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: 273121
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 15, 2015 1:55 am

Jessuf wrote:
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.


D. ct. clerk here.

I'm shocked people cold call you just to shoot the shit about your clerkship. That has never happened to me in 2 years of clerking, but, then again, I'm in semi-flyover territory. But I would never mind people cold calling me. Hell, I'd be excited about it.

As to the OP, here are my thoughts.

1. Very important to my judge. My judge only hires for 2+ years. We are in a not-so-desirable city in a semi-rural area, and other judges here have had clerks who really aren't happy here and have tried to cut their clerkships short. Judge is also a native and generally likes hiring people from the area for whatever reason. I had never been here before (born, raised, and educated in the same state though), so it wasn't imperative, but it definitely helps. Our summer interns, for instance, are exclusively locals for a reason.

2. No importance at all. Judge is very conservative, all of us clerks are very liberal. But I would strongly urge to keep politics out of the picture if at all possible. We do not, for instance, hire anyone who makes his/her politics known in an application.

3. My judge is one of the least grade-conscious judges I've heard of. Judge doesn't care at all about grades as far as I can tell (see my response to 4 below). Current clerks range from coif at HLS to median at T2. But I wouldn't ask about it. It's just awkward.

4. Judge hires only people with a few years of experience, so experience, references, writing samples, and demonstrable ability are more important than grades. Judge very, very strongly prefers who can write well, so proving that you can write is the most important thing. The stated reason I got hired was because I had glowing references, 2 of 3 of which were from judges I interned for who had some very flattering things to say about me.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273121
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 15, 2015 1:54 pm

For current clerks: how long does it typically take your judge to inform an applicant about his/her hiring decision after the interview?
I've gone on 5 interviews (both d.ct and circuit, beginning either 2016 or 2017) and have not heard anything back yet--does this likely mean that I will not receive an offer? Thank you!

Anonymous User
Posts: 273121
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 15, 2015 11:48 pm

I'm currently preparing--or trying to prepare, but feeling unsuccessful :/ --for several upcoming interviews (a mixture of D.Ct. and COA). Any suggestions on how to select cases to read and how long a time period I should be trying to "cover"? I'm also wondering what kinds of questions judges are apt to ask candidates about former cases.

User avatar
BVest
Posts: 5681
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:51 pm

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby BVest » Mon Feb 16, 2015 12:58 am

Anonymous User wrote:I'm currently preparing--or trying to prepare, but feeling unsuccessful :/ --for several upcoming interviews (a mixture of D.Ct. and COA). Any suggestions on how to select cases to read and how long a time period I should be trying to "cover"? I'm also wondering what kinds of questions judges are apt to ask candidates about former cases.


I never once received a question about a former case from a judge in a clerkship interview. I think the best prep for clerkship interviews is (1) know your resume inside and out; know what's on it and what's not (for that "what else should I know about you?/tell me something that's not on your resume" question); (2) know your writing sample (again, I never got a question on it, but it's definitely fair game); and (3) do what it takes for you to get comfortable talking about yourself (for me this usually just involved engaging in relaxed conversations with friends just before the interview).

Anonymous User wrote:For current clerks: how long does it typically take your judge to inform an applicant about his/her hiring decision after the interview?
I've gone on 5 interviews (both d.ct and circuit, beginning either 2016 or 2017) and have not heard anything back yet--does this likely mean that I will not receive an offer? Thank you!


IME, it varies. One judge did all his interviews in one day and made calls to all interviewees by the end of the day (technically, he only made one call; the clerks made the ding calls, but they were still that day). Two judges said "by next week"; they both took two weeks. One judge said "within the next few weeks" and then called the next day.

As for your second question, I'm not sure anyone could express an opinion without knowing how long ago you interviewed.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273121
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 16, 2015 1:34 am

BVest wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm currently preparing--or trying to prepare, but feeling unsuccessful :/ --for several upcoming interviews (a mixture of D.Ct. and COA). Any suggestions on how to select cases to read and how long a time period I should be trying to "cover"? I'm also wondering what kinds of questions judges are apt to ask candidates about former cases.


