Clerks Taking Questions

Seek and share information about clerkship applications, clerkship hiring timelines, and post-clerkship employment opportunities.
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are sharing sensitive information about clerkship applications and clerkship hiring. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned."
Anonymous User
Posts: 273358
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 24, 2015 1:17 am

Anonymous User wrote:Any SLS grads around here that can speak to required grades for a feeder clerkship?

Also looking to clerk for a conservative judge, but there are next to zero conservative profs at Stanford besides McConnell and Cole, and Cole is useless. What's it like applying to conservative judges from Stanford?


Not SLS grad but clerked for a top feeder judge.

Finish 1L with all Hs and you'll be in great shape. 1 P likely won't hurt, More than 1 and you'll start becoming less competitive.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273358
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 24, 2015 2:00 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Any SLS grads around here that can speak to required grades for a feeder clerkship?

Also looking to clerk for a conservative judge, but there are next to zero conservative profs at Stanford besides McConnell and Cole, and Cole is useless. What's it like applying to conservative judges from Stanford?


Not SLS grad but clerked for a top feeder judge.

Finish 1L with all Hs and you'll be in great shape. 1 P likely won't hurt, More than 1 and you'll start becoming less competitive.


Thanks. How do book prizes play in? Will multiple book prizes negate any Ps?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273358
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 24, 2015 2:46 am

SLS grad 2/9/DC COA clerk here. I'd guess 66-75% Hs + 1-2 book awards + some other interesting hook (tfa, dual degree, interesting publication, national recognition in anything, etc) makes you competitive for feeder out of SLS, assuming strong recs. Get a big gun on your side and you have a big more wiggle room (eg a prof who knows a judge and offers to call). Lose one of the above pluses and you'll have to balance it out elsewhere. For whatever reason, SLS grades seem more evenly distributed than HLS and YLS so there's a bit more flexibility. Some judges (W. Fletcher) don't take this into account but most do.

FWIW I define competitive as >50% chance of an interview if you apply broadly and time your apps correctly.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273358
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 24, 2015 1:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:SLS grad 2/9/DC COA clerk here. I'd guess 66-75% Hs + 1-2 book awards + some other interesting hook (tfa, dual degree, interesting publication, national recognition in anything, etc) makes you competitive for feeder out of SLS, assuming strong recs. Get a big gun on your side and you have a big more wiggle room (eg a prof who knows a judge and offers to call). Lose one of the above pluses and you'll have to balance it out elsewhere. For whatever reason, SLS grades seem more evenly distributed than HLS and YLS so there's a bit more flexibility. Some judges (W. Fletcher) don't take this into account but most do.

FWIW I define competitive as >50% chance of an interview if you apply broadly and time your apps correctly.


That seems generous to me. 75% Hs would still mean several Ps on a 1L transcript. Of course this varies from judge to judge, but my judge wouldn't ever even see the app if that is what the transcript looked like.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273358
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 24, 2015 4:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:SLS grad 2/9/DC COA clerk here. I'd guess 66-75% Hs + 1-2 book awards + some other interesting hook (tfa, dual degree, interesting publication, national recognition in anything, etc) makes you competitive for feeder out of SLS, assuming strong recs. Get a big gun on your side and you have a big more wiggle room (eg a prof who knows a judge and offers to call). Lose one of the above pluses and you'll have to balance it out elsewhere. For whatever reason, SLS grades seem more evenly distributed than HLS and YLS so there's a bit more flexibility. Some judges (W. Fletcher) don't take this into account but most do.

FWIW I define competitive as >50% chance of an interview if you apply broadly and time your apps correctly.


That seems generous to me. 75% Hs would still mean several Ps on a 1L transcript. Of course this varies from judge to judge, but my judge wouldn't ever even see the app if that is what the transcript looked like.


Well, sounds like your judge is missing out on some top SLS candidates. I was told by one high profile professor that nobody in my year had straight Hs by the time clerkship apps rolled around (after four-to-five quarters of grades), and that this prof didn't know of more than one person with fewer than 3-4 Ps at that point-- his guess was that top 5% cutoff fell somewhere between 60-70% Hs with a book award or two (obviously it's impossible to say as there's no way to weight Hs and book awards, so you couldn't rank even if you wanted to). Having reviewed candidates for two different high-profile judges in desirable locations, I can confirm that our class wasn't a crazy outlier: we routinely saw HLS and YLS applicants with all Hs, but never (or almost never) SLS applicants (we were pretty much only looking at people with 4 or more semesters or quarters of grades fwiw).

