Clerks Taking Questions

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 08, 2012 6:14 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?


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.


I've got an offer with a firm for half the summer. Do COA judges even take summer interns? I'd love to work for him for the second half.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 08, 2012 6:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
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?


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.


I've got an offer with a firm for half the summer. Do COA judges even take summer interns? I'd love to work for him for the second half.


My judge does and I believe many others do too. If you have something lined up for half of the summer, you might try seeing if you can work for the judge for the other half.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:07 pm

I met with a metropolitan district court judge today and was hired on the spot (to begin in a few months). I will be working with 2 other interns. She said if I received a better offer (i.e., big law) before my start date, just to let her know. I was truly surprised by her generosity, especially since she brought it up on her own. I imagine that some newly hired interns have to struggle with what-to-do if they received a paying job after accepting a clerkship.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby TatteredDignity » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:08 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I met with a metropolitan district court judge today and was hired on the spot (to begin in a few months). I will be working with 2 other interns. She said if I received a better offer (i.e., big law) before my start date, just to let her know. I was truly surprised by her generosity, especially since she brought it up on her own. I imagine that some newly hired interns have to struggle with what-to-do if they received a paying job after accepting a clerkship.

Protip: YOU DID NOT ACCEPT A "CLERKSHIP."


My career services person kept doing this with respect to 1L employment, and it made me both sad and unable to trust anything else she said.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote: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.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:38 pm

Top third at HYS with good recs. Secondary e-board. Published. Want to clerk at a State SC and then a COA. Thoughts on NY, AK, HI (the harder-to-get SSCs)? Thoughts on less-desirable COAs? Necessary to run for EIC next year?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:29 am

Anonymous User wrote:Top third at HYS with good recs. Secondary e-board. Published. Want to clerk at a State SC and then a COA. Thoughts on NY, AK, HI (the harder-to-get SSCs)? Thoughts on less-desirable COAs? Necessary to run for EIC next year?


Unless you're at Y, top third isn't going to cut it for most COA clerkships.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 11, 2012 3:08 am

In top 1% at T-10 school after a year and a half, and I really want a COA clerkship with a feeder judge if possible. Think it'd be good to run for EIC?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:In top 1% at T-10 school after a year and a half, and I really want a COA clerkship with a feeder judge if possible. Think it'd be good to run for EIC?
This has been answered repeatedly throughout this thread. The answer is yes. Every bump you can get will help your clerkship chances. EIC is a sizable bump. Could you get a COA clerkship without EIC with your stats? Maybe, probably. Could you not get a COA clerkship with EIC + your stats? Maybe, but unlikely. It's simply a matter of whether the time commitment for EIC is worth it to you. It undeniably will help with your clerkship apps. It's impossible to quantify how much.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby vamedic03 » Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:In top 1% at T-10 school after a year and a half, and I really want a COA clerkship with a feeder judge if possible. Think it'd be good to run for EIC?
This has been answered repeatedly throughout this thread. The answer is yes. Every bump you can get will help your clerkship chances. EIC is a sizable bump. Could you get a COA clerkship without EIC with your stats? Maybe, probably. Could you not get a COA clerkship with EIC + your stats? Maybe, but unlikely. It's simply a matter of whether the time commitment for EIC is worth it to you. It undeniably will help with your clerkship apps. It's impossible to quantify how much.


I have to disagree here. The answer is probably no. The top 1% at a T-10 is pretty much guaranteed some COA clerkship (top 1% at pretty much every school is going to mean someone in the top 5 students in their class). The real question is going to be what COA clerkship this person gets. The biggest concern for the OP is going to be positioning themselves to have a realistic shot at the Court, such that a feeder would be interested.

The most important thing that the OP should do here is maintain their grades. Do whatever you have to do to either: (a) continue doing as well or (b) bump up your rank to #1. EIC is generally not conducive to this. EIC tends to be very work heavy and, at many law reviews, the EIC position is pretty notorious for wrecking GPAs. Instead, the OP should look for a substantive board position - Articles Editor, Senior Articles Editor - that gives the LR board bump while not wrecking your GPA.

Second, the OP should focus on (a) lining up top quality recommenders (professors who will pick up the phone and aggressively get your name out there) and (b) get a good writing sample lined up (and preferably get something published).