I never once received a question about a former case from a judge in a clerkship interview. I think the best prep for clerkship interviews is (1) know your resume inside and out; know what's on it and what's not (for that "what else should I know about you?/tell me something that's not on your resume" question); (2) know your writing sample (again, I never got a question on it, but it's definitely fair game); and (3) do what it takes for you to get comfortable talking about yourself (for me this usually just involved engaging in relaxed conversations with friends just before the interview).

Anonymous User wrote:For current clerks: how long does it typically take your judge to inform an applicant about his/her hiring decision after the interview?
I've gone on 5 interviews (both d.ct and circuit, beginning either 2016 or 2017) and have not heard anything back yet--does this likely mean that I will not receive an offer? Thank you!


IME, it varies. One judge did all his interviews in one day and made calls to all interviewees by the end of the day (technically, he only made one call; the clerks made the ding calls, but they were still that day). Two judges said "by next week"; they both took two weeks. One judge said "within the next few weeks" and then called the next day.

As for your second question, I'm not sure anyone could express an opinion without knowing how long ago you interviewed.


D. ct. clerk from above. I second all of this.

I got a call with an offer 5 minutes after ending the Skype interview with the judge. But they did a pretty thorough interview process with me--3 separate interviews with the career and outgoing clerks and then one with the judge.

As for prepping, I would be able to articulate why you want to clerk in general and with that judge/court in particular. I would also be ready to talk about relevant work experience and things you did. My friend's judge always asks applicants what the hardest thing they've worked on, to explain why it was so hard, and what he/she did about it, and how it resolved. I think that's a great question. You can learn a lot about someone (and whether they'll be a good clerk) by having them talk about their thought processes and how they go about solving a difficult problem.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273121
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 16, 2015 11:34 am

Anonymous User wrote:
2. No importance at all. Judge is very conservative, all of us clerks are very liberal. But I would strongly urge to keep politics out of the picture if at all possible. We do not, for instance, hire anyone who makes his/her politics known in an application.


What would constitute making one's politics known in an application? Saying in a cover letter that I am interested in clerking for a [liberal/conservative] judge such as yourself? Listing FedSoc/ACS on resume? Other?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273121
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 16, 2015 1:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
2. No importance at all. Judge is very conservative, all of us clerks are very liberal. But I would strongly urge to keep politics out of the picture if at all possible. We do not, for instance, hire anyone who makes his/her politics known in an application.


What would constitute making one's politics known in an application? Saying in a cover letter that I am interested in clerking for a [liberal/conservative] judge such as yourself? Listing FedSoc/ACS on resume? Other?


This is plenty.

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

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby rpupkin » Mon Feb 16, 2015 1:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What would constitute making one's politics known in an application? Saying in a cover letter that I am interested in clerking for a [liberal/conservative] judge such as yourself? Listing FedSoc/ACS on resume? Other?

This is plenty.

Yeah, I would keep FedSoc/ACS off your clerkship resume unless you have a specific reason to believe that the judge favors applicants affiliated with one or the other. As other posters are suggesting here, most judges don't care about the politics of their clerks. However, many judges DO care if a clerk seems inclined to mix politics and the law. For most judges, listing FedSoc/ACS is all downside and no upside.

msneroesq
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 12:00 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby msneroesq » Mon Feb 16, 2015 1:53 pm

Which coa judges are known for hiring rising 2ls with only 2 semesters of grades? I know many wait for the 3 semesters ...

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

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby rpupkin » Mon Feb 16, 2015 1:56 pm

msneroesq wrote:Which coa judges are known for hiring rising 2ls with only 2 semesters of grades? I know many wait for the 3 semesters ...

Many of the feeders, including Garland and Kozinski. This is actually a good question for your CDO. If you go to a school that the top judges hire from, and if you've done well enough after one semester to be at the top of your class, your school will definitely be interested in helping you strategize.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273121
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 16, 2015 2:52 pm

BVest wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm currently preparing--or trying to prepare, but feeling unsuccessful :/ --for several upcoming interviews (a mixture of D.Ct. and COA). Any suggestions on how to select cases to read and how long a time period I should be trying to "cover"? I'm also wondering what kinds of questions judges are apt to ask candidates about former cases.