Anonymous User
Posts: 273358
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 24, 2015 10:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:SLS grad 2/9/DC COA clerk here. I'd guess 66-75% Hs + 1-2 book awards + some other interesting hook (tfa, dual degree, interesting publication, national recognition in anything, etc) makes you competitive for feeder out of SLS, assuming strong recs. Get a big gun on your side and you have a big more wiggle room (eg a prof who knows a judge and offers to call). Lose one of the above pluses and you'll have to balance it out elsewhere. For whatever reason, SLS grades seem more evenly distributed than HLS and YLS so there's a bit more flexibility. Some judges (W. Fletcher) don't take this into account but most do.

FWIW I define competitive as >50% chance of an interview if you apply broadly and time your apps correctly.


That seems generous to me. 75% Hs would still mean several Ps on a 1L transcript. Of course this varies from judge to judge, but my judge wouldn't ever even see the app if that is what the transcript looked like.


Well, sounds like your judge is missing out on some top SLS candidates. I was told by one high profile professor that nobody in my year had straight Hs by the time clerkship apps rolled around (after four-to-five quarters of grades), and that this prof didn't know of more than one person with fewer than 3-4 Ps at that point-- his guess was that top 5% cutoff fell somewhere between 60-70% Hs with a book award or two (obviously it's impossible to say as there's no way to weight Hs and book awards, so you couldn't rank even if you wanted to). Having reviewed candidates for two different high-profile judges in desirable locations, I can confirm that our class wasn't a crazy outlier: we routinely saw HLS and YLS applicants with all Hs, but never (or almost never) SLS applicants (we were pretty much only looking at people with 4 or more semesters or quarters of grades fwiw).


Hmm. Thanks for the replies. FWIW, one guy in my section got all Hs and 3 book awards this quarter; another girl got all Hs but no awards. And those are 2 of maybe 5 total people I've talked to about grades. Do grades not hold steady over 1L? It seems that those that did well did REALLY well - I'd expect that to continue throughout 1L. Is this not your experience?

User avatar
rpupkin
Posts: 3864
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:32 pm

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby rpupkin » Sun Jan 25, 2015 1:31 am

Anonymous User wrote:Well, sounds like your judge is missing out on some top SLS candidates. I was told by one high profile professor that nobody in my year had straight Hs by the time clerkship apps rolled around (after four-to-five quarters of grades), and that this prof didn't know of more than one person with fewer than 3-4 Ps at that point

Unless the class of 2017's distribution is very different than years past (which I seriously doubt), I think your professor's sample is misleading. Based on my experience reviewing clerkship apps, there are a decent handful of SLS students with fewer than 3-4 Ps after four quarters.


-- his guess was that top 5% cutoff fell somewhere between 60-70% Hs with a book award or two (obviously it's impossible to say as there's no way to weight Hs and book awards, so you couldn't rank even if you wanted to).

Based on my (admittedly anecdotal) experience, this seems way off. What you describe sounds more like the top 10% - 15% range. That's still really solid for SLS, but generally not in feeder territory.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273358
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 25, 2015 5:02 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Well, sounds like your judge is missing out on some top SLS candidates. I was told by one high profile professor that nobody in my year had straight Hs by the time clerkship apps rolled around (after four-to-five quarters of grades), and that this prof didn't know of more than one person with fewer than 3-4 Ps at that point

Unless the class of 2017's distribution is very different than years past (which I seriously doubt), I think your professor's sample is misleading. Based on my experience reviewing clerkship apps, there are a decent handful of SLS students with fewer than 3-4 Ps after four quarters.


-- his guess was that top 5% cutoff fell somewhere between 60-70% Hs with a book award or two (obviously it's impossible to say as there's no way to weight Hs and book awards, so you couldn't rank even if you wanted to).

Based on my (admittedly anecdotal) experience, this seems way off. What you describe sounds more like the top 10% - 15% range. That's still really solid for SLS, but generally not in feeder territory.


Agree with rpupkin

Anonymous User
Posts: 273358
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 25, 2015 6:26 pm

I was told this week by a professor that 2-3 per year finish with straight H.

