Clerks Taking Questions

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anongoodnurse
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby anongoodnurse » Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:22 pm

What do I do if I disagree with every recent notable opinion a judge has written? Some judges of course will welcome a friendly debate, but others would be freaked out. I feel I can usually guess which type a judge is (for example, on the Supreme Court, Breyer and Scalia would like an interviewee who got into it with them, so would kagan, but Kennedy wouldn't like it and Thomas would get angry), but one can overestimate a judge's tolerance for disagreement.


I think the risk-reward calculus is skewed pretty heavily against engaging the judge in friendly debate in an interview. I think a lot of judges would perceive that as a signal that it's going to be like pulling teeth to have you in their chambers. Sure, there might be a Scalia-esque judge or two out there who actually enjoys and values the pushback, but I really don't know how you'd be able to guess that from a judge's bio, or even his recent opinions. I think you should keep looking until you find a couple of opinions you could cite if asked that you discuss without mentioning that you disagree with them.

traydeuce
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby traydeuce » Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:35 pm

Well, take an interview with an ex-professor who really enjoys oral argument; there the risk seems lower. One can also contact alums who clerked for an interviewer and ask.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 15, 2011 11:16 am

Once you get the clerkship, is it expected to keep in regular touch with the judge in the year before the clerkship actually starts? I got a clerkship about a month ago, and haven't spoken to the judge since.

lolwat
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby lolwat » Thu Sep 15, 2011 11:36 am

Haven't been around in a while, but eh.

I think you tend to overrate the difficulty of landing a clerkship.


I think he just speaks from a more general perspective. Of course there's a higher chance of landing a clerkship with a judge that has hired from your school in the past or that you, a prof, your CSO, etc. has a connection with.

Once you get the clerkship, is it expected to keep in regular touch with the judge in the year before the clerkship actually starts? I got a clerkship about a month ago, and haven't spoken to the judge since.


Interested in this too. :) My thought is that there isn't much to keep in touch about unless you change your contact information or something to that effect.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:00 pm

I accepted by voicemail. My judge called the next day to say congratulations, he was looking forward to having me, and that he was going to send a formal confirmation letter with logistical details and the HR contact info in the next few weeks. (I have not gotten the letter yet, but it's still well within that window.) He asked that I email towards the beginning of June to iron out a specific start date and to let them know contact information if I was planning to be out of the country for significant portions of time during the summer. (This was less of a strange request than it seems; we discussed at the interview how my spouse's occupation often requires substantial time abroad but I rarely get to tag along.)

But I should note that this judge is reputed to run a very efficient chambers by his current and former clerks, so he may be a bit more organized than other judges.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:56 pm

The judge may contact you after the end of hiring to put you in touch with the other clerks. Also, if you live or go to school near your judge, you may be invited to get together at some point with him/her and/or current clerks for lunch or something like that.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 20, 2011 6:01 pm

How are clerks from district courts viewed in CoA hiring? I'd assume it's generally a plus, but in looking up a judge's former clerks, it seems that almost everyone went straight to a circuit. Do some judges only hire 3Ls?

I guess my issue boils is this: I was competitive for CoA this cycle--multiple interviews and one offer, which came right after I accepted a D.Ct. not in one of the famous districts (i.e. not SDNY, N.D.Ill., DDC, etc.)--and want to do a CoA clerkship, but am worried that, judging by firm bios of CoA clerks, I'm actually at a disadvantage for many judges.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 20, 2011 8:44 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:How are clerks from district courts viewed in CoA hiring? I'd assume it's generally a plus, but in looking up a judge's former clerks, it seems that almost everyone went straight to a circuit. Do some judges only hire 3Ls?

I guess my issue boils is this: I was competitive for CoA this cycle--multiple interviews and one offer, which came right after I accepted a D.Ct. not in one of the famous districts (i.e. not SDNY, N.D.Ill., DDC, etc.)--and want to do a CoA clerkship, but am worried that, judging by firm bios of CoA clerks, I'm actually at a disadvantage for many judges.

You are at a disadvantage for some judges. But you will still come out ahead, as there are at least as many COA judges who view district court experience as a good thing. In fact, there are some COA judges who exclusively look for people with prior clerking experience.


Is this true for anyone interested in DC --> CoA? Or is it a facet of the not-famous DC? I.e., if I have a clerkship in one of the famous DCs, will this put me at a disadvantage for some judges when going for round #2?

