Clerks Taking Questions

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:40 pm

Just curious as to when you found out, relative to when you interviewed. I had a few interviews through NYU's program on Friday, and since I have not heard anything I assume struck out, but I am just trying to get a sense of it.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Just curious as to when you found out, relative to when you interviewed. I had a few interviews through NYU's program on Friday, and since I have not heard anything I assume struck out, but I am just trying to get a sense of it.


I received an offer four or five days after my interview. I assume the judge had to call references and maybe run some sort of a basic background check. I'd keep your chin up though.

Sorry about the vague answers. I'm not trying to be a jerk, but I also don't want to out myself here.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Just curious as to when you found out, relative to when you interviewed. I had a few interviews through NYU's program on Friday, and since I have not heard anything I assume struck out, but I am just trying to get a sense of it.


I received an offer four or five days after my interview. I assume the judge had to call references and maybe run some sort of a basic background check. I'd keep your chin up though.

Sorry about the vague answers. I'm not trying to be a jerk, but I also don't want to out myself here.


No worries bro/lady, I understand completely. Thanks.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:39 pm

If we struck out during "on plan" hiring applying as a student, when should we start reapplying for 2 years after graduation? So if we graduate in May 2013, it would be for a 2014 clerkship. That would be off plan and theoretically easier, correct?
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:If we struck out during "on plan" hiring applying as a student, when should we start reapplying for 2 years after graduation? So if we graduate in May 2012, it would be for a 2014 clerkship. That would be off plan and theoretically easier, correct?

If you graduate(d) in May 2012, and didn't get a clerkship for the following fall (now), you'd be applying for 2013 clerkships, yes? Which would have been this cycle and you're probably too late. (I'm confused what you're asking?)

Basically, you can apply off-plan any time during your 3L year - personally, I sent out apps in May, right after graduation, and got my current clerkship in July. If you're graduating *next* May, wanting to apply for 2014, you could start any time, really, depending on when judges are actually looking (some hire off-plan candidates way early - as in, some judges have already hired for 2014 - and some don't). I've heard people suggest anything from January to May, depending on who you're aiming for.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:If we struck out during "on plan" hiring applying as a student, when should we start reapplying for 2 years after graduation? So if we graduate in May 2012, it would be for a 2014 clerkship. That would be off plan and theoretically easier, correct?

If you graduate(d) in May 2012, and didn't get a clerkship for the following fall (now), you'd be applying for 2013 clerkships, yes? Which would have been this cycle and you're probably too late. (I'm confused what you're asking?)

Basically, you can apply off-plan any time during your 3L year - personally, I sent out apps in May, right after graduation, and got my current clerkship in July. If you're graduating *next* May, wanting to apply for 2014, you could start any time, really, depending on when judges are actually looking (some hire off-plan candidates way early - as in, some judges have already hired for 2014 - and some don't). I've heard people suggest anything from January to May, depending on who you're aiming for.


I meant May 2013, sorry. So should we talk about our upcoming job in the cover letter, or what?

And do we still use OSCAR? Do we need to change any settings, or do the applications go right to chambers and they see we are applying off-plan?

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:If we struck out during "on plan" hiring applying as a student, when should we start reapplying for 2 years after graduation? So if we graduate in May 2012, it would be for a 2014 clerkship. That would be off plan and theoretically easier, correct?

If you graduate(d) in May 2012, and didn't get a clerkship for the following fall (now), you'd be applying for 2013 clerkships, yes? Which would have been this cycle and you're probably too late. (I'm confused what you're asking?)

Basically, you can apply off-plan any time during your 3L year - personally, I sent out apps in May, right after graduation, and got my current clerkship in July. If you're graduating *next* May, wanting to apply for 2014, you could start any time, really, depending on when judges are actually looking (some hire off-plan candidates way early - as in, some judges have already hired for 2014 - and some don't). I've heard people suggest anything from January to May, depending on who you're aiming for.


So you think 2Ls interested in clerking should be sending out applications by January? What all do you need in an application package?

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:If we struck out during "on plan" hiring applying as a student, when should we start reapplying for 2 years after graduation? So if we graduate in May 2012, it would be for a 2014 clerkship. That would be off plan and theoretically easier, correct?

If you graduate(d) in May 2012, and didn't get a clerkship for the following fall (now), you'd be applying for 2013 clerkships, yes? Which would have been this cycle and you're probably too late. (I'm confused what you're asking?)

Basically, you can apply off-plan any time during your 3L year - personally, I sent out apps in May, right after graduation, and got my current clerkship in July. If you're graduating *next* May, wanting to apply for 2014, you could start any time, really, depending on when judges are actually looking (some hire off-plan candidates way early - as in, some judges have already hired for 2014 - and some don't). I've heard people suggest anything from January to May, depending on who you're aiming for.