I'm curious about whether a prize compensates for a P.

Hard to imagine most folks with almost all H's aren't going to have at least a couple prizes. Profs keep talking about how exams cluster into "obviously P," "obviously H" and then a ton in the middle, so it seems like to be out of the grey zone of arbitrary grading that results in P's you'ld have to be pretty near the top. Maybe that's flawed logic.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273358
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 25, 2015 9:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
I'm curious about whether a prize compensates for a P.



It probably helps, but I doubt that judges will look at it in quite those terms. Maybe a transcript with several prizes and one P will be viewed as a stronger transcript than one with straight Hs but no prizes. But I doubt a transcript with 4 Ps and 4 prizes will be viewed as being as strong as the straight P transcript.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273358
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 27, 2015 6:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I was told this week by a professor that 2-3 per year finish with straight H.

I'm curious about whether a prize compensates for a P.

Hard to imagine most folks with almost all H's aren't going to have at least a couple prizes. Profs keep talking about how exams cluster into "obviously P," "obviously H" and then a ton in the middle, so it seems like to be out of the grey zone of arbitrary grading that results in P's you'ld have to be pretty near the top. Maybe that's flawed logic.


Interesting. I'm surprised it isn't more. I'd figure those that would do really well first quarter would continue to do well.

Besides the one guy who has all Hs and 3 prizes, it seems as if the prizes and Hs got spread around. There's another kid in my section with 2 Ps and 2 prizes.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273358
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 27, 2015 6:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:SLS grad 2/9/DC COA clerk here. I'd guess 66-75% Hs + 1-2 book awards + some other interesting hook (tfa, dual degree, interesting publication, national recognition in anything, etc) makes you competitive for feeder out of SLS, assuming strong recs. Get a big gun on your side and you have a big more wiggle room (eg a prof who knows a judge and offers to call). Lose one of the above pluses and you'll have to balance it out elsewhere. For whatever reason, SLS grades seem more evenly distributed than HLS and YLS so there's a bit more flexibility. Some judges (W. Fletcher) don't take this into account but most do.

FWIW I define competitive as >50% chance of an interview if you apply broadly and time your apps correctly.


That seems generous to me. 75% Hs would still mean several Ps on a 1L transcript. Of course this varies from judge to judge, but my judge wouldn't ever even see the app if that is what the transcript looked like.


The SLS curve (30% Hs) is way more strict than HLS/YLS. Isn't the curve at HLS something like 38% get Hs? It seems like a SLS transcript with all Hs should be much more impressive than a HLS transcript with all Hs.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273358
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:SLS grad 2/9/DC COA clerk here. I'd guess 66-75% Hs + 1-2 book awards + some other interesting hook (tfa, dual degree, interesting publication, national recognition in anything, etc) makes you competitive for feeder out of SLS, assuming strong recs. Get a big gun on your side and you have a big more wiggle room (eg a prof who knows a judge and offers to call). Lose one of the above pluses and you'll have to balance it out elsewhere. For whatever reason, SLS grades seem more evenly distributed than HLS and YLS so there's a bit more flexibility. Some judges (W. Fletcher) don't take this into account but most do.

FWIW I define competitive as >50% chance of an interview if you apply broadly and time your apps correctly.


That seems generous to me. 75% Hs would still mean several Ps on a 1L transcript. Of course this varies from judge to judge, but my judge wouldn't ever even see the app if that is what the transcript looked like.


The SLS curve (30% Hs) is way more strict than HLS/YLS. Isn't the curve at HLS something like 38% get Hs? It seems like a SLS transcript with all Hs should be much more impressive than a HLS transcript with all Hs.


The HLS curve is no longer published, but the last time it was publicly available (about 4 years ago, I think) it was 37% H. I wouldn't go so far as to say "much more impressive" but sure, it's marginally harder to achieve at SLS than HLS. Pretty damn impressive at either school tbh.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273358
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:22 pm

Not sure if this is what this thread is for...
I'm at HLS and got a P, H, H, H, DS

If my performance only drops marginally, where am I/am I not competitive?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273358
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:32 pm

Year: 2L
School: T50-60
Grades: top 10%
Journal: law review
Ed. board?: pending
LORs: 1 prof (former DC and COA clerk) who really likes me + willing to make phone calls, 1 prof (former DC clerk) who writes great letters, and 1 from district judge I interned for over the summer after my 1L year

I know that I don't qualify for the more prestigious clerkships (e.g., SDNY, etc.) but am looking for any advice on which district courts I realistically have a shot at. I have strong ties to New England.

