Clerks Taking Questions

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 24, 2015 3:31 am

rpupkin wrote:
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.


D. ct. clerk.

I agree that you should contact a former clerk to put in a good word ASAP.

But if I had passed on someone and a former clerk (esp the few I'm friends with) got in touch and said "Hey, this person applied, you really should consider him/her if you haven't," I'd certainly give that person another look. But only if the former clerk had good reason to know the applicant would be a good fit and did good work. Unless the applicant's application had something glaringly wrong, I'd be inclined to at least suggest an interview.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:45 pm

Posted elsewhere with no response. Wondering how to contact chambers to let them know you are interviewing in their location with another judge. Obviously calling is possible but I would rather be able to email the JA so that they can ask the judge at their leisure not a "hold on a second, let me ask" or something awkward. It seems much more logical to e-mail but JA emails don't seem to be publicly available.

Thanks.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Posted elsewhere with no response. Wondering how to contact chambers to let them know you are interviewing in their location with another judge. Obviously calling is possible but I would rather be able to email the JA so that they can ask the judge at their leisure not a "hold on a second, let me ask" or something awkward. It seems much more logical to e-mail but JA emails don't seem to be publicly available.

Thanks.


Calling is not that awkward unless you're incredibly awkward over the phone. JAs get lots of these requests. They'll almost certainly tell you they will forward your request to the judge and will take down your number to let you know the result.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:55 pm

I'm not sure if there is a separate thread for this, but I was wondering how competitive I am for a federal district or COA clerkship.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby rpupkin » Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm not sure if there is a separate thread for this, but I was wondering how competitive I am for a federal district or COA clerkship.

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Very competitive in the region in which your law school is located. Apply to both district courts and COA. Your chances will be better if your law school isn't in a big city with a bunch of other law schools. If you're, say, in DC or NYC, it will be harder.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:05 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm not sure if there is a separate thread for this, but I was wondering how competitive I am for a federal district or COA clerkship.

T40-50 law school
Rank: 1-3
LR exec board
intern at SSC

Very competitive in the region in which your law school is located. Apply to both district courts and COA. Your chances will be better if your law school isn't in a big city with a bunch of other law schools.


OP here. Thanks for the advice. Is it worth my time to apply in more competitive markets like L.A., San Francisco, D.C., and NYC?

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby rpupkin » Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm not sure if there is a separate thread for this, but I was wondering how competitive I am for a federal district or COA clerkship.

T40-50 law school
Rank: 1-3
LR exec board
intern at SSC

Very competitive in the region in which your law school is located. Apply to both district courts and COA. Your chances will be better if your law school isn't in a big city with a bunch of other law schools.


OP here. Thanks for the advice. Is it worth my time to apply in more competitive markets like L.A., San Francisco, D.C., and NYC?

Probably not. I mean, if you go to Hastings, you should apply to N.D. Cal; if you go to George Mason, you should apply to D.D.C....you get the idea. But I think it's pretty tough for those from lower-ranked schools to get looks in far-away competitive districts. I'm sure it happens, but it's not likely. You should always, of course, be on the lookout for unusual connections, like a SDNY judge who graduated from your law school or a ND Cal judge who is best friends with your Conlaw prof.

Really focus on your local opportunities, and then maybe throw some apps at ND Cal/DDC/SDNY. If you don't mind spending the time, it can't hurt.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:20 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm not sure if there is a separate thread for this, but I was wondering how competitive I am for a federal district or COA clerkship.

T40-50 law school
Rank: 1-3
LR exec board
intern at SSC

Very competitive in the region in which your law school is located. Apply to both district courts and COA. Your chances will be better if your law school isn't in a big city with a bunch of other law schools.


OP here. Thanks for the advice. Is it worth my time to apply in more competitive markets like L.A., San Francisco, D.C., and NYC?

Probably not. I mean, if you go to Hastings, you should apply to N.D. Cal; if you go to George Mason, you should apply to D.D.C....you get the idea. But I think it's pretty tough for those from lower-ranked schools to get looks in far-away competitive districts. I'm sure it's happened, but it's not likely. You should always, of course, be on the lookout for unusual connections, like a SDNY judge who graduated from your law school or a ND Cal judge who is best friends with your Conlaw prof.

