Clerks Taking Questions

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vamedic03
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby vamedic03 » Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:26 pm

johndhi wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Any sense for how Article III judges view publishing-on to LR as opposed to writing-on? I a 2L at a T10 and I opted out of the write-on at the end of 1L. I have since become much more interested in clerking and have decided to try to publish a student note (and thereby gain membership to LR).

Obviously there is no guarantee that they will take my note, but assuming that they do, would my LR membership be worth any less than that of someone who originally wrote-on? On the one hand, I obviously would not have a board position. On the other hand, I would have a publication.

Thoughts?

Thanks for any and all input.


I'm a little confused by your phrasing. Are you suggesting that anyone whose note is published becomes a member of the law review at your school? As far as I know that isn't the system at mine or any other law review I've heard of. If your question is simply, "does getting published make up for not making law review," I am not entirely sure. I'd like to think a candidate with a publication is on similar footing to one with law review, but I imagine it depends on where your note is published. Since yours is (apparently) with the main law review, that seems like quite an accomplishment and is probably a greater bonus than being published on a secondary. I'd randomly guess without having participated in the clerkship application process on either side that you're on at least equal footing with a random member of the law review.


I'm not sure why you're surprised that other law reviews do things in different manners from your own.

Anyways, as long as the question-asker got onto law review prior to applying for clerkships, I'm not sure how anyone would ever know how they got onto law review. So, there's really no cost in trying to 'publish on' and there's the potential upside of both getting onto law review and getting a publication.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:45 am

Same anon here re: publishing on. First, thanks everyone for the input. Year after year I am amazed at how helpful and responsive the TLS community can be.

How would a judge even know?


I guess I was assuming I would have to put the dates of my LR membership. So, if I ended up publishing-on in my final semester, I would be graduating in 2013 and joining LR in that same year. But maybe it would be silly to date the membership?

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:59 am

How do you go about having people making calls for you? I've had 2 Professors and 1 Judge I've worked for offer but unsure how to set it up. Should I include in my cover letter for the Judge I'm applying to call them or should I just ask them to call the Judges I am applying too (I doubt they'd be happy to get more than 5 calls)? Also, if they are calling or being called should I also have them send a recommendation letter?

I've actually read this entire thread as it went along and thought it was mentioned but couldn't find it.

Thanks for any help you can provide.

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legalese_retard
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby legalese_retard » Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:25 am

If my clerkship ends in August, when do I start applying to law firms? I don't have a job lined up yet when my clerkship ends. I've been on a couple of firm websites that have the contact info of the person to apply to, but they don't provide a timeline.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby traydeuce » Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:40 pm

UT/Vandy guy: yes, your chances go up when you get a district clerkship. A lot of judges prefer district clerks.

On calls, don't tell the judges to call your references; they won't unless it's someone they're really close with. Just give the numbers of the judges who you want called to your recommenders; ask them to call in the days after you expect the judges to receive your application. Callers need not be recommenders, but generally if someone's offering to call for you they'd make a good recommender. I agree that 5 calls verges on overkill, but less doesn't. The judge who hired me told me out and out that the reason I was his top choice is that he got three really good calls about me.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby theaccidentalclerk » Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:35 pm

Also, if you have some obvious connection with the judge or his clerks, make sure you try to tell the people implicated by this connection beforehand that they might be getting a call. Unbeknownst to me, my judge's chambers called three people to check me out -- a former clerk of his who I used to work with (I guessed they might do that and made a call ahead of time), and a couple of former colleagues that one of his current clerks knew socially (i.e., I worked at firm X, and the clerk was friends with a couple of people that had also been there -- this one I didn't predict).

(Funny story: I was exchanging holiday emails with one of the latter two, and I gave her the news that I was going to clerk. She told me that she already knew that, and "you're welcome" for the recommendation.)

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tww909
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby tww909 » Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:48 pm

traydeuce wrote:UT/Vandy guy: yes, your chances go up when you get a district clerkship. A lot of judges prefer district clerks.

