Clerks Taking Questions

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:53 pm

apparentlynew wrote:Most recent anon: thank you for your responses.

I am sure the professor phone call works differently depending on the judge and the professor, but in your experience, when did your professor make the call? After you had all your materials ready for the judge's consideration? How much of your application did you have prepared before you broached the phone-call topic with your professor?

Same questions for LOR, too.


On-plan -- between the time the plan applications were released and when interviews were scheduled (the Tuesday through Thursday after Labor Day). I have no idea how it would work off-plan because my timing wasn't quite right, but I imagine the safe bet would be to ask them to call after you've sent your materials (so it would be easy to have the secretary pull out the application from the pile or look out for it in the mail).

My applications were pretty much done and ready to go in the hopper before I met with the prof. re: phone calls. Best to give as much advance notice as possible -- maybe broach the subject with them about a month or so out and see if they're willing, and say you'll follow up with further details once you have a better idea as to how calls should be done and who they should call. Also, it's entirely possible that your prof. has experience calling judges or does this quite often, so whatever he/she says obviously supersedes this advice.

Same for LORs, I would maybe give them about a month or month-and-a-half's worth of notice to ask for LORs. Your CDO might also have a standardized procedure for getting faculty LORs, so that obviously trumps all else.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby apparentlynew » Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:35 pm

Do you have any sense if more LORs are generally better? I know the content of the LOR matters a lot - but if you can find four professors who can and will write meaningful & positive LORs, is that a good idea? Or might a judge consider that overkill? What about five LORs, or six?

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:51 pm

apparentlynew wrote:Do you have any sense if more LORs are generally better? I know the content of the LOR matters a lot - but if you can find four professors who can and will write meaningful & positive LORs, is that a good idea? Or might a judge consider that overkill? What about five LORs, or six?


I would say just stick with what the judge asks for -- if the judge asks for two, send two. Three, send three, etc.

apparentlynew
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby apparentlynew » Wed Aug 01, 2012 4:00 pm

Do you know of judges who prefer (or even require) that a candidate have more than one substantial piece of legal academic writing?

Can you provide any sense of the kind of rough GPA cutoffs that your judge, or judges you know of, use for CCN students? Is the cutoff higher for non-LR students, and if so, how much higher? I know this is difficult to gauge because LORs and especially phone calls can mend many shortcomings, but I am just looking for a sense. The more specific you can be about the Judge, the better, of course.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby lolwat » Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:30 pm

Do you know of judges who prefer (or even require) that a candidate have more than one substantial piece of legal academic writing?


Some judges require 2 writing samples, if that's what you're asking.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby madame defarge » Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:31 pm

apparentlynew wrote:Do you have any sense if more LORs are generally better? I know the content of the LOR matters a lot - but if you can find four professors who can and will write meaningful & positive LORs, is that a good idea? Or might a judge consider that overkill? What about five LORs, or six?


apparentlynew wrote:Do you know of judges who prefer (or even require) that a candidate have more than one substantial piece of legal academic writing?


The standard clerkship application consists of a brief cover letter, a resume, law school transcript, 10-15 page writing sample, and three letters of recommendation. If a judge wants something extra, you will see this in his/her OSCAR profile. Generally speaking, going above and beyond is going to bite you in the butt. I remember one person who submitted 5-6 LORs, and several of them were one-paragraph generic statements that made us clerks seriously question the candidate's judgment. Go for quality, not quantity.

apparentlynew wrote:Can you provide any sense of the kind of rough GPA cutoffs that your judge, or judges you know of, use for CCN students? Is the cutoff higher for non-LR students, and if so, how much higher? I know this is difficult to gauge because LORs and especially phone calls can mend many shortcomings, but I am just looking for a sense. The more specific you can be about the Judge, the better, of course.


I think you are overestimating the value of LORs/phone calls. What they can do is get your app pulled from a stack of similarly qualified applicants, but they will not erase a bad transcript or lack of law review. A judge's cutoff for your school will depend heavily on what kind of judge you're interested in. A COA judge can demand top 5%, or even top 10 in the class. My own COA judge hired only from one of the three CCN schools and required top 5% plus law review. You should ask your school's clerkship office for stats on applicants who were hired in the districts/circuits you are interested in.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:06 pm

madame defarge wrote:
apparentlynew wrote:Do you have any sense if more LORs are generally better? I know the content of the LOR matters a lot - but if you can find four professors who can and will write meaningful & positive LORs, is that a good idea? Or might a judge consider that overkill? What about five LORs, or six?


apparentlynew wrote:Do you know of judges who prefer (or even require) that a candidate have more than one substantial piece of legal academic writing?


