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madame defarge
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby madame defarge » Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:26 pm

You would come in at JSP-11 and get bumped to JSP-12 once you reach the 1-year point (provided you've passed the bar).

imchuckbass58
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby imchuckbass58 » Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:40 pm

madame defarge wrote:You would come in at JSP-11 and get bumped to JSP-12 once you reach the 1-year point (provided you've passed the bar).


Great, thanks.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:29 pm

Do clerks who start right after law school generally come in at GS-11 step 1 or step 2?

Just wondering because my particular court's website says "A graduate with a J.D. degree, an outstanding or superior record, and class rank in the top one-third of his/her law school class may be appointed at a step above the minimum grade GS-11 step 1 on the Government pay scale." I think I've already technically been "appointed" (without a JD) but I'll obviously graduate by the time I start. I'll ask them what I'm supposed to get but I wanted to know if people have a sense of what's normal.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:57 pm

I saw a bit of discussion about this on the prior page, but I figured I'd like to ask anyway.

Top 5% at MVP. Doing public service, hopefully either prosecution or advocacy (waffling back and forth a lot right now).

I've gotten some advice (from a knowledgable person) that I should think very seriously about doing a USDC and then a COA clerkship. I realize that I can very likely get a great appellate clerkship right out of law school with my GPA, but this person made it sound like a very positive option (especially with a few district judges who sound incredibly interesting).

Are there any cons to doing the district clerkship --> appellate clerkship route? Right now, all I know are positives, so I'd like to know if there are some downsides to that.

Thanks!

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I saw a bit of discussion about this on the prior page, but I figured I'd like to ask anyway.

Top 5% at MVP. Doing public service, hopefully either prosecution or advocacy (waffling back and forth a lot right now).

I've gotten some advice (from a knowledgable person) that I should think very seriously about doing a USDC and then a COA clerkship. I realize that I can very likely get a great appellate clerkship right out of law school with my GPA, but this person made it sound like a very positive option (especially with a few district judges who sound incredibly interesting).

Are there any cons to doing the district clerkship --> appellate clerkship route? Right now, all I know are positives, so I'd like to know if there are some downsides to that.

Thanks!


There are a small handful of COA judges who only hire students straight out of school. Students who are "only top 5%" out of MVP are not really in the running for these clerkships (unless by top 5%, you mean #1, 2, or 3). Otherwise, there are a number of COA judges who either prefer a district court clerkship or post-law school work experience. So, on average a DCT clerkship, especially in the more competitive districts (SDNY, EDNY, EDVA, DDC, CDCA, NDCA, etc.) will only help you and certainly shouldn't hurt you. And, some district court judges (ask around) have strong track records of placing people into the DOJ.

Since you aren't planning on going to a firm, you don't have as large of an opportunity cost by foregoing an extra year at 160K+. Further, this allows you to remain eligible for honors program hiring for 2 years past graduation, which could be quite useful in avoiding the hiring freeze/squeeze.

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quiver
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby quiver » Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:50 am

I think my question got lost in the shuffle. Any help from GTL or other clerks would be appreciated.

In terms of on-plan district court and COA judges, how does applying broadly practically affect interviewing for clerkships? For example, if I want to apply very broadly to district courts (or on-plan COA) to give myself the best shot at landing a clerkship and I get an interview for like DNH and SDFL, how can I possibly make it to both interviews when they're both on the plan and trying to get spots filled as quickly as possible? Do judges conduct phone interviews at all?

There is also the doctrine of not turning down an offer from a judge. How does this play a part in both the above geographic problems and on-plan interviewing generally? If two judges are both hiring on-plan but I would like to clerk for one more than the other, do I just schedule that interview first and hope I get an immediate offer? If there are off-plan judges that I would like to clerk for but on-plan judges that I want more, do I forego applying to off-plan ones altogether?

On the whole, how do you balance applying broadly with judge preferences and geographic interviewing difficulties?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:08 am

GTL: previous poster from like 5 pages back regarding applying as a lower T14 practicing attorney. Just wanted to say thank you, your advice was extremely helpful and informative.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:26 am

Got a B in Evidence. Have the option to convert it to a "Pass". Do I keep the B or convert it? Which looks worse on the transcript, the B or a Pass?

Background - All other grades from 1L and 2L up to this point are either A or A-. B in Evidence = Top 3%, convert to Pass = Top 1%. (T10).

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gotmilk?
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby gotmilk? » Sun Feb 05, 2012 4:14 am

How do I broach the subject of making calls with my recommenders? Is this something that profs who are willing will always just offer to do, or will I need to bring it up and affirmatively ask with some? I obviously don't want to put profs who aren't willing to do that for me in an awkward spot. Anyone have advice/strategies that worked for them?

pareteohead
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby pareteohead » Sun Feb 05, 2012 11:01 am

gotmilk? wrote:How do I broach the subject of making calls with my recommenders? Is this something that profs who are willing will always just offer to do, or will I need to bring it up and affirmatively ask with some? I obviously don't want to put profs who aren't willing to do that for me in an awkward spot. Anyone have advice/strategies that worked for them?


