Clerks Taking Questions

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 25, 2018 9:13 am

How big of a deal is a leadership position (EIC, ME, etc.) on a secondary journal compared to being Editorial Board for LR? Is the difference minimal, or pretty big if you have the requisite grades/recommenders/connections/etc.?

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:04 am

Anonymous User wrote:I received an offer seven weeks after interviewing for a COA position. Don't think that is overly common and the passage of two and a half weeks is not a great sign but you shouldn't rule it out. Sometimes other priorities come up in chambers or another candidate of interest is unable to schedule the interview for a bit.


Yeah, one former clerk said she found out 1 month after interviewing so I am trying to hold on to a little hope. It doesn't help that after two interviews, it is radio silence otherwise, makes me anxious for any activity with my other apps.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Barrred » Wed Jul 25, 2018 1:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:How big of a deal is a leadership position (EIC, ME, etc.) on a secondary journal compared to being Editorial Board for LR? Is the difference minimal, or pretty big if you have the requisite grades/recommenders/connections/etc.?


I think it'll depend heavily on the clerk reviewing your application, and the judge. FWIW, if I were reviewing your application when I was clerking the difference would have been negligible, and my judge would have cared even less. I imagine there are some clerks who were themselves EIC of LR, and thus place a big weight on LR, and I am sure there are judges who are keyed into small variations like this as a signal of pedigree, so your mileage may vary.

If you are choosing between a secondary journal vs LR, the safe bet is LR, but it probably doesn't matter that much. If you are already on the secondary journal, this should in no way impact your clerkship application strategy.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 26, 2018 1:57 am

How exactly can one include their LSAT scores in their application on OSCAR if the judge requires it?

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:34 am

Anonymous User wrote:How exactly can one include their LSAT scores in their application on OSCAR if the judge requires it?


If all the judge asks for is a score, you can put it on your resume next to your law school GPA. If the judge asks for a printout, just upload the PDF to Oscar and call it another writing sample (or any other category that Oscar will let you use). Oscar is a bit frustrating because it doesn’t let you upload documents without placing them in a category, but on the chambers side of things, all we see if the big consolidated PDF that has all your materials combined into one document, so no one will care if your LSAT score sheet is labeled as something else.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:42 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:How exactly can one include their LSAT scores in their application on OSCAR if the judge requires it?


If all the judge asks for is a score, you can put it on your resume next to your law school GPA. If the judge asks for a printout, just upload the PDF to Oscar and call it another writing sample (or any other category that Oscar will let you use). Oscar is a bit frustrating because it doesn’t let you upload documents without placing them in a category, but on the chambers side of things, all we see if the big consolidated PDF that has all your materials combined into one document, so no one will care if your LSAT score sheet is labeled as something else.

This is very helpful -- thanks!

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 27, 2018 5:59 pm

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:57 pm

I recently had an interview with a judge via Skype. The judge later contacted me asking me to come in-person for an additional interview. Not really sure what to expect for a second interview or how to prepare. Is this standard? I tried searching around on the forums but it doesn't seem like this is too common.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 31, 2018 3:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I recently had an interview with a judge via Skype. The judge later contacted me asking me to come in-person for an additional interview. Not really sure what to expect for a second interview or how to prepare. Is this standard? I tried searching around on the forums but it doesn't seem like this is too common.

What judge if you don't mind me asking?

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 31, 2018 4:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I recently had an interview with a judge via Skype. The judge later contacted me asking me to come in-person for an additional interview. Not really sure what to expect for a second interview or how to prepare. Is this standard? I tried searching around on the forums but it doesn't seem like this is too common.


I don't know how long the first interview was, but basically, I would treat the first interview like a screener and the second interview like a call-back. The judge may want to meet you in person; have you meet with the clerks, see chambers, and the courthouse; and give you an opportunity to see the town (I assume you're not in the town where the judge is).

I did a phone interview first, followed by an in-person interview for one clerkship. For what it's worth, I got the clerkship.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby BlackAndOrange84 » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I recently had an interview with a judge via Skype. The judge later contacted me asking me to come in-person for an additional interview. Not really sure what to expect for a second interview or how to prepare. Is this standard? I tried searching around on the forums but it doesn't seem like this is too common.


You should be reaching out to former clerks of the clerk to get more info. Start with alumni of your school, if there are any, or anyone else you have some kind of connection with. If that doesn't work, just find recent clerks of his and cold email them—most former clerks are happy to help.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:11 am

Anonymous User wrote:I recently had an interview with a judge via Skype. The judge later contacted me asking me to come in-person for an additional interview. Not really sure what to expect for a second interview or how to prepare. Is this standard? I tried searching around on the forums but it doesn't seem like this is too common.