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:40 pm

vamedic03 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:In top 1% at T-10 school after a year and a half, and I really want a COA clerkship with a feeder judge if possible. Think it'd be good to run for EIC?
This has been answered repeatedly throughout this thread. The answer is yes. Every bump you can get will help your clerkship chances. EIC is a sizable bump. Could you get a COA clerkship without EIC with your stats? Maybe, probably. Could you not get a COA clerkship with EIC + your stats? Maybe, but unlikely. It's simply a matter of whether the time commitment for EIC is worth it to you. It undeniably will help with your clerkship apps. It's impossible to quantify how much.


I have to disagree here. The answer is probably no. The top 1% at a T-10 is pretty much guaranteed some COA clerkship (top 1% at pretty much every school is going to mean someone in the top 5 students in their class). The real question is going to be what COA clerkship this person gets. The biggest concern for the OP is going to be positioning themselves to have a realistic shot at the Court, such that a feeder would be interested.

The most important thing that the OP should do here is maintain their grades. Do whatever you have to do to either: (a) continue doing as well or (b) bump up your rank to #1. EIC is generally not conducive to this. EIC tends to be very work heavy and, at many law reviews, the EIC position is pretty notorious for wrecking GPAs. Instead, the OP should look for a substantive board position - Articles Editor, Senior Articles Editor - that gives the LR board bump while not wrecking your GPA.

Second, the OP should focus on (a) lining up top quality recommenders (professors who will pick up the phone and aggressively get your name out there) and (b) get a good writing sample lined up (and preferably get something published).


Feeder judges are evaluating people on 2L grades + resumes (and many aren't even looking at all of the 2L grades, given how early they hire). They are not going to think to themselves "hmm, this person in the top 1% (and I have resumes from basically everyone else in the top 1% of the T10) might suffer a GPA drop 3L because of EIC, so I won't extend a position to them because if their grades do drop in 3L, their SCOTUS chances will be lower!"

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 11, 2012 3:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Top third at HYS with good recs. Secondary e-board. Published. Want to clerk at a State SC and then a COA. Thoughts on NY, AK, HI (the harder-to-get SSCs)? Thoughts on less-desirable COAs? Necessary to run for EIC next year?


Unless you're at Y, top third isn't going to cut it for most COA clerkships.


Different poster, similar question: What about top third at HYS, law review, other advanced degree and (probably completely irrelevant, I know, but) URM? Still pretty much a lost cause for COA clerkships? I'm also curious about some of the harder to get district courts - SDNY, etc.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 11, 2012 6:30 pm

vamedic03 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:In top 1% at T-10 school after a year and a half, and I really want a COA clerkship with a feeder judge if possible. Think it'd be good to run for EIC?
This has been answered repeatedly throughout this thread. The answer is yes. Every bump you can get will help your clerkship chances. EIC is a sizable bump. Could you get a COA clerkship without EIC with your stats? Maybe, probably. Could you not get a COA clerkship with EIC + your stats? Maybe, but unlikely. It's simply a matter of whether the time commitment for EIC is worth it to you. It undeniably will help with your clerkship apps. It's impossible to quantify how much.


I have to disagree here. The answer is probably no. The top 1% at a T-10 is pretty much guaranteed some COA clerkship (top 1% at pretty much every school is going to mean someone in the top 5 students in their class). The real question is going to be what COA clerkship this person gets. The biggest concern for the OP is going to be positioning themselves to have a realistic shot at the Court, such that a feeder would be interested.

The most important thing that the OP should do here is maintain their grades. Do whatever you have to do to either: (a) continue doing as well or (b) bump up your rank to #1. EIC is generally not conducive to this. EIC tends to be very work heavy and, at many law reviews, the EIC position is pretty notorious for wrecking GPAs. Instead, the OP should look for a substantive board position - Articles Editor, Senior Articles Editor - that gives the LR board bump while not wrecking your GPA.

Second, the OP should focus on (a) lining up top quality recommenders (professors who will pick up the phone and aggressively get your name out there) and (b) get a good writing sample lined up (and preferably get something published).
As you say, he's got a good shot at COA with top 1% at top 10 after 3 semesters with no EIC. If he wants a feeder judge and a realistic shot at SCOTUS, he should apply for EIC. Feeder judges are going to hire based on the grades he already has plus any other substantive resume lines including exec board position. If EIC makes his grades drop, that won't have an effect on feeder hiring, because it will already have happened. Yes, it may lower his chances of a SCOTUS clerkship, but the #1 thing he should be doing if he wants a SCOTUS clerkship is securing a feeder COA clerkship, and EIC is a big boost for that.