The standard clerkship application consists of a brief cover letter, a resume, law school transcript, 10-15 page writing sample, and three letters of recommendation. If a judge wants something extra, you will see this in his/her OSCAR profile. Generally speaking, going above and beyond is going to bite you in the butt. I remember one person who submitted 5-6 LORs, and several of them were one-paragraph generic statements that made us clerks seriously question the candidate's judgment. Go for quality, not quantity.

apparentlynew wrote:Can you provide any sense of the kind of rough GPA cutoffs that your judge, or judges you know of, use for CCN students? Is the cutoff higher for non-LR students, and if so, how much higher? I know this is difficult to gauge because LORs and especially phone calls can mend many shortcomings, but I am just looking for a sense. The more specific you can be about the Judge, the better, of course.


I think you are overestimating the value of LORs/phone calls. What they can do is get your app pulled from a stack of similarly qualified applicants, but they will not erase a bad transcript or lack of law review. A judge's cutoff for your school will depend heavily on what kind of judge you're interested in. A COA judge can demand top 5%, or even top 10 in the class. My own COA judge hired only from one of the three CCN schools and required top 5% plus law review. You should ask your school's clerkship office for stats on applicants who were hired in the districts/circuits you are interested in.


For schools that don't do ranking/percentiles (if these schools are even considered by your judge), what GPA have you seen qualify as top 5% at a school with a typical curve? I am ~3.9 at a mid T14 and have basically been told by my career services office that clerkships are entirely arbitrary and based on calls and connections (they also have not given me information about GPA's of past applicants despite asking) - does this sound accurate?

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby madame defarge » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:55 pm

madame defarge wrote:For schools that don't do ranking/percentiles (if these schools are even considered by your judge), what GPA have you seen qualify as top 5% at a school with a typical curve? I am ~3.9 at a mid T14 and have basically been told by my career services office that clerkships are entirely arbitrary and based on calls and connections (they also have not given me information about GPA's of past applicants despite asking) - does this sound accurate?


A 3.9 would safely be in the top 5% (maybe even top 1-2%) at most T14 schools. The one exception I can think of is Northwestern, which has ridiculous grade inflation. If you are close to any of your professors, they may be privy to ranking info for the purpose of writing a rec letter. And they may have a good sense of the GPAs of the people who landed clerkships.

Although calls and connections definitely help, they are not a sure thing. We had plenty of people pushing applicants we'd never hire, plus applicants we hired without any pushing (though sometimes we called the recommenders to get more info). Usually maybe 3/4 of the hires had connections, and 1/4 just looked great on paper and backed it up during the interview.

With a 3.9 (and LR), you should have a great shot at a COA clerkship with the right guidance. Keep asking questions here if your CSO is worthless.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby kalvano » Sun Aug 05, 2012 2:15 pm

OK, stupid question, but...if a judge has two separate clerk positions on OSCAR, with different start dates but for the same term, do I apply to both, or indicate in a cover letter that I am interested in both?

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Tyrion Lannister » Sun Aug 05, 2012 2:52 pm

kalvano wrote:OK, stupid question, but...if a judge has two separate clerk positions on OSCAR, with different start dates but for the same term, do I apply to both, or indicate in a cover letter that I am interested in both?


Indicate in your cover letter that you would be interested in either.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 05, 2012 2:56 pm

Does top ten percent at MVP (no law review) have a shot at a decent district court clerkship? I'd love to clerk and will likely have good recommendations, but I'm afraid that the lack of law review will hold me back. I guess it all depends on the judge?

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby kalvano » Sun Aug 05, 2012 3:01 pm

Tyrion Lannister wrote:
kalvano wrote:OK, stupid question, but...if a judge has two separate clerk positions on OSCAR, with different start dates but for the same term, do I apply to both, or indicate in a cover letter that I am interested in both?


Indicate in your cover letter that you would be interested in either.


Then why do they have 2 separate applications posted?

I'm not trying to be a dick, I just don't want to miss an opportunity.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby anon168 » Sun Aug 05, 2012 3:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Does top ten percent at MVP (no law review) have a shot at a decent district court clerkship? I'd love to clerk and will likely have good recommendations, but I'm afraid that the lack of law review will hold me back. I guess it all depends on the judge?


Yup.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 05, 2012 4:22 pm

Is a magistrate clerkship worth it if the goal at the end is to establish ties to a specific area, and find a firm job in the area, but not necessarily a Biglaw job?

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Tyrion Lannister » Sun Aug 05, 2012 4:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Does top ten percent at MVP (no law review) have a shot at a decent district court clerkship? I'd love to clerk and will likely have good recommendations, but I'm afraid that the lack of law review will hold me back. I guess it all depends on the judge?


