Clerks Taking Questions

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:21 pm

Wait, so I should list my note, on which I'm still waiting to hear if it's been accepted, as a publication? It may never get published. And my resume is exactly one page. It is about Chevron, and I am the D.C. Circuit-preferring guy, so...

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:15 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Wait, so I should list my note, on which I'm still waiting to hear if it's been accepted, as a publication? It may never get published. And my resume is exactly one page. It is about Chevron, and I am the D.C. Circuit-preferring guy, so...

You don't have to list it, but you certainly can. Sure, your journal might not accept the note for publication. In that situation, you can always go shop it to journals at other schools. People often think doing that is impossible, however it definitely is not.


Unfortunately it's this crossbleed of immigration and admin law that may not have enormous appeal to a generalist journal. By the way, do you have a view on using bench memos as samples?

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Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:59 pm

More what-are-my-chances.

I'm a transfer student to a CCN. I was in the top 10 (students, not %) as a 1L and invited to join LR. At my CCN, I have a 3.9 and am the EIC of a secondary journal. My note is being published this fall.

I think I'm qualified for a solid district clerkship, which is what I'm trying for round #1. If this works out, I want to go for CoA the year after. Is this feasible? Where am I competitive? What can I do to figure out which judges are a good fit for me?

I gather a lot of this will be about my relationships, which is my biggest hurdle as a transfer. I've done a lot of fairly successful networking to secure myself a district clerkship. IF various people follow through, a number of phone calls will be made on my behalf this round. But, these are people with relationships with DC judges, not CoA judges. I have some relationships with specific professors at my school I'm focusing on developing this year, by RA'ing/article supervision/seminars -- but, who knows if it will play out the way I want it to.

Thoughts?

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Re:

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 24, 2011 11:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:More what-are-my-chances.

I'm a transfer student to a CCN. I was in the top 10 (students, not %) as a 1L and invited to join LR. At my CCN, I have a 3.9 and am the EIC of a secondary journal. My note is being published this fall.

I think I'm qualified for a solid district clerkship, which is what I'm trying for round #1. If this works out, I want to go for CoA the year after. Is this feasible? Where am I competitive? What can I do to figure out which judges are a good fit for me?

I gather a lot of this will be about my relationships, which is my biggest hurdle as a transfer. I've done a lot of fairly successful networking to secure myself a district clerkship. IF various people follow through, a number of phone calls will be made on my behalf this round. But, these are people with relationships with DC judges, not CoA judges. I have some relationships with specific professors at my school I'm focusing on developing this year, by RA'ing/article supervision/seminars -- but, who knows if it will play out the way I want it to.

Thoughts?


I'm in the same situation as you, more or less, with the difference that I transferred to a DCG/UT and am merely the Managing Editor of my secondary journal. (I also know that I'm in the top 1% of my class.) My school, recommenders, people in this thread, clerks I've worked with, all seem to think I have a great shot at a prety solid CoA judge right out of the box. So, a fortiori, you should too, even if your recommenders don't have the greatest relationships with CoA judges. Yes, there are some who will only look at your app if they get a call from a friend, but there are a number of chambers that will read your app sans call and give you an interview.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:10 am

Building on the above, how useful are calls from professors who don't know the judge? Obviously the best calls are from profs who know the judge, but my three recommenders simply don't know the judges to whom I'm applying (they're either not plugged in or are plugged in with the feeders).
Will these calls still significantly help me to get an interview, or are they kind of ignored since I assume lots of profs call for students.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Clurking2011 » Fri Aug 26, 2011 3:10 pm

Anyone have any idea how much alumni hiring happens during the "on plan" timeline? That is, do most judges look at all applications at the same time (alumni and student) or have most who hire alumni already conducted that hiring?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 26, 2011 8:44 pm

Does the bench memo have to be on a tough case to impress? Obviously you don't want to go with the memo you wrote rejecting a weak challenge to the substantive reasonableness of a sentence, but does it have to be the memo you wrote about a circuit split about some impossibly involved jurisdictional issue, or is it enough to give a memo you wrote on, say, a fairly involved but not earth-shattering habeas petition? The clerks I worked with advised not to use anything too complex, because these things get read quickly.