If they've already agreed to recommend you, no need to beat around the bush. I'd have a meeting with them to talk to about maximizing your clerkship chances and discuss individual judges you'd be a good fit for. You want to ask the recommender to call a judge or two, not ten.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:16 pm

Could anyone discuss what the substance of a clerkship interview often looks like? I've looked back through this thread (and others) and most of the advice I've seen relates to "nuts and bolts"/"procedural" questions and discussions. That is, how does the case assignment system work, does the judge do all the criminal cases himself, etc.

It's my understanding that some (many?) judges (especially COA judges?) like to ask substantive questions about the law, cases, etc. How does one go about preparing for this sort of interview? Other than obviously just being facile discussing current events in the law. Should you be reading opinions from the judge? From the circuit? From SCOTUS?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:30 pm

Non-US citizen clerkship question:

There was a story on ATL a while back about a judge who was offering an unpaid clerkship. There was some talk that this might be a potential way for a non-US citizen to get an A3 clerkship. Do you have any thoughts on this? Do you think an A3 judge would go for this? Are they even allowed to?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 05, 2012 4:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Could anyone discuss what the substance of a clerkship interview often looks like? I've looked back through this thread (and others) and most of the advice I've seen relates to "nuts and bolts"/"procedural" questions and discussions. That is, how does the case assignment system work, does the judge do all the criminal cases himself, etc.

It's my understanding that some (many?) judges (especially COA judges?) like to ask substantive questions about the law, cases, etc. How does one go about preparing for this sort of interview? Other than obviously just being facile discussing current events in the law. Should you be reading opinions from the judge? From the circuit? From SCOTUS?


Definitely read some of the judge's recent and most important opinions. The Almanac of the Federal Judiciary entry on the judge may have a list of the latter, and Westlaw can get you a list of the former. You should be up to speed on the circuit as well (e.g., recent en banc decisions and the circuit's track record with SCOTUS). Read up on current SCOTUS cases as well. You should be reading Volokh Conspiracy, How Appealing, SCOTUSBlog, and other sources of current legal events.

Some interviews are designed to vet the applicants for their ideology, so be sure to have something to say on the subject. Do you understand the judge's judicial philosophy and approach to cases? (If the judge is a conservative and strict textualist, don't be touting legislative history at every opportunity.) A frequent question in our chambers was who is your favorite SCOTUS justice--sometimes the answer was very telling.

Other questions that might come up--questions about your writing sample, your favorite law school classes and professors, your summer experiences, your connection to the city, SCOTUS opinions you agree/disagree with the most, etc. That's all I can think of for now...

madame defarge
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby madame defarge » Sun Feb 05, 2012 5:52 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:There is nothing wrong with doing those things, but you should realize that few judges actually ask substantive questions in interviews. In my COA interviews, the only substance that really came up was my writing sample and the law of that area. SCOTUS interviews are categorically different.


In the chambers where I clerked, the judge didn't ask substantive questions but the clerks did. The judge relied on the clerks' interview to figure out if the candidate was "SCOTUS material." The judge's interview was more to see if there was a good fit personality-wise. More often than not, the perfect-on-paper candidate flunked the clerks' interview and didn't get hired.

Every chambers does things differently, but it never hurts to overprepare. The candidates we got who couldn't answer ANY substantive questions intelligently, despite being #1 at a T14, wasted their time and money and reflected poorly on their school and recommenders.

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kalvano
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby kalvano » Sun Feb 05, 2012 7:05 pm

OK, I'm going to seem really stupid for this, but G.T. L. Rev, you always say to use OSCAR to research potential judges. How? I can't find any sort of research tabs. Is it hidden somewhere, or am I just painfully stupid?

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kalvano
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby kalvano » Sun Feb 05, 2012 7:31 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
kalvano wrote:OK, I'm going to seem really stupid for this, but G.T. L. Rev, you always say to use OSCAR to research potential judges. How? I can't find any sort of research tabs. Is it hidden somewhere, or am I just painfully stupid?

Not a stupid question at all. There is no research tab. But there are often "judge details" tabs and pages for "available" or "filled" clerkships. These pages often have lines about what kind of applicants judges prefer, or about the timing of their process.


Thank you very much, it was driving me crazy.

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gotmilk?
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby gotmilk? » Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:25 am

pareteohead wrote:
gotmilk? wrote:How do I broach the subject of making calls with my recommenders? Is this something that profs who are willing will always just offer to do, or will I need to bring it up and affirmatively ask with some? I obviously don't want to put profs who aren't willing to do that for me in an awkward spot. Anyone have advice/strategies that worked for them?


