2014-2015 Clerkship Application Thread - OP Updated 04/19/13

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Flips88
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Re: 2014-2015 Clerkship Application Thread - OP Updated 03/01/13

Postby Flips88 » Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:22 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Flips88 wrote:You put your GPA in your cover letter?


Sort of; I included the academic honors from 1L.

Like Dean's List or something? Seems silly (at least to me where Dean's List encompasses like 40% of the class)

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Re: 2014-2015 Clerkship Application Thread - OP Updated 03/01/13

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:25 am

Flips88 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Flips88 wrote:You put your GPA in your cover letter?


Sort of; I included the academic honors from 1L.

Like Dean's List or something? Seems silly (at least to me where Dean's List encompasses like 40% of the class)


School has a distinction for top 10% but doesn't give specific rank. I figure that + LR is the best "Hey, I'm qualified, keep reading" signal I can give. Well, that and career services/TLS wisdom told me to do it.

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Re: 2014-2015 Clerkship Application Thread - OP Updated 03/01/13

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:26 am

Tangerine Gleam wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:This is totally anecdotal, but any sense of where we are in the process for "regular" COA judges (i.e., not feeders or semi-feeders)?
Should be competitive for these, and I don't really trust my clerkship office entirely. I should be able to get out a first wave of apps within seven days. screwed or no?


You're definitely not screwed, but it also appears (just from observing internet talk and hearing anecdotal stories) that a good number of COA judges have already hired or are interviewing candidates now -- and these aren't just the feeders. I'm sure there are still a lot of COA positions out there, but if you had particular judges/circuits in mind, it may be that they've already begun to look.


Thanks! A bit frustrating, as the clerkship office at my T6 hasn't told us about more than one or two early moving "non-feeders."
It looks like the best move at this point is to go on a bit of a chambers-calling binge early next week to make sure my first choices aren't hiring.
I just can't tell whether I'm way over-worried relative to where I should be or if I'm in danger of falling behind.

EDIT: realized after posting that randomly dropping "T6" might seem a bit douchey--only mentioned because I'd think (hope?) that T6 offices should be pretty well informed.

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Re: 2014-2015 Clerkship Application Thread - OP Updated 03/01/13

Postby theaccidentalclerk » Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:03 am

Rereading my message, I guess I should have been a little more clear.

Re: Longer vs. shorter/generic cover letters. I think it depends. For K->JD applicants applying as 2Ls, a shorter/generic letter is probably best. For alums, and especially alums that have significant (qualitatively, not time-wise) experience, it's probably better to flesh that out a little in the letter.

But I wasn't really talking about this when I said that your letter needs to sing. I was getting at what A. Nony. Mouse. brings up -- you really need to avoid unnecessarily long and overwordy letters. A great cover letter won't get you the job (though in some cases, it might get your CV a closer read), but an awkward one is a big hurdle to clear.

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Re: 2014-2015 Clerkship Application Thread - OP Updated 03/01/13

Postby dixon02 » Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:12 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Tangerine Gleam wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:This is totally anecdotal, but any sense of where we are in the process for "regular" COA judges (i.e., not feeders or semi-feeders)?
Should be competitive for these, and I don't really trust my clerkship office entirely. I should be able to get out a first wave of apps within seven days. screwed or no?


You're definitely not screwed, but it also appears (just from observing internet talk and hearing anecdotal stories) that a good number of COA judges have already hired or are interviewing candidates now -- and these aren't just the feeders. I'm sure there are still a lot of COA positions out there, but if you had particular judges/circuits in mind, it may be that they've already begun to look.


Thanks! A bit frustrating, as the clerkship office at my T6 hasn't told us about more than one or two early moving "non-feeders."
It looks like the best move at this point is to go on a bit of a chambers-calling binge early next week to make sure my first choices aren't hiring.
I just can't tell whether I'm way over-worried relative to where I should be or if I'm in danger of falling behind.