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quiver
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby quiver » Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:38 pm

Got bored and compiled some stats. I'm going off the list of supreme court law clerks on wikipedia so obviously the list could be incomplete, inaccurate, etc. (in addition to my own possible errors). I used every available clerk listed and some lists were more up to date than others, hence the weird totals for some justices.

How often the justices hired clerks who clerked for the circuit where the justice previously sat (prior to their appointment to the supreme court):
Roberts - 13/25; 52.00% from DC Circuit (includes 2 clerks that clerked for him on the DC Circuit)
Scalia - 38/105; 36.19% from DC Circuit (includes 4 clerks that clerked for him on the DC Circuit)
Kennedy - 36/107; 33.64% from 9th Circuit (includes 2 clerks that clerked for him on the 9th Circuit)
Thomas - 31/84; 36.90% from DC Circuit (includes 3 clerks that clerked for him on the DC Circuit)
Ginsburg - 23/71; 32.39% from DC Circuit (includes 2 clerks that clerked for her on the DC Circuit)
Breyer - 12/69; 17.39% from 1st Circuit (includes 2 clerks that clerked for him on the 1st Circuit)
Alito - 14/24; 58.33% from 3rd Circuit (includes 11 clerks that clerked for him on the 3rd Circuit..?)
Sotomayor - 5/9; 55.56% from 2nd Circuit
Kagan - N/A
Total - 172/494; 34.82% from previous circuit (includes 26 clerks that clerked for her/him when s/he was a circuit judge)

How often the justices hired clerks from their alma mater:
Roberts - 4/25; 16.00% from Harvard
Scalia - 40/105; 38.01% from Harvard
Kennedy - 33/107; 30.84% from Harvard
Thomas - 14/84; 16.67% from Yale
Ginsburg - 18/71; 25.35% from Columbia (13/71; 18.31% from Harvard but not included in total)
Breyer - 26/69; 37.68% from Harvard
Alito - 5/24; 20.83% from Yale
Sotomayor - 1/9; 11.11% from Yale
Kagan - 3/4; 75.00% from Harvard
Total - 144/498; 28.92% from alma mater

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 04, 2011 11:50 am

How closely are cover letters read?

On another note, best of luck to everyone who is applying on-plan! And my condolences for the current clerks who have to sift through all the applications.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 04, 2011 4:29 pm

If I'm having an interview with a judge in a city where I've applied to other judges as well, should I call the other judges' chambers to let them know I'll be in town then? Or is that crossing a line and I'll just have to bite the bullet financially if I receive another interview at a different time and have to plan another trip back there?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Clurking2011 » Tue Sep 06, 2011 7:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:If I'm having an interview with a judge in a city where I've applied to other judges as well, should I call the other judges' chambers to let them know I'll be in town then? Or is that crossing a line and I'll just have to bite the bullet financially if I receive another interview at a different time and have to plan another trip back there?


There is a discussion of this earlier in the thread. I suggest reading it in full but the general consensus seems to be that you should call other chambers, as awkward as it may be.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby lolwat » Tue Sep 06, 2011 9:58 pm

Varies. Sometimes just a cursory glance, other times a very close look. If you do one of those long, drawn-out resume repeaters, your letter probably will not be read closely. If, on the other hand, you say something interesting and truly tailored to that particular judge, then the material stands a good shot of being read closely.


This. If you're wondering whether to write a detailed cover letter or a generic one, I don't think you can go wrong with a detailed one. I came to this conclusion after talking to about 10 people that have clerked and multiple clerkship interviews. Basically, if they don't read it, you lost nothing other than some time. If they do, and the cover letter was sufficiently tailored to gain their interest, then you're better off. If you're making 100+ applications (well, it's too late at this point I guess) you might not have the time to tailor all of them, but do the ones you really want.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby lolwat » Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:56 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:Except that people royally screw up the longer cover letters on a routine basis. Short and sweet, with only a sentence or two of customization, is my suggested approach. I did a cover letter primer earlier in this thread, in case people want to look back at it.


Sure, I guess I was assuming that people could write cover letters without royally screwing them up. Still, I had maybe 4-5 professors look at my cover letter before sending them out... and to apply, you (a general you, not YOU) would've already needed 2-3 profs to like you enough to write LORs, you could probably ask them to look over the letter. You don't have to make every change they suggest, but between you and all of them I'd imagine any major screwups would be caught before the applications go out. It's generally a good idea to have people proofread important stuff anyway.

