Anonymous User wrote:HYS. I'm sure this is answered somewhere so feel free to point me there. How receptive are judges to explanations of one semester/quarter of straight Ps if the rest of the transcript is a decent mix (probably between top 40% and top third)? When would that conversation even come up, or would it not even be necessary? I've assumed for the most part that they wouldn't care as to the why. Only looking at district clerkships, c/o 2017 looking for 2018 or 2019.
There are judges who would be concerned about a bunch of Ps on a student's transcript, particularly if those Ps occurred during 1L. But those judges have mechanisms in place to screen such transcripts out. They wouldn't invite you in for an interview in the first place, so you would never have the opportunity to explain your grades.
But there are plenty of judges who are open to hiring Top 40% HYS students. And if one of those judges calls you in for an interview, it's very unlikely that your semester/quarter of straight Ps would come up. In general, interviews are for fit only; the judge has already decided that you have the requisite credentials to clerk.
I'm aware of one instance in which a judge asked an applicant about grades during an interview. A friend of mine got a "P" in contracts, and the judge--a fairly well-known Ninth Circuit judge--reportedly said something like: "I consider Contracts the most important 1L class. What happened there?" The story stands out because it's the only time I've heard of a judge asking an interviewee about grades. (My friend says he gave a nervous, rambling answer. He got offered the clerkship the next day.)