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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 16, 2012 10:14 pm

A general question: how do PhDs (in fields typically paired with law, like econ or history) factor into the clerkship process? I'm assuming that it wouldn't be a substitute for grades/LR/strong recs, but might be a decent "plus" factor. I'm also assuming that the extent of that boost would vary widely from one judge to the next. But I have very little evidence one way or another.
Do any of the clerkship gurus have any better sense of this?

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:59 am

I'm a current COA clerk, and I start in NYC biglaw in September. I'm just now thinking I should have tried harder to do a second clerkship at the district court level. Is there a good way to do this without screwing up my career trajectory? It seems like 1 year COA -> 2-3 years biglaw -> 1 year d. ct. is not a great path to partnership anywhere.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 17, 2012 2:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:3L here, getting a bit burned out from applying and looking for some positive encouragement/advice.

Stats: MVP, top 6-8%, LR ed board, published, solid (though maybe not stellar) recs. I've been applying very broadly (all CoAs, districts in pretty much any major city). Had a few interviews last fall that didn't pan out (back then my GPA put me in top 10-12%, and not yet published), but haven't heard a peep since.


I've been keeping up with this thread and, I'm sorry if I missed it, but I don't see how people are determining their percentile rank at schools that have very few published GPA datapoints. I have heard that recommenders or career services will be more candid with you when discussing your clerkship chances, but I haven't found this to be the case after pushing them a little on it. What GPA are people guesstimating top 5% to be at MVP (or being told by career services)? Do they have similar curves so we can extrapolate from one to the others?

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 18, 2012 3:06 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm a current COA clerk, and I start in NYC biglaw in September. I'm just now thinking I should have tried harder to do a second clerkship at the district court level. Is there a good way to do this without screwing up my career trajectory? It seems like 1 year COA -> 2-3 years biglaw -> 1 year d. ct. is not a great path to partnership anywhere.

I hear you. I wish I had done a district court clerkship too. The only thing I can think of is for you to apply right now to the handful of district judges who are still hiring for 2012 positions. There are more than you might think -- though I think most of them would require you to move away from NYC (assuming you are there now).

I do agree that clerk --> biglaw --> clerk is probably not an ideal partnership track progression. Usually, when people clerk --> work --> clerk, it is because they are transitioning to government, academia, or moving to another part of the country.


I'm new to this. What's the advantage of doing COA -> d. ct -> biglaw over COA -> biglaw???

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 18, 2012 3:08 pm

And in that same vein, is d.ct. -> COA -> biglaw pretty standard or do many people successfully do d.ct -> biglaw??

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:07 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:Okay, I think I am caught up on PMs and posts. If I have missed your question, please resubmit.


Recommendation anon from page 39 -

Anonymous User wrote:
Question on recommendations.

Checked on the Clerkship Scramble, and it linked to this post:

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=146252&start=350#p4456451

Which was helpful, but didn't answer my question specifically - how does one go about deciding WHICH professors to get a recommendation from? Or, what makes a recommendation "great"? I assume I want to get recommendations from professors who I got good grades from, but at HYS and while I have several H's I don't have any awards for the highest grade in the class so there's no guidance there...

EDIT: For example, is it necessary that they have clerked on the Supreme Court/for a feeder judge?



GTL Rev SAID:
This is an excellent question. I do not have time to do it full justice now, but the short answer is that it depends. If you want to clerk at the absolute highest level (e.g., for a feeder judge), you often need recommenders who are part of that network. If your aim is simply an appellate or district court clerkship somewhere, then no, you do not need recommenders who clerked on SCOTUS or for a feeder. The strength of the letter, not the stature of the recommender, is often what matters most (there most certainly are exceptions, however). On that, strong recs are usually a product of strong relationships. Those come from RA jobs, multiple classes, standout semester-long performances, etc. It helps a lot if the recommender knows you as a person in addition to knowing you as a student. Judges get scores of "best exam, A in my class, etc." letters. They are utterly run of the mill. To get noticed, you need more than that.

I will try to return to this question in a few days with more.


