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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:14 pm

Dumb question, but how did you register for Oscar to see info on judge hiring? When I tried, they didnt allow me to put class of 2012. 2011 was the earliest and I didn't want to register under the wrong year.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby pride09 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:22 pm

Wow, law review at YHS is important for a district court? I didn't know it was that competitive. (And I'm just a curious 0L trying to decide between those schools so I'm not worried about timing yet.)

So then court of appeals would look for top 10% or so (and supreme court feeders top 1%)? Btw all your answers in this thread have been very helpful/interesting.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:17 pm

zay wrote: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?

As I understand it, the administration's hiring freeze doesn't affect law clerk hiring.

The government shutdown is another matter entirely. Because of all the uncertainty around the budget, this week the courts were instructed "to institute immediately a hiring freeze for all but the most critical vacancies until a final FY 2011 spending bill is enacted." See http://legaltimes.typepad.com/files/shu ... g-2011.pdf.

At my court, it sounds sounds like things will grind to a halt if the government shutdown happens. We'll have a hiring freeze, and current clerks like me won't get paid until the shutdown's over. Thanks, GOP!

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:58 pm

pride09 wrote: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?


I just went though the clerkship season from HYS. You probably need a little better than top half for most district court clerkships-- I'd say more like top 30% or 40% in general. Obviously, there are exceptions though. For example, if you are from an area where local connections really count, you might be able to land a clerkship with lower grades.

For a non-feeder COA, you don't necessarily need law review, but you probably need to be top quarter, maybe top third.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby tgir » Fri Feb 25, 2011 7:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
pride09 wrote: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?


I just went though the clerkship season from HYS. You probably need a little better than top half for most district court clerkships-- I'd say more like top 30% or 40% in general. Obviously, there are exceptions though. For example, if you are from an area where local connections really count, you might be able to land a clerkship with lower grades.

For a non-feeder COA, you don't necessarily need law review, but you probably need to be top quarter, maybe top third.


Which of HYS, if you don't mind my asking?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 25, 2011 7:13 pm

tgir wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
pride09 wrote: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?


I just went though the clerkship season from HYS. You probably need a little better than top half for most district court clerkships-- I'd say more like top 30% or 40% in general. Obviously, there are exceptions though. For example, if you are from an area where local connections really count, you might be able to land a clerkship with lower grades.

For a non-feeder COA, you don't necessarily need law review, but you probably need to be top quarter, maybe top third.


Which of HYS, if you don't mind my asking?


Harvard. It's probably a little easier out of Yale, if that option is on the table for you and your main goal is to land a clerkship.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 26, 2011 3:09 am

I want to do corporate/transactional/regulatory work and hate my LRW classes (but do well in them nonetheless). I hate litigation per se. I am a HLS 1L and assume I will be getting a 9:1 H:P ratio by end of 2L with few if any DS. Not sure about LR, but let's say managing director or board position on a secondary.

1) Should I bother applying for a CoA clerkship?
2) Will I have a decent shot at 2nd cir. only? I want to be in NY. I know how to connect and network with past clerks if necessary, suck up to important professors for detailed reccs, and interview very well.
3) Will a CoA clerkship, apart from the bonus, help me in corporate practice? I do not want to clerk for the sake of clerking. The year's worth of opportunity cost is very significant to me.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 26, 2011 2:24 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I want to do corporate/transactional/regulatory work and hate my LRW classes (but do well in them nonetheless). I hate litigation per se. I am a HLS 1L and assume I will be getting a 9:1 H:P ratio by end of 2L with few if any DS. Not sure about LR, but let's say managing director or board position on a secondary.

1) Should I bother applying for a CoA clerkship?
2) Will I have a decent shot at 2nd cir. only? I want to be in NY. I know how to connect and network with past clerks if necessary, suck up to important professors for detailed reccs, and interview very well.
3) Will a CoA clerkship, apart from the bonus, help me in corporate practice? I do not want to clerk for the sake of clerking. The year's worth of opportunity cost is very significant to me.

A few reactions:
1. That's an awfully bold prediction about your H:P ratio. To quote Viper from Top Gun, "considering the company you're in, that's a pretty arrogant attitude."
2. Given your interests, I would say no, you should not apply for CoA clerkships, even 2d Cir. Some people think it is always a good idea to clerk. I am not one of them. Instead, I feel like one should only clerk if there's a good reason to do so--personal interest in the work, career advancement, relocating to a new part of the country, etc. None of those applies in your case, with the possible exception of a SDNY judge who you *know* has a heavy finance docket.
3. That said, assuming the stats mentioned above, I would have to think you would have a very strong shot at 2d Cir.
4. The clerkship will actually HURT you financially, even after the bonus, since ~65k salary + 50k bonus < 160k 1st year salary (plus possible bonus). You will also be a year behind in the relevant skill sets. So if career advancement or money are your primary goals, the 2d Cir clerkship is a net negative.