EDIT: realized after posting that randomly dropping "T6" might seem a bit douchey--only mentioned because I'd think (hope?) that T6 offices should be pretty well informed.


This is a thread for people applying to clerkships...you're not douchey for saying you go to a T6. As to the larger point, I would agree that at this point anyone interested in a COA clerkship should be calling chambers and ready to mail immediately if they hear that judge is accepting apps. I'd also point out that OSCAR is not a totally useless resource -- quite a few judges, including many non-feeders and some Dist. Ct., have updated to say they're hiring for 2014. At the very least, I'd get stuff to any of them you're interested in right away.

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Re: 2014-2015 Clerkship Application Thread - OP Updated 03/01/13

Postby thsmthcrmnl » Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:23 am

When judges say on OSCAR that they are hiring without specifically saying they are hiring 2Ls, should we assume that this means they are hiring just 3Ls and alumni, or that 2Ls are included too? Every judge who specifically includes 2Ls makes me more concerned that the ones who don't mean to exclude them.

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Re: 2014-2015 Clerkship Application Thread - OP Updated 03/01/13

Postby jrf12886 » Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:30 pm

Our OCS suggests using a minimalist cover letter and only adding a lot of extra information if it "feels natural" or if you know that a particular judge wants it.

The substance of my cover letter is 300 words. People will probably say this is too long, but I feel it is necessary to highlight a few things about my background. My gut feeling is that people are overstating the extent to which judges dislike lengthy cover letters. If they don't want to read the extra information, then they won't read it. People generally seem too obsessed with conforming to conventional wisdom with respect to application materials.

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Re: 2014-2015 Clerkship Application Thread - OP Updated 03/01/13

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Mar 03, 2013 1:26 pm

1) I think if a judge has a generic "I'm hiring" opening on OSCAR, 2Ls should feel free to apply unless it expressly says "no 2Ls." I think the default is everyone, not 3Ls and alumni. But even if I'm wrong, you're no worse off than if you didn't apply, and you won't miss out on anyone who is hiring.

2) I don't quite get the "if judges don't want to read extra information, they won't read it" thing. That makes sense for a long writing sample - the judge can just not turn the page. But it's not like reading a longer cover letter actually takes that much more time than reading a shorter cover letter, such that the judge will actually skip over paragraphs. It's more that if your cover letter is longer because it includes unnecessary information/is wordy, it makes a worse impression. (As for whether judges care - well, clerks may well go through and make the first cut anyway.) Is it likely to sink you? If you have all the great qualifications, probably not. I just think you want to make as good an impression as you can in every element of your application.

jrf12886, that's not to say there's anything wrong with your letter - you may well have enough stuff to talk about that justifies the length, I have no idea (I looked at mine and the content portion is 235 words). The thing is, I don't think this is "obsession with conforming to conventional wisdom," because, first, a lot of OCSs don't actually seem to tell people write minimalist cover letters (even googling "clerkship cover letters" demonstrates this, because a lot of schools' clerkship guides come up). And second, if you actually read through a stack of cover letters you very quickly develop a gut reaction to what's wordy/unnecessary and what's not. That might not even be about length per se - I didn't count people's words - there's just a little switch that flips in your head, "too much/don't care."

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Re: 2014-2015 Clerkship Application Thread - OP Updated 03/01/13

Postby dixon02 » Sun Mar 03, 2013 1:37 pm

jrf12886 wrote:Our OCS suggests using a minimalist cover letter and only adding a lot of extra information if it "feels natural" or if you know that a particular judge wants it.

The substance of my cover letter is 300 words. People will probably say this is too long, but I feel it is necessary to highlight a few things about my background. My gut feeling is that people are overstating the extent to which judges dislike lengthy cover letters. If they don't want to read the extra information, then they won't read it. People generally seem too obsessed with conforming to conventional wisdom with respect to application materials.