Hopefully that didn't completely screw the quote system, but I don't think you ever came back to this question.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:And in that same vein, is d.ct. -> COA -> biglaw pretty standard or do many people successfully do d.ct -> biglaw??


Um, yes. Most district court clerks summered in big law and will return to big law post clerkship. The average biglaw attorney does not have the credentials for a district court clerkship. The average district court clerk has biglaw credentials. I think some people on here are vastly underestimating the difficulty of getting a district court clerkship or a COA clerkship. Very rough approximation here, but average COA clerk ~ top 5% from T10, average DCT clerk ~ top 10-20% from T10 (and some districts would demand top 5%) while biglaw is top 40-50% from lower T10.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm a current COA clerk, and I start in NYC biglaw in September. I'm just now thinking I should have tried harder to do a second clerkship at the district court level. Is there a good way to do this without screwing up my career trajectory? It seems like 1 year COA -> 2-3 years biglaw -> 1 year d. ct. is not a great path to partnership anywhere.

I hear you. I wish I had done a district court clerkship too. The only thing I can think of is for you to apply right now to the handful of district judges who are still hiring for 2012 positions. There are more than you might think -- though I think most of them would require you to move away from NYC (assuming you are there now).

I do agree that clerk --> biglaw --> clerk is probably not an ideal partnership track progression. Usually, when people clerk --> work --> clerk, it is because they are transitioning to government, academia, or moving to another part of the country.


I'm new to this. What's the advantage of doing COA -> d. ct -> biglaw over COA -> biglaw???


It's good for future litigators. The average district court clerkship will teach you far more about litigation than a COA clerkship. Very few people (and very few former COA clerks) will do only appellate work or predominantly appellate work.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:And in that same vein, is d.ct. -> COA -> biglaw pretty standard or do many people successfully do d.ct -> biglaw??


Um, yes. Most district court clerks summered in big law and will return to big law post clerkship. The average biglaw attorney does not have the credentials for a district court clerkship. The average district court clerk has biglaw credentials. I think some people on here are vastly underestimating the difficulty of getting a district court clerkship or a COA clerkship. Very rough approximation here, but average COA clerk ~ top 5% from T10, average DCT clerk ~ top 10-20% from T10 (and some districts would demand top 5%) while biglaw is top 40-50% from lower T10.



Thanks, that was helpful. But what about the rare d. ct. clerk who didn't summer in biglaw and doesn't have biglaw credentials? Does a d.ct clerkship in a prestigious district generally open doors to biglaw?

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 18, 2012 5:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:And in that same vein, is d.ct. -> COA -> biglaw pretty standard or do many people successfully do d.ct -> biglaw??


Um, yes. Most district court clerks summered in big law and will return to big law post clerkship. The average biglaw attorney does not have the credentials for a district court clerkship. The average district court clerk has biglaw credentials. I think some people on here are vastly underestimating the difficulty of getting a district court clerkship or a COA clerkship. Very rough approximation here, but average COA clerk ~ top 5% from T10, average DCT clerk ~ top 10-20% from T10 (and some districts would demand top 5%) while biglaw is top 40-50% from lower T10.



Thanks, that was helpful. But what about the rare d. ct. clerk who didn't summer in biglaw and doesn't have biglaw credentials? Does a d.ct clerkship in a prestigious district generally open doors to biglaw?


It depends on what you mean by doesn't have biglaw credentials. Look, there are some very well qualified people who strike out at OCI every year. That can be a mix of poor bidding strategy mixed with poor interviewing and bad luck. Yes, that happens and those people would probably do great coming out of a district court clerkship, especially one in a strong district. But, if by biglaw credentials you mean meeting the grade/rank cutoffs, then those students who don't have those numbers are probably not going to get a district court clerkship in a strong district to begin with. The competition for district court clerkships is far, far greater than the competition for big law jobs.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Sat Feb 18, 2012 5:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:And in that same vein, is d.ct. -> COA -> biglaw pretty standard or do many people successfully do d.ct -> biglaw??


