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

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

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:42 am

Quick question. I am 6 years out from undergrad. My law school numbers are great (GPA 3.90 and second in my class) but my undergrad GPA is not stellar (finished with a 3.3). I did a ton of extracurriculars and wrote an honors thesis but at the expense of my GPA. Then I worked for four years at a law firm doing legislative work before going back to school.

On OSCAR, many judges ask for your undergrad transcript. I feel like I was a different person back in undergrad and that my undergrad transcript is not reflective of who I am now. And I am afraid if I include it, it will color the judge's perspective of me and I will automatically get dismissed.

Any advice? Include it or not? Am I going to be fighting an uphill battle?

Thanks!

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

Postby Arbiter213 » Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:47 am

Anonymous User wrote:Quick question. I am 6 years out from undergrad. My law school numbers are great (GPA 3.90 and second in my class) but my undergrad GPA is not stellar (finished with a 3.3). I did a ton of extracurriculars and wrote an honors thesis but at the expense of my GPA. Then I worked for four years at a law firm doing legislative work before going back to school.

On OSCAR, many judges ask for your undergrad transcript. I feel like I was a different person back in undergrad and that my undergrad transcript is not reflective of who I am now. And I am afraid if I include it, it will color the judge's perspective of me and I will automatically get dismissed.

Any advice? Include it or not? Am I going to be fighting an uphill battle?

Thanks!


When a judge asks for something, you give it to them.

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

Postby theaccidentalclerk » Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:50 am

You're fine. There may be some judges who care about college grades, but they're few and far between. They (or their staff) just checked a box on the OSCAR interface because, hey, why not ask for UG transcripts.

But you should include it. They might not care about college grades, but they will notice if everyone else's OSCAR packet has a college transcript and yours doesn't. Some will then throw yours out for not following directions or get curious about what you are hiding and then start to care about your college grades.

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

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:52 am

Anonymous User wrote:Quick question. I am 6 years out from undergrad. My law school numbers are great (GPA 3.90 and second in my class) but my undergrad GPA is not stellar (finished with a 3.3). I did a ton of extracurriculars and wrote an honors thesis but at the expense of my GPA. Then I worked for four years at a law firm doing legislative work before going back to school.

On OSCAR, many judges ask for your undergrad transcript. I feel like I was a different person back in undergrad and that my undergrad transcript is not reflective of who I am now. And I am afraid if I include it, it will color the judge's perspective of me and I will automatically get dismissed.

Any advice? Include it or not? Am I going to be fighting an uphill battle?

Thanks!

This came up somewhere already. IIRC, the consensus was that if a judge asks for it and you don't include it, you look like you can't follow directions/your application is incomplete and you probably won't get any further. If they ask and you include it, you don't know that it will sink you. They may ask for it for a variety of reasons (maybe because the option is there & they don't really look at it, maybe they're curious about what classes you took, maybe it's purely for tiebreaking purposes - who knows?), and may not actually really care what your UG GPA was (and 3.3 isn't great, but it's not abysmal, especially with honors in your major). If they do ask because they do care about your UG and they do want only applicants with GPAs above a certain number, well, you were unlikely to get a clerkship with that judge anyway. So just include it, and don't worry too much.

(Also, I think the majority don't ask.)

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

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:55 am

Thanks everyone!

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

Postby TatteredDignity » Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:17 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
(Also, I think the majority don't ask.)


As a huge splitter who dies a little inside every time I have to include my UG transcript, I can tell you that more than half ask.
Last edited by TatteredDignity on Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:39 pm

TatteredDignity wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
(Also, I think the majority don't ask.)


As a huge splitter who does a little inside every time I have to include my UG transcript, I can tell you that more than half ask.

I guess maybe it varies by where you're applying? It certainly wasn't the majority for me. But, sorry to hear that!

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

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Quick question. I am 6 years out from undergrad. My law school numbers are great (GPA 3.90 and second in my class) but my undergrad GPA is not stellar (finished with a 3.3). I did a ton of extracurriculars and wrote an honors thesis but at the expense of my GPA. Then I worked for four years at a law firm doing legislative work before going back to school.

On OSCAR, many judges ask for your undergrad transcript. I feel like I was a different person back in undergrad and that my undergrad transcript is not reflective of who I am now. And I am afraid if I include it, it will color the judge's perspective of me and I will automatically get dismissed.

Any advice? Include it or not? Am I going to be fighting an uphill battle?

Thanks!


Even if they do ask, I really don't think that would hurt you much. I got a periodic feeder COA judge with a slightly lower undergrad GPA. I think if anything, it shows that you really hit your stride in law school.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:46 pm

On a related note:

My UGPA is in the 2.0-3.0 range. My CSO recommends that everyone put their UGPA no matter what because omitting it makes it look like you're trying to hide something which they reason is worse than seeing a terrible UGPA. If I have to include my undergrad transcript then it's a moot point but does anybody have thoughts on the advice from my CSO for judges that don't ask for undergrad transcripts?

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

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:51 pm

One quick follow up: I don't have my undergrad transcript in hand yet. I ordered it several weeks ago from my school (they STILL dont have a way to get an unofficial electronic transcript) and it has yet to arrive, and I don't have a copy on file. It should be here by the latest in the next two weeks. But I was hoping to get the rest of my apps out this week. Should I wait for it to get here, or send the apps without it and include a line in my cover letter, stating it will arrive under separate cover? Thanks!