This misses the point. The point is that you have a lot to lose with very little to gain. The concern is not that the judge (or more importantly for cover letters, the clerks) do not like reading long cover letters. You're right: if they don't want to read it, they won't. The concern is that they won't care. Most of them are just glancing at the cover letter. Nothing you say in those 300 words is likely to get you any attention; your grades/resume do that. But if in those 300 words you've made a typo or simply do not appear to be a very clear writer, you now have a mountain to climb. It's just a poor gamble to make.

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Re: 2014-2015 Clerkship Application Thread - OP Updated 03/01/13

Postby jrf12886 » Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:47 pm

dixon02 wrote:
jrf12886 wrote:Our OCS suggests using a minimalist cover letter and only adding a lot of extra information if it "feels natural" or if you know that a particular judge wants it.

The substance of my cover letter is 300 words. People will probably say this is too long, but I feel it is necessary to highlight a few things about my background. My gut feeling is that people are overstating the extent to which judges dislike lengthy cover letters. If they don't want to read the extra information, then they won't read it. People generally seem too obsessed with conforming to conventional wisdom with respect to application materials.


This misses the point. The point is that you have a lot to lose with very little to gain. The concern is not that the judge (or more importantly for cover letters, the clerks) do not like reading long cover letters. You're right: if they don't want to read it, they won't. The concern is that they won't care. Most of them are just glancing at the cover letter. Nothing you say in those 300 words is likely to get you any attention; your grades/resume do that. But if in those 300 words you've made a typo or simply do not appear to be a very clear writer, you now have a mountain to climb. It's just a poor gamble to make.


I agree with most of this. But I don't think fear of a typo or unclear writing should keep you from including something that could potentially help you. I included a paragraph about my military service and how it reflects my commitment to public service. But if you are just repeating information from your resume, that seems like a bad idea.

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Re: 2014-2015 Clerkship Application Thread - OP Updated 03/01/13

Postby TatteredDignity » Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:07 pm

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Last edited by TatteredDignity on Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 2014-2015 Clerkship Application Thread - OP Updated 03/01/13

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:School range: MVP
Rank: Top 10-15% (probably closer to top ten)
LR?: Secondary journal - e-board
Published?: No
Recs: Four professor recommendations - three will be strong, as I've RA'd and TA'd for those professors; AIII judge as reference on CL (I was an intern last summer)
2L/3L/Alum?: 2L
Where applying?: Mostly mid-atlantic - only district court
Any other factors: fairly strong resume (college athletics); professor willing to make calls

I'm curious how competitive of a clerkship candidate I am for district court, how broadly I should be applying, and when I should be sending out applications... I've heard that the circuits are moving now, but I've heard nothing about district courts. I have all of my recommendations, but I haven't done anything with CARS/OSCAR at this point. What do I need to be doing right now? Any help / advice is appreciated.


I can't speak to how competitive you are, but... most circuits have at least one judge moving, but it might just be their feeder. Some very competitive circuits (DC, 9th, others) are almost all moving and moving very quickly. Other circuits are taking their time, by and large, and some judges on OSCAR are explicitly saying they are on-plan for this year. It's really more case-by-case than people sometimes say.

For the districts, I know that in the mid-atlantic SDNY & EDNY are moving, as is DDC. I don't know if other districts are - my clerkship office (T14) told me that for the most part districts are staying put. But spend some time on OSCAR, search by district in the states you're interested in, and check the details of each listing. Could very well find many judges that say they're open and taking applicants.

Best of luck, you're in a better position than I am, and I think you're going to be in great shape. Also, no matter what I said above, the professor is your gold-ticket resource - ask him or her if there are judges they know and see if you can scoop something up quick.

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Re: 2014-2015 Clerkship Application Thread - OP Updated 03/01/13

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 03, 2013 9:49 pm

Is there a free service that provides a compilation of addresses/numbers for judges across multiple districts?

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Re: 2014-2015 Clerkship Application Thread - OP Updated 03/01/13

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Mar 03, 2013 9:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Is there a free service that provides a compilation of addresses/numbers for judges across multiple districts?