I never once received a question about a former case from a judge in a clerkship interview. I think the best prep for clerkship interviews is (1) know your resume inside and out; know what's on it and what's not (for that "what else should I know about you?/tell me something that's not on your resume" question); (2) know your writing sample (again, I never got a question on it, but it's definitely fair game); and (3) do what it takes for you to get comfortable talking about yourself (for me this usually just involved engaging in relaxed conversations with friends just before the interview).

Anonymous User wrote:For current clerks: how long does it typically take your judge to inform an applicant about his/her hiring decision after the interview?
I've gone on 5 interviews (both d.ct and circuit, beginning either 2016 or 2017) and have not heard anything back yet--does this likely mean that I will not receive an offer? Thank you!


IME, it varies. One judge did all his interviews in one day and made calls to all interviewees by the end of the day (technically, he only made one call; the clerks made the ding calls, but they were still that day). Two judges said "by next week"; they both took two weeks. One judge said "within the next few weeks" and then called the next day.

As for your second question, I'm not sure anyone could express an opinion without knowing how long ago you interviewed.


OP here: I interviewed as long as in late December (for 2017 position), and then continually until about a week ago. My guess is that I am out of the running, but I would have expected a rejection call or letter. Is it possible I simply won't hear anything if I've been rejected?

User avatar
BVest
Posts: 5681
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:51 pm

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby BVest » Mon Feb 16, 2015 3:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:For current clerks: how long does it typically take your judge to inform an applicant about his/her hiring decision after the interview?
I've gone on 5 interviews (both d.ct and circuit, beginning either 2016 or 2017) and have not heard anything back yet--does this likely mean that I will not receive an offer? Thank you!

Anonymous User wrote:OP here: I interviewed as long as in late December (for 2017 position), and then continually until about a week ago. My guess is that I am out of the running, but I would have expected a rejection call or letter. Is it possible I simply won't hear anything if I've been rejected?


My experience is limited to those judges for whom I interviewed but I always heard something. For the 2017 slot, the judge might still be taking their time, and for some of the others it might be too close to the interview to tell anything. After a couple more weeks, though, you might want to talk to the clerkship contact at your school and see if they'll inquire about the hiring status of those judges.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273121
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 16, 2015 6:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
2. No importance at all. Judge is very conservative, all of us clerks are very liberal. But I would strongly urge to keep politics out of the picture if at all possible. We do not, for instance, hire anyone who makes his/her politics known in an application.


What would constitute making one's politics known in an application? Saying in a cover letter that I am interested in clerking for a [liberal/conservative] judge such as yourself? Listing FedSoc/ACS on resume? Other?


This is plenty.


OP here.

Yes, just putting Fed Soc/ACS on your resume tells us everything we need to know. And I can't imagine anyone says in a CL "I want to clerk for a judge with your politics," do they?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273121
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 16, 2015 6:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
2. No importance at all. Judge is very conservative, all of us clerks are very liberal. But I would strongly urge to keep politics out of the picture if at all possible. We do not, for instance, hire anyone who makes his/her politics known in an application.


What would constitute making one's politics known in an application? Saying in a cover letter that I am interested in clerking for a [liberal/conservative] judge such as yourself? Listing FedSoc/ACS on resume? Other?


This is plenty.


OP here.

Yes, just putting Fed Soc/ACS on your resume tells us everything we need to know. And I can't imagine anyone says in a CL "I want to clerk for a judge with your politics," do they?


Similar question: What about listing a more liberal/conservative inclined journal that you're on the E-board of? Same advice?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273121
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 16, 2015 11:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
2. No importance at all. Judge is very conservative, all of us clerks are very liberal. But I would strongly urge to keep politics out of the picture if at all possible. We do not, for instance, hire anyone who makes his/her politics known in an application.


What would constitute making one's politics known in an application? Saying in a cover letter that I am interested in clerking for a [liberal/conservative] judge such as yourself? Listing FedSoc/ACS on resume? Other?


This is plenty.


OP here.

Yes, just putting Fed Soc/ACS on your resume tells us everything we need to know. And I can't imagine anyone says in a CL "I want to clerk for a judge with your politics," do they?