On calls, don't tell the judges to call your references; they won't unless it's someone they're really close with. Just give the numbers of the judges who you want called to your recommenders; ask them to call in the days after you expect the judges to receive your application. Callers need not be recommenders, but generally if someone's offering to call for you they'd make a good recommender. I agree that 5 calls verges on overkill, but less doesn't. The judge who hired me told me out and out that the reason I was his top choice is that he got three really good calls about me.


Any advice about how best to target your phone calls?

I go to SLS, but have significant connections to the 7th/8th Circuits and flyover districts in the Midwest. I will be applying heavily in these places, and given I'm a transfer without straight Hs/Law Review I suspect they're my best chance of landing something.

Does it make sense to have my recommenders call judges in the Midwest even if their names might not have as great an impact (None of my recommenders are on the Karlan/McConnell level of name recognition)? Or does it make more sense to have them call judges on the 9th Cir or N.D. Cal. where they clerked and are better known and have my local connections call the judges in the Midwest?

Also any insight on the optimum distribution of calls for most judges? Better to have each recommender call different judges or place several calls to a target judge? I would ordinarily leave it to recommender's prerogative, but I will have at least one person writing and calling from my previous school, and a couple local connections calling in the Midwest.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:26 am

traydeuce wrote:UT/Vandy guy: yes, your chances go up when you get a district clerkship. A lot of judges prefer district clerks.

On calls, don't tell the judges to call your references; they won't unless it's someone they're really close with. Just give the numbers of the judges who you want called to your recommenders; ask them to call in the days after you expect the judges to receive your application. Callers need not be recommenders, but generally if someone's offering to call for you they'd make a good recommender. I agree that 5 calls verges on overkill, but less doesn't. The judge who hired me told me out and out that the reason I was his top choice is that he got three really good calls about me.


UT/Vandy guy here. Thanks (for both this response and the earlier one).

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby traydeuce » Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:27 am

tww909 wrote:
traydeuce wrote:UT/Vandy guy: yes, your chances go up when you get a district clerkship. A lot of judges prefer district clerks.

On calls, don't tell the judges to call your references; they won't unless it's someone they're really close with. Just give the numbers of the judges who you want called to your recommenders; ask them to call in the days after you expect the judges to receive your application. Callers need not be recommenders, but generally if someone's offering to call for you they'd make a good recommender. I agree that 5 calls verges on overkill, but less doesn't. The judge who hired me told me out and out that the reason I was his top choice is that he got three really good calls about me.


Any advice about how best to target your phone calls?

I go to SLS, but have significant connections to the 7th/8th Circuits and flyover districts in the Midwest. I will be applying heavily in these places, and given I'm a transfer without straight Hs/Law Review I suspect they're my best chance of landing something.

Does it make sense to have my recommenders call judges in the Midwest even if their names might not have as great an impact (None of my recommenders are on the Karlan/McConnell level of name recognition)? Or does it make more sense to have them call judges on the 9th Cir or N.D. Cal. where they clerked and are better known and have my local connections call the judges in the Midwest?

Also any insight on the optimum distribution of calls for most judges? Better to have each recommender call different judges or place several calls to a target judge? I would ordinarily leave it to recommender's prerogative, but I will have at least one person writing and calling from my previous school, and a couple local connections calling in the Midwest.


You raise some interesting questions. A few things. First of all, few 7th/8th cir judges are even going to know who Pam Karlan is. To the average non-scholarly judge on the 7th or 8th circuit (and most judges aren't great scholars), a Stanford professor is a Stanford professor. Outside of people who have relationships with a judge, or extremely household names, or applications to judges who are more aware of who the heavy hitters on HYS faculties are, recommender identity is more something for the clerks who read your application. And even then it depends; once I was interning for a pretty well-known COA judge and their clerk, reading an application, asks me who Philip Bobbitt is.