If you have a connection to a former clerk go ahead and contact that person. HOWEVER, I would be very cautious in cold calling or cold e-mailing former clerks you do not know. In some chambers, including mine, word would likely get back to the judge and it would be taken rather badly that you reached out to someone you did not know to try and get a leg up on the interview process. As you are unlikely to learn some magic piece of information by contacting someone you don't know, the risk FAR outweighs the benefit.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:33 am

Interesting, the above isn’t at all how my chambers would have reacted. Ideally you would find an alum from your school or someone who could introduce you to another clerk, but my chambers wouldn’t have cared if you’d reached out to former clerks (unless the former clerk said you were rude/an asshole when you did so or the like, of course). I find the idea that it’s somehow unfair/uncool/wrong to try to get information about the position/judge kind of baffling.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 01, 2018 10:52 am

Anonymous User wrote:If you have a connection to a former clerk go ahead and contact that person. HOWEVER, I would be very cautious in cold calling or cold e-mailing former clerks you do not know. In some chambers, including mine, word would likely get back to the judge and it would be taken rather badly that you reached out to someone you did not know to try and get a leg up on the interview process. As you are unlikely to learn some magic piece of information by contacting someone you don't know, the risk FAR outweighs the benefit.

Anonymous User wrote:Interesting, the above isn’t at all how my chambers would have reacted. Ideally you would find an alum from your school or someone who could introduce you to another clerk, but my chambers wouldn’t have cared if you’d reached out to former clerks (unless the former clerk said you were rude/an asshole when you did so or the like, of course). I find the idea that it’s somehow unfair/uncool/wrong to try to get information about the position/judge kind of baffling.

Yeah I agree that the original response is pretty out of the mainstream -- I reached out to former clerks for all my clerkship interviews (well, if going to the same school years before I did is a "connection," maybe not fully cold, but I certainly didn't know them beforehand), and learned some pretty valuable information that way. From talking to plenty of friends who interviewed, it's a common practice.

Taking a normative stand: inevitably, some applicants are going to have personal connections to former clerks and are going to get that inside information easily, whether the judge wants it or not. Discouraging less well-connected applicants from reaching out to former clerks about the interview process gives the privileged & well-connected even more of an advantage in a profession that already gives those people plenty of advantages.

The only no-no is reaching out to current clerks, since they're likely involved in the hiring process themselves.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby BlackAndOrange84 » Wed Aug 01, 2018 10:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I recently had an interview with a judge via Skype. The judge later contacted me asking me to come in-person for an additional interview. Not really sure what to expect for a second interview or how to prepare. Is this standard? I tried searching around on the forums but it doesn't seem like this is too common.


If you have a connection to a former clerk go ahead and contact that person. HOWEVER, I would be very cautious in cold calling or cold e-mailing former clerks you do not know. In some chambers, including mine, word would likely get back to the judge and it would be taken rather badly that you reached out to someone you did not know to try and get a leg up on the interview process. As you are unlikely to learn some magic piece of information by contacting someone you don't know, the risk FAR outweighs the benefit.


This is the only time I've ever heard that a chambers viewed a candidate reaching out to former clerks as a negative. In both of my chambers, it was taken as a sign of due diligence on the part of the candidate, and would also give the judge more data points, insofar as former clerks who the judge trusted would be able to give their impressions of the applicant. I'd also add, that even if a judge wants to embargo the mechanics of the interview process (one of mine did), that's separate from finding out more general things about the chambers environment, the docket, the judge's expectation and personality, etc.

OP—I suggest taking the quoted anonymous comment with a grain of salt as at least an extreme outlier that goes against the experience of everyone else to post on this thread and the common wisdom in the clerkship forum. (Seriously, look at past threads, reaching out to former clerks is just about universally accepted as good advice.)

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby psugirl » Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:28 pm

I heard that you should ask professors to call judges that you are interested in clerking with. Is that actually kosher? Especially if the professor does not know the judge at all?

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 02, 2018 10:43 pm

psugirl wrote:I heard that you should ask professors to call judges that you are interested in clerking with. Is that actually kosher? Especially if the professor does not know the judge at all?


My fmr. dct judge is an outlier, but he/she made his/her sorting and hiring decisions completely alone, aside from some advisory input from the career clerk, and was irritated by phone calls from professors, partners, etc. trying to get specific applications greater attention whether they were connected or not. Same with law schools with aggressive clerkship placement offices that are routinely passed over for applicants getting no push because the oversell is viewed negatively.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby BlackAndOrange84 » Fri Aug 03, 2018 7:04 am

psugirl wrote:I heard that you should ask professors to call judges that you are interested in clerking with. Is that actually kosher? Especially if the professor does not know the judge at all?


My impression, and the general take in my chambers, is that calls were welcome and would be noted. If the professor doesn't actually know the judge, they may not be put through, but the fact of the call will be noted. It's obviously more helpful if the professor knows the judge or is well-known in her own right. If the professor was someone the judge knows or particularly respects, the applicant's packet would be almost guaranteed to make it into the short pile.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:24 am

BlackAndOrange84 wrote:
psugirl wrote:I heard that you should ask professors to call judges that you are interested in clerking with. Is that actually kosher? Especially if the professor does not know the judge at all?


