if I'm going to be in Anchorage/Fairbanks for other, personal reasons (not for another clerkship interview)?


I was in a similar predicament (had to be in a city but not for another interview) and did get to schedule an interview after calling chambers and asking if I could set something up while I was there. I doubt calling and asking generally if she would be open to interview someone while in town on date X would be problematic. Worse comes to worst, you find out that the answer is no.

Anonymous User wrote:2. If I am already doing a district court clerkship, would doing a second one reflect badly on my resume in the future? The first one is in a flyover district with a great judge to work for; the second one would be in a highly competitive district, in which I'd like to work later on, and the judge hears a significant number of cases that would be highly relevant to my desired practice area.


I would think not, especially if both are only for one year.

Anonymous User wrote:3. Finally, it's generally accepted that a call from a recommender/professor is highly desirable. I've read through the last ~10 pages or so, but feel like I should still ask (a) whether it's still desirable to have someone call when you're an alumni applicant and not a 2/3L, and (b) how have you guys asked your professors to make a call? Is it basically just "hey, I'm applying to x clerkships, I was wondering if you would be willing to make a few calls on my behalf" even if they didn't clerk for those judges? (I think) I have a pretty good relationship with the particular professors that I'm thinking of asking to put in a call, but I'm always afraid of asking for such help. Just a personal thing.
Edit and addition to 3: Is there a practical limit to how many professors/recommenders you should have calling a judge (like, 1)? I'd assume you wouldn't want to annoy the crap out of them by having a million people call about you, but it just randomly popped into my head right after I posted, since the last paragraph I wrote mentions professors (plural).


Did you just graduate this year, or have you been working for a while? If the latter, the best advice I can give you, particularly at the district level, is to try to find someone you've worked with who knows the judge(s) you're targeting to put in a call for you. Unless the profs who are willing to go to bat for you are big names, I think a good word from a well-regarded local practitioner could get you further. As for how many, I think one should be enough to do the trick.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 29, 2012 2:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:1. About 4-5 pages back, GTL said not to call judges just because you're in the city. Someone posted a little later giving a slightly more nuanced answer. I guess my question is, does it matter where the clerkship is located? For example, let's say... one of the COA judges in Alaska. I believe Kleinfeld generally only interviews when he's in San Francisco, and I believe Christen was willing to do interviews via videoconference for her first round of clerkships, but would giving a call be (un)advisable if I'm going to be in Anchorage/Fairbanks for other, personal reasons (not for another clerkship interview)?


It depends. Are you within spitting distance of getting an interview based on your qualifications, and not just geographical serendipity? My 9th Circuit judge (not nearly as remote as Alaska, but in a city that is out of the way for most applicants) would grant such an interview only if the applicant were already on the clerks' radar as a good prospect, or if a friend/colleague recommended the applicant. Federal judges are busy people and don't want to waste their time on interviewing tourists. You have to come up with something better than "I'm in town" to get your foot in the door someplace as competitive as the 9th Circuit.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:1. About 4-5 pages back, GTL said not to call judges just because you're in the city. Someone posted a little later giving a slightly more nuanced answer. I guess my question is, does it matter where the clerkship is located? For example, let's say... one of the COA judges in Alaska. I believe Kleinfeld generally only interviews when he's in San Francisco, and I believe Christen was willing to do interviews via videoconference for her first round of clerkships, but would giving a call be (un)advisable if I'm going to be in Anchorage/Fairbanks for other, personal reasons (not for another clerkship interview)?


It depends. Are you within spitting distance of getting an interview based on your qualifications, and not just geographical serendipity? My 9th Circuit judge (not nearly as remote as Alaska, but in a city that is out of the way for most applicants) would grant such an interview only if the applicant were already on the clerks' radar as a good prospect, or if a friend/colleague recommended the applicant. Federal judges are busy people and don't want to waste their time on interviewing tourists. You have to come up with something better than "I'm in town" to get your foot in the door someplace as competitive as the 9th Circuit.


I'm the anonymous from above who said I called a judge to let him/her know I'd be in town. I'm not sure I agree 100% with the quoted post. On the one hand, the call will only be effective if you are competitive for the job--judges aren't interested in "interviewing tourists." On the other hand, if you have reasonably good qualifications but the judge is a reach, then unless you have a separate connection to work later in the process with that judge, then you have very little to lose.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 29, 2012 8:43 pm

Hey GTL I'm wondering what effect impressive work history can have on clerkship chances. Imagine really top firms and government internships. Does that help a candidate with decent numbers (top 10-15% at T6)?




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