Second, I think you might be right that your chances are best on the 7th and 8th circuits - but with the caveat that, as far as I can tell from public hiring data/Google (your school would have better info), SLS just hasn't placed many people on the 8th or, with the exceptions of some of the 7th's most selective hirers, on the 7th. The 7th, of course, is a weird mix of superstars/up-and-coming superstars, a few very solid but not outstanding judges, and more pedestrian types from Indiana and Wisconsin who aren't necessarily into hiring HYS clerks. Many of the 8th circuit judges have a weird HLS/local flagship school hiring pattern. Maybe your midwest connections overcome that, but maybe not. A lot depends on how far from straight H's you are. If you're pretty close, your chances with the 9th might actually be better.

So third, how that calculus actually plays out, after you get a better sense, from Stanford hiring data, of whether your chances at the 9th are better than you think/whether I'm right or wrong about the rarity of Stanford clerks making it to the 8th Circuit/7th Cir judges who aren't Posner, Wood or Sykes, is what determines where you send your Stanford recommenders' calls. A call from any Stanford professor will have value pretty much anywhere, so if you do have a strong chance at 8th Circuit judges, but not so much at 9th Circuit judges, you want your SLS recommenders to call the 8th. If the other way around, vice versa. Calls only do so much; they can't get an otherwise weakly qualified applicant an interview, so you want your callers to call places where you have a shot. And indeed, when coming up with target judges, your target judges shouldn't be, you know, Kozinski because you think it would be awesome to clerk for him, but rather, the judges you like out of the judges you have a good chance with, or even just the judges you think you have an extremely good chance with, e.g. judges who've hired from your journal, who hired your recommenders, who have hired from the school you transferred from as well as SLS, who attended your college, who for some reason are attracted to your particular types of experience, who share your politics.

Fourth, as to call distribution, in my experience multiple calls meant a lot. A single call, more often than not unanswered by the judge and translated into a mere post-it note on your file, may not do much. At the same time, there are a lot of judges on the 9th Circuit, even after you lop off the ones you're not competitive with. So you really want to get a sense from your recommenders of how many judges they're willing to call before you start making lists of names and sending them to recommenders. The lower the number of calls they're willing to make, the less room, obviously, you have for overlap. Still, though, selecting out at least a few judges who get multiple calls is a priority. Multiple calls are interpreted both as enthusiasm on the part of your recommenders, and, more accurately, as a way of your showing interest.

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Scaliable
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Scaliable » Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:27 pm

I know a Circuit judge through a college friend, but do personal connections help with CoA Clerkships? Or with District Clerkships?

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby traydeuce » Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:35 pm

Scaliable wrote:I know a Circuit judge through a college friend, but do personal connections help with CoA Clerkships? Or with District Clerkships?


I don't think a college friend (I'm assuming/hoping he clerked for the judge?) is going to get you very far. Though it might, but I would say that, even if you're pretty qualified in the first place, there's about a 10-20% chance that that will get you an interview. What can he say, after all? But yes, connections are helpful, generally speaking.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Scaliable » Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:33 pm

traydeuce wrote:I don't think a college friend (I'm assuming/hoping he clerked for the judge?) is going to get you very far. Though it might, but I would say that, even if you're pretty qualified in the first place, there's about a 10-20% chance that that will get you an interview. What can he say, after all? But yes, connections are helpful, generally speaking.

Sorry, the Circuit Judge is my friend's father. I've played golf and eaten dinner with the man, but that was a while ago now.
G. T. L. Rev. wrote:Good question. The answer is: "it depends.". A longer, more detailed answer is available in earlier posts + other threads.

Ok, thanks.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby traydeuce » Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:45 pm

Scaliable wrote:
traydeuce wrote:I don't think a college friend (I'm assuming/hoping he clerked for the judge?) is going to get you very far. Though it might, but I would say that, even if you're pretty qualified in the first place, there's about a 10-20% chance that that will get you an interview. What can he say, after all? But yes, connections are helpful, generally speaking.

Sorry, the Circuit Judge is my friend's father. I've played golf and eaten dinner with the man, but that was a while ago now.