I don't disagree at all with your approach though, anyway. I didn't mean detailed as necessarily 3-4 big paragraphs that take up the entire page.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby traydeuce » Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:15 pm

Honestly, I just copied a bland transmission letter I've seen. Having worked for a couple of judges, I've found that it's solely what's in the packet that counts - unless you write a crazy letter. A judge I worked for got a letter from a girl who transferred from Chicago to Harvard; she offered to "regale" us, should we give her an interview, with the patriotic and inspiring story of her transfer. She also said she could give us the benefits of a Harvard classic education with Chicago economics. She had great credentials but did not get an interview. Frankly I wouldn't be shocked if she didn't get any.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:53 am

This is a very general advice-asking post for all of you current/former clerks as well as those 3L's currently applying with stellar resumes.

What tips can you give to those 2L's who did well during 1L and want to maintain course during their 2L year? If I could duplicate my 1L transcript, I would be happy, but this is easier said than done. I know asking profs for recommendations is key, but do you have any tips in general on grade maintenance?

Good luck to those of you following the Plan!

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby traydeuce » Wed Sep 07, 2011 1:40 am

There is no general path to grade maintenance; do what worked for you as a 1L. That said, two points. One, course selection, course selection, course selection. I didn't really do this by design, but I took things that interested me (litigation-related classes that are heavy on caselaw), and avoided things that didn't and that I'd probably struggle with (corporate). And thus, I did really well. If you go in thinking that you have to take Tax, or Securities, or for that matter, Fed Courts, even though you know you're not going to be so great at those things, you can do serious damage to your transcript. Two, 2L classes tend to be more based in federal law than common law, so I personally am of the view that, because you're no longer writing about the interpretation of a contract in some mythical Restatementland, but how some legal question would be decided given Supreme Court/COA precedents, you need to dig in much more heavily in 2L exams into the cases you read. So, what you did on your Con Law exam is more the model you want to follow than what you did in Contracts or Torts.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Citizen Genet » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:01 am

@GTL (I want to get your insights before you have to leave us for the real world and I don't know if you'll be around next summer.)

2L (Top 5%, LR/MC, T20-40 school). I am not planning on applying for Exec. Board for Law Review. (I may try to be a Senior Notes Editor or something else with a smaller time commitment.) Realistically, I know this hurts chances for COA judges, especially since I am not at one of the traditional clerking powerhouses. However, I want to work into a USAO down the road and I have been told that the externship will go much further for making that happen then Exec. Board. So I'm not asking about the wisdom of choosing the externship over the board position.

The question is, is there any appropriate way to bring this up in interviews if not directly asked? For instance, if the judge were to ask, "What are you plans for third-year?" would it be douchebaggery to say something like, "Well, I arranged a year-long externship with the USAO that will take a significant amount of my time. In fact, I didn't apply for executive board on LR so that I would have the chance for significant in-court experience with the USAO." In other words, can I mitigate NOT being on Exec Board?

Hyper-specific question, I know, but you've been great so far with all of our weird questions I thought I'd ask.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:14 pm

I am not GTL, but my view is that that comes close to hyper-douchebaggery and that there are better ways of relaying that information. The conversation with the clerks tends to be more casual; there's a possibility you could slip it in there. But really, what you actually want is for them to know this before calls for interviews are made. Otherwise, you may not get the interviews in the first place. So what I would do is have a recommender mention it. They'll know you told them to say it, but it's less self-serving through the filter of a recommender.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby lolwat » Wed Sep 07, 2011 1:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What tips can you give to those 2L's who did well during 1L and want to maintain course during their 2L year? If I could duplicate my 1L transcript, I would be happy, but this is easier said than done. I know asking profs for recommendations is key, but do you have any tips in general on grade maintenance?


Tiny derailment, I guess, but meh. My advice:

1. Spend as much time as you did 1L on law school. Or more. You did something right the first two semesters, you don't need to stop doing whatever it was that you did, even if you feel more comfortable.

2. 100% of the class (barring classes with midterms and attendance policies) is still your final exam. Therefore, anticipate what each professor is likely to ask on the exam, how they're going to ask it, and the kind of answers that they want. You can get a sense of this from what they're teaching/how they teach the class, past exams, and probably just even going to talk to the profs in office hours. You know how to do this already because you did it your first year, so just keep doing it.