They're in a thing called the Judicial Yellow Book - your career office should be able to give you access to this. If not, you'll probably just have to look at each court's website.

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Re: 2014-2015 Clerkship Application Thread - OP Updated 03/01/13

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:02 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Is there a free service that provides a compilation of addresses/numbers for judges across multiple districts?

They're in a thing called the Judicial Yellow Book - your career office should be able to give you access to this. If not, you'll probably just have to look at each court's website.


Anyone know if Columbia has this? I emailed Annie a couple weeks ago asking how to find phone numbers and she gave me a site that is difficult to navigate, and I think (not positive because, well, it's difficult to navigate) super incomplete. And not every court includes phone numbers on their website.

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Re: 2014-2015 Clerkship Application Thread - OP Updated 03/01/13

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Is there a free service that provides a compilation of addresses/numbers for judges across multiple districts?

They're in a thing called the Judicial Yellow Book - your career office should be able to give you access to this. If not, you'll probably just have to look at each court's website.


Anyone know if Columbia has this? I emailed Annie a couple weeks ago asking how to find phone numbers and she gave me a site that is difficult to navigate, and I think (not positive because, well, it's difficult to navigate) super incomplete. And not every court includes phone numbers on their website.

I think every court website is going to have some kind of contact number - if you call the main number, they can give you the numbers for the individual chambers. (Edited to add: it's probably easier to find contact numbers for district courts than COAs, sorry, I didn't think about that. But if you call the clerk of the court they should still be able to connect you to chambers.)

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Re: 2014-2015 Clerkship Application Thread - OP Updated 03/01/13

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:12 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Is there a free service that provides a compilation of addresses/numbers for judges across multiple districts?

They're in a thing called the Judicial Yellow Book - your career office should be able to give you access to this. If not, you'll probably just have to look at each court's website.


Anyone know if Columbia has this? I emailed Annie a couple weeks ago asking how to find phone numbers and she gave me a site that is difficult to navigate, and I think (not positive because, well, it's difficult to navigate) super incomplete. And not every court includes phone numbers on their website.

I think every court website is going to have some kind of contact number - if you call the main number, they can give you the numbers for the individual chambers. (Edited to add: it's probably easier to find contact numbers for district courts than COAs, sorry, I didn't think about that. But if you call the clerk of the court they should still be able to connect you to chambers.)


I was thinking of calling the main number and asking to be connected, but I'd prefer to avoid doing that 12 times in a row.

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Re: 2014-2015 Clerkship Application Thread - OP Updated 03/01/13

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:27 am

In the past few weeks I've sent out about 20 or so applications to different COA judges. I'm T6, LR, 5-10%.

I've heard that of those, two are done hiring recently. I will probably sent out 5-10 more before I start looking to Dist Cts.

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Re: 2014/2015 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:18 am

Anonymous User wrote:School range: T14
Rank: 1%
LR?: Y
Published?: Y
Recs: Three very strong recs from tenured professors who have clerked
2L/3L/Alum?: 3L
Where applying?: Mostly D.C. Cir. and some other feeders for now. Not expecting a feeder judge though, so if nothing happens in the next two or three weeks, I'll apply much more broadly to other circuit court judges.
Any other factors: Clerking for a district court judge in 2013-2014.


OP anon here. Got something lined up after all. :)

Everyone: if you don't have a great first application cycle, apply again the next year. Applying as a 3L with a district court clerkship helped me get attention from judges who might have overlooked me last year.

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Re: 2014/2015 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Flips88 » Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:36 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:School range: T14
Rank: 1%
LR?: Y
Published?: Y
Recs: Three very strong recs from tenured professors who have clerked
2L/3L/Alum?: 3L
Where applying?: Mostly D.C. Cir. and some other feeders for now. Not expecting a feeder judge though, so if nothing happens in the next two or three weeks, I'll apply much more broadly to other circuit court judges.
Any other factors: Clerking for a district court judge in 2013-2014.