You're saying he should avoid EIC because it might make 3L grades drop and that could put him out of the running for SCOTUS. But not getting a feeder clerkship pretty much puts him out of the running for SCOTUS, and EIC is going to help substantially with getting a feeder clerkship.

Also, "articles editor" is not a board position.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby letsdoit » Wed Jan 11, 2012 6:51 pm

What class rank should I be shooting for to get a district court clerkship in the Southeast?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby vamedic03 » Wed Jan 11, 2012 6:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
vamedic03 wrote:I have to disagree here. The answer is probably no. The top 1% at a T-10 is pretty much guaranteed some COA clerkship (top 1% at pretty much every school is going to mean someone in the top 5 students in their class). The real question is going to be what COA clerkship this person gets. The biggest concern for the OP is going to be positioning themselves to have a realistic shot at the Court, such that a feeder would be interested.

The most important thing that the OP should do here is maintain their grades. Do whatever you have to do to either: (a) continue doing as well or (b) bump up your rank to #1. EIC is generally not conducive to this. EIC tends to be very work heavy and, at many law reviews, the EIC position is pretty notorious for wrecking GPAs. Instead, the OP should look for a substantive board position - Articles Editor, Senior Articles Editor - that gives the LR board bump while not wrecking your GPA.

Second, the OP should focus on (a) lining up top quality recommenders (professors who will pick up the phone and aggressively get your name out there) and (b) get a good writing sample lined up (and preferably get something published).
As you say, he's got a good shot at COA with top 1% at top 10 after 3 semesters with no EIC. If he wants a feeder judge and a realistic shot at SCOTUS, he should apply for EIC. Feeder judges are going to hire based on the grades he already has plus any other substantive resume lines including exec board position. If EIC makes his grades drop, that won't have an effect on feeder hiring, because it will already have happened. Yes, it may lower his chances of a SCOTUS clerkship, but the #1 thing he should be doing if he wants a SCOTUS clerkship is securing a feeder COA clerkship, and EIC is a big boost for that.

You're saying he should avoid EIC because it might make 3L grades drop and that could put him out of the running for SCOTUS. But not getting a feeder clerkship pretty much puts him out of the running for SCOTUS, and EIC is going to help substantially with getting a feeder clerkship.

Also, "articles editor" is not a board position.


(1) "Articles editor" is indeed, on most law reviews, a managing board (or editorial board, or whatever you call it) position. Perhaps it is not on your law review; however, that would be an exception to the rule.

(2) "Not getting a feeder" certainly does not put someone out of the running for SCOTUS. 30-50% of all SCOTUS clerks come from either (a) non-feeders or (b) judges who have sent 1-2 prior clerks. Hence, it is certainly not necessary to get a feeder. Further, unless you have SCOTUS credentials in the first place, a feeder isn't going to help you get SCOTUS. The reason that feeder judges are feeder judges is because they consistently hire clerks with SCOTUS credentials.

(3) At 1% at a T10, the poster will get a COA clerkship if she applies broadly. And, other than taking a shot at SCOTUS, the poster should focus on finding the judge that will be the best experience for her. The real world simply does not distinguish between judges the way that law students do. So, if the poster is aiming at feeder judges it should be with the aim of getting a SCOTUS clerkship.

(4) If you are aiming for SCOTUS, your absolute, number 1 concern should be maintaining your GPA. You should jealously guard that GPA and strategize your remaining 1.5 years of law school around either: (a) improving it or (b) maintaining it. Same with class rank. The poster should not be doing anything that carries the potential of harming the GPA. So, the poster would likely be better off finding the law review board position that is (a) managing board and (b) involves the least amount of work. Some people can be EIC and maintain their grades; however, many are not able to do so.

ETA - a fair amount of feeder hiring happens over the summer (yes, Kozinski and Wilkinson hire far earlier) which means that an EIC who takes a grade hit in the Spring could certainly be impacted.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:In top 1% at T-10 school after a year and a half, and I really want a COA clerkship with a feeder judge if possible. Think it'd be good to run for EIC?


It might be worth considering whether you think EIC sounds like a fun, interesting job. Especially from a lower T10, getting a feeder clerkship and eventually a SCOTUS clerkship will require a lot of "both-and" -- that is, both tip-top grades and EIC, or both tip-top grades and great recs as a killer RA or author, etc. So whichever way you go, you'll need to keep grades high. This is much easier if you enjoy what you're doing.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby letsdoit » Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:36 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
letsdoit wrote:What class rank should I be shooting for to get a district court clerkship in the Southeast?