Oh, your friend's father... that has some potential. But are you at all in the ballpark otherwise?

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:46 am

I'm doing a 2-year district court clerkship starting this fall. I did not have the grades or journal for an appellate clerkship, and did not apply; is it worth applying to one after my first year at the d.ct? or will the lack of journal still be dispositive? by graduation my grades should be in the top 25% (at CCN).

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tww909
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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby tww909 » Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:55 am

traydeuce wrote:
tww909 wrote:
traydeuce wrote:UT/Vandy guy: yes, your chances go up when you get a district clerkship. A lot of judges prefer district clerks.

On calls, don't tell the judges to call your references; they won't unless it's someone they're really close with. Just give the numbers of the judges who you want called to your recommenders; ask them to call in the days after you expect the judges to receive your application. Callers need not be recommenders, but generally if someone's offering to call for you they'd make a good recommender. I agree that 5 calls verges on overkill, but less doesn't. The judge who hired me told me out and out that the reason I was his top choice is that he got three really good calls about me.


Any advice about how best to target your phone calls?

I go to SLS, but have significant connections to the 7th/8th Circuits and flyover districts in the Midwest. I will be applying heavily in these places, and given I'm a transfer without straight Hs/Law Review I suspect they're my best chance of landing something.

Does it make sense to have my recommenders call judges in the Midwest even if their names might not have as great an impact (None of my recommenders are on the Karlan/McConnell level of name recognition)? Or does it make more sense to have them call judges on the 9th Cir or N.D. Cal. where they clerked and are better known and have my local connections call the judges in the Midwest?

Also any insight on the optimum distribution of calls for most judges? Better to have each recommender call different judges or place several calls to a target judge? I would ordinarily leave it to recommender's prerogative, but I will have at least one person writing and calling from my previous school, and a couple local connections calling in the Midwest.


You raise some interesting questions. A few things . . .


thanks a ton for this advice! i really appreciate it - it is very helpful.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:29 pm

I start a two year district court clerkship in the fall. I recently saw on OSCAR another two year district court clerkship open up for the fall that I would be perfect for, at least after the first clerkship -- it says that prior federal clerkship experience is mandatory, plus they want a few other things that I suspect few people have. Is there any way to let chambers know that if they'd be interested in hiring for fall 2014, I'd be interested as well? If so, is a call or letter better?

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:00 pm

I'm wondering if there is a resource for checking stats of past clerks on state supreme courts or district courts? If my school doesn't keep track, how am I supposed to know if I have a shot? Just apply and see what happens? Assume T1, top 15%, LR, published twice by the time I apply. Are my stats at all competitive for a SSC or D.Ct. clerkship in one of WA, OR, CA, AZ, or CO? I have weak to very strong ties to each of those states.

Also, do judges ever look past average grades first semester? I would have been at least top 5% if my first semester were like the last two. Is there a good way to indicate this in an application or should I just let my transcript speak for itself?

Finally, and I'm sorry if this has been asked already, how much will getting published help my application?

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby traydeuce » Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:17 pm

I'm going to say, SSC is possible, very slim chances at D. Ct. Put it this way; people will definitely be hired this year by district judges with your qualifications (I take it we're talking a low t1?), but there won't be a whole lot of them and there will be a ton of applicants in your general range of qualification.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:01 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm wondering if there is a resource for checking stats of past clerks on state supreme courts or district courts? If my school doesn't keep track, how am I supposed to know if I have a shot? Just apply and see what happens?
Pretty much. There is no database or other mechanism -- anywhere, or any kind -- that tracks this data. I am trying to create something along those lines with the Clerkship Scramble site, but it is still quite difficult to come across district court hiring data. SSC data is basically nonexistent. So unless your school maintains a list, your best bet is google.

