Clerks Taking Questions

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Hutz_and_Goodman
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Sun Jul 06, 2014 10:43 pm

I am a rising 3L at a non-NYC T1 school. Law review and currently ranked 3rd in my class. I'm wondering whether I will be competitive for SDNY and when I should apply if I want to begin in fall 2016.

Thanks for any help.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 08, 2014 1:35 pm

Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:I am a rising 3L at a non-NYC T1 school. Law review and currently ranked 3rd in my class. I'm wondering whether I will be competitive for SDNY and when I should apply if I want to begin in fall 2016.

Thanks for any help.


I can't speak to whether you'll be competitive, but you should apply ASAP. I know of at least a few SDNY judges who have already hired for 2016.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:43 pm

I just finished 1L and am about to take a year off, meaning I'm moving from class of 2016 to class of 2017 (don't quote: I'm doing a JD-PhD, next year is my first PhD year, yes I'm chasing academia).

From what I can tell, I am a competitive applicant grade-wise for COAs potentially including feeders, etc. I've been assuming I should wait on all this next fall, i.e. my 2L year. But is there any world in which I should think about applying for 2017-18 sooner than that? Seems crazy to me but I appreciate your help.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:05 pm

Aside from typical questions on the mechanics of the clerkship, what sorts of questions should I be asking clerks and the judge during interviews? Should I talk about specific opinions? Other weird things I'm finding on google?

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 09, 2014 11:04 am

Anonymous User wrote:Aside from typical questions on the mechanics of the clerkship, what sorts of questions should I be asking clerks and the judge during interviews? Should I talk about specific opinions? Other weird things I'm finding on google?


I can't speak for my judge, but as a clerk, I like it when people ask questions that show they have an interest in the geographic area where my judge's chambers are located. Questions like "how do you like living in [town]?," "what do people do for fun in [town]?," and "do most clerks live in [town] or [nearby larger city]?" I think these sorts of questions are especially important if the clerkship is in a less populated area, but you could certainly tailor them for a larger city.

In my experience, most clerks or judges will ask why you want to work for the particular judge. That's your window to bring up your research re: opinions, etc. If they don't ask that, you can turn the question around and ask what the clerks like about working for the judge. That will also give you a window to bring up your research.

lolwat
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby lolwat » Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:47 pm

I can't speak for my judge, but as a clerk, I like it when people ask questions that show they have an interest in the geographic area where my judge's chambers are located. Questions like "how do you like living in [town]?," "what do people do for fun in [town]?," and "do most clerks live in [town] or [nearby larger city]?" I think these sorts of questions are especially important if the clerkship is in a less populated area, but you could certainly tailor them for a larger city.


IMO, this is definitely good for anywhere that isn't a big city. (Tone is pretty important, though. Don't be from NYC and have your question come across as "LOL, what do you guise do here in this town of nothingness") I remember interviewing for some clerkships and the clerks/judge themselves bringing up what it's like working/living/etc in the area. Because they were small cities, flyover districts, etc.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 16, 2014 5:13 pm

Was hoping to get some advice on which judges to target. I'm currently top 7 percent at a T15-T17 hoping to land a circuit court clerkship. I'm flexible geographically. Do I have a shot and where should I target? Would it be worth snagging a district court first, improving my grades, and applying for a COA after or can I just go straight to a COA with my grades and send out my apps Aug 1. Thanks a lot. (If it helps, I'm also on law review)

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 23, 2014 4:49 am

I have struggled on this question - why do you want to clerk with this particular judge? - in past interviews and want to make sure I have it down pat for upcoming ones. What sorts of things should I be saying given I will have no prior knowledge of who the judge is as a person in advance? I have been referencing certain opinions and docket matters, as well backgrounds (e.g. Judge previously worked as an AUSA and I'd like to be an AUSA). I feel like I'm not being specific enough. I honestly just applied to every judge with availability in my geographic area.

And does this change if the judge just now took the bench and doesn't have a lot of opinions, etc out there?

objctnyrhnr
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby objctnyrhnr » Wed Jul 23, 2014 8:48 am

What is one thing, that you learned at some point during your clerkship, that you feel your life would have been easier if you had known all along?

Sgtpeppernyc
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Sgtpeppernyc » Wed Jul 23, 2014 8:58 am

Are you open?

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 23, 2014 9:12 am

Anonymous User wrote:Aside from typical questions on the mechanics of the clerkship, what sorts of questions should I be asking clerks and the judge during interviews? Should I talk about specific opinions? Other weird things I'm finding on google?


By far the best thing you can do is contact former clerks. I had a near 100% response rate when I sent a former clerk a message saying that I was interviewing for a clerkship with Judge X and wanted to talk to them about their experience. Based on what you hear, go with that. At least that way, you can bring up some non-law stuff during the interview if it seems appropriate.