Really focus on your local opportunities, and then maybe throw some apps at ND Cal/DDC/SDNY. If you don't mind spending the time, it can't hurt.


thanks for this. I've sent out about twenty applications, and I haven't heard anything yet. Hopefully silence at this point doesn't mean I've struck out already. Most of my applications are for district courts that are close ish to my school.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 17, 2015 12:00 pm

Quick question: The application on OSCAR requested 1 recommendation. I submitted one letter with my application and also had that recommender call chambers on my behalf. Would it be annoying to the Judge/Clerks to have other recommenders call, even though I did not submit a letter from them? Just trying to avoid stepping on toes/ignoring OSCAR protocol.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby seizmaar » Tue Mar 17, 2015 1:28 pm

the chances that a second call helps you aren't high, but they're a hell of a lot higher than it hurting you, so i would go for it man. at least brings you to chamber's attention again.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 06, 2015 2:19 pm

So, I have an upcoming clerkship interview that is going to include a writing test at the end of it, what exactly is a writing test for a clerkship interview?

I have looked online to no avail.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 07, 2015 2:56 am

Anonymous User wrote:So, I have an upcoming clerkship interview that is going to include a writing test at the end of it, what exactly is a writing test for a clerkship interview?

I have looked online to no avail.


I did one for a state COA position (that I did not get). We were given a stack of cases and a record and given 8 hours to draft an opinion. It was based on a real case the court had resolved earlier that year.

I'm at a d.ct. now and we've discussed doing a writing test for the next round of interviewees. We'd give them a complaint and MTD papers and ask them to draft an order.

My bet your test will be something like this.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby seizmaar » Tue Apr 07, 2015 8:21 am

that sounds horrible and actively malicious

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Apr 07, 2015 10:53 am

seizmaar wrote:that sounds horrible and actively malicious

I mean, I get that it's a huge drag, but the judges I know who did this believed it's hard to know to what extent submitted writing samples actually represent an applicant's true writing ability, and want to see something unedited that reflects the work they'd do on the court. I think mostly they do it because they've been burned in the past hiring people who look great on paper who turn out to be pretty useless for the year. But yeah, it doesn't make clerkship applications any easier or more fun.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 07, 2015 11:00 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
seizmaar wrote:that sounds horrible and actively malicious

I mean, I get that it's a huge drag, but the judges I know who did this believed it's hard to know to what extent submitted writing samples actually represent an applicant's true writing ability, and want to see something unedited that reflects the work they'd do on the court. I think mostly they do it because they've been burned in the past hiring people who look great on paper who turn out to be pretty useless for the year. But yeah, it doesn't make clerkship applications any easier or more fun.


So, is it most likely going to be to write an opinion or something similar? It is a short writing test, if I recall correctly, not anywhere close to 3 hours.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby BVest » Tue Apr 07, 2015 11:04 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
seizmaar wrote:that sounds horrible and actively malicious

I mean, I get that it's a huge drag, but the judges I know who did this believed it's hard to know to what extent submitted writing samples actually represent an applicant's true writing ability, and want to see something unedited that reflects the work they'd do on the court. I think mostly they do it because they've been burned in the past hiring people who look great on paper who turn out to be pretty useless for the year. But yeah, it doesn't make clerkship applications any easier or more fun.


I never had to do one, but I understand the reason judges do them. That said, it seems like there are suitable alternatives. For example, judges could start requiring that you send a copy of your 1L memo or brief as turned in. They could even require that it be the original graded copy to verify you've not updated it. (Of course those of you with ungraded LRW won't like that idea, but y'all have it easy).

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Apr 07, 2015 11:13 am

Anonymous User wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
seizmaar wrote:that sounds horrible and actively malicious

I mean, I get that it's a huge drag, but the judges I know who did this believed it's hard to know to what extent submitted writing samples actually represent an applicant's true writing ability, and want to see something unedited that reflects the work they'd do on the court. I think mostly they do it because they've been burned in the past hiring people who look great on paper who turn out to be pretty useless for the year. But yeah, it doesn't make clerkship applications any easier or more fun.


So, is it most likely going to be to write an opinion or something similar? It is a short writing test, if I recall correctly, not anywhere close to 3 hours.

The ones I've seen were "draft an opinion," but I'm sure some judges want something different.

And bvest, I agree, except that 1) a lot of people learn about writing between 1L LRW and applying to clerk/clerking, and 2) my LRW held your hand so much throughout the process it's not the best representation of how someone would deal with the mess of a real case. Though I agree that it would allow you to compare across candidates. (I suspect not everyone would keep their copy of their final brief/whatever, though.) Again, not saying the writing test is great, just that I understand why judges do it, and unfortunately, they're in a position to call all the shots.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby BVest » Tue Apr 07, 2015 2:32 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote: (I suspect not everyone would keep their copy of their final brief/whatever, though.)