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ggocat
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby ggocat » Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:09 pm

GTLR, what are you doing now (generally speaking). How do you like it compared to clerking?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:35 pm

When you accept a judge's offer, at what point, in the year between accepting the offer and the clerkship, are you told about the identity of your fellow clerks? It would be nice to get to know them in advance of the job.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:52 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:When you accept a judge's offer, at what point, in the year between accepting the offer and the clerkship, are you told about the identity of your fellow clerks? It would be nice to get to know them in advance of the job.

Varies by judge. I learned of mine in an e-mail from the previous clerks a few months before we started. I imagine this is somewhat common, but I know that some chambers send almost nothing out in advance. Others invite the incoming clerks to events and what-not even before they start.


My judge is rather intense - admitted in the interview he interviews the way he does to scare insufficiently dedicated applicants away (also obsesses in the interview about character qualities) - so I'm a little concerned I'll be working with a bunch of humorless weirdos. Of course, most people don't have options and aren't self-selecting into intensityville.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 15, 2011 11:52 pm

GTL or anyone else who is still checking this thread for that matter, on the topic of practice --> clerking.

I'm a couple of years out of school and considering clerking for a change of pace, would be happy with any district judge anywhere. Anyone have thoughts on how/how much time spent in practice affects chances? For other background, 20%-25% at lower T14, LR, biglaw.

Bonus question: How about rabidly enthusiastic recommendations from practicing attorneys and none whatsoever from academia?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 15, 2011 11:59 pm

I've heard that clerking is incredibly boring and if you like working with people and being in a team setting, it's really not that so suitable. I would love to hear your thoughts on this, GTL, or anyone with knowledge/experience.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:18 pm

I'm not sure if you've addressed this previous, but how important is it to take Federal Jurisdiction/Courts?

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:35 pm

I'm a couple of years out of school and considering clerking for a change of pace, would be happy with any district judge anywhere. Anyone have thoughts on how/how much time spent in practice affects chances? For other background, 20%-25% at lower T14, LR, biglaw.


I'm more or less you. Better school (CCN), same grades, non-LR journal, out for a bit, interesting post-LS resume. I was very choosy in where I applied -- not geographically, necessarily (though I did concentrate on a few markets where I'd be willing to live for at least a year or two), but in terms of targeting judges who seemed to like clerks with a few years (or more) of experience. I had a lot of success, at least in getting interviews. I sent out maybe 25-30 apps and got 5 interviews, and accepted an offer before I realistically had a chance to hear from 10 or so of the outstanding judges. The clerkship is with my first choice by far -- a very well-respected district judge in a reasonably prestigious non-SDNY or DDC market (e.g., LA, SF, Boston or Chicago). I've heard through the grapevine that the quality of applicants drops off dramatically once you get past two years of practice experience -- so if you're a 3-4 year biglaw associate, the universe of judges willing to hire you is a lot smaller, but you'll be at the top of most of those lists.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:25 am

Bonus question: How about rabidly enthusiastic recommendations from practicing attorneys and none whatsoever from academia?


(Anon poster immediately above.)

I should note that while GTL Rev is obviously correct in general, his advice doesn't necessarily hold for the universe of district court judges who are looking for clerks with 2+ years of experience. I used recs from a law professor, a co-counsel who thinks highly of me, and a now-retired former boss, and I was asked for additional professional reference phone numbers from a few of the chambers I interviewed with. I actually got into a conversation about it with a clerk for one of the judges, and the clerk seemed to imply that the judge tends to discount academic recs and would prefer to talk to people the applicants work with/for.

Bottom line: You should use a law professor rec if you can get it this far out, but if not, you're probably not disqualified from at least some portion of the judges who are going to be interested in you in the first place. Make sense?

(Edited to soften something that came across too strong.)

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:09 pm

2L at a lower T1 school here.
After 1L, I was sitting at a 3.9+ which had put me in the top 1%, and got me a BigLaw SA for this coming summer.
This semester, I didn't do as well (mostly A-'s) - and will be left around 3.85, which is still comfortably top 5%, but at my school, I don't think that's going to cut it for a COA clerkship (my school places about one COA clerk a year).