I think process questions are the best. Ask about the actual mechanics of how the judge likes to assign cases. I would stay away from asking about a particular case unless the clerk/judge alludes to it or if it made the news in a big way or something. Know the SCOTUS justices and know which one is your favorite and least favorite and why (my Judge actually asked me this during my interview: Name the 9 SCOTUS justices, tell me which one is your favorite, which one is your least favorite, and why).

I would, however, be familiar with any recent blockbuster CoA and SCOTUS opinions.

objctnyrhnr wrote:What is one thing, that you learned at some point during your clerkship, that you feel your life would have been easier if you had known all along?


Never assume anything. I can't tell you how many dispositive motions were granted/denied because of some minor procedural detail that the attorneys were too lazy to check. The corollary being that everyone is presumed incompetent until they demonstrate otherwise.

tictac
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby tictac » Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Was hoping to get some advice on which judges to target. I'm currently top 7 percent at a T15-T17 hoping to land a circuit court clerkship. I'm flexible geographically. Do I have a shot and where should I target? Would it be worth snagging a district court first, improving my grades, and applying for a COA after or can I just go straight to a COA with my grades and send out my apps Aug 1. Thanks a lot. (If it helps, I'm also on law review)


I can't speak for other chambers, but you would definitely have a shot in my judge's chambers (federal COA judge in a small, flyover city to which I had no ties). I had slightly higher grades from a slightly lower-ranked school, and I landed one COA interview and about 10 district court interviews, the latter in medium-sized and small cities and mostly in my home state and the state where my law school is located. If I were you, I would apply for non-feeder COA clerkships in less competitive markets and apply for some district court clerkships as well.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 23, 2014 3:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:By far the best thing you can do is contact former clerks. I had a near 100% response rate when I sent a former clerk a message saying that I was interviewing for a clerkship with Judge X and wanted to talk to them about their experience. Based on what you hear, go with that. At least that way, you can bring up some non-law stuff during the interview if it seems appropriate.

Thanks, good idea. I usually look on my school's clerkship website to see if there are any old clerk alumni to contact. For my next two interviews, though, there are none. Is there an easier way to find old clerks than through linkedin?

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 24, 2014 6:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:By far the best thing you can do is contact former clerks. I had a near 100% response rate when I sent a former clerk a message saying that I was interviewing for a clerkship with Judge X and wanted to talk to them about their experience. Based on what you hear, go with that. At least that way, you can bring up some non-law stuff during the interview if it seems appropriate.

Thanks, good idea. I usually look on my school's clerkship website to see if there are any old clerk alumni to contact. For my next two interviews, though, there are none. Is there an easier way to find old clerks than through linkedin?


Just google law clerk and judge X, then click on any link to a firm bio. It's nice if the clerk went to your school, but it's not necessary. I don't think clerks are that parochial. As long as you don't sound totally weird in your intro email/call, I bet almost any clerk would talk to you about their experience.

Some of the convos I had lasted an hour. They can be very valuable.

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Holly Golightly
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Holly Golightly » Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:59 am

objctnyrhnr wrote:What is one thing, that you learned at some point during your clerkship, that you feel your life would have been easier if you had known all along?

With some exceptions, you can usually tell what the right answer is on any given motion. Most things have a right answer and a wrong answer.

Also, sanctions are highly underutilized.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 16, 2014 9:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Aside from typical questions on the mechanics of the clerkship, what sorts of questions should I be asking clerks and the judge during interviews? Should I talk about specific opinions? Other weird things I'm finding on google?


Talk about things you'd talk about with someone you just met at a cocktail party. E.g., how is X city? What is there to do? What do you do for fun? Is chambers/the court social, etc.?

This may be inapplicable to you but, maybe it is (to you or someone else): We are a semi-flyover D.Ct. (a couple hours from major cities) in a small, somewhat undesirable city. Everyone here is always very concerned about people coming here, hating the city itself, and wanting to leave ASAP. And because it's a small place, the court is very, very social--all the clerks are friends and essentially only hang out with one another and their SOs.

So, we put a big premium on people being fun and cool both in and out of court. A lot of my interview with the current and outgoing clerks (before I interviewed with the judge) was just chitchat like we had just met and were making small talk. And apparently the guy who interviewed before me seemed perfect on paper (and had WAY better credentials than I do), but ended up being a total weirdo. Within 5 mins, the entire chambers noped in their heads.

TL;DR ask questions that will lead to a regular, human conversation.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 16, 2014 9:58 pm

objctnyrhnr wrote:What is one thing, that you learned at some point during your clerkship, that you feel your life would have been easier if you had known all along?


I learned this early on but thought I'd pass it on: when researching something, look to see if your judge has already ruled on that issue. It's surprising how many issues and cases my judge's prior opinions have addressed.

