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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 12, 2011 10:19 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:My school has a stated policy that clerks must accept clerkship offers on the spot. Obviously this suits the school for future-clerk hiring, but I could see it being a big problem come hiring season. I have heard horror stories of students taking clerkships in random districts only to receive offers days later for their desired districts. Does anyone have thoughts about how to approach this situation?

That situation comes up, but not nearly as often as you'd think. For most people at most schools, there just is not going to be more than one offer on the table. And the risk of delay is so substantial (the first judge might not wait, choosing instead to give the spot to someone else) that even people with options would do well to act immediately (or nearly so).
Thanks. And what about those of us who are hopefully in the running for more than one offer? Top of class, etc?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 12, 2011 10:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:My school has a stated policy that clerks must accept clerkship offers on the spot. Obviously this suits the school for future-clerk hiring, but I could see it being a big problem come hiring season. I have heard horror stories of students taking clerkships in random districts only to receive offers days later for their desired districts. Does anyone have thoughts about how to approach this situation?

That situation comes up, but not nearly as often as you'd think. For most people at most schools, there just is not going to be more than one offer on the table. And the risk of delay is so substantial (the first judge might not wait, choosing instead to give the spot to someone else) that even people with options would do well to act immediately (or nearly so).
Thanks. And what about those of us who are hopefully in the running for more than one offer? Top of class, etc?


During off-plan hiring you're far more likely to be able to ask for time to juggle offers. My understanding is that during on-plan hiring, the schedule is much more compressed. And, there are plenty of judges who simply won't give you much time to make a decision.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 19, 2011 2:20 am

I would like to get some opinions on Ed Board. Is it worth it?

I am a rising 2L, top 5% at a T10 school and am contemplating whether or not to try for Ed Board. I know it is a shit ton of work and that everyone gripes and moans about it. If I want an appellate clerkship, will I be taking myself out of the running for many judges by avoiding Ed Board? Or can anyone weigh in on cost/benefit? I am inclined to try but am a bit wary about it; I'm not comfortable with politicking.

Finally, how do I distinguish amongst the different positions and titles? Obviously EIC is tops, but which other positions are particularly well-regarded by the clerks reviewing those hundreds of applications? Conversely, which positions won't be as helpful?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 19, 2011 9:59 am

Does anyone have thoughts about how to approach this situation?

If you're applying off-plan, maybe consider staggering your applications by a few days or a week to give your preferred judges first bite at the apple. I only applied to the judges whose offers I would happily accept on the spot. The judges who were interested called within a day of receiving my paper application to schedule an interview and none of the remaining judges called during the weeks before receiving my withdrawal letter. Based on my small sample, I got the impression that it's not typical for judges who hire early to sit on an application they like for several weeks before calling.

Perhaps GTL can elaborate on how typical my experience was, if it was just coincidence, or if it's typical of certain time periods more than others (for example maybe judges sit on applications received in May longer than ones received in June).

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby imchuckbass58 » Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:32 am

Anonymous User wrote:I would like to get some opinions on Ed Board. Is it worth it?

I am a rising 2L, top 5% at a T10 school and am contemplating whether or not to try for Ed Board. I know it is a shit ton of work and that everyone gripes and moans about it. If I want an appellate clerkship, will I be taking myself out of the running for many judges by avoiding Ed Board? Or can anyone weigh in on cost/benefit? I am inclined to try but am a bit wary about it; I'm not comfortable with politicking.

Finally, how do I distinguish amongst the different positions and titles? Obviously EIC is tops, but which other positions are particularly well-regarded by the clerks reviewing those hundreds of applications? Conversely, which positions won't be as helpful?


This isn't terribly helpful, but at my school (CCN) the kids who get the really plum clerkships (2/9/DC) are almost always on ed board. Unclear whether this is cause or effect though - I imagine they're also the ones with published notes, really great grades (even for LR), etc.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 19, 2011 7:33 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I would like to get some opinions on Ed Board. Is it worth it?

I am a rising 2L, top 5% at a T10 school and am contemplating whether or not to try for Ed Board. I know it is a shit ton of work and that everyone gripes and moans about it. If I want an appellate clerkship, will I be taking myself out of the running for many judges by avoiding Ed Board? Or can anyone weigh in on cost/benefit? I am inclined to try but am a bit wary about it; I'm not comfortable with politicking.