Um, yes. Most district court clerks summered in big law and will return to big law post clerkship. The average biglaw attorney does not have the credentials for a district court clerkship. The average district court clerk has biglaw credentials. I think some people on here are vastly underestimating the difficulty of getting a district court clerkship or a COA clerkship. Very rough approximation here, but average COA clerk ~ top 5% from T10, average DCT clerk ~ top 10-20% from T10 (and some districts would demand top 5%) while biglaw is top 40-50% from lower T10.


At UVA, you don't necessarily have to be in the top 20% to get a district court clerkship. I know a few people in the 3.4-3.5 (top 1/3 to top 25%) range with district court clerkships. If you have above a 3.4 you have a shot, but not a good shot. Above 3.6 (~top 15%) gives you a really good shot at a district court clerkship somewhere. Below a 3.4 means you're out of luck unless you have a very strong tie to the judge.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby 2LLLL » Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:06 pm

the few interviews that are going on tend to focus on the ultra-elite 2Ls who are ultimately SCOTUS-bound



As far as you can generalize- what is the profile of this type of person?

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:17 pm

2LLLL wrote:
the few interviews that are going on tend to focus on the ultra-elite 2Ls who are ultimately SCOTUS-bound



As far as you can generalize- what is the profile of this type of person?


People who are literally top of their class (#1, 2, or 3) at a T-10. People who are top 1-2% at HYS.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:And in that same vein, is d.ct. -> COA -> biglaw pretty standard or do many people successfully do d.ct -> biglaw??


Um, yes. Most district court clerks summered in big law and will return to big law post clerkship. The average biglaw attorney does not have the credentials for a district court clerkship. The average district court clerk has biglaw credentials. I think some people on here are vastly underestimating the difficulty of getting a district court clerkship or a COA clerkship. Very rough approximation here, but average COA clerk ~ top 5% from T10, average DCT clerk ~ top 10-20% from T10 (and some districts would demand top 5%) while biglaw is top 40-50% from lower T10.



Thanks, that was helpful. But what about the rare d. ct. clerk who didn't summer in biglaw and doesn't have biglaw credentials? Does a d.ct clerkship in a prestigious district generally open doors to biglaw?


It depends on what you mean by doesn't have biglaw credentials. Look, there are some very well qualified people who strike out at OCI every year. That can be a mix of poor bidding strategy mixed with poor interviewing and bad luck. Yes, that happens and those people would probably do great coming out of a district court clerkship, especially one in a strong district. But, if by biglaw credentials you mean meeting the grade/rank cutoffs, then those students who don't have those numbers are probably not going to get a district court clerkship in a strong district to begin with. The competition for district court clerkships is far, far greater than the competition for big law jobs.


I'm interested in your perspective on the person who doesn't meet the grade/rank cutoffs for biglaw (let's say top 10% at top 100 school, no LR), but, against the odds, does get a district court clerkship in a strong district. Does that individual have a decent shot at biglaw after they finish their clerkship, or will their law school credentials prevent that?

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby traydeuce » Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:24 pm

I will say yes, they have a decent shot.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 19, 2012 2:10 am

I think some people on here are vastly underestimating the difficulty of getting a district court clerkship or a COA clerkship.


Something that has been relatively eye-opening for me in this regard are the recent detailed employment statistics published by various schools lately. Look at the number of AIII clerks at some of the schools in the 15-50 range. A lot of schools ar showing 3-5 such individuals. And often closer to 3 than 5. Think about that. If you want to clerk coming from (say) Colorado ITE, you really need to graduate in the top 5-7 students in the class.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby tww909 » Sun Feb 19, 2012 5:47 am

Anonymous User wrote:
I think some people on here are vastly underestimating the difficulty of getting a district court clerkship or a COA clerkship.


Something that has been relatively eye-opening for me in this regard are the recent detailed employment statistics published by various schools lately. Look at the number of AIII clerks at some of the schools in the 15-50 range. A lot of schools ar showing 3-5 such individuals. And often closer to 3 than 5. Think about that. If you want to clerk coming from (say) Colorado ITE, you really need to graduate in the top 5-7 students in the class.