If they've already agreed to recommend you, no need to beat around the bush. I'd have a meeting with them to talk to about maximizing your clerkship chances and discuss individual judges you'd be a good fit for. You want to ask the recommender to call a judge or two, not ten.


Should I take further silence after this response to mean that others agree with pareteohead's assessment? Not to disrespect pareteohead's response at all, but I was just a bit surprised at this answer. Maybe I just need to be a little more assertive?

madame defarge
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby madame defarge » Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:22 am

kalvano wrote:Should I take further silence after this response to mean that others agree with pareteohead's assessment? Not to disrespect pareteohead's response at all, but I was just a bit surprised at this answer. Maybe I just need to be a little more assertive?


I vote for waiting for the professor to make the offer after you've had the opportunity to discuss the judges you are targeting. Ordinarily, a professor with ties to a judge will volunteer to make a call on your behalf if the professor thinks you'll be a good fit. If you have to ask for that call, something's wrong. Either the professor thinks another candidate would be a better fit, or the professor doesn't know the judge and would feel awkward placing a call.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 07, 2012 7:22 pm

G.T.L Rev., you've been awesome answering so many questions about clerking. I created my own thread to kind of get an idea of where I stand, but I didn't post it here initially because I don't think I'm really on the same clerkship level as you and many of the other posters in here. That said, I'd welcome your opinion or anyone else's opinion on whether or not I should even be thinking about clerkships right now.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 07, 2012 7:54 pm

MVP Top 20%. I'm looking to do a COA clerkship (location irrelevant), but unfortunately don't think that I'm too competitive.

If I waited a few years (say, 2-3 years) and then reapplied, how much more competitive would I be? Would my recommendations still come from my LS professors?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:33 pm

I am #1 at a Midwestern T30 without law review. Any advice as to where I should look?

Citizen Genet
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Citizen Genet » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am #1 at a Midwestern T30 without law review. Any advice as to where I should look?



Advice I think that is relevant for anyone past the UT/UCLA/Vandy bridge of the rankings is to check the Clerkship Scramble (--LinkRemoved--) and find what judges have hired from your school in the past. Any that have in the past should at least be on your radar; determine if there is some connection the school has with the judge and work it if you can.

Lack of LR hurts - and GTL can correct me on this - but as the top student, you are going to be in the running for a COA spot, but it's by no means a lock. Work absolutely any connections you have to federal judges - if any of your recommenders clerked or have friends on the bench, see if they can call on your behalf. Just getting your resume in front of a judge will be critical.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:06 pm

I guess this is the correct thread. Would you mind predicting my chances?

Top 15% (just outside top 10%) at a T-40, great writing skills (CALI'd all my writing classes and TA for them). Looking to stay in the Southeast -- NC (main goal), TN, SC, etc. I would be happy with Bankruptcy or District Court. Several judges in the region are alumni from my school. Anything else that would help in evaluating?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:27 pm

Citizen Genet wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I am #1 at a Midwestern T30 without law review. Any advice as to where I should look?



Advice I think that is relevant for anyone past the UT/UCLA/Vandy bridge of the rankings is to check the Clerkship Scramble (--LinkRemoved--) and find what judges have hired from your school in the past. Any that have in the past should at least be on your radar; determine if there is some connection the school has with the judge and work it if you can.

Lack of LR hurts - and GTL can correct me on this - but as the top student, you are going to be in the running for a COA spot, but it's by no means a lock. Work absolutely any connections you have to federal judges - if any of your recommenders clerked or have friends on the bench, see if they can call on your behalf. Just getting your resume in front of a judge will be critical.
I think you're dialing up the pessimism a little too much here. #1 at a Top 30 school should not have a problem getting interviews on the local circuit. MAYBE if you are at a school that places terribly into article III you could be fighting an uphill battle. But I would think the #1 kid at, say, Iowa, should have a very good shot at an 8th Circuit clerkship.

Citizen Genet
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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Citizen Genet » Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I think you're dialing up the pessimism a little too much here. #1 at a Top 30 school should not have a problem getting interviews on the local circuit. MAYBE if you are at a school that places terribly into article III you could be fighting an uphill battle. But I would think the #1 kid at, say, Iowa, should have a very good shot at an 8th Circuit clerkship.


Don't mean to come across pessimistic at all. With good hustle, I'm sure he'll get COA interviews. It's the offer part that I'm not as positive about - to be sure, (s)he has a very strong chance, but I do not think (s)he is a lock for COA. I'm at a mid-20s school and from all of the research I've done, none of the schools in the mid-20s ALWAYS place a clerk at COA level. So I just want to emphasize the work that needs to be put in for a spot.




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