I know it's a bold prediction, but I have 5 Hs so far and don't see that trending downwards much over the next 3 semesters. But you're right, who knows? I am thinking about becoming a professor down the road, but it's not set in stone. Would that change the calculus at all? And would even the most fitting SDNY clerkship be a net benefit whereas a 2nd cir. would not?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 26, 2011 5:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I want to do corporate/transactional/regulatory work and hate my LRW classes (but do well in them nonetheless). I hate litigation per se. I am a HLS 1L and assume I will be getting a 9:1 H:P ratio by end of 2L with few if any DS. Not sure about LR, but let's say managing director or board position on a secondary.

1) Should I bother applying for a CoA clerkship?
2) Will I have a decent shot at 2nd cir. only? I want to be in NY. I know how to connect and network with past clerks if necessary, suck up to important professors for detailed reccs, and interview very well.
3) Will a CoA clerkship, apart from the bonus, help me in corporate practice? I do not want to clerk for the sake of clerking. The year's worth of opportunity cost is very significant to me.


Given your interest in corporate/transactional work, I'd say about the only clerkship that'd be worth it is Del. Chancery. The rest you wouldn't gain anything from. If you really want Chancery, take Strine's class at HLS your 2L year and apply in August between your 2L and 3L years.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 26, 2011 6:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I want to do corporate/transactional/regulatory work and hate my LRW classes (but do well in them nonetheless). I hate litigation per se. I am a HLS 1L and assume I will be getting a 9:1 H:P ratio by end of 2L with few if any DS. Not sure about LR, but let's say managing director or board position on a secondary.

1) Should I bother applying for a CoA clerkship?
2) Will I have a decent shot at 2nd cir. only? I want to be in NY. I know how to connect and network with past clerks if necessary, suck up to important professors for detailed reccs, and interview very well.
3) Will a CoA clerkship, apart from the bonus, help me in corporate practice? I do not want to clerk for the sake of clerking. The year's worth of opportunity cost is very significant to me.


Given your interest in corporate/transactional work, I'd say about the only clerkship that'd be worth it is Del. Chancery. The rest you wouldn't gain anything from. If you really want Chancery, take Strine's class at HLS your 2L year and apply in August between your 2L and 3L years.


I was thinking about that, but what about Coates? I heard he teaches M&A with a more law firm-oriented bent.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 26, 2011 6:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I want to do corporate/transactional/regulatory work and hate my LRW classes (but do well in them nonetheless). I hate litigation per se. I am a HLS 1L and assume I will be getting a 9:1 H:P ratio by end of 2L with few if any DS. Not sure about LR, but let's say managing director or board position on a secondary.

1) Should I bother applying for a CoA clerkship?
2) Will I have a decent shot at 2nd cir. only? I want to be in NY. I know how to connect and network with past clerks if necessary, suck up to important professors for detailed reccs, and interview very well.
3) Will a CoA clerkship, apart from the bonus, help me in corporate practice? I do not want to clerk for the sake of clerking. The year's worth of opportunity cost is very significant to me.


Given your interest in corporate/transactional work, I'd say about the only clerkship that'd be worth it is Del. Chancery. The rest you wouldn't gain anything from. If you really want Chancery, take Strine's class at HLS your 2L year and apply in August between your 2L and 3L years.


I was thinking about that, but what about Coates? I heard he teaches M&A with a more law firm-oriented bent.


The point of taking it with Strine is that he (Strine) only hires clerks from his classes at HLS and Penn. If Strine knows who you are, he can put in a good word for you with the other vice-chancellors. I have no idea how well-connected Coates is with Chancery, but let's just say that Chancery hasn't had any clerks from HLS in a long time.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 27, 2011 6:59 pm

OP--what do you pay in insurance premiums? Do you have a sense of how much more it would cost to cover yourself plus a spouse and child?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby pride09 » Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:04 pm

I've noticed a lot is made of Art. III clerkships. But it seems like state supreme courts would be a better get than a federal district court (there are about twice as many district courts as state supreme courts, and the supreme courts are, well, supreme courts).