For instance, just yesterday I determined from the parties' briefs that one case was controlling. I Shepardized it and only about a dozen cases had cited it, one of which was an opinion my judge issued in 2008. It was directly on point. Thus, that part of the order required almost nothing more than a quick copy and paste job.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:56 pm

Can anyone comment on the value of a LOR from a moot court coach? He is also an adjunct professor at our school, if that makes any difference (but I didn't take his class). I competed successfully in several moot court competitions under him, and I believe his letter would be strong (he has exposure to my writing ability, for example). Right now I have two strong LORs and one "meh" LOR, and I'm hoping that he could be my third.

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ph14
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby ph14 » Tue Sep 02, 2014 10:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Can anyone comment on the value of a LOR from a moot court coach? He is also an adjunct professor at our school, if that makes any difference (but I didn't take his class). I competed successfully in several moot court competitions under him, and I believe his letter would be strong (he has exposure to my writing ability, for example). Right now I have two strong LORs and one "meh" LOR, and I'm hoping that he could be my third.


It's common advice that it's better to get a letter from a professor that isn't quite as big of a name but that knows you better.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:22 pm

ph14 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Can anyone comment on the value of a LOR from a moot court coach? He is also an adjunct professor at our school, if that makes any difference (but I didn't take his class). I competed successfully in several moot court competitions under him, and I believe his letter would be strong (he has exposure to my writing ability, for example). Right now I have two strong LORs and one "meh" LOR, and I'm hoping that he could be my third.


It's common advice that it's better to get a letter from a professor that isn't quite as big of a name but that knows you better.


Yeah, true. I didn't know if that principle extends to non-academic relationships (even though he is a prof at our school). But I think I'll go for it, thanks.

run26.2
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby run26.2 » Thu Sep 04, 2014 10:03 am

Anonymous User wrote:Aside from typical questions on the mechanics of the clerkship, what sorts of questions should I be asking clerks and the judge during interviews? Should I talk about specific opinions? Other weird things I'm finding on google?

Assuming COA, it's fine to talk about opinions, but they're usually the product of a back-and-forth with the other judges on the panel. So it can backfire a bit if you express an opinion about a particular part of the opinion. Of course, you can track the philosophy of a long-sitting judge on a particular issue, and take some of that danger out of it. Or you can short-circuit that and read the dissents and you will have insight into both issues the judge finds interesting and his/her perspectives on those issues.

It would be stalkerish and would show poor judgment to bring up weird things you find on google. That said, if you just mean unexpected things in which the judge clearly has an interest, you might think through how you could tell a story about a common interest if the judge raises the topic.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:04 pm

How do people who clerk in flyover districts that they've never been to express an interest in the region? I'm in a super competitive district and am having a hard time converting interviews into offers, so I opted to apply to some clerkships in cities in flyover country. I don't know anyone in the cities besides TLSers, and I've never even visited them. No idea if I would like them and most likely want to return to my current major market anyway. How do I express interest in the cities? I imagine something along the lines of "I'm interested in this clerkship for the work, not where I'll be living" is a no go.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 07, 2014 10:02 pm

Any idea what grades might put me in the running for a district court? a COA? CCN, secondary journal, trying to get on LR, PhD in law and social sciences from same CCN, law and social sciences publications in peer review journals, 1L SA and probable 2L SA (offer in hand) from Vault 10-15 firm. I'd like to eventually get back to academia.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 07, 2014 11:43 pm

How do people who clerk in flyover districts that they've never been to express an interest in the region? I'm in a super competitive district and am having a hard time converting interviews into offers, so I opted to apply to some clerkships in cities in flyover country. I don't know anyone in the cities besides TLSers, and I've never even visited them. No idea if I would like them and most likely want to return to my current major market anyway. How do I express interest in the cities? I imagine something along the lines of "I'm interested in this clerkship for the work, not where I'll be living" is a no go.


For a cover letter, I just wouldn't mention this at all. You're much more likely to hurt your chances than to help them by including superfluous stuff in a cover letter, and a made-up reason for wanting to work in a geographic region is superfluous and has the potential to just make you look insincere.

If you get an interview, it might come up. If you're interviewing in the judge's home chambers, you can hopefully say something positive that you've noticed about the city so far on your interview trip. You can also say something about how you're open to living someplace new and exploring a new region. For my judge, at least, he's very aware that a clerkship is a great opportunity that people are happy to get, so he's not going to be concerned about your connections to the region. As long as you'll be content living in his city for your clerkship year, regional ties really don't matter to him.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 07, 2014 11:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Any idea what grades might put me in the running for a district court? a COA? CCN, secondary journal, trying to get on LR, PhD in law and social sciences from same CCN, law and social sciences publications in peer review journals, 1L SA and probable 2L SA (offer in hand) from Vault 10-15 firm. I'd like to eventually get back to academia.

It's hard to tell. Some judges love publications (I've heard Judge Smith on the Ninth falls into this category), but others it won't be too big a deal. Top third in my mind is generally a good start to have a chance, but I wouldn't feel like your odds were decent until at least top 10%.




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