Clerks Taking Questions

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BVest
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby BVest » Thu Jun 30, 2016 9:52 am

rpupkin makes valid points, though the tone and content of dissents varies from judge to judge. In our chambers, dissents are essentially mini-majorities, though with less background (unless there was a dearth of relevant background in the majority). The tone is serious, the focus is on the law and analysis, and the only references to the majority are to point out where it errs, often sounding much like references to errant lower court rulings.

The advantage I've seen in my judge's approach (and the problem for the staff and judge's time (a good problem to have)), is that in close cases, you have a decent chance of attracting a crowd and having to redraft it as a majority. The odds are still against you (probably more so on a 3-judge panel where there's only one judge -- the other non-author -- in play), but when you're trying to count to 4 or 5, attracting one or two judges to join can get your dissent a second or third look and swing the momentum pretty quickly.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 30, 2016 10:25 am

How much does a graduation award boost an applicant's chances to a district court or COA? Top 20% at a lower T14 and received a trial advocacy/pro bono/field specific such as patent or bankruptcy law.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 30, 2016 10:37 am

Rising 2L at HLS, I have an interview with a district court judge in August, who is my top choice. Should I leverage this into interviews with other judges in the area? My only concern is that the judge I have an interview scheduled with is essentially my top choice, so unsure if it would be wise to try and get other interviews around the same time frame...

Also, I know its been discussed here a bit, but any idea how many people district court judges typically interview for a spot? Trying not to get my hopes up as I know they likely interview a few.

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nothingtosee
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby nothingtosee » Thu Jun 30, 2016 10:58 am

Anonymous User wrote:Rising 2L at HLS, I have an interview with a district court judge in August, who is my top choice. Should I leverage this into interviews with other judges in the area? My only concern is that the judge I have an interview scheduled with is essentially my top choice, so unsure if it would be wise to try and get other interviews around the same time frame...

Also, I know its been discussed here a bit, but any idea how many people district court judges typically interview for a spot? Trying not to get my hopes up as I know they likely interview a few.


I would reach out to other judges. Hiring is so unpredictable if don't think one should put all the eggs in one basket. And I think most judges are reasonable enough that they don't do explodin offers. You could research the other judges on CSM and see if they do exploding offers. Getting an offer from another judge will likely work in your favor with your top choice judge.

I was under the impression ~8 interviews for 2 spots is normal.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 30, 2016 11:47 am

Anonymous User wrote:Rising 2L at HLS, I have an interview with a district court judge in August, who is my top choice. Should I leverage this into interviews with other judges in the area? My only concern is that the judge I have an interview scheduled with is essentially my top choice, so unsure if it would be wise to try and get other interviews around the same time frame...

Also, I know its been discussed here a bit, but any idea how many people district court judges typically interview for a spot? Trying not to get my hopes up as I know they likely interview a few.


My district court interviews 8 for 2 spots, and if he's not happy with how the first 8 went, he'll keep dipping into the resume pile and bringing people in until he's hired two clerks.

Also yes to your first question--I scored an interview after 2+ months of radio silence from a judge after telling him I would be in the general area for another clerkship interview that week. And by "in the general area," it was multiple states away in the same large census region of the country (I was coming from the opposite coast).

lawman84
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby lawman84 » Fri Jul 01, 2016 12:47 am

Just to add another data point, I was the only person my judge interviewed. But he was upfront about that. Said he hated interviewing. So I'd say it depends on the judge. Seems like the 8 for 2 is most common based on the two replies above.

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rpupkin
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby rpupkin » Fri Jul 01, 2016 1:06 am

lawman84 wrote:Just to add another data point, I was the only person my judge interviewed. But he was upfront about that. Said he hated interviewing. So I'd say it depends on the judge. Seems like the 8 for 2 is most common based on the two replies above.

I really don't think there is a "normal" at all.

FloridaCoastalorbust
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby FloridaCoastalorbust » Thu Jul 07, 2016 8:29 pm

When you use an excerpt of a law review comment for a writing sample do you need to go back into the footnotes and redo them? E.g., if we have a supra to a footnote that is in an earlier section that has been omitted, do we have to put the full citation in rather than use supra?