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

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:On a related note:

My UGPA is in the 2.0-3.0 range. My CSO recommends that everyone put their UGPA no matter what because omitting it makes it look like you're trying to hide something which they reason is worse than seeing a terrible UGPA. If I have to include my undergrad transcript then it's a moot point but does anybody have thoughts on the advice from my CSO for judges that don't ask for undergrad transcripts?


I don't think either UG or law school GPA is necessary on a resume.

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

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:On a related note:

My UGPA is in the 2.0-3.0 range. My CSO recommends that everyone put their UGPA no matter what because omitting it makes it look like you're trying to hide something which they reason is worse than seeing a terrible UGPA. If I have to include my undergrad transcript then it's a moot point but does anybody have thoughts on the advice from my CSO for judges that don't ask for undergrad transcripts?


I don't think either UG or law school GPA is necessary on a resume.

I disagree about LS GPA (at least for a clerkship application; in other contexts, it may not be necessary) but I have literally never seen an UGPA listed on a resume.

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

Postby jrf12886 » Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:One quick follow up: I don't have my undergrad transcript in hand yet. I ordered it several weeks ago from my school (they STILL dont have a way to get an unofficial electronic transcript) and it has yet to arrive, and I don't have a copy on file. It should be here by the latest in the next two weeks. But I was hoping to get the rest of my apps out this week. Should I wait for it to get here, or send the apps without it and include a line in my cover letter, stating it will arrive under separate cover? Thanks!


I do not list my college GPA on my resume (3.4). I do not include college grade sheet unless the judge asks for it. I do put my law school GPA on my resume.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:58 pm

I know Judge Pryor has extended at least one interview offer for the 2015-2016 term.

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

Postby TatteredDignity » Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I know Judge Pryor has extended at least one interview offer for the 2015-2016 term.


Good golly.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:04 am

What are people's thoughts on submitting a writing sample to a Judge when that writing sample criticizes one of her recent high profile opinions? If it softens it at all, it's criticizing it from the perspective of someone who liked the result but fears that the rationale was stretched too far and could lead to a useful principle being rolled back above.

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

Postby Haymarket » Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:30 am

Anonymous User wrote:What are people's thoughts on submitting a writing sample to a Judge when that writing sample criticizes one of her recent high profile opinions? If it softens it at all, it's criticizing it from the perspective of someone who liked the result but fears that the rationale was stretched too far and could lead to a useful principle being rolled back above.

Jesus. No.

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

Postby theaccidentalclerk » Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:34 am

What are people's thoughts on submitting a writing sample to a Judge when that writing sample criticizes one of her recent high profile opinions? If it softens it at all, it's criticizing it from the perspective of someone who liked the result but fears that the rationale was stretched too far and could lead to a useful principle being rolled back above.


I think this depends on how confident you feel about your chances with the judge with a different writing sample. It's a high risk/high reward proposition. The best way to demonstrate this is to imagine two hypotheticals.

Judge A: She hires clerks from your (HYS) school every year, your grades are significantly above previous clerks', one of your recommenders clerked for her and will make a call, etc. In this case, I'd probably use a different writing sample. You don't need the critical one to get noticed, so there's really only downside here.

Judge B: She hasn't hired anyone from your (lower T14) school in several years, you have good-but-not-great grades, you're not e-board, you don't have any connections to her. In this case, your app is probably going to get lost in the OSCAR shuffle, so I'd probably use the critical writing sample (and make sure to mention it in your cover letter). What you're trying to do here is just get your app noticed.

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

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:42 am

Haymarket wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What are people's thoughts on submitting a writing sample to a Judge when that writing sample criticizes one of her recent high profile opinions? If it softens it at all, it's criticizing it from the perspective of someone who liked the result but fears that the rationale was stretched too far and could lead to a useful principle being rolled back above.

Jesus. No.

Yeah, I wouldn't do this. That's not to say it's necessarily a bad idea in all circumstances (see accidentalclerk's response), but I personally wouldn't be comfortable trying to pull it off.

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

Postby Tangerine Gleam » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:00 am

Seems very risky to me. Even if the judge doesn't care that you disagree with her on the law, I think there's another risk at play -- the risk that you will simply come off as presumptuous or too aggressive. The judge might like push-back from her clerks in chambers, but she may question your judgment in choosing to submit a criticism of one of her opinions as a writing sample. Or she may wonder if you're going to put up too much of a fight on future cases as a clerk.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:05 am

Great, thanks. I thought as much. It's just that this is my most polished piece by far so Id have liked to use it. But I get it.

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

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:10 am

Tangerine Gleam wrote:Seems very risky to me. Even if the judge doesn't care that you disagree with her on the law, I think there's another risk at play -- the risk that you will simply come off as presumptuous or too aggressive. The judge might like push-back from her clerks in chambers, but she may question your judgment in choosing to submit a criticism of one of her opinions as a writing sample. Or she may wonder if you're going to put up too much of a fight on future cases as a clerk.

The irony in this is that every judge I've heard talk about this has talked about how important it is that a clerk be willing/able to push back on something when they disagree. But I agree about the context here. The thing is that some judges might think it's great, but the ones that don't will probably really not like it.

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

Postby theaccidentalclerk » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:32 am

Great, thanks. I thought as much. It's just that this is my most polished piece by far so Id have liked to use it. But I get it.


I still stand by advice. If you think that it's likely that your app will get lost in the hundreds that the judge received, I still think that it's a good way to get your app noticed. And it's likely that your app will get lost unless you have someone with a connection to the judge make calls, or your stats are just clearly superior to most other applicants (and in this market