I meant May 2013, sorry. So should we talk about our upcoming job in the cover letter, or what?

And do we still use OSCAR? Do we need to change any settings, or do the applications go right to chambers and they see we are applying off-plan?

You can talk about an upcoming job in the cover letter, but really, I think a cover letter is better short and sweet - use it to discuss things you can't really cover in your resume, like any connections to the area/judge ("I worked with Atty X [who knows the judge] in my internship and s/he recommended I apply to you" or "I grew up in [state] and want to return and build my practice here"). The judge will see the upcoming job on your resume, so unless there's something about it that wouldn't come across clearly on your resume, you don't need to go into all kinds of detail about what amazing experience it will give you. For instance, we saw a cover letter where the applicant waxed lyrical about her valuable experience at a trial court internship and how that had prepared her to be a great addition to our appellate chambers. I mean, trial experience is valuable, even at the appellate level, but 1) the applicant made it sound like she would be doing the same exact thing in our clerkship that she did in the trial court internship, and 2) it was an *internship*. Obviously not the same as a job, but basically, the more you put in the cover letter, the more you can shoot yourself in the foot. I'm pretty sure my judge reads the resumes first and only reads the cover letter if the resume looks interesting.

I think you can use OSCAR and don't have to change any settings or anything, but I sent out paper apps off-plan, so I don't know for sure.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:If we struck out during "on plan" hiring applying as a student, when should we start reapplying for 2 years after graduation? So if we graduate in May 2012, it would be for a 2014 clerkship. That would be off plan and theoretically easier, correct?

If you graduate(d) in May 2012, and didn't get a clerkship for the following fall (now), you'd be applying for 2013 clerkships, yes? Which would have been this cycle and you're probably too late. (I'm confused what you're asking?)

Basically, you can apply off-plan any time during your 3L year - personally, I sent out apps in May, right after graduation, and got my current clerkship in July. If you're graduating *next* May, wanting to apply for 2014, you could start any time, really, depending on when judges are actually looking (some hire off-plan candidates way early - as in, some judges have already hired for 2014 - and some don't). I've heard people suggest anything from January to May, depending on who you're aiming for.


So you think 2Ls interested in clerking should be sending out applications by January? What all do you need in an application package?

No, I was talking about 3Ls applying off-plan. Some 2Ls probably should be sending out applications by January - if you're applying to really competitive judges who are known to hire off-plan (many of them have hired by now, though). Lots of judges hire off-plan, but my sense is that the more competitive the clerkship is, the earlier you should send the application. I wasn't competitive for those hard-core clerkships, so I can't really speak to applying that early. If the judge hires on plan, s/he won't look at 2L applications until the date in September specified in the hiring plan (right after Labor Day? or right before? I forget exactly). (And if you apply through OSCAR, it won't release your application till the plan date anyway - you would have to send paper apps if you apply off-plan.) Your CSO should have more info about who hires on/off-plan and who you're likely to be a competitive applicant for.

As for the application package, I'm pretty sure this has been discussed elsewhere, but: although it can vary by the judge, usually, it's a cover letter, resume, writing sample (preferably unedited by others), transcript, and letters of recommendation (usually 2-3). Some judges want 2 writing samples. Some applicants just send 2 samples anyway. I have seen a judge who didn't ask for LORs until you'd made a preliminary cut.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:You can talk about an upcoming job in the cover letter, but really, I think a cover letter is better short and sweet - use it to discuss things you can't really cover in your resume, like any connections to the area/judge ("I worked with Atty X [who knows the judge] in my internship and s/he recommended I apply to you" or "I grew up in [state] and want to return and build my practice here"). The judge will see the upcoming job on your resume, so unless there's something about it that wouldn't come across clearly on your resume, you don't need to go into all kinds of detail about what amazing experience it will give you. For instance, we saw a cover letter where the applicant waxed lyrical about her valuable experience at a trial court internship and how that had prepared her to be a great addition to our appellate chambers. I mean, trial experience is valuable, even at the appellate level, but 1) the applicant made it sound like she would be doing the same exact thing in our clerkship that she did in the trial court internship, and 2) it was an *internship*. Obviously not the same as a job, but basically, the more you put in the cover letter, the more you can shoot yourself in the foot. I'm pretty sure my judge reads the resumes first and only reads the cover letter if the resume looks interesting.

I think you can use OSCAR and don't have to change any settings or anything, but I sent out paper apps off-plan, so I don't know for sure.



Thanks for the info.

Is it less competitive applying off-plan? Do grades matter as much, or is it more graduation honors, work experience, that sort of thing?