TITCR. this in fact may even be underestimating the difficulty. i can comment on wisconsin because i've seen the data, and we place about 1 Art. III clerk per year. this is not exaggeration.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby TLSNYC » Sun Feb 19, 2012 9:58 am

I know the discussion here has been tilted towards Art. III clerkships, but any idea how difficult it is to land a state supreme court clerkship for a state in the NE? Assuming top 10 school

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:30 am

TLSNYC wrote:I know the discussion here has been tilted towards Art. III clerkships, but any idea how difficult it is to land a state supreme court clerkship for a state in the NE? Assuming top 10 school



It depends what state, and how the judges are selected. Judges who are elected may have different practices than judges who are appointed.

Some of the same factors as federal hiring (grades, journals, recommendations, publications, etc....) will obviously come to play. In many cases, though, being from a top 10 school won't necessarily be a huge boost. I interviewed with 2 (out of 7) judges on the MD Court of Appeals, and clerked for one of them, and both said that they exclusively hire from University of Maryland and University of Baltimore. The vast majority of clerks for the other judges were from one of those two schools. Other judges may be even more restrictive and only hire from their alma mater. Also, having BigLaw won't necessarily be a huge assist either. Many SSC judges came through the PD/DA ranks, and will be more sympathetic to applicants with that type of experience/career goals.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:54 pm

/

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:07 pm

When Professors call judges on your behalf, particularly when they call judges that they do not personally know, do they actually speak directly with the judge? Or does someone in chambers take down as a note and pass it along and the only value comes from the fact that someone was willing to make a call for you? I would assume that when a professor is willing to cold call a judge and vouch for you they won't know a direct number to the judge and would just be calling chambers/leaving a message. Also, in these situations, where do the professors even find the number that they need to call, is this publicly available somewhere?

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:19 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Hopefully that didn't completely screw the quote system, but I don't think you ever came back to this [recommender] question.

Happy to expand on the previous answer. Can you give some specifics as far as the kinds of clerkships you are hoping to obtain? The answer depends in large measure on that.



Two paths are on the table for me at this point,(I'm at HYS)

I got 3 Hs on the first set of exams (which I guess pretty much outs me as being at either H or S). Hoping to improve on that, as I know I could have done better, and worked more efficiently. So, my goal is still to try to clerk for a feeder judge and then see what happens from there.

In the event that that doesn't happen, my goal would then be to do a district court clerkship, then a COA clerkship (unless the reverse order is preferable, which is a question I was going to ask you later), since my career goals are solidly litigation.

So, that's essentially the framework I'm working from as far as my goals go.

Thanks for your help, again.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby traydeuce » Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:50 pm

Unless the reverse order is preferable in what sense? Both groups of judges are fond of hiring the other group's clerks. Are you asking which clerkship would better prepare you for the other?

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:53 pm

Same anon.

Sorry, what I meant was that I recall reading, if not in this topic, in another,

1. that one clerkship before the other might better prepare you for the other
2. and that doing one clerkship before the other might better prepare you for (EDIT: Litigation)practice(for reasons I don't remember)
Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby traydeuce » Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:When Professors call judges on your behalf, particularly when they call judges that they do not personally know, do they actually speak directly with the judge? Or does someone in chambers take down as a note and pass it along and the only value comes from the fact that someone was willing to make a call for you? I would assume that when a professor is willing to cold call a judge and vouch for you they won't know a direct number to the judge and would just be calling chambers/leaving a message. Also, in these situations, where do the professors even find the number that they need to call, is this publicly available somewhere?


Not something you need to worry about, obviously, but the answer is this. A judge's chambers' number is publicly available. Your prof will generally ask to speak to the judge. Some judges will talk to a prof they don't know and some won't. If he doesn't get the judge on the phone, he may merely leave a brief message, or the assistant may refer his call to a clerk - clerks often play a role in hiring - at which point he'll say gushing things to the clerk, or he might start saying great things to the assistant. Of course, as the likelihood of the judge's getting on the phone is enhanced by his knowing the recommender who's calling (or by having heard of him, or by having attended the school where the recommender teaches), it's a good idea to use recommenders who know people for this reason, as well as for all the obvious others.




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