Finally, how do I distinguish amongst the different positions and titles? Obviously EIC is tops, but which other positions are particularly well-regarded by the clerks reviewing those hundreds of applications? Conversely, which positions won't be as helpful?


This isn't terribly helpful, but at my school (CCN) the kids who get the really plum clerkships (2/9/DC) are almost always on ed board. Unclear whether this is cause or effect though - I imagine they're also the ones with published notes, really great grades (even for LR), etc.


Also at CCN, and I'd say this is only true for 2/DC and certain 9th Cir. judges. There are non-ed and even non-LR people who get 9th and other circuit court clerkships, so ed board isn't a must.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 20, 2011 2:03 pm

Even though a lot of the big judges have already hired, there are still plenty of others out there who haven't hired or even really started looking. I went to a T30 school and did very well but not #1 in the class or anything, I followed the timeline (which prob can't do anything but hurt you), I didn't have any personal connections to any judges or use any famous recommenders, and looking back at it, my cover letter was too long. But I still managed to get two interviews with federal judges and got a COA clerkship.

A lot of judges have rules about not even bothering to look at people from schools below, say, T14 (or what the judge thinks is T14, which tends to be pretty similar), but there are judges out there who aren't afraid to 'risk' hiring someone from a T30 school even though there are a legion of HYS people who have applied.

So the point is: even if you're not at the top schools, you still have a chance. Not a great one, but it's still worth the time to do it. If nothing else it forces you to get a really good application packet together that you can use elsewhere.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby abudaba » Sat Aug 20, 2011 2:32 pm

Tag

awesome post

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 21, 2011 12:16 am

If under "Writing Samples" in OSCAR it says "2," I'm assuming they require 2 writing samples? I have another writing sample, but I'm a little afraid to use it (don't think it's as good as the first). Would it be fruitless to apply to those judges if I only send one writing sample?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby treant985 » Sun Aug 21, 2011 12:24 pm

It may not matter. If you include just 1, they'll think you can't follow rules; if you include 2 but one of them isn't good, they'll think you don't have a lot of experience writing (or aren't that good of a writer).

But I defer to GT on how much judges follow their own oscar requirements....

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:22 pm

About how long after an interview should you wait before following up with a judge? I interviewed about two weeks ago, and it's been crickets since then. On the bright side, no rejection. On the other hand, no offer.....so I feel the rejection is en route any day now. Either way, I am still in the game. For now. Do I call chambers and reaffirm my interest?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 21, 2011 4:45 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:About how long after an interview should you wait before following up with a judge? I interviewed about two weeks ago, and it's been crickets since then. On the bright side, no rejection. On the other hand, no offer.....so I feel the rejection is en route any day now. Either way, I am still in the game. For now. Do I call chambers and reaffirm my interest?

I have been in the same boat myself, so I know the feeling. My recommendation would be to just let it play out for now -- to do nothing. Calling might be a put off, and unless you have some other leverage (e.g., an offer from another judge), there just is not much that can be gained from it.

Being in limbo like that is not fun. But most of the time there is nothing constructive that can be done to change the situation.


Is it usually a bad sign when you're left in limbo like this??

Thanks for the thoughtful response!!

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 21, 2011 11:57 pm

Is it ever okay to submit four letters of rec, or should we all stick to three??

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 22, 2011 2:18 am

If I'm (a) only the Managing Editor of my so-so secondary, but (b) in the top 1% of my class in my t14, what should I realistically expect? My recommenders (fairly big names), and/or the heavy hitters on our clerkship committee, have essentially put in calls for me to every hiring judge in DC, and my letters, I'm told (by the committee chair, who read them), are of the "the sharpest student I've ever had" variety. I've worked for judges on two circuits who, if called, will give me great references. So my school's extremely optimistic, and acts like I can land a D.C. Circuit clerkship. But I don't really believe it.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:If I'm (a) only the Managing Editor of my so-so secondary, but (b) in the top 1% of my class in my t14, what should I realistically expect? My recommenders (fairly big names), and/or the heavy hitters on our clerkship committee, have essentially put in calls for me to every hiring judge in DC, and my letters, I'm told (by the committee chair, who read them), are of the "the sharpest student I've ever had" variety. I've worked for judges on two circuits who, if called, will give me great references. So my school's extremely optimistic, and acts like I can land a D.C. Circuit clerkship. But I don't really believe it.

