Clerks Taking Questions

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EzraFitz
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby EzraFitz » Wed Mar 30, 2016 5:35 pm

Yeah, no way I'd be passing C&F after that.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 06, 2016 10:51 am

I've been trying to figure out what exactly I've been doing wrong and how to work on it to manage to get a clerkship. I'm roughly in the top 6-8 percent of my class at a T20, on LR and Executive Board, with a published note. Strong letters of recommendation. Will be graduating this Spring. I've been applying to district and circuit courts all over the country for the past 2 years with little to show for it ( a few d court interviews) and subsequent dings. I know how competitive the process is but at the same I'm pretty disheartened by it all and not sure how to proceed, if at all. I'll be working at a large firm in the Fall. Any advice would be appreciated.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Apr 06, 2016 11:26 am

You need to work connections, if you have or can manufacture any. I would heavily target alums of your school, or judges who have hired clerks out of your school in the past, or judges who know anyone at the firm where you'll be workin. Barring that, honestly I think you have to just keep applying and hope someone bites. You've had DCt interviews, so you know it's possible - the problem is that it's such an idiosyncratic/personal process, once you get the interview, it's entirely dependent on if you hit it off with the judge, and that's hard to control. You may also have a better shot applying as an alum, in that more and more judges like to hire people with work experience.

Your qualifications are obviously very good. But for judges who tend to hire only T14/T6/fill-in-chosen-school-ranking, your rank is perhaps not quite high enough to catch their eye; my sense is that there are a lot of judges who will hire only out of top-ranked schools, or the top 1-2 students (not percent, but students) out of lower-ranked schools (this is not meant as critical of your rank/school, which are both better than mine - just my sense of how this can work).

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:18 pm

In my judge's chambers, your qualifications would put you in the "seriously consider" pile. Once you're in that pile, the key factor in determining who gets hired--besides the judge being contacted by someone he knows and respects---is the quality of the writing sample.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 07, 2016 10:47 am

Thank you both. I'll take a look at my writing sample. Up to this point, I haven't used my published note or anything academic but happy to switch or supplement if you think that would be a better idea. Also, should I cold email alumni clerks from my school? I figured they're busy and I have little to show by reaching out without having an interview request, but I can start being more aggressive too.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 07, 2016 2:58 pm

I'm the anon above. For my judge, it really doesn't matter if your writing sample is academic. What matters is that your writing sample is concise, well-organized, error-free, analytically sound, and just well-written overall -- i.e., the kind of writing my judge wants to have coming out of his chambers.

You also get some bonus points if your writing sample is about an interesting topic, or one relevant to our chambers' work.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 13, 2016 9:08 pm

When judges get ready to look at OSCAR applications, what do they see? Are the applications in order of who applied first? Do judges rescreen applications after updates to those applications?

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 15, 2016 11:23 am

I've got an offer for a temporary clerkship that's only 4-6 months. Would taking this be worthwhile for getting a term clerkship down the road? I have another job lined up that's just okay, not something I want to stay at long term, and I'm not actually competitive for a clerkship otherwise. I'm hoping that if I can apply as a current clerk (with a rec from my temp clerkship judge?) that my otherwise crappy resume won't matter nearly as much. The downside is I'd have to move across the country and I don't have any ties to the area or particular desire to stay there. Would be willing to move just about anywhere, hoping to end up in fed government, or AUSA, not interested in firms.

pluto111
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby pluto111 » Fri Apr 15, 2016 4:30 pm

Weird question, but do any current or former clerks out there have the experience of having/getting a dog before going into the clerkship? I'm thinking of getting a puppy soon because I'll be at home all summer studying for the bar (online) with plenty of time to train and monitor it, but I'm worried about taking care of the dog once I start clerking. Has anyone done this (particularly with a puppy and not an older, lower maintenance dog)? Any tips

WillaJean
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby WillaJean » Fri Apr 15, 2016 6:43 pm

pluto111 wrote:Weird question, but do any current or former clerks out there have the experience of having/getting a dog before going into the clerkship? I'm thinking of getting a puppy soon because I'll be at home all summer studying for the bar (online) with plenty of time to train and monitor it, but I'm worried about taking care of the dog once I start clerking. Has anyone done this (particularly with a puppy and not an older, lower maintenance dog)? Any tips


It will completely depend on your Judge and how far you'll be living from chambers. I can make it home over lunch almost every day to let my pup out, but my Judge is probably more flexible than most -- and a dog lover, too. Can you talk to your Judge's current/former clerks about schedules? No matter what, I wouldn't do it without some sort of plan b, e.g., a good friend or reliable pet sitter who can drop everything and come over if necessary. Also, if you'll be traveling for oral arguments, keep in mind that you'll have to prevail on friends/family/pet sitters for days at a time several times a year.