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axel.foley
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby axel.foley » Tue Jul 12, 2016 3:26 pm

Absolutely -- I see no reason not to. Granted it's doubtful the judge or his/her clerks read through your footnotes, but if they do, they should absolutely make sense within the contained writing sample you provide.

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rpupkin
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby rpupkin » Tue Jul 12, 2016 3:55 pm

FloridaCoastalorbust wrote:When you use an excerpt of a law review comment for a writing sample do you need to go back into the footnotes and redo them?

No.

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los blancos
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby los blancos » Tue Jul 12, 2016 4:08 pm

Anyone have any great wisdom about organization and keeping track of your cases/shit you need to take care of? Totally different animal than practice and I'm almost trying to blend a spreadsheet and calendar.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 12, 2016 4:20 pm

From speaking with career services, a district court judge I am scheduled to interview with strongly prefers experience, and from some quick research I see that most (if not all) of her clerks had experience before law school. Any recommendations for what I can do in the interview that conveys the maturity the Judge looks for in experienced clerks? 2L at HLS btw, applying for a clerkship directly after graduation.

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rpupkin
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby rpupkin » Tue Jul 12, 2016 5:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:From speaking with career services, a district court judge I am scheduled to interview with strongly prefers experience, and from some quick research I see that most (if not all) of her clerks had experience before law school. Any recommendations for what I can do in the interview that conveys the maturity the Judge looks for in experienced clerks? 2L at HLS btw, applying for a clerkship directly after graduation.

Do you have work experience? If so, talk about it if asked.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 12, 2016 6:05 pm

los blancos wrote:Anyone have any great wisdom about organization and keeping track of your cases/shit you need to take care of? Totally different animal than practice and I'm almost trying to blend a spreadsheet and calendar.


Ask your judge to get your chambers Sharepoint. I believe it's available to all districts, but it is my understanding that only a few districts, and only a few judges total, are using it. It's a sharepoint based system designed for the judiciary that allows you to keep track of everything going on in your cases. There's automatic fields for case number, case name, clerk assigned to, every deadline/date (motions deadline, trial date, etc.), and a big field for notes. It's also nice bc everyone in chambers—you, the other clerk, judge, the courtroom deputy, etc., can see all the entries and know what's going on.

Anon bc only a few chambers have the tool and mine is one of them, which would out me.

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Elston Gunn
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Elston Gunn » Tue Jul 12, 2016 10:06 pm

los blancos wrote:Anyone have any great wisdom about organization and keeping track of your cases/shit you need to take care of? Totally different animal than practice and I'm almost trying to blend a spreadsheet and calendar.

I've been using OneNote. I have a front tab that has all my scheduled hearings coming up, bench memos, opinions to write, drafts the judge has, and other tasks, all in to-do list form. Then I have a second page within that tab that has a calendar template copied in with my scheduled hearings marked that way too. Then I have a separate tab for each case that needs real substantive work for taking notes, outlining the ruling, etc. I've been really happy doing it this way.

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los blancos
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby los blancos » Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:30 am

Thank you both for weighing in.

lawman84
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby lawman84 » Sun Jul 31, 2016 2:21 am

How is socializing at work as a clerk? Do clerks socialize a lot during work days with clerks in other chambers? Is this common? Or do clerks mainly just stay in their own chambers?

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 31, 2016 5:01 am

I think it depends on a number of things - some of it is just physical layout (I've been in courthouses where the chambers are arranged so everyone is basically on the same hallway or there was a shared kitchen, so people saw each other all the time, and I've been in others [especially federal or newer buildings] where each chambers is like a little self-contained pod, so you just didn't physically see each other as much), some of it is culture. At places where the clerks are mostly term clerks who turn over each year, people may make more effort to get to know each other/go to lunch or happy hour, especially if the term clerks are from elsewhere/just there for the year and don't know the town. Conversely, if there are a lot of career clerks, those clerks will already know each other and can introduce a term clerk around, but they may also tend to be people who live in the city and have established lives and may not be as actively interested in socializing. Some of it depends on caseload - I've heard of chambers where hour-and-a-half lunches aren't uncommon, and others where people had to work through lunch every day. And finally it can depend on the judge - I know of judges who actively didn't want their clerks to socialize with other clerks, in part because they really really didn't want them talking about any cases outside of chambers (heck, I know of one judge who didn't like his co-clerks to talk to each other about their cases, which sounds miserable to me).

tl;dr - it depends.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 01, 2016 12:42 pm

Did anyone have trouble securing housing without a guarantor/offer letter before starting a clerkship?