Can OP or anyone else speak on what it takes to get one vs. the other, and how they compare as resume credentials?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:12 am

pride09 wrote:I've noticed a lot is made of Art. III clerkships. But it seems like state supreme courts would be a better get than a federal district court (there are about twice as many district courts as state supreme courts, and the supreme courts are, well, supreme courts).

Can OP or anyone else speak on what it takes to get one vs. the other, and how they compare as resume credentials?


I think state supreme court clerkships are a great way to get appellate experience. In my view, the experience is just as worthwhile as any other federal clerkship. One reason is because states constantly deal with issues of first impression (see, e.g., Alaska). The second is because state legislatures tend to move much much faster than Congress, so new issues of law come before the court on a much more frequent basis. Third, if you can get a clerkship in the state you plan on practicing, that will give you great exposure to the state court system you will likely be working with as a practitioner (unless, for some reason, your practice is entirely federal).

This post [Volokh Conspiracy] might give you some idea about state supreme courts as well.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:06 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:All of the above is true--state supreme court ("SSC") clerkships can be very rewarding experiences, according to a number of sources (some friends of mine have echoed that point after doing one). And for some markets, a SSC clerkship might be more of an employment boost than a faraway federal district court, or even court of appeals clerkship--perhaps a lot more of a boost, where local ties are highly valued. So that's a definite consideration.

On the other hand, many SSCs are elected, leading to all kinds of craziness on the court. I believe ToTransferOrNot posted about his experience externing on the WI SSC, and said it was a very unsettling place to work. Further, I gather many SSC dockets are not all that exciting, at least for those who want to go on to practice in areas dominated by federal law. Alaska may be an exception, given how new its body of law is, but that's just one out of 50 states. Last, but not least, there's the pay consideration--many SSCs pay substantially less than federal court clerkships. And while some firms give bonuses for SSC clerkships the same way they do for federal, others don't.


I fully agree that the quality of a SSC clerkship, like any other clerkship (federal or state), will depend greatly on the judge and the court. Doing your homework and talking to past clerks (if possible) are key here.

As for SSC dockets, I think one of the perks is that you get to deal with a wide variety of cases. It's probably the only time in your life that you'll get to see such a varied docket, because once you start practicing, your focus becomes narrower. That being said, I fully agree that if your interest in law is federally-dominated or federally-controlled (e.g., bankruptcy, antitrust), you may wish to pursue a federal clerkship because you will not see any of those types of cases in state court. But if you just want to be a general litigator, then that may not matter so much. At least in my experience, SSC dockets, for the most part, have the same mix of criminal and civil cases seen in federal court. The vast majority will be criminal cases, and the rest will be a mix of various civil claims ranging from personal injury to contract interpretation to discrimination. In handling those cases, you'll deal with both federal and state law issues, so it's not as if you are somehow shut-out of the federal arena entirely.

But, as GTL Rev has noted, there may be a great pay differential. Most SSC clerkships do not increase your payscale if you have post-law school work experience. See this chart (LinkRemoved) for more info. For example, GA SSC salaries top out at ~77k, which is more than the GS-scale for clerks if you come right out of law school.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 01, 2011 3:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:But, as GTL Rev has noted, there may be a great pay differential. Most SSC clerkships do not increase your payscale if you have post-law school work experience. See this chart (LinkRemoved) for more info. For example, GA SSC salaries top out at ~77k, which is more than the GS-scale for clerks if you come right out of law school.

I think GTLR is correct that states generally pay less, but that chart is also out of date. For example, a classmate of mine from 2010 is clerking for the GA COA and started at $80,000 (obviously more than any first-year federal clerk). I'm clerking for a state court paying $50,000, which is about $10,000 less than the federal courts here.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 03, 2011 11:37 am

pride09 wrote:I've noticed a lot is made of Art. III clerkships. But it seems like state supreme courts would be a better get than a federal district court (there are about twice as many district courts as state supreme courts, and the supreme courts are, well, supreme courts).

Can OP or anyone else speak on what it takes to get one vs. the other, and how they compare as resume credentials?


One thing that you will see at SSC that you don't see in federal court--disciplinary violations. You will be extremely surprised at the types of conduct attorneys get disciplined for (and it honestly might scare the crap out of you to find out how little it takes to have the ethics board come after you). It's not the stuff they teach you in PR class either, because most of this stuff goes unreported/stays confidential because the resulting discipline isn't disbarment or suspension.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby DelDad » Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:The point of taking it with Strine is that he (Strine) only hires clerks from his classes at HLS and Penn. If Strine knows who you are, he can put in a good word for you with the other vice-chancellors. I have no idea how well-connected Coates is with Chancery, but let's just say that Chancery hasn't had any clerks from HLS in a long time.