Jchance
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Jchance » Sat Apr 16, 2016 4:49 pm

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davidagnew
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby davidagnew » Sat Apr 23, 2016 2:13 pm

Is it okay to leave a two-year federal d. ct. clerkship early to be a CoA clerk?

I recently accepted a two-year clerkship for 2017 - 2019 term. Not sure if I must withdraw my CoA applications for 2018 - 19 and not file others. Also, not sure if it's okay to ask my judge about it (would I look like a total d-bag?) or my judge's current clerks (would they even know? would they tell the judge I asked a d-bag question?)

If it matters: My D. Ct. clerkship is in a place that I'll really enjoy being for two years, but not sure I will make a career there because it is not a major legal market.

P.S. added by edit: Thank you to those who responded to me. It was helpful. I am no longer asking for replies on this -- I do not have any interest in the possibility of leaving early before my term is completed.
Last edited by davidagnew on Thu Apr 28, 2016 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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rpupkin
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby rpupkin » Sat Apr 23, 2016 3:22 pm

davidagnew wrote:Is it okay to leave a two-year federal d. ct. clerkship early to be a CoA clerk?

I recently accepted a two-year clerkship for 2017 - 2019 term. Not sure if I must withdraw my CoA applications for 2018 - 19 and not file others. Also, not sure if it's okay to ask my judge about it (would I look like a total d-bag?) or my judge's current clerks (would they even know? would they tell the judge I asked a d-bag question?)

Depends on the judge. I've seen a couple of anecdotes on TLS about two-year clerks asking for (and receiving) permission to leave their clerkships early for one reason or another. I think most judges, though, would be quite annoyed if you tried to change your clerkship from a two-year to a one-year commitment. Those judges want two years for a reason. So, yes, I think you will probably look like a total d-bag.

If you want to pursue this, I strongly suggest talking to a former clerk of the judge whom you think you can trust. Tell him/her your situation and ask how the judge might react.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Apr 23, 2016 3:27 pm

This is going to be entirely up to your judge. Not that s/he can make you stay if you decide to leave, but burning that kind of bridge would be bad (I think it's one thing to turn down an offer from a judge, and another to quit partway through without the judge's blessing). And frankly some COA judges would be pissed on behalf of the DCt judge if you ditched the DCt judge early, because they would see it as breaking a commitment. I have heard of people leaving after a year with their judge's blessing, so it's possible, but I would definitely try to work it out with the DCt judge, and if they didn't approve, I personally wouldn't do it (you have to decide on what kinds of risks you're willing to take).

I think it's fair to ask the current clerks if they know of any previous clerks leaving after a year after accepting an offer for two, though, as long as you're politic about it.

Edit: reread and realized you don't even have a COA interview yet. Personally, I would withdraw and not file more apps, I think that's a bad look. If the application process with a COA was further advanced that might be different. Can't say that this is any kind of industry standard though - just that I think it would not go over well.

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rpupkin
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby rpupkin » Sat Apr 23, 2016 6:36 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think it's fair to ask the current clerks if they know of any previous clerks leaving after a year after accepting an offer for two, though, as long as you're politic about it.

I wouldn't do this. The current clerks would probably feel obligated to share the conversation with the judge. There's a not insignificant risk here that you'll seriously annoy your judge just by asking about this.

If you're going to pursue this, I suggest reaching out to a former clerk first—ideally someone you have an independent connection with (e.g., same law school, summered at the same firm).

davidagnew
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby davidagnew » Sat Apr 23, 2016 6:52 pm

rpupkin wrote:
davidagnew wrote:Is it okay to leave a two-year federal d. ct. clerkship early to be a CoA clerk?

I recently accepted a two-year clerkship for 2017 - 2019 term. Not sure if I must withdraw my CoA applications for 2018 - 19 and not file others. Also, not sure if it's okay to ask my judge about it (would I look like a total d-bag?) or my judge's current clerks (would they even know? would they tell the judge I asked a d-bag question?)

Depends on the judge. I've seen a couple of anecdotes on TLS about two-year clerks asking for (and receiving) permission to leave their clerkships early for one reason or another. I think most judges, though, would be quite annoyed if you tried to change your clerkship from a two-year to a one-year commitment. Those judges want two years for a reason. So, yes, I think you will probably look like a total d-bag.

