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.