Thanks!

User avatar
pupshaw
Posts: 504
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:08 pm

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby pupshaw » Sat Jan 31, 2015 8:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Not sure if this is what this thread is for...
I'm at HLS and got a P, H, H, H, DS

If my performance only drops marginally, where am I/am I not competitive?


Competitive for CoA generally, but feeders will be a long shot.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273358
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 09, 2015 6:17 pm

Considering a large state supreme court clerkship.

Few Questions:

1) Any chance a firm would allow you to do transactional work after clerkship? I would rather no do litigation and would do a clerkship to get a job w/ a large state firm.

2) Do my ties (state & same LR has judge) mean more than my slightly-above average GPA?

3) The Judge has different political/religious views as me. Not that I think this would be a problem, but would this be a problem?

User avatar
BVest
Posts: 5701
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:51 pm

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby BVest » Mon Feb 09, 2015 7:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Considering a large state supreme court clerkship.

Few Questions:

1) Any chance a firm would allow you to do transactional work after clerkship? I would rather no do litigation and would do a clerkship to get a job w/ a large state firm.

2) Do my ties (state & same LR has judge) mean more than my slightly-above average GPA?

3) The Judge has different political/religious views as me. Not that I think this would be a problem, but would this be a problem?


[Disclosure: Future large-state SSC Clerk]

1) Yes, so long as you can get past the obvious interview question. (Though I have no personal experience here... this is my understanding).

2) It may depend on the state, but in a large state it would seem that there are a lot of people with one of those two ties you list -- that is a large state has a lot of people, and thus a lot of law students who can claim to be from the state -- so I don't know how beneficial that would be over grades. I can't speak to how much value one particular but unnamed judge would place on being an alum of your current journal, and I don't think anyone could speak to that. In the large state with which I'm familiar, good (D. Ct. competitive) grades are necessary, at least for the clerks with whom I'm vaguely familiar with their performance (I'd wager that they're all top 10%, maybe 15% at the outside, perhaps with one exception). Those with whose grades I have no familiarity at come mainly from a variety of T-14s.

3) This is common, especially in one large state with a fairly homogeneous court. It seems the further you get from SCOTUS, the less correlation between a clerk's political/religious background and that of the clerk's judge.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273358
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 09, 2015 7:18 pm

BVest wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Considering a large state supreme court clerkship.

Few Questions:

1) Any chance a firm would allow you to do transactional work after clerkship? I would rather no do litigation and would do a clerkship to get a job w/ a large state firm.

2) Do my ties (state & same LR has judge) mean more than my slightly-above average GPA?

3) The Judge has different political/religious views as me. Not that I think this would be a problem, but would this be a problem?


[Disclosure: Future large-state SSC Clerk]

1) Yes, so long as you can get past the obvious interview question. (Though I have no personal experience here... this is my understanding).

2) It may depend on the state, but in a large state it would seem that there are a lot of people with one of those two ties you list -- that is a large state has a lot of people, and thus a lot of law students who can claim to be from the state -- so I don't know how beneficial that would be over grades. I can't speak to how much value one particular but unnamed judge would place on being an alum of your current journal, and I don't think anyone could speak to that. In the large state with which I'm familiar, good (D. Ct. competitive) grades are necessary, at least for the clerks with whom I'm vaguely familiar with their performance (I'd wager that they're all top 10%, maybe 15% at the outside, perhaps with one exception). Those with whose grades I have no familiarity at come mainly from a variety of T-14s.

3) This is common, especially in one large state with a fairly homogeneous court. It seems the further you get from SCOTUS, the less correlation between a clerk's political/religious background and that of the clerk's judge.


What are your employment prospects for after the clerkship? I would be using the clerkship to hopefully make me a stronger candidate since I have no pending offers (one firm hires after bar results other firm could not extend due to work flow - both smaller firms).

User avatar
BVest
Posts: 5701
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:51 pm

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby BVest » Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:16 pm

PM me.