I'm reasonably well-placed to make a run for a top-3 Law Review board position (though I'd say I'm a contender, but not the favorite for EiC). I'm wondering whether there's any value to running hard for EiC (which the masochistic part of me feels I would enjoy) to try to make a case for COA slot (I'd go anywhere) or whether I should shoot for something less demanding perhaps lighten the LR workload and take on an externship during 3L. I still would like to do a District Court clerkship even if COA is out (or remote), but that seems attainable from other exec board positions.

Advice?

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:31 pm

hi, would working for a magistrate judge for the first summer be helpful in clerkships later? or would working for the attorneys office be better?

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 07, 2012 1:21 am

Thanks so much for doing these questions. I'll be getting into this more as time goes on but as someone at HYS going into the 2nd semester, what do you think is the single most important thing you can be doing to prepare yourself for a clerkship? Write-on for LRW is coming up at the end of the year of course - should that be the most important thing?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 07, 2012 1:20 pm

This is kind of an obtuse question:

How much do you think your ability to get along with a professor plays into his recommendation? I have done extremely well in a professor's classes and I think he can speak positively to my my abilities, but we don't mesh well on a personal level and have had a few awkward encounters. I would use other professors if not for the fact that he has a strong rapport with a judge that I am aiming for.

thederangedwang
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby thederangedwang » Sat Jan 07, 2012 6:37 pm

Is there any concentration one should study that would appeal to judges? Meaning, would constitutional law, for example, be better for securing a clerkship?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 08, 2012 5:22 pm

My family is very good friend with a local federal COA judge. He pulls his clerks from the local law school, where I attend, and from a T6, both places he went to school. I've only got mediocre (top1/3-ish) grades, on a journal, probably published. I hope to be at the top 25% mark by the end of 2L in the spring. When I should I start hitting him up about a possible clerkship? I know my stats aren't great, but he's been a family friend since before I was born, a very good one, so I feel like that might be helpful. Should I reach out now, or wait until the end of the spring and see if my grades are better?

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 08, 2012 5:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:My family is very good friend with a local federal COA judge. He pulls his clerks from the local law school, where I attend, and from a T6, both places he went to school. I've only got mediocre (top1/3-ish) grades, on a journal, probably published. I hope to be at the top 25% mark by the end of 2L in the spring. When I should I start hitting him up about a possible clerkship? I know my stats aren't great, but he's been a family friend since before I was born, a very good one, so I feel like that might be helpful. Should I reach out now, or wait until the end of the spring and see if my grades are better?


Find out when the judge typically hires and ask the friend before that. That said, the judge probably has lots of good friends and probably relies on those good friends, who are professors, to get the best applicants out of the local school.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 08, 2012 5:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:My family is very good friend with a local federal COA judge. He pulls his clerks from the local law school, where I attend, and from a T6, both places he went to school. I've only got mediocre (top1/3-ish) grades, on a journal, probably published. I hope to be at the top 25% mark by the end of 2L in the spring. When I should I start hitting him up about a possible clerkship? I know my stats aren't great, but he's been a family friend since before I was born, a very good one, so I feel like that might be helpful. Should I reach out now, or wait until the end of the spring and see if my grades are better?


Find out when the judge typically hires and ask the friend before that. That said, the judge probably has lots of good friends and probably relies on those good friends, who are professors, to get the best applicants out of the local school.


I understand that most COA judges have a lot of "good friends", but it's beyond purely legal connections. They were next-door neighbors to us growing up, I still see them off and on, that sort of thing. They are fairly close personal friends as well as any legal connections. So I'm hoping he might find a pity spot for me, or know of a judge that will.

How do I find out info about a particular judge's hiring practices?

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 08, 2012 6:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:My family is very good friend with a local federal COA judge. He pulls his clerks from the local law school, where I attend, and from a T6, both places he went to school. I've only got mediocre (top1/3-ish) grades, on a journal, probably published. I hope to be at the top 25% mark by the end of 2L in the spring. When I should I start hitting him up about a possible clerkship? I know my stats aren't great, but he's been a family friend since before I was born, a very good one, so I feel like that might be helpful. Should I reach out now, or wait until the end of the spring and see if my grades are better?


I'm a clerk for a Court of Appeals judge as well.

Have you already lined up summer plans? If not, have you considered working for the judge over the summer? My guess is that the judge might be more inclined to overlook your grades and help you/hire you if he is pleased with the quality of your work.




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