Assume T1, top 15%, LR, published twice by the time I apply. Are my stats at all competitive for a SSC or D.Ct. clerkship in one of WA, OR, CA, AZ, or CO? I have weak to very strong ties to each of those states.
Nearby SSC seems at least plausible. But you need to know that SSCs hire on all different timelines, so some may already be underway. See --LinkRemoved--

I am less sure about district courts, but, based on your statement re: ties, I do think it would be worth sending some apps out.

Also, do judges ever look past average grades first semester? I would have been at least top 5% if my first semester were like the last two. Is there a good way to indicate this in an application or should I just let my transcript speak for itself?

Finally, and I'm sorry if this has been asked already, how much will getting published help my application?
Let your transcript speak for itself. It comes across as utterly ridiculous when people try to escape their record. I mean, every applicant can say the same thing you just did. Everyone would have a 4.0 if they had just gotten all As instead of whatever they actually ended up with. Also, realize that many judges put more weight on 1L year than 2L & 3L, as it is a nearly universal fact that GPAs rise after 1L year. I say this having looked at hundreds of clerkship apps.

As for publication, it is a nice -- albeit quite common -- plus factor. The fact that you will have two publications is an added bonus. But do not expect this to vault you way above the past performance of people who, in the past, had the same stats from your school.

Thanks a lot! Your contribution to TLS (via the Clerkship Scramble as well) is really invaluable. Thanks to traydeuce as well. I'm going to meet with my rec letter writers soon and start sending out SSC apps right after grades come out, followed by D.Cts. in the fall.

Two more questions for you. What tends to make for a good writing sample? I would love to send some of my published work, but it's obviously edited by others and some judges request something only I've worked on. Thoughts? Also, will a D.Ct. anywhere always trump a SSC clerkship in terms of firm hiring? Meaning, if I don't have anything lined up for after graduation, would a D.Ct. clerkship in say New Mexico be better than a SSC one in a state where I would like to end up? What about for a third state? That's it for now. Thanks again!

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby zomginternets » Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:05 pm

Do recommendations from a judge's past clerk give much of a bump for that judge?

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Tangerine Gleam » Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Two more questions for you. What tends to make for a good writing sample? I would love to send some of my published work, but it's obviously edited by others and some judges request something only I've worked on.


I'll save G.T.L. Rev. the trouble of saying that I believe this question has been addressed before various times in this thread and others. I think the short answer is, "it depends."

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:11 pm

For a D. Ct. judge who is known to hire off-plan, when is the best time to apply? I don't want to apply so early that it's awkward, but I also don't want to get scooped by other Type A applicants.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:53 pm

I'm beginning a 1-yr d.ct clerkship in Aug. If I apply to a 9th Cir COA clerkship for afterwards, 1) how much additional weight (if any) will be given to my d.ct clerkship because the district is within the 9th circuit?; 2) does it still all come down to law school class rank/LR/etc, or will a phone call from the d.ct judge be the most important factor in getting an interview?

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:18 pm

Competitive COA candidate here (#1 @T1, strong relevant WE, recommenders know judge, dean made call, targeted judge hires from here on the reg, eboard of journal), but made a minor Bluebook error in citing a forthcoming publication on my resume that I realized not an hour after sending it in. Ding, just a bit of a neg, or don't worry too much? I will def be updating my resume again with proper cite if I have something interesting and new to add.

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Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby traydeuce » Thu Mar 08, 2012 7:16 pm

^^ That varies, from, a lot of chambers won't notice, to a bunch of chambers will notice but won't care, to a significant fraction that will notice and won't extend you an interview. Of course, what impact this has all depends on whether the people who don't care are interested in you, and whether the people who do care are interested in you. If you're really unlucky and the judges who think about giving you a call are all the sorts of judges who don't give interviews to people with bluebooking errors on their resumes (or judges whose clerks discard apps from people with bluebooking errors on their resumes), you could get nothing. Or if you're really lucky, the people who care and notice didn't like you in the first place, while the people who do like you enough to consider calling you don't care or notice. But more probably, the people who care are distributed fairly randomly vis-a-vis their interest in you, and you lose somewhere between 0-2 interviews.




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