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:You can talk about an upcoming job in the cover letter, but really, I think a cover letter is better short and sweet - use it to discuss things you can't really cover in your resume, like any connections to the area/judge ("I worked with Atty X [who knows the judge] in my internship and s/he recommended I apply to you" or "I grew up in [state] and want to return and build my practice here"). The judge will see the upcoming job on your resume, so unless there's something about it that wouldn't come across clearly on your resume, you don't need to go into all kinds of detail about what amazing experience it will give you. For instance, we saw a cover letter where the applicant waxed lyrical about her valuable experience at a trial court internship and how that had prepared her to be a great addition to our appellate chambers. I mean, trial experience is valuable, even at the appellate level, but 1) the applicant made it sound like she would be doing the same exact thing in our clerkship that she did in the trial court internship, and 2) it was an *internship*. Obviously not the same as a job, but basically, the more you put in the cover letter, the more you can shoot yourself in the foot. I'm pretty sure my judge reads the resumes first and only reads the cover letter if the resume looks interesting.

I think you can use OSCAR and don't have to change any settings or anything, but I sent out paper apps off-plan, so I don't know for sure.



Thanks for the info.

Is it less competitive applying off-plan? Do grades matter as much, or is it more graduation honors, work experience, that sort of thing?

I don't know that it's per se less competitive. There are quite a few people on the market who want to work in Biglaw for a few years and then clerk, so the pool is still really tough. And I don't think judges who have hard and fast grade cut-offs lower them for off-plan candidates (because they can usually get the grades they want AND work experience). But I do think applying off-plan can help in that there are judges who hire only people with WE, so you're not automatically shut out from those judges. Plus you don't have to be compared against the massive tide of 2Ls.

(I went from a state clerkship to a federal district court clerkship after having no luck with federal judges during my first cycle. However, for a variety of reasons I didn't apply as broadly during 2L as when I applied off-plan - for instance, I didn't apply to the judge for whom I'm currently clerking - so I can't compare the cycles precisely. I do know my current judge seems to really value my previous clerking experience, so it helped - but the application is idiosyncratic enough that it's hard to predict outcomes. I had no connections to this district or my judge, so sometimes it's just what a judge happens to like. I have a kind of distinctive pre-law school WE that catches some judges' eyes, but obviously I had that during my first cycle, so...)

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:02 pm

Thanks for the information, it's very helpful.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Boogaloo » Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:32 pm

Wait, I'm a little confused with the timeline. If you are a 2L right now, and you want to clerk, do you have to apply now? When does the "massive tide of 2Ls" go out?

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Boogaloo » Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:54 pm

Also, what classes are the "must haves" for clerkships?

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:30 pm

How important is your 2L SA job in getting a clerkship? I've been told that working at particular firms 2L summer (think K&E/GDC in DC for litigation) can maximize clerkship odds. Is this because it looks good on the resume or will the firm actively help you land a clerkship?

Any insight/advice would be much appreciated.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby kalvano » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:50 pm

Boogaloo wrote:Wait, I'm a little confused with the timeline. If you are a 2L right now, and you want to clerk, do you have to apply now? When does the "massive tide of 2Ls" go out?


https://oscar.uscourts.gov/drupal/conte ... iring-plan

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby patrickd139 » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:55 pm

kalvano wrote:
Boogaloo wrote:Wait, I'm a little confused with the timeline. If you are a 2L right now, and you want to clerk, do you have to apply now? When does the "massive tide of 2Ls" go out?


https://oscar.uscourts.gov/drupal/conte ... iring-plan

I thought I heard somewhere that they got rid of the plan...

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:44 pm

patrickd139 wrote:
kalvano wrote:
Boogaloo wrote:Wait, I'm a little confused with the timeline. If you are a 2L right now, and you want to clerk, do you have to apply now? When does the "massive tide of 2Ls" go out?


https://oscar.uscourts.gov/drupal/conte ... iring-plan

I thought I heard somewhere that they got rid of the plan...

Not officially. More and more judges are hiring off-plan, though (or just hiring alumni, who can be hired at any time - the plan doesn't apply to them).

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:47 pm

kalvano wrote:
Boogaloo wrote:Wait, I'm a little confused with the timeline. If you are a 2L right now, and you want to clerk, do you have to apply now? When does the "massive tide of 2Ls" go out?


https://oscar.uscourts.gov/drupal/conte ... iring-plan

This. But the short answer is that if you're a 2L, you're prepping now to be able to apply [sometime between next January? and ? for off-plan hiring] or by next Labor Day-ish.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:52 pm

Question. I'm a 2L looking to apply next year. I see some people recommending applying in January. Would it be worthwhile to apply a little earlier, say in December, so I would be able to interview with a judge while i'm back home for winter break (or would have more flexibility to fly out somewhere)?

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:04 am

Anonymous User wrote:How important is your 2L SA job in getting a clerkship? I've been told that working at particular firms 2L summer (think K&E/GDC in DC for litigation) can maximize clerkship odds. Is this because it looks good on the resume or will the firm actively help you land a clerkship?

Any insight/advice would be much appreciated.