Yeah, but I figure if it became a trend law students would know to keep a copy.

Really, an hour or two isn't bad, but someone mentioned an 8 hour test... good grief. I hope that judge only does that with one candidate at a time, using the results to either hire that person or move to the next candidate.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:02 am

BVest wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
seizmaar wrote:that sounds horrible and actively malicious

I mean, I get that it's a huge drag, but the judges I know who did this believed it's hard to know to what extent submitted writing samples actually represent an applicant's true writing ability, and want to see something unedited that reflects the work they'd do on the court. I think mostly they do it because they've been burned in the past hiring people who look great on paper who turn out to be pretty useless for the year. But yeah, it doesn't make clerkship applications any easier or more fun.


I never had to do one, but I understand the reason judges do them. That said, it seems like there are suitable alternatives. For example, judges could start requiring that you send a copy of your 1L memo or brief as turned in. They could even require that it be the original graded copy to verify you've not updated it. (Of course those of you with ungraded LRW won't like that idea, but y'all have it easy).


D. ct. clerk from above. Opinion writing for a judge is very different from anything you do in law school (or practice for that reason). It's a particular skill set. The only real way to know if you can do it is to be throw into the deep end. Also, my judge is very hands off, so we need someone who doesn't need much hand holding.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby run26.2 » Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:59 am

On one test that you can't prepare for? This seems to overlook the possibility that someone could actually learn to do it. And that some, while able to do well on the test, lack the aptitude or interest in learning how to be better.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Apr 08, 2015 10:07 am

run26.2 wrote:On one test that you can't prepare for? This seems to overlook the possibility that someone could actually learn to do it. And that some, while able to do well on the test, lack the aptitude or interest in learning how to be better.

Clerks are usually only there for a year and need a certain base level of ability to be effective. The less someone has to learn, the better. And it's not like the judge is going to ignore all other factors (aptitude/interest) besides the test. Again, the judges I know who do it do so because they've been burned with bad clerks and this was their solution.

They may well be jerks too, who knows? But it's not an irrational thing to do (depending in part on how it's administered).

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Emma. » Wed Apr 08, 2015 3:21 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
run26.2 wrote:On one test that you can't prepare for? This seems to overlook the possibility that someone could actually learn to do it. And that some, while able to do well on the test, lack the aptitude or interest in learning how to be better.

Clerks are usually only there for a year and need a certain base level of ability to be effective. The less someone has to learn, the better. And it's not like the judge is going to ignore all other factors (aptitude/interest) besides the test. Again, the judges I know who do it do so because they've been burned with bad clerks and this was their solution.

They may well be jerks too, who knows? But it's not an irrational thing to do (depending in part on how it's administered).


Agreed. I can't imagine giving one of these, but no judge is going to expect perfection. A test like this does have a lot of value as a sorting mechanism though. Sure, someone who does a shitty job on some contrived writing test might end up making a fantastic clerk. But none of the other metrics judges use in hiring really provide any guarantees as to the candidate's future performance. I'm sure the judge is just looking for more data points.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby run26.2 » Thu Apr 09, 2015 10:19 am

Admittedly, I've never seen the results of one these, to compare one against another. But it sounds like it would reward people who were able simply to get things done in rapid fashion. While there is definitely value to that, my observation is that a high percentage of people who have an innate ability to get things done quickly also produce work that has serious deficiencies. I get that it provides some data, I just don't think that it provides the right type of data. I don't know how it could be done, but if you could somehow screen for ability to pick things up quickly, as opposed to where someone was at day 1, would be a better test.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Apr 09, 2015 10:38 am

I'll stop after this because I'm just extending the tangent, but I don't agree that ^this is all a writing test would reveal (again, depending on how it's administered), and I don't agree that people who can get things done quickly tend to produce deficient work.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Emma. » Thu Apr 09, 2015 10:46 am

run26.2 wrote:Admittedly, I've never seen the results of one these, to compare one against another. But it sounds like it would reward people who were able simply to get things done in rapid fashion. While there is definitely value to that, my observation is that a high percentage of people who have an innate ability to get things done quickly also produce work that has serious deficiencies. I get that it provides some data, I just don't think that it provides the right type of data. I don't know how it could be done, but if you could somehow screen for ability to pick things up quickly, as opposed to where someone was at day 1, would be a better test.


I've heard several judges (particularly DCt but also COA) talk about how bad it is when a clerk can't get things done in a rapid fashion. And ultimately, think the judge is in a better position than you or I to know whether a writing test provides the right type of data.




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