If you want to pursue this, I strongly suggest talking to a former clerk of the judge whom you think you can trust. Tell him/her your situation and ask how the judge might react.


Thanks for your reply. I wouldn't want to ask for permission, or act on such a permission, unless it were with my judge's blessing (without reservation). On OSCAR, I saw one d. ct. judge advertising for a two-year term note that it's okay to leave after one year if going on to a CoA. If there's a reasonable chance others (my judge) might feel that way too, I would ask. But if it's so rare or outlandish that asking might embarrass me or damage the relationship with the judge, I wouldn't.

Some questions, of course, are worse than just stupid. I'm sure others here can think of more amusing examples. I'm imagining if I called in a few months before my start date and asked, "Hey, can still start on time, but having a super awesome time traveling the world right now -- is schedule flexible to postpone start for 2 more months?" (also reminded of numerous sitcoms involving questions about maybe new sexual partners or positions).

A bit about my professional intentions and motivations: I would like to be practicing in a plaintiff's firm or civil rights / public-interest litigation at a private firm, organization, or government. I'm super happy about my judge personally, the location of my clerkship, and the match between being a D. Ct. clerk and my future professional activity. But I also think that I might likely want to try and go academic later in my career -- so there's some highly speculative far-future usefulness of CoA to me, but more relevant to right now just a real interest in that kind of thought-process and activity, and not wanting to miss out. So if it's cool to inquire, I will, but if even asking is a terrible idea, well, that's a problem for me either. This 2L can spot the issue well enough to ask, but is otherwise clueless on actual social and professional realities.

P.S. added by edit: Thank you to those who responded to me. It was helpful. I am no longer asking for replies on this -- I do not have any interest in the possibility of leaving early before my term is completed.
Last edited by davidagnew on Thu Apr 28, 2016 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Apr 23, 2016 6:56 pm

rpupkin wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think it's fair to ask the current clerks if they know of any previous clerks leaving after a year after accepting an offer for two, though, as long as you're politic about it.

I wouldn't do this. The current clerks would probably feel obligated to share the conversation with the judge. There's a not insignificant risk here that you'll seriously annoy your judge just by asking about this.

If you're going to pursue this, I suggest reaching out to a former clerk first—ideally someone you have an independent connection with (e.g., same law school, summered at the same firm).

You're right, a former clerk is a better idea.

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Emma.
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Emma. » Sat Apr 23, 2016 7:48 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think it's fair to ask the current clerks if they know of any previous clerks leaving after a year after accepting an offer for two, though, as long as you're politic about it.

I wouldn't do this. The current clerks would probably feel obligated to share the conversation with the judge. There's a not insignificant risk here that you'll seriously annoy your judge just by asking about this.

If you're going to pursue this, I suggest reaching out to a former clerk first—ideally someone you have an independent connection with (e.g., same law school, summered at the same firm).

You're right, a former clerk is a better idea.

My judges didn't have two-year positions, but if someone reached out to ask me about this I'd certainly give the judge a call. I'd imagine many judges would understand a clerk leaving midway through the clerkship because something major changed in their life—like, say, their spouse getting a once-in-a-lifetime job offer in another city. But someone considering bailing from a two-year commitment before they'd even started the job would raise serious red flags.

run26.2
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby run26.2 » Sat Apr 23, 2016 9:44 pm

I say just leave the outstanding apps out there and if you get an interview, tell the judge. I wouldn't apply for more now. Why not just apply for clerkships that start after your first one ends?

One of the big benefits of clerking is the network you develop. If you leave early, the judge and co-clerks will not have a favorable impression. There's a chance this could come back to haunt you later.

davidagnew
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby davidagnew » Sat Apr 23, 2016 11:00 pm

run26.2 wrote:I say just leave the outstanding apps out there and if you get an interview, tell the judge. I wouldn't apply for more now. Why not just apply for clerkships that start after your first one ends?

One of the big benefits of clerking is the network you develop. If you leave early, the judge and co-clerks will not have a favorable impression. There's a chance this could come back to haunt you later.


I feel like this has probably been covered, but haven't seen it as I've been perusing the forums --- isn't another clerkship following a two-year D. Ct. considered a bit too much?

run26.2
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby run26.2 » Sat Apr 23, 2016 11:04 pm

Others have considered it to be so, if not for purposes of pursuing a SCOTUS clerkship. I also tend to think 3 years of clerking is a bit much.

Are you doing this because you want to get out of year 2? If so, why did you accept the 2-year clerkship?

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby davidagnew » Sat Apr 23, 2016 11:07 pm

run26.2 wrote:Others have considered it to be so, if not for purposes of pursuing a SCOTUS clerkship. I also tend to think 3 years of clerking is a bit much.