It depends an awful lot on the judge and the firm. I suspect that if it helps at all, it's because someone at the firm knows the judge, thinks you're cool, and is able to call up and recommend you (I've seen this happen), rather than that the firm name means anything in the abstract. But it might mean something to some judges. And yet other judges don't care at all. I did work for a firm after my 2L summer, but they don't hire out of their summer program, so it wasn't an SA job proper. Working there didn't even come up when interviewing with my current judge (other than that I'm pretty sure he asked what I want to do in the future and it was clear it wasn't working for a firm).

I think the correlation is this: people who have the stats to get federal clerkships (especially circuit) usually have the stats to get SAs with fancy firms. It's the stats that judges are interested in, not the firm per se. Someone pursuing PI/government with good stats is probably in just as good a position as someone with the same stats who worked for a firm - depending, of course, on a given judge's personal quirks. I'm quite sure my current judge could care less about the Vault ranking for anyone's summer firm (I doubt he even knows what they are). Granted, I'm in a kind of flyover district - it may be different in, say, NYC or DC.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:Question. I'm a 2L looking to apply next year. I see some people recommending applying in January. Would it be worthwhile to apply a little earlier, say in December, so I would be able to interview with a judge while i'm back home for winter break (or would have more flexibility to fly out somewhere)?

I know someone who did this - interviewed with a district court judge when home for winter break. It depends on whether the judge hires 2Ls off-plan, and even if they do, whether they're looking that early. Some will look at you, some won't. (I personally think Dec./Jan. is too early, but I have seen people recommend it. Talk to your CSO to find out what they know about the hiring schedules for the judges you're interested in, or call chambers to find out when the judge starts reviewing applications.)

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:10 am

I'm a bit busy right now, so I'll have to keep my comments short:

(1) Off-plan hiring - more and more hiring occurs off-plan now. Anyone applying for clerkships should be sending off their applications by ~mid-March. There are a handful of judges who will hire before then, but applications in March should capture most judges. This goes for both 2Ls and alum applicants. If you send out things early and hear nothing, then you should send applications out again later on (i.e., early-mid summer), even to judges you already applied to. Off plan hiring is just as competitive, or perhaps more competitive, than on-plan hiring. The advantage to off-plan is two-fold: (a) you effectively apply to more judges and (b) judges have more time to take care in their hiring.

(2) There's no sense in sending out applications in December (unless you have a very specific in with a judge) because: (a) judges and chambers probably aren't going to be interviewing then and (b) unless you are both an exceptional candidate for a judge (i.e., #1 in your T14) and have a unique connection/circumstance (i.e., you have an interview next week with Judge Kozinski), your sending an application is not going to cause a judge to hire/interview earlier than they planned. For judges, and for those working in chambers in general, clerkship hiring is a very, very minor part of the job. Yes, judges care a lot about it, but it takes up time and judges are very busy. When they're ready to think about hiring, they'll hire, but until then, they have better things to worry about.

(3) Your SA clerkship is not going to make a big difference in clerkship hiring. Yes, certain DC firms have higher concentrations of clerks for certain judges, but it doesn't have much of an impact. In fact, I can't think of a single person I know who got a clerkship because of their firm.

-DoubleClerk

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby ClerkAnon » Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:55 am

I agree with everything DoubleClerk says, but I have a caveat to #3. As a 2L SA, I looked up the background of every litigation associate and partner I worked in my (satellite/manageably-sized) office. If they had clerked for a DCt judge (I didn't apply to COA judges the first time around), that judge went on my application list regardless of city/district. I made sure to do at least one assignment with each former clerk. At some point after I'd gotten positive feedback, I mentioned to them that I was (coincidentally 8)) applying to their judge, and I wondered if they'd mind talking to me about their experience clerking. They were all happy to do so, typically over a SA lunch or coffee. At some point during this informal conversation, I asked them if it was okay if I mentioned their name and the fact that we'd discussed the clerkship in my cover letter. Again, they all agreed - a couple volunteered to give their judges a heads up about my application. All of their names ended up in the first paragraphs of my respective cover letters - and almost every one of those judges gave me an interview. I mentioned that I'd done > 10 clerkship interviews, and this technique helped to get a few of those invitations. Obviously, not every ex-clerk or judge will be so receptive as the ones I was lucky to encounter, but this technique worked so well for me that I think it's worth mentioning.

This isn't to contradict DoubleClerk's advice that the 2L SA will not itself likely advantage or disadvantage you among judges - except that it will disadvantage you with the minority of judges who have a strong preference for public interest clerks. It's just to say that if you go to a firm with a strong litigation practice, the 2L SA is likely to offer you a rich source of former federal clerks. Use that to your advantage.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:21 am

DoubleClerk knows his/her stuff, but to provide another perspective, I know three people who got (quite competitive) clerkships because of their firm this year. That said, I think this is pretty uncommon.




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