User avatar
nothingtosee
Posts: 865
Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 12:08 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby nothingtosee » Wed Feb 11, 2015 2:16 pm

If I wanted to contact a current clerk and ask them questions, which of the following would be in bad taste to ask:

1) How important regional ties are to judge
2) How important ideology (political or judicial) is to the judge
3) What kind of grades you need to not go in the trash
4) What does the judge look for in clerks/what do you think made you stand out?


[These aren't the only questions I would ask; I assume other questions like "when does your judge take applications" wouldn't have potential to be in bad form]

User avatar
rpupkin
Posts: 3864
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:32 pm

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby rpupkin » Wed Feb 11, 2015 2:23 pm

nothingtosee wrote:If I wanted to contact a current clerk and ask them questions, which of the following would be in bad taste to ask:

1) How important regional ties are to judge
2) How important ideology (political or judicial) is to the judge
3) What kind of grades you need to not go in the trash
4) What does the judge look for in clerks/what do you think made you stand out?


[These aren't the only questions I would ask; I assume other questions like "when does your judge take applications" wouldn't have potential to be in bad form]

First, be really, really careful about contacting a current clerk. Try contacting someone who recently clerked for the judge instead.

Second, I wouldn't go into your conversation with a checklist of questions. I would just start with a version of your question #4: what does the judge look for when selecting a clerk? The former clerk will probably volunteer the stuff you're looking for (e.g., necessary grades, regional ties).

User avatar
BVest
Posts: 5701
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:51 pm

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby BVest » Wed Feb 11, 2015 2:42 pm

I agree with the poster above that you're better off contacting a former clerk (especially if there's a recent one who's an alum of your school).

As for the administrative questions (when does your judge take applications, do they prefer OSCAR or paper, etc.), you're better off having your school's clerkship advisor or CSO in charge of clerkships contact chambers for that information. Many judges explicitly do not want applicants contacting chambers. (I understand the urge to contact chambers considering that OSCAR often has incorrect information about judges and from the presentation on OSCAR, it's impossible to tell whether the information you're looking at is reliable or not.)

Anonymous User
Posts: 273358
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 12, 2015 9:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
The SLS curve (30% Hs) is way more strict than HLS/YLS. Isn't the curve at HLS something like 38% get Hs? It seems like a SLS transcript with all Hs should be much more impressive than a HLS transcript with all Hs.


The HLS curve is no longer published, but the last time it was publicly available (about 4 years ago, I think) it was 37% H. I wouldn't go so far as to say "much more impressive" but sure, it's marginally harder to achieve at SLS than HLS. Pretty damn impressive at either school tbh.


Curious what sense people who have reviewed YLSer apps have of grade distribution of H/Ps. The school is encourages profs to enforce a 1/3 Hs, 2/3 Ps curve in blackletter classes, but impossible to tell how often this is stuck to. That curve has been what my profs have generally stuck to when they've stated what their curve is to the class. Likewise, anecdotally, I know of very few people who maintain straight Hs through the first three graded semesters, even among the ballers. Does this seem to conform with what clerks who have reviewed such apps have seen? It's hard to get a sense since people are generally cagey about talking about grades.

User avatar
jessuf
Posts: 12542
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2011 8:27 pm

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby jessuf » Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:36 pm

nothingtosee wrote:If I wanted to contact a current clerk and ask them questions, which of the following would be in bad taste to ask:

1) How important regional ties are to judge
2) How important ideology (political or judicial) is to the judge
3) What kind of grades you need to not go in the trash
4) What does the judge look for in clerks/what do you think made you stand out?


[These aren't the only questions I would ask; I assume other questions like "when does your judge take applications" wouldn't have potential to be in bad form]

I get people cold calling me sometimes and asking questions like that, and it's really annoying because I'm very busy. Some of your questions like #4 should be reserved for an interview. I wouldnt ask #2 of a current clerk at all, including during an interview. #1 is innocuous but would still be annoying if you were to just call and ask. #3 should be rephrased as "What does the judge generally look for in an applicant?" I echo asked an alum clerk over a current clerk because a current clerk will be providing hiring feedback to the judge.

I feel like pre-interview contact needs to be limited to is the judge still hiring, what do i need to include in the application packet, and what is the best way to send my materials in.




Return to “Judicial Clerkships”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.