Are you doing this because you want to get out of year 2? If so, why did you accept the 2-year clerkship?


I think my question has been pretty much answered --- whether it's a legit thing to even consider. (I saw one posting in OSCAR for a 2 year D. Ct. saying okay to terminate early if going up to CoA --- guess that's pretty much that one judge). So I'm not going to ask my judge about doing this and look like an unreliable jerk. I think having the diversity of CoA and d. c.t experience would be personally enriching. But not trying to be unprofessional or unethical in the slightest.

P.S. added by edit: Thank you to those who responded to me. It was helpful. I am no longer asking for replies on this -- I do not have any interest in the possibility of leaving early before my term is completed.
Last edited by davidagnew on Thu Apr 28, 2016 6:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

run26.2
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby run26.2 » Sat Apr 23, 2016 11:18 pm

davidagnew wrote:
run26.2 wrote:Others have considered it to be so, if not for purposes of pursuing a SCOTUS clerkship. I also tend to think 3 years of clerking is a bit much.

Are you doing this because you want to get out of year 2? If so, why did you accept the 2-year clerkship?


I think my question has been pretty much answered --- whether it's a legit thing to even consider. (I saw one posting in OSCAR for a 2 year D. Ct. saying okay to terminate early if going up to CoA --- guess that's pretty much that one judge). So I'm not going to ask my judge about doing this and look like an unreliable jerk. I think having the diversity of CoA and d. c.t experience would be personally enriching. But not trying to be unprofessional or unethical in the slightest.

I get it. That's why I'm saying leave the lines in the water that you already cast out there. But to throw other ones out, without asking your judge, feels to me like you're trying to bail on year 2.

I think it's not outlandish to ask before applying for a COA that might cut your clerkship short. I think it is a little disingenuous to accept the 2 year clerkship and then continue applying for clerkships that would cut clerkship 1 short.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby davidagnew » Sat Apr 23, 2016 11:44 pm

run26.2 wrote:
davidagnew wrote:
run26.2 wrote:Others have considered it to be so, if not for purposes of pursuing a SCOTUS clerkship. I also tend to think 3 years of clerking is a bit much.

Are you doing this because you want to get out of year 2? If so, why did you accept the 2-year clerkship?


I think my question has been pretty much answered --- whether it's a legit thing to even consider. (I saw one posting in OSCAR for a 2 year D. Ct. saying okay to terminate early if going up to CoA --- guess that's pretty much that one judge). So I'm not going to ask my judge about doing this and look like an unreliable jerk. I think having the diversity of CoA and d. c.t experience would be personally enriching. But not trying to be unprofessional or unethical in the slightest.

I get it. That's why I'm saying leave the lines in the water that you already cast out there. But to throw other ones out, without asking your judge, feels to me like you're trying to bail on year 2.

I think it's not outlandish to ask before applying for a COA that might cut your clerkship short. I think it is a little disingenuous to accept the 2 year clerkship and then continue applying for clerkships that would cut clerkship 1 short.


Agreed. Just to be clear, I was mainly wanting to know if it was okay to broach the subject and ask about trying to jump to a CoA during the second year. Not asking and sending out apps seems sketchy to me, and I wouldn't do that. What I have outstanding now is literally just two apps for 2018-19 CoA. All my attention has been on finding something starting fall 2017. So actually doing it really requires having that conversation, and the purpose of my inquiry was to check out whether its a legit thing or not (guess not). Maybe I should waste time on facebook instead of thinking about this... pretty sure my judge is actually a really nice person and fun to work with, too.

P.S. added by edit: Thank you to those who responded to me. It was helpful. I am no longer asking for replies on this -- I do not have any interest in the possibility of leaving early before my term is completed.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 04, 2016 1:54 pm

pluto111 wrote:Weird question, but do any current or former clerks out there have the experience of having/getting a dog before going into the clerkship? I'm thinking of getting a puppy soon because I'll be at home all summer studying for the bar (online) with plenty of time to train and monitor it, but I'm worried about taking care of the dog once I start clerking. Has anyone done this (particularly with a puppy and not an older, lower maintenance dog)? Any tips



My co-clerk did exactly this. She got a puppy three months before taking the bar and spent that time training it. Now that she's clerking, she lives right next to the court house and runs home for lunch to let the dog out. She also takes the dog out before/after work. It's definitely somewhat limiting, but doable. Doggy daycare is also an option if you can afford it - I have several friends that got dogs while studying for the bar and take them to doggy daycare during the day.




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