Clerks Taking Questions

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 04, 2011 7:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Thank you for chancing us all!

School: T10
Rank: 5% (but am just a 1L so I need to maintain.)
Recs: Tenured professor (former 90's SCOTUS/CoA clerk) has offered to write letters and make phone calls. Need to find two more good recs over the next 3 semesters.

I do not know about Law Review yet. I of course really hope to make it but it is write-on, not grade based. If I don't make LR, how badly will that hurt my chances?


How, after one semester, do you already have a professor who said he would call on your behalf?


I was very surprised myself, but he offered without my even asking. I'm sure it had something to do with the fact that I got an A on his exam. But I went to him this week to ask for clerkship planning advice (as I knew he had been a SCOTUS clerk), and towards the end of the conversation he just straight-up said "When you decide what judges you're applying for next year, let me know so that we can talk about it more and I can make phone calls on your behalf. If you'd like me to."

Kretzy
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Kretzy » Fri Feb 04, 2011 9:39 pm

This has all been really helpful, thanks a lot for taking the time.

I have a really good relationship with a newish prof who clerked for a couple major judges. How much will calls from him/her help for other judges, especially those not on the circuit where s/he formerly clerked?

pasteurizedmilk
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby pasteurizedmilk » Sat Feb 05, 2011 11:11 am

Thanks for the advice GTL.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:13 pm

Thanks for all the helpful information. Another prediction please.

T: 20-30
Rank: Top 1%
Law Review with Exec Board Position and Published Note
Assuming Pretty Good Recs: Research and TA
Accepted a District Court Position for Next Year

Looking to apply for less competitive circuits and I am willing to travel. I know that my best shot is within the circuit that my district judge is located. I just wanted to know whether this would get me any interviews elsewhere. Thannks.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 05, 2011 8:41 pm

Wondering about the benefit of a 1L externship/internship with a D.Ct judge? Any clerks you know have a LOR or call from that judge work on their behalf for a post-grade clerkship?

Also, you seemed to think transfers get a knock. Can you explain further?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 05, 2011 10:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Wondering about the benefit of a 1L externship/internship with a D.Ct judge? Any clerks you know have a LOR or call from that judge work on their behalf for a post-grade clerkship?

Also, you seemed to think transfers get a knock. Can you explain further?


From personal experience, transfers do get a knock.

For one thing, the prospects of being on Law Review as a transfer are much, much lower - failure to make Law Review is obviously a massive blow to a resume.

Additionally, even if you do manage to make it on to Law Review via the write-on competition, right or wrong, most employers, judges included, have the sense that it is easier to get great grades in 2L than 1L - even if you take all large, curved classes. There is a view that many of the truly top performers are hamstrung by their Law Review duties, so competition at the top isn't as fierce. Plus, even when you get out of the very top, there is the sense that people back off in 2L and 3L and that, as a result, coming in and curbstomping everyone just isn't as impressive.

Finally, it can be more difficult to get truly strong recs as a transfer student - though I will say that I did not feel hindered in my rec search at all. To the extent I had problems getting three solid recs, it was because I took several classes taught by visiting professors, so the opportunity to build a relationship wasn't quite there. I just didn't take classes with many of the really "big" names.

I'm sure GTLR has additional insight, having been the one screening applicants. The above is my own view from someone on the other side of it - I had stellar numbers, and ended up with a CoA, but just by the skin of my teeth. My advice: if you're a transfer, throw your hate in the ring - but, if you are a top 5% person at, for example, a T10, I would be hesitant about transfering to HY to increase your chances.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 06, 2011 12:41 am

Our editorial board elections are coming up next month -- would it be worth it to run for EIC, or will I still benefit from being on the senior board? I have a publication under my belt, but am coming from a T1 (non-T14). How much of a boost is EIC worth? Thanks for your help.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 06, 2011 12:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:For one thing, the prospects of being on Law Review as a transfer are much, much lower - failure to make Law Review is obviously a massive blow to a resume.


I'm not a transfer, but it's amazing how top 10% no-LR at CCN hopes for D.Ct somewhere in this economy, whereas top 10% w/ LR has has a reasonable shot at CoA. It's quite frustrating when almost all other factors are reasonably continuous (class rank / grads, school rank, recs, writing sample) but LR is a binary factor--you've got it or you don't, regardless of whether you just missed it or missed it by a mile, and regardless of whether it's relatively easy or hard to make LR at your school (that is # of members / class size). Ok / depressed rant.

I long for the good old days when clerkship applications weren't so ridiculously competitive.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby iagolives » Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:47 am

Anonymous User wrote:It's quite frustrating when almost all other factors are reasonably continuous (class rank / grads, school rank, recs, writing sample) but LR is a binary factor--you've got it or you don't, regardless of whether you just missed it or missed it by a mile, and regardless of whether it's relatively easy or hard to make LR at your school (that is # of members / class size).


Welcome to the messed up practice of the law. (Though I agree with you 100%.)

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iagolives
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby iagolives » Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:52 am

Anonymous User wrote:if you are a top 5% person at, for example, a T10, I would be hesitant about transfering to HY to increase your chances.