My impression, and the general take in my chambers, is that calls were welcome and would be noted. If the professor doesn't actually know the judge, they may not be put through, but the fact of the call will be noted. It's obviously more helpful if the professor knows the judge or is well-known in her own right. If the professor was someone the judge knows or particularly respects, the applicant's packet would be almost guaranteed to make it into the short pile.


Agreed. Assuming the judge does not know the professor, it is certainly more helpful if a well-known professor is the one making the call.

But even if it is just a clinical or writing professor, and even if the judge doesn't personally take the call, the person answering the call will most likely find the application and let the judge know that a professor called on the applicant's behalf. That's a great way of getting from the stack of 500+ applications to the stack of ~50 applications that the judge might review (obviously, depending on how the hiring system in chambers is set up).

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:43 pm

Is clerking at a flyover state generally viewed as less prestigious? I was recently told by a mentor that if I wanted to work at USAO I should aim for a clerkship in a more competitive market. I have an interview for a flyover state district court clerkship (super middle of nowhere city) and another with a magistrate judge in a competitive market. Would it be better to do the clerkship with the magistrate judge because it is in a very competitive market? I should add, I have two years of attorney experience already.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:20 pm

Prestige is in the eye of the beholder. What is your mentor's background? If they in the past worked at a specific USAO that you want to target, maybe pay attention to them. But USAOs vary in what they value and one person's flyover is another person's good experience. I clerked in a district many would call flyover and the USAOs where I've worked haven't cared at all - a DCt clerkship is a DCt clerkship. But law is snobby and other offices might care. I would say that in general, district court is going to be better than magistrate b/c magistrates don't always see as much criminal stuff as a district court judge.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby BlackAndOrange84 » Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Is clerking at a flyover state generally viewed as less prestigious? I was recently told by a mentor that if I wanted to work at USAO I should aim for a clerkship in a more competitive market. I have an interview for a flyover state district court clerkship (super middle of nowhere city) and another with a magistrate judge in a competitive market. Would it be better to do the clerkship with the magistrate judge because it is in a very competitive market? I should add, I have two years of attorney experience already.


If you want to work in SDNY, then yes, it's going to be tougher getting the job with a random D.Ct. clerkship than with an SDNY or EDNY clerkship. Hard to say about the magistrate judge clerkship. Some MJs are very well regarded and get lots of substantive work and others don't. This is MJ and district dependent. That said, unless you plan on using it as a stepping stone to a D.Ct. clerkship in that district, I kinda doubt that an MJ clerkship by itself is going to get you where you want to go.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:47 pm

Understood - definitely appreciate the answers, thank you!

So, I'll pose one more question. If it comes down to the magistrate judge clerkship position only - would it be wiser to just continue working as a litigation attorney instead (maybe get trial experience etc) or take the clerkship because a federal clerkship is better than no clerkship at all? Currently at a small firm. I would ask my "mentor" but I don't want to be a bothersome.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby BlackAndOrange84 » Wed Aug 29, 2018 3:44 am

Anonymous User wrote:Understood - definitely appreciate the answers, thank you!

So, I'll pose one more question. If it comes down to the magistrate judge clerkship position only - would it be wiser to just continue working as a litigation attorney instead (maybe get trial experience etc) or take the clerkship because a federal clerkship is better than no clerkship at all? Currently at a small firm. I would ask my "mentor" but I don't want to be a bothersome.


This is a tough question to answer, particularly in the abstract. I think a lot of it depends on the MJ- and district-dependent things I mentioned in my last post (how well regarded this MJ is and how much substantive work the local D.Ct. judges push down to the MJ). Is this "competitive market" your MJ interview will be in also your local market? If so, I'd want to ask around and figure out the things mentioned above.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:44 am

BlackAndOrange84 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Understood - definitely appreciate the answers, thank you!

So, I'll pose one more question. If it comes down to the magistrate judge clerkship position only - would it be wiser to just continue working as a litigation attorney instead (maybe get trial experience etc) or take the clerkship because a federal clerkship is better than no clerkship at all? Currently at a small firm. I would ask my "mentor" but I don't want to be a bothersome.


This is a tough question to answer, particularly in the abstract. I think a lot of it depends on the MJ- and district-dependent things I mentioned in my last post (how well regarded this MJ is and how much substantive work the local D.Ct. judges push down to the MJ). Is this "competitive market" your MJ interview will be in also your local market? If so, I'd want to ask around and figure out the things mentioned above.


Completely understand it's a tough one to answer. MJ interview is not in my local market. MJ is Central Dist. CA, and I'm on the east coast. I don't see much online about the MJ (other than recent rulings etc.) but s/he was at USAO before, so maybe worth it.



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