[/quote]

I can't speculate on D.C. Circuit, but I have two anecdotal points of evidence.

1) I'm top 5%-ish also at a T-14 and have a similar position on a secondary journal. I haven't seen my recs, but I'm pretty sure they're not as glowing as yours. Who knows where I'll end up, but I've had a couple off-plan CoA interviews, including with some weak feeders. So good grades w/o LR can still garner attention from CoA judges.

2) There was someone on here last cycle who was near the top of his/her class at NYU and non-LR (invited but declined for, I believe, personal reasons). He/she got a clerkship with a highly selective CoA judge.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:If I'm (a) only the Managing Editor of my so-so secondary, but (b) in the top 1% of my class in my t14, what should I realistically expect? My recommenders (fairly big names), and/or the heavy hitters on our clerkship committee, have essentially put in calls for me to every hiring judge in DC, and my letters, I'm told (by the committee chair, who read them), are of the "the sharpest student I've ever had" variety. I've worked for judges on two circuits who, if called, will give me great references. So my school's extremely optimistic, and acts like I can land a D.C. Circuit clerkship. But I don't really believe it.


Not familiar with DC, but I did a summer internship for a 2nd circuit judge (one of the ones on GTLR's list of top placers to SCOTUS). Only one of the four clerks had been on law review - all the others were on secondary journals. Granted, they probably had great grades and came from top schools, but lack of LR is not a dealbreaker for at least some top judges.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 22, 2011 9:17 pm

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Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:03 pm

Thanks. Unfortunately I'm not really applying to the Second Circuit because I hate New York, so it's between them and the 9th Circuit, to which I have no geographic ties, as far as the prestigious circuits for me. How about the D.C. District Court? If I landed one of those (though unfortunately so many last for two years), I'd think that, if I kept my grades up, I'd have a much stronger shot with the D.C. Circuit. Unfortunately I have no litigation-related experience; everything I've done has been appellate-geared.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks. Unfortunately I'm not really applying to the Second Circuit because I hate New York, so it's between them and the 9th Circuit, to which I have no geographic ties, as far as the prestigious circuits for me. How about the D.C. District Court? If I landed one of those (though unfortunately so many last for two years), I'd think that, if I kept my grades up, I'd have a much stronger shot with the D.C. Circuit. Unfortunately I have no litigation-related experience; everything I've done has been appellate-geared.


First, can you really hate a city so much that you would take any random city in the 9th rather than live in it for 1 year?

Second, As GTL has said, who care about the 'prestigious' circuits? There are probably a higher percentage of 'prestigious' judges in the 6th or 4th Circuits than in the 9th.

Plus, at this level, you should really be asking where you have faculty ties and connections. Sure, a random application might turn into a clerkship, but you're far more likely to have success where your faculty know people.

Further, if you want to do a district court clerkship, you should want to do it for the sake of clerking on a district court. Judges want people who want to clerk for them, not use them only as a stepping stone. Plus, most people who clerk will end up doing something other than appellate work. Even those who do appellate work typically do litigation work as well. It is extremely rare for someone to only do appellate work.

Finally, if you really want to get into a certain circuit court and you want to do a district court first, you should be looking at which district judges feed to which circuit judges. If you ask people, you can probably find out which judges are particularly good at placing their clerks in circuit court clerkships. For example, Judge Thapar in the EDKY would be a far better district court clerkship for someone trying to get a prestigious circuit court clerkship rather than a random DDC judge.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:22 am

I don't believe I ever said that I was solely interested in prestigious circuits; I was just saying. Obviously Sutton and Gorsuch are great people to clerk for (though I've heard that working for Sutton isn't necessarily the most rewarding experience, intellectually - they don't do a ton of opinion-writing and are asked to keep their bench memos to five pages); unsurprisingly, however, both are done hiring. The D.C. Circuit, on the other hand, tends to follow the plan, some notable exceptions notwithstanding. I happen to like the D.C. Circuit for a few reasons. First, I've worked for a couple circuit judges and I find that their caseloads are a lot less interesting than what's reviewed in D.C. In some circuits, a clerkship is practically a year-long advanced course in habeas review. I actually enjoy fussing with AEDPA a great deal, but it can get a bit much, and it isn't ideal preparation for a career in civil litigation. Second, I'm a big administrative law guy; judicial review of agency action, and statutory interpretation more generally, is what I really like. And D.C., obviously, is the place for that. Hence, working for a district judge in D.C. would be more rewarding for me than working for many a circuit judge elsewhere. Third, I really care about the quality of the judge I'm working for, and they have a lot of great judges. That all said, I've liked my externships in both of the circuits in which I worked, neither of which is D.C., and I'm sure that I'd like a clerkship, which would involve harder cases, more responsibilities, etc., a whole lot more. So it's just a preference. And, of course, there is the feeder thing. I would say I'm almost certainly out of the running on account of the journal, but if I were to remain in the top 1% of my class, publish some things, and get a great recommendation from a feeder judge, I just might be someone who could have a tiny chance in that process.