Current clerk in Court of Chancery here; took the course with VC Strine at Penn (which was fantastic); let me know if you have questions either about the class or the clerkship.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby tycho_brahe » Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:24 pm

I'm currently in the top 3% at a T30 school. As it stands, I'll get on Law Review with a "good faith" effort in the writing competition. However, I'm seriously considering transferring to Chicago. How do you think Top 10% or 15% at Chicago w/o Law Review compares with Top 3% T30 w/ Law Review for both COA and District Court clerkships?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Malcolm8X » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:10 pm

tag

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:46 pm

tycho_brahe wrote:I'm currently in the top 3% at a T30 school. As it stands, I'll get on Law Review with a "good faith" effort in the writing competition. However, I'm seriously considering transferring to Chicago. How do you think Top 10% or 15% at Chicago w/o Law Review compares with Top 3% T30 w/ Law Review for both COA and District Court clerkships?


Only two transfers in UChicago's C/O 2011 got clerkships: one got a CoA (top 1-2%); one got a district court (top 5%).

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:36 am

What do clerks look for in a writing sample and what type of writing is best? Should it be a piece of my note? If so, what is the goal in editing the note (should I lean more on case law overview, theoretical argument, recommendations, etc.).

Or is it better to use a summer memo? The memo seems good in that applying law to facts is what I'd be mostly doing as a clerk, but it also seems boring and fairly simplistic (the cases weren't particularly complex).

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:37 am

Anonymous User wrote:
tycho_brahe wrote:I'm currently in the top 3% at a T30 school. As it stands, I'll get on Law Review with a "good faith" effort in the writing competition. However, I'm seriously considering transferring to Chicago. How do you think Top 10% or 15% at Chicago w/o Law Review compares with Top 3% T30 w/ Law Review for both COA and District Court clerkships?


Only two transfers in UChicago's C/O 2011 got clerkships: one got a CoA (top 1-2%); one got a district court (top 5%).


Were the placements with the the 7th Cir (and lower courts therein), or were they the result of personal/hometown connections, etc? Was either student e-board on a secondary journal?

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:40 am

Anonymous User wrote:What do clerks look for in a writing sample and what type of writing is best? Should it be a piece of my note? If so, what is the goal in editing the note (should I lean more on case law overview, theoretical argument, recommendations, etc.).

Or is it better to use a summer memo? The memo seems good in that applying law to facts is what I'd be mostly doing as a clerk, but it also seems boring and fairly simplistic (the cases weren't particularly complex).


I (personally) don't have an opinion on note vs. memo, with the caveat that I strongly disfavor draft opinions/memos that were written for a judge during a judicial intern/externship. This is because even though the actual writing might be yours, there's a good chance that you've already discussed the issues/law with the judge/other clerks in chambers, so the thought process that resulted in identifying the key issues/law is not solely your own.

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Re: Clerk, taking questions for a bit

Postby leobowski » Fri Mar 04, 2011 1:32 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What do clerks look for in a writing sample and what type of writing is best? Should it be a piece of my note? If so, what is the goal in editing the note (should I lean more on case law overview, theoretical argument, recommendations, etc.).

Or is it better to use a summer memo? The memo seems good in that applying law to facts is what I'd be mostly doing as a clerk, but it also seems boring and fairly simplistic (the cases weren't particularly complex).

My sense is that clerks look for good organization, attention to detail, and sensible analysis. We want to pick up a piece about an area of law we know nothing (or very little) about, and come away from it feeling like we were educated or convinced--all in a short period of time, and all without any meaningful mistakes. In this regard, a part of your LR note is usually the best option, as that writing style is fairly similar to what clerks put in bench memos and draft opinions. And you may want to select a part that deals with a case law overview and synthesis of the cases/theoretical argument. I'd keep the normative stuff pretty minimal, and lead with descriptive analysis if you can. Many people do send in their entire notes/comments, and that's fine too.

Summer memos are also fine, but make sure you have permission from the employer to use them. I would only use one of these if you think it is objectively better than your LR comment/note, though.



A LR note is OK even if peer-edited and subsequently published? And would you recommend including a citation to the entire piece if submitting a portion of it? Thanks for your help.




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