Well, crap. I've included my ACS affiliation on all of my 50+ resumes this cycle. I wonder whether I've been auto-dinged for this. I never thought of it as a way to signal my politics--I included it because of my leadership position.

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

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby rpupkin » Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:41 am

Anonymous User wrote:Well, crap. I've included my ACS affiliation on all of my 50+ resumes this cycle. I wonder whether I've been auto-dinged for this. I never thought of it as a way to signal my politics--I included it because of my leadership position.

Don't worry about it too much. If you were motivated to seek a leadership position with ACS, you probably wouldn't enjoy clerking for a judge who doesn't want to hire ACS-affiliated clerks. The judges you'll want to clerk for won't care. A few will even see it as a plus.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273121
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 17, 2015 2:15 am

I have multiple questions. I didn't realize that it's the norm to put your upcoming SA position on your clerkship resume. I haven't done this and I've applied to a lot of judges thus far, so how bad generally does that hurt me?

Second, should I update my resumes for OSCAR and paper judges to reflect my upcoming SA position (this would be the only change to my resume), or is it something that's only worth implementing going forward?

Lastly, I'm splitting my summer between firms, so what's the easiest way to list multiple firms without taking up several lines on my resume or drawing unnecessary attention to my "expected" future jobs?

Thanks!

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

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby rpupkin » Tue Feb 17, 2015 2:21 am

Anonymous User wrote:I have multiple questions. I didn't realize that it's the norm to put your upcoming SA position on your clerkship resume. I haven't done this and I've applied to a lot of judges thus far, so how bad generally does that hurt me?

I don't think it hurts you. Many clerks and judges likely won't notice. And those that notice will likely think that you didn't put it on your resume because you haven't actually done it yet. It's really not a big deal.

What you're doing next summer is the kind of thing that comes up in an interview. If it gets to that point, you can tell the judge all about the multiple firms you're going to work at during your 2L summer. In the meantime, I don't think it's necessary to send in updated resumes to the chambers to which you've already applied, but you can do it if you want.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273121
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 17, 2015 4:10 am

Nitpicky question but when uploading cover letters with new information to OSCAR, does it make the most sense to update the date on the letter to signal there's new information or keep the original date?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273121
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 17, 2015 9:31 am

Update the date. But to be honest, I doubt many chambers are looking at the applications multiple times.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273121
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 21, 2015 10:09 am

OSCAR says it's only for 2Ls and 3Ls. I'm a 1L. I know some judges are hiring this summer, and want to know who those judges are. Is it bad for me to sign up on OSCAR and say I'm a 2L? How else can I figure out which judges are hiring this summer?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273121
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:29 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Similar question: What about listing a more liberal/conservative inclined journal that you're on the E-board of? Same advice?


I think that's a little trickier. Is it your only journal? If so, list it. Better than none, I think. IMO, doing academic work via a journal, albeit obviously biased/politicized, is different than volunteering to do ACS/Fed Soc stuff.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273121
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:30 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Well, crap. I've included my ACS affiliation on all of my 50+ resumes this cycle. I wonder whether I've been auto-dinged for this. I never thought of it as a way to signal my politics--I included it because of my leadership position.


Yeah, sorry, but we'd almost certainly auto-ding you. But I think our chambers is the exception, not the rule.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273121
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:42 pm

Is it common to have former clerks call/drop a note to the judge/current clerk telling them to give your app a second look? When this does happen, is it a huge plus to your chances for an interview?

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

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby rpupkin » Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Is it common to have former clerks call/drop a note to the judge/current clerk telling them to give your app a second look? When this does happen, is it a huge plus to your chances for an interview?

If by "second look" you mean that chambers has already considered and rejected your application once, then, no, a call/note from a former clerk is unlikely to make a difference. It's hard to get out of a reject pile.

A "former clerk" recommendation is helpful around the time you send in your application, because it might prod the judge (or the judge's clerks or JA) to pull your app from the pile for a look. And a call or email is especially helpful right at the time that the judge is turning his or her attention to clerkship apps. But it can be hard to know when that point occurs, so it's probably best to ask the former clerk to put in a good word at the time that you're applying.




Return to “Judicial Clerkships”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.