OP anon here. Got something lined up after all. :)

Everyone: if you don't have a great first application cycle, apply again the next year. Applying as a 3L with a district court clerkship helped me get attention from judges who might have overlooked me last year.

So a not "great first application cycle" for you is only getting an Art. III district court clerkship?

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Re: 2014/2015 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:49 am

Flips88 wrote:So a not "great first application cycle" for you is only getting an Art. III district court clerkship?


It's all relative. I had certain expectations, based on prior placements from my school, about my clerkship chances. I didn't meet those expectations my first year of applying, but I did my second year.

That said, I never said I didn't have a great application cycle. I was merely offering an encouraging word to other readers, because I really think it is true that applications tend to go better as an off-plan Spring 3L than as an on-plan Fall 3L or an off-plan Spring 2L.

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Re: 2014/2015 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Flips88 wrote:So a not "great first application cycle" for you is only getting an Art. III district court clerkship?


It's all relative. I had certain expectations, based on prior placements from my school, about my clerkship chances. I didn't meet those expectations my first year of applying, but I did my second year.

That said, I never said I didn't have a great application cycle. I was merely offering an encouraging word to other readers, because I really think it is true that applications tend to go better as an off-plan Spring 3L than as an on-plan Fall 3L or an off-plan Spring 2L.


Should be noted that the plan only really is supposed to apply to 2Ls so it doesn't make sense to talk about an "offplan 3L" but god I hope the above is true.

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Re: 2014/2015 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:20 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Flips88 wrote:So a not "great first application cycle" for you is only getting an Art. III district court clerkship?


It's all relative. I had certain expectations, based on prior placements from my school, about my clerkship chances. I didn't meet those expectations my first year of applying, but I did my second year.

That said, I never said I didn't have a great application cycle. I was merely offering an encouraging word to other readers, because I really think it is true that applications tend to go better as an off-plan Spring 3L than as an on-plan Fall 3L or an off-plan Spring 2L.


Should be noted that the plan only really is supposed to apply to 2Ls so it doesn't make sense to talk about an "offplan 3L" but god I hope the above is true.


Right. I should have said "Spring 3L not bound by the plan."

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Re: 2014/2015 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:School range: T14
Rank: 1%
LR?: Y
Published?: Y
Recs: Three very strong recs from tenured professors who have clerked
2L/3L/Alum?: 3L
Where applying?: Mostly D.C. Cir. and some other feeders for now. Not expecting a feeder judge though, so if nothing happens in the next two or three weeks, I'll apply much more broadly to other circuit court judges.
Any other factors: Clerking for a district court judge in 2013-2014.


OP anon here. Got something lined up after all. :)

Everyone: if you don't have a great first application cycle, apply again the next year. Applying as a 3L with a district court clerkship helped me get attention from judges who might have overlooked me last year.



Congrats! Quick question though: why wouldn't you expect a feeder (though "expect" is probably too strong of a word)? It seems like Top 1% at a T14 with the other boxes checked (LR, published, etc) would make you a prime candidate. I'm hoping for a quasi feeder and am a couple of spots down from you in school and class rank. I have been told that is not unrealistic, though of course still difficult. Are they wrong?

I just noticed what you crossed out and assume that means you got a clerkship with a feeder. Do you mind sharing which block of feeders you locked down? i.e. Between Garland and Sutton, or between Sutton and Gorsuch or between Gorsuch and Pryor (or whatever).

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Re: 2014-2015 Clerkship Application Thread - OP Updated 03/01/13

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:39 pm

School range: UT
Rank: 1%
LR?: Y
Published?: Will find out in May
Recs: Three prof. recs. One is major prof. in an area of law somewhat unique to 5th circuit.
2L/3L/Alum?: 2L
Where applying?: Mostly 5th Circuit. Might throw a few apps at the 9th Circuit.
Any other factors: Public policy work experience prior to LS.

I sent out most of my apps a few weeks ago. Trying to decide how long I should wait on COA judges before moving on to district judges.




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