From what school?


Vandy

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:05 am

OP, I've seen you post elsewhere that you've come across Berkeley transcripts that were basically all H/HH's. Have you seen many other apps from Boalt, and if so, could you give any info on what GPA range is considered competitive? I have little to no idea what kind of transcript will make me competitive (beyond straight HH's, of course)...a majority of HH's with H's sprinkled in? An even split?? Any idea of a numerical GPA range? Thanks ahead for any help you can offer.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:21 am

Sorry, COA--assumed it was obvious. 9th Circuit in particular, if that makes a difference.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:42 pm

For a opening that requires 3 letters of rec, should they all be from faculty? Or would a letter from a sitting judge be helpful?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby kalvano » Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:18 pm

Does anyone know anything about the Oregon clerkship posted on Symplicity at my T50? Not in Oregon, but pretty interested. Is it super-awesomely competitive? It's a general application for the Oregon Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. What kind of grades would be necessary for it? Law review needed, or secondary journal acceptable?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby kalvano » Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:35 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
kalvano wrote:Does anyone know anything about the Oregon clerkship posted on Symplicity at my T50? Not in Oregon, but pretty interested. Is it super-awesomely competitive? It's a general application for the Oregon Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. What kind of grades would be necessary for it? Law review needed, or secondary journal acceptable?

I have no idea, as I know next to nothing about state court clerkship hiring. Maybe others? Can anyone help Kalvano out with this?


If someone does know, what sort of grade cutoffs do state court of appeals / supreme courts usually have? Top third? Quarter? Ten?

And what chance does someone from out of state have? I'm surprised to see such a posting on a T50 in Texas.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:54 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Sorry, COA--assumed it was obvious. 9th Circuit in particular, if that makes a difference.

At the high end of the market, mostly HHs will be necessary, perhaps with a few Hs. Ps look ugly and should be avoided. An even split of HHs to Hs would not cut it for these judges. It certainly would not have for mine.

IIRC, several Boalt faculty members have a practice of estimating where students are in the class (in their LORs), which helps. I also vaguely recall that there is an award or honor that a small % of the 2L class gets. This serves as an indicator of sorts, and definitely helps get your application some attention. Judges put different levels of weight on California Law Review service, but in general I think most understand that the selection for that is not grades- or writing skill-based and discount it vis-a-vis other law reviews that are selected on those grounds.

There are a ton of Ninth Circuit judges, and some are a little less selective (e.g., Thomas is easier to get than Kozinski). I do not know how low one can go as far as the mix of HHs to Hs, or how many Ps are acceptable, for these "lower tier" CA9 judges. Many of them offer fantastic clerkships, so if you can get past the prestige factor and a focus on the big/coastal cities, there are certainly some good opportunities out there.


Awesome--thanks for the response!

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:54 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Sorry, COA--assumed it was obvious. 9th Circuit in particular, if that makes a difference.

At the high end of the market, mostly HHs will be necessary, perhaps with a few Hs. Ps look ugly and should be avoided. An even split of HHs to Hs would not cut it for these judges. It certainly would not have for mine.

IIRC, several Boalt faculty members have a practice of estimating where students are in the class (in their LORs), which helps. I also vaguely recall that there is an award or honor that a small % of the 2L class gets. This serves as an indicator of sorts, and definitely helps get your application some attention. Judges put different levels of weight on California Law Review service, but in general I think most understand that the selection for that is not grades- or writing skill-based and discount it vis-a-vis other law reviews that are selected on those grounds.

There are a ton of Ninth Circuit judges, and some are a little less selective (e.g., Thomas is easier to get than Kozinski). I do not know how low one can go as far as the mix of HHs to Hs, or how many Ps are acceptable, for these "lower tier" CA9 judges. Many of them offer fantastic clerkships, so if you can get past the prestige factor and a focus on the big/coastal cities, there are certainly some good opportunities out there.


Awesome--thanks for the response!

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:10 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:For a opening that requires 3 letters of rec, should they all be from faculty? Or would a letter from a sitting judge be helpful?

2 academic + 1 from a judge should be fine.


Thanks. Follow-up: do they need to be targeted to the specific position, or are general LOR's acceptable for clerkship applications? If you intend to apply to several different clerkship opportunities, then targeted seems difficult to accomplish. I don't foresee a professor being willing to write 10 different letters.




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