Definitely. You may even have a shot at certain COA judges with those stats. Quite a few judges at both the district and COA levels are not LR snobs.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby anon168 » Sun Aug 05, 2012 4:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Is a magistrate clerkship worth it if the goal at the end is to establish ties to a specific area, and find a firm job in the area, but not necessarily a Biglaw job?


Yes, definitely.

Tyrion Lannister
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Tyrion Lannister » Sun Aug 05, 2012 4:32 pm

kalvano wrote:
Tyrion Lannister wrote:
kalvano wrote:OK, stupid question, but...if a judge has two separate clerk positions on OSCAR, with different start dates but for the same term, do I apply to both, or indicate in a cover letter that I am interested in both?


Indicate in your cover letter that you would be interested in either.


Then why do they have 2 separate applications posted?

I'm not trying to be a dick, I just don't want to miss an opportunity.


They want to let applicants know which start dates are available.
Some judges create separate listings; others mention the fact that different start dates will be in play in the text of a single OSCAR listing. If you're really worried about it, you can always call chambers and ask how each judge in this situation wants you to handle it.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:18 am

Is there such a thing as setting up an information interview with d. ct. judges? I'm visiting a handful of cities where I'd be interested in clerking over the next 2 months, and wondered if it would be out of place to call chambers and ask for one? I'm most likely looking to do the alumni clerking thing. If it changes anything, I'm a T14 2L and the clerkships are in areas that tend to be dominated by regional schools.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby anon168 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:22 am

Anonymous User wrote:Is there such a thing as setting up an information interview with d. ct. judges? I'm visiting a handful of cities where I'd be interested in clerking over the next 2 months, and wondered if it would be out of place to call chambers and ask for one? I'm most likely looking to do the alumni clerking thing. If it changes anything, I'm a T14 2L and the clerkships are in areas that tend to be dominated by regional schools.


Never heard of such a thing.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:47 am

For judges who hire off plan or on their own schedule, what's the general timeline (if any) for them to get back to you once they have your materials? Do they act quickly (like within a week), sit on it for a bit, or is there no real consistency between judges?

Tyrion Lannister
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Tyrion Lannister » Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:48 am

Anonymous User wrote:Is there such a thing as setting up an information interview with d. ct. judges? I'm visiting a handful of cities where I'd be interested in clerking over the next 2 months, and wondered if it would be out of place to call chambers and ask for one? I'm most likely looking to do the alumni clerking thing. If it changes anything, I'm a T14 2L and the clerkships are in areas that tend to be dominated by regional schools.


If you're only a 2L and are looking to clerk as an alum, I would hold off on even calling for at least another year.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Tyrion Lannister » Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:50 am

Anonymous User wrote:For judges who hire off plan or on their own schedule, what's the general timeline (if any) for them to get back to you once they have your materials? Do they act quickly (like within a week), sit on it for a bit, or is there no real consistency between judges?


In my experience, no consistency between judges whatsoever. If you have a chance to talk to former clerks before the interview, a practice I would recommend as a general principle, you might be able to get a sense from them, based on how long they had to wait.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:58 am

Tyrion Lannister wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Is there such a thing as setting up an information interview with d. ct. judges? I'm visiting a handful of cities where I'd be interested in clerking over the next 2 months, and wondered if it would be out of place to call chambers and ask for one? I'm most likely looking to do the alumni clerking thing. If it changes anything, I'm a T14 2L and the clerkships are in areas that tend to be dominated by regional schools.


If you're only a 2L and are looking to clerk as an alum, I would hold off on even calling for at least another year.


Does clerking right after graduation change anything, or would this be a total weirdo move?

Tyrion Lannister
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Tyrion Lannister » Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tyrion Lannister wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Is there such a thing as setting up an information interview with d. ct. judges? I'm visiting a handful of cities where I'd be interested in clerking over the next 2 months, and wondered if it would be out of place to call chambers and ask for one? I'm most likely looking to do the alumni clerking thing. If it changes anything, I'm a T14 2L and the clerkships are in areas that tend to be dominated by regional schools.


If you're only a 2L and are looking to clerk as an alum, I would hold off on even calling for at least another year.


Does clerking right after graduation change anything, or would this be a total weirdo move?


Probably a weirdo move. Barring an amazing call from a prof, pretty much every judge I know of starts looking at applicants during their 3L year at the earliest.

apparentlynew
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby apparentlynew » Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:19 pm

Tyrion, this summer I'm working with a rising 3L from Y who said that their experience was that 2Ls started actually landing clerkships winter / spring break of 2L (at the earliest, i.e. off-plan).

Are you talking about on- or off-plan judges?




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