I have had long arguments with people both in law school and post law school about this and I think this is credited in general, especially if you want to work somewhere that is not NYC or DC (and even more so if you are at a school now in the region you want to live in).

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 06, 2011 2:11 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Our editorial board elections are coming up next month -- would it be worth it to run for EIC, or will I still benefit from being on the senior board? I have a publication under my belt, but am coming from a T1 (non-T14). How much of a boost is EIC worth? Thanks for your help.

Your grades and social life will probably suffer appreciably for it, but yes, EIC is worth it clerkship-wise. In a big way. You just have to decide whether other, non-clerkship factors might cause being EIC to not be a good move. Other, high-up board positions help, but never to the same extent as EIC.


You think EIC is worth it over other top managing board positions even though it's likely to make your GRADES suffer? (I'm not trying to argue, just double checking.) Do you think this is true even of the very high-level clerkships that require essentially perfect grades at a T14 (major feeder judges, SCOTUS). I have heard that the risk of a substantial GPA hit from being EIC is not worth it if you're in a position to be competitive for those clerkships and can get another top managing board position. (Obviously EIC + no grade hit would be ideal, but I have heard that, at least at some schools where the EIC is much, much more work than being a mere figurehead, the risk isn't worth the gain.)

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sun Feb 06, 2011 2:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Our editorial board elections are coming up next month -- would it be worth it to run for EIC, or will I still benefit from being on the senior board? I have a publication under my belt, but am coming from a T1 (non-T14). How much of a boost is EIC worth? Thanks for your help.

Your grades and social life will probably suffer appreciably for it, but yes, EIC is worth it clerkship-wise. In a big way. You just have to decide whether other, non-clerkship factors might cause being EIC to not be a good move. Other, high-up board positions help, but never to the same extent as EIC.


You think EIC is worth it over other top managing board positions even though it's likely to make your GRADES suffer? (I'm not trying to argue, just double checking.) Do you think this is true even of the very high-level clerkships that require essentially perfect grades at a T14 (major feeder judges, SCOTUS). I have heard that the risk of a substantial GPA hit from being EIC is not worth it if you're in a position to be competitive for those clerkships and can get another top managing board position. (Obviously EIC + no grade hit would be ideal, but I have heard that, at least at some schools where the EIC is much, much more work than being a mere figurehead, the risk isn't worth the gain.)


The problem with this statement is that, if you're gunning for a clerkship straight out of law school, your grades won't have a chance to suffer before that interviewing is done - but EIC will be on your resume.

If you're going for SCOTUS, you need absolutely everything you can get (in addition to a lot of luck) - the response there is simply "don't let your grades drop" - and having EIC will increase your chances of landing a feeder judge that will make SCOTUS "plausible" (as plausible as it can be for anyone, anyway).

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 06, 2011 2:42 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:This is a fair question. My answer was conditioned in part by the fact that OP is at a T50, not a T14, or even a T6. In that circumstance, CoA is probably as high as s/he can aim. Sure, if s/he is a devout conservative and has the credentials to prove it, and is top 1% of his/her class, then she might be able to dream of a Thomas or Alito clerkship as well, but any rational person has to know that the odds there are so slight as to not be worth worrying about very much.

So if CoA is the ceiling, then I do think EIC is worth it, since EIC is often an auto-ticket to a regional CoA job, or close to that. My school was ranked much higher than OPs, but I don't think the EIC at my school has ever--at least in the last decade or so--not gotten a CoA job (I could be wrong; that's just my general impression). It is true, however, that most EICs I have spoken to took a grades hit from the work their job required; some took a substantial hit.

The calculus for the very high end CoA jobs and SCOTUS/Bristow/etc. is different. There, perfect or nearly perfect grades are definitely a necessary (but not sufficient) credential. So taking an EIC-related grades hit would be a bad idea. For those jobs, a different, though still substantive board position is the right move, combined with an increase in effort to ensure that your grades do not suffer. And of course you'd need to be doing other things as well, as landing a feeder clerkship or a SCOTUS clerkship requires a lot more than just amazing grades, LR, and a board position.


Thank you so much! That matches the advice I've heard from others.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:10 am

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Our editorial board elections are coming up next month -- would it be worth it to run for EIC, or will I still benefit from being on the senior board? I have a publication under my belt, but am coming from a T1 (non-T14). How much of a boost is EIC worth? Thanks for your help.

Your grades and social life will probably suffer appreciably for it, but yes, EIC is worth it clerkship-wise. In a big way. You just have to decide whether other, non-clerkship factors might cause being EIC to not be a good move. Other, high-up board positions help, but never to the same extent as EIC.


Thanks for the advice. My law school is in the 2/9/D.C. Circuits, so I'm wondering if that should affect the decision at all. I think you mentioned this before, but isn't there a difference between an EIC from the Emory Law Review applying for a clerkship in the 11th Circuit versus the EIC of the George Mason Law Review applying for a clerkship in the D.C. Circuit? (Picked two random schools.) I'd be perfectly happy with a D. Ct. clerkship, so I'm wondering if EIC would be worth the commitment. Our school also doesn't have a terrific track record of sending folks to ANY Article III clerkship (last few LR people to do so were not EIC), so it's a bit of a tough decision for me.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:49 am

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for all the helpful information. Another prediction please.