And yes, I'm more than capable of disliking New York enough to live in any random, temperate West Coast city for a year instead. Or even Phoenix, for that matter. There are some very good judges with chambers in Arizona. I like small places, and New York's the opposite of small. Not that DC's that cozy either, but there are some surrounding suburbs that I like.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:41 am

GTLR, thanks so much for the previous answer about ed board. Very, very helpful.

So, a quick follow-up: I know it's probably hard to generalize, but if you had to pick, would you say that it is more valuable to (1) be on Ed Board or (2) publish a comment somewhere? I ask because I am trying to plan my Fall classes, and basically try to figure out whether to structure my year so that I can focus on trying to write something substantial. If so, I'll have to load up on more stuff second semester, which could conflict poorly with potential Ed Board duties.

Just curious -- did you publish? If so, was it before or after landing your clerkship?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:33 pm

"There are probably a higher percentage of 'prestigious' judges in the 6th or 4th Circuits than in the 9th."

This, I don't think, is true (it probably is true of the 7th). In the 6th, it's Sutton and everyone else. Boggs has sent one clerk to the Court, and she was quite a special case; Merritt sent one to Warren Burger in the 80s. There are some very good judges on the 6th Circuit; Keith is great for starting a civil rights career, Kethledge is a young, former Kennedy clerk who probably will take on a greater role there if Sutton ever moves on and upwards, Boggs is very clever, Karen Moore's a fine liberal judge/ex-Blackmun clerk, Rogers is a sharp ex-prof - but there's not much "prestige" there. For the Fourth Circuit and feeder judges, it's really just Wilkinson and Niemeyer - Motz has sent one. Four of them are Obama appointees, fresh from state courts.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby treant985 » Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:44 pm

While you can try to pick which judge you'll end up working for, you can do it only to an extent. If you apply on the plan, a lot will just be unpredictable timing. That judge you applied to just for the heck of it may want to interview tomorrow, while your dream judge wants to interview next week. If judge 1 offers first, you never even meet dream judge.

Of course, you could apply just to those dream judges, but then you risk getting nothing.

Just trying to make sure everyone knows how fluky the process can be, no matter how much you plan....

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:18 pm

Thanks for taking questions, G.T.L.

My writing sample is my seminar paper, which I'm planning on submitting to journals relatively soon. Should I note that on my resume somehow? E.g. by listing it as a "working paper" on my resume? Or should I just leave it off the resume, include the writing sample, and mention that I'm submitting it for publication soon if it comes up at the interview?

Thanks again!

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:04 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for taking questions, G.T.L.

My writing sample is my seminar paper, which I'm planning on submitting to journals relatively soon. Should I note that on my resume somehow? E.g. by listing it as a "working paper" on my resume? Or should I just leave it off the resume, include the writing sample, and mention that I'm submitting it for publication soon if it comes up at the interview?

Thanks again!

I would definitely list the paper on your resume. Perhaps create a publications section where you list your journal note/comment (if published, or if you think you might submit it for publication later) and the seminar paper as well. Labeling the seminar paper (working paper) or (work in progress) is a good idea. If you really want to do it right, upload the seminar paper to SSRN, label it on there as a "working paper," and then include the SSRN address with it on your resume. When it is ultimately accepted for publication, update the entry accordingly (delete the SSRN info and put in the journal citation, e.g. ___ U. Pa. L. Rev. ___ (2011)).


Tangential question... My note will be published in my school's law review late this fall. I have noticed that some people in that situation upload their notes to SSRN before publication (even after they have completed clerkship applications). What are the pluses and minuses of doing that (outside of the link on a clerkship application resume that you mentioned)?




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