3. Do NOT overload yourself with difficult classes. Don't take all fluff, and do as traydeuce said and take classes that interest you (because you'll do better if you're interested in the subject), but even if you really, really loved evidence, corporations, tax, and fed courts, you really don't want to take those four classes all in the same semester.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Matthewnym » Wed Sep 07, 2011 2:57 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:If I'm having an interview with a judge in a city where I've applied to other judges as well, should I call the other judges' chambers to let them know I'll be in town then? Or is that crossing a line and I'll just have to bite the bullet financially if I receive another interview at a different time and have to plan another trip back there?

Yes, by all means make the parlay calls. As was discussed earlier in this thread, the calls are awkward, but the return on investment is potentially huge.

If you want a rough script of what to say, here's what I said when I made my calls:

ME: Hello, I am [name] from [law school]. I will be in the courthouse next Friday for an interview with another judge and wanted to let you know in case [judge so-and-so] had any interest in meeting for an interview.

THEM: Oh, okay. What was your name again?

ME: [name]

THEM: Okay, thanks. I will let the judge know and we will get in touch with you if s/he wants you to stop by.

* * *

Now, to be clear, the "them" parts of the conversation varied a little bit. One clerk flatly responded to my first two sentences with "no, judge so-and-so is not interested" and then hung up on me. That sucked. But otherwise, I received responses varying from "judge so-and-so won't be in town then, but good luck" to "Great, let me put you on hold while I check ... [hold] ... Yes, judge so-and-so would love to have you in for an interview. How about 3:00 pm?" If you make 20 calls and land one additional interview, that's still a huge win. And frankly, if you play your cards right, you should be able to bat a lot better than 1 in 20.


Wanted to follow up on this. If I have state SC clerkship interviews scheduled in the same area, is it appropriate to call a federal judge's chambers and simply say I have another clerkship interview on X date, and will be in the area? Can I omit what kind of clerkship interview and let them make their own assumptions, or is that too shady?

Also, is there any reasonable correlation between getting state SC interviews and getting fed. district court interviews? I have interviews so far at Del. SC, DC Appeals (state equivalent), and Conn. SC. Only in one state (NC) have I submitted applications and not gotten some interview. Can I take that as any evidence of competitiveness for a federal clerkship, or is it all just too random?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2011 4:09 pm

^^ My view is that there are basically bands of grade ranges that make you competitive for a state court clerkship, for a district court clerkship, a COA clerkship, and that you can very easily be on the high end of one band and on the low end of another.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby traydeuce » Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:42 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
traydeuce wrote: A judge I worked for got a letter from a girl who transferred from Chicago to Harvard; she offered to "regale" us, should we give her an interview, with the patriotic and inspiring story of her transfer. She also said she could give us the benefits of a Harvard classic education with Chicago economics. She had great credentials but did not get an interview. Frankly I wouldn't be shocked if she didn't get any.

So awful, and yet so unsurprising.


Yeah, singularly awful. We almost thought about interviewing her as a joke, to find out what was so patriotic about the transfer. Certainly there's nothing inspiring about leaving the 5th best school in the country for an even better school. Not exactly Rocky material there.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:04 pm

If the Chicago to Harvard transfer is a current 3L, I could take a decent guess at who the culprit might be. And if I'm right, I would also be unsurprised that this person wrote the cover letter described.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby traydeuce » Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:If the Chicago to Harvard transfer is a current 3L, I could take a decent guess at who the culprit might be. And if I'm right, I would also be unsurprised that this person wrote the cover letter described.


Pretty sure she was current. It's comforting to know, applying out of Georgetown, that there are some really qualified applicants who shoot themselves in the foot.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Citizen Genet » Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:20 am

Anonymous User wrote:I am not GTL, but my view is that that comes close to hyper-douchebaggery and that there are better ways of relaying that information. The conversation with the clerks tends to be more casual; there's a possibility you could slip it in there. But really, what you actually want is for them to know this before calls for interviews are made. Otherwise, you may not get the interviews in the first place. So what I would do is have a recommender mention it. They'll know you told them to say it, but it's less self-serving through the filter of a recommender.



Thanks for the input. It had a hint of douchebaggery to it, but since I had been cooking the idea for so long, I got used to the smell. Will avoid.

Thanks GTL for the added advice.




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