T: 20-30
Rank: Top 1%
Law Review with Exec Board Position and Published Note
Assuming Pretty Good Recs: Research and TA
Accepted a District Court Position for Next Year

Looking to apply for less competitive circuits and I am willing to travel. I know that my best shot is within the circuit that my district judge is located. I just wanted to know whether this would get me any interviews elsewhere. Thannks.

Congrats on dominating LS thus far, and on the d. ct. clerkship! Top 1% plus the other things you mention should help with CoA apps, but as you say, the d. ct. job will help a lot more in the same circuit. Do you have ties to the other courts you plan on applying to? Some judges may be more willing to take a look if you express a clear connection to their area in your cover letter. Or, if you have a credible story to tell as to why you want to work in appellate lit (e.g., you summered at Gibson Dunn, Wilmer, or one of the other firms with a great appellate practice), that might help too. Also, when do you start your d. ct. job? If you start it earlier in the summer, you'll have some time to build up a reputation with your judge, who can then really boost your odds with a call/letter/e-mail to colleagues.

In any event, I think you have a reasonable shot at landing some interviews. Best of luck!


Thanks for the input. I do not start until August, so I will not have much time to prove myself to my district court judge. I have talked to him and he is very supportive of my plans, but I doubt, nor do I expect, he will reach out to others. I do have some connections to a place that not many people want to live and I am currently trying to use those to get my name out in that state. I also have some judges targeted within my circuit that my judge has sent clerks to before. My real question was whether my application would be strong enough to get attention from judges through OSCAR outside my circuit in other 'less' competitive circuits. I know that this is hard to predict, but my gut feeling is that if I was number 1 in my class the answer would be yes. Becaues I am not I am unsure how strong of a canddiate I will be without a connection.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby pasteurizedmilk » Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:58 pm

iagolives wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:It's quite frustrating when almost all other factors are reasonably continuous (class rank / grads, school rank, recs, writing sample) but LR is a binary factor--you've got it or you don't, regardless of whether you just missed it or missed it by a mile, and regardless of whether it's relatively easy or hard to make LR at your school (that is # of members / class size).


Welcome to the messed up practice of the law. (Though I agree with you 100%.)

Agreed.

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MadameX
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby MadameX » Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:56 pm

To what extent, if it exists at all, does affirmative action play a role in clerkship hiring?

This is just me guessing, but won't judges often not know if an applicant is black/white/whatever race until the interview? So it seems like the same advantage isn't there because there isn't a black box, or hispanic box, or whatever, that one can check. Maybe membership in BLSA, LLSA can sort of let the judge know, but often members of those groups are not in fact Black, Latino, etc. At my school, at least, there are many white members of BLSA and other minority groups.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby jim » Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:48 am

francisConn wrote:Tag, for future reference.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby JusticeJackson » Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:36 am

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Last edited by JusticeJackson on Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby JusticeJackson » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:06 am

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Last edited by JusticeJackson on Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby omg » Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:21 am

JusticeJackson wrote:I have a COA clerkship lined up for next year. I've read your advice, and my stats are far below the stats you've posted as necessary to expect to land the placement I'll be at. My question is: in your experience, will the first COA clerkship help me land a subsequent COA or district clerkship that I otherwise wouldn’t land.

E.g., say I’m #8 in my class at a third tier school (I’m not – I don’t want to out myself and provide accurate info), and I’ll be clerking on the 2d Cir. next year out of dumb luck, would this help me land SDNY, D.C. Cir. or 9th Cir. next year?


I believe that a lot of times, new judges are very interested in experienced clerks, especially at the same level and especially if the judge is new to the bench overall. I know that new judges aren't the most prestigious, but just something to keep in mind...

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:08 pm

GTL, I don't have any specific questions but have been enjoying this thread and want it to keep going! So tell us, what would you have wanted to know about a CoA clerkship going in that you know now? Do you have any general wisdom that you would share with us want-to-be CoA clerks? Or funny stories?

pride09
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby pride09 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:53 am

Can you give a sense of what average qualifications you need from HYS to get a fed. district vs. (non-feeder) appellate clerkship? Top-half of class/prof willing to make phone calls/law review, etc. Is there any distinction made among those three schools, with your judge or others?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby zay » Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:58 pm

GTL Rev (or any other federal clerks)--do you happen to know whether the administration's purported hiring freeze/the House fiscal budget will have any effect on judicial clerk hiring?

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leobowski
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby leobowski » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:11 pm

What should be the timeline for current 2Ls?

I've got most of my oscar stuff good to go (resume, writing sample, list of target judges). Should I be asking professor for LORs already? Anything else at this time? I saw that many of the judges in the circuit I'm targeting hire off-plan, so I'm feeling a bit of a time crunch already.

Thanks for the help!




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