I'm doing two clerkships, one in a major city and one in a mid-sizes city. Both judges gave me in-person offers, and I never got any official "offer letters."

I have great credit but will likely only have a couple k for a security deposit, so I just want to know if I'll have to provide some sort of proof of (incoming) income

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Aug 01, 2016 12:47 pm

If you do, you can ask the judge for an offer letter with income. Both of mine provided one happily.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 02, 2016 12:29 am

Looking for some insight into the COA hiring process from current/former clerks since I am currently contemplating throwing my hat in the ring for some openings to begin two years or so from now ideally. Would be looking at non-feeder judges with no geographical limits.

Are there COA judges that place "less emphasis" on grades? I don't mean discount them entirely - just that are not hyper grade conscious and will give your application a holistic look and maybe hire a clerk w/o law review experience or Latin honors? I know if you search hard-enough on the d.ct. level some of these judges exist - wanted to see if the same was true one level up. I completed a SSC clerkship right out of a T2 law school (secondary journal, multiple publications, but average grades overall) practiced for a few years, completed a D.Ct. clerkship, am back practicing at a regional law firm and would like to get to experience the federal appellate side of things to transition into doing more appellate work whether in private practice or govt. service.

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rpupkin
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby rpupkin » Tue Aug 02, 2016 12:55 am

Anonymous User wrote:Looking for some insight into the COA hiring process from current/former clerks since I am currently contemplating throwing my hat in the ring for some openings to begin two years or so from now ideally. Would be looking at non-feeder judges with no geographical limits.

Are there COA judges that place "less emphasis" on grades? I don't mean discount them entirely - just that are not hyper grade conscious and will give your application a holistic look and maybe hire a clerk w/o law review experience or Latin honors? I know if you search hard-enough on the d.ct. level some of these judges exist - wanted to see if the same was true one level up. I completed a SSC clerkship right out of a T2 law school (secondary journal, multiple publications, but average grades overall) practiced for a few years, completed a D.Ct. clerkship, am back practicing at a regional law firm and would like to get to experience the federal appellate side of things to transition into doing more appellate work whether in private practice or govt. service.

Some judges place more emphasis on grades and law school than others, but few judges at the COA level will hire a T2 grad with average grades. There's just so much competition. Also, COA judges are more likely—compared to their district court counterparts—to hire recent grads. Your years of practice won't help you as much as they would if you were going after a district court clerkship.

Having said all that, I'm sure you can find stories of COA clerks who got hired despite graduating from lower-ranked law schools with mediocre grades. I imagine that in almost every case that happened because of a connection—i.e., a recommender who personally knew the judge and who went to bat for the applicant. You're almost surely going to need someone like that if you want to have any shot at getting a federal COA clerkship. If the SSC judge you clerked for has connections to federal COA judges, start there.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 02, 2016 11:52 am

On a similar note, any feeder level COA miracles? Talking about Top 10% at a T20 but landing a clerkship with feeder-type judges?

jenglish27
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby jenglish27 » Tue Aug 02, 2016 11:59 am

Quick question re: gap years between clerkships.

For a variety of strange reasons, I've found myself in a position where I might be taking two separate gap years between DCt. and CoA clerkships. Specifically, I'd be working one year for a firm (next year), then D.Ct., then gap year, then CoA. I know this is highly irregular, but both clerkships are really quite good, and it seems like the benefits would outweigh the negatives. Does anyone have any input on this? FWIW, I'm looking to do lit, and while I could see myself ending up at a firm longterm, I could just as easily see myself in govt.

It also seems to me like this might become more common in the near future, but I can't find many people that have done it to this point.

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rpupkin
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby rpupkin » Tue Aug 02, 2016 1:01 pm

Your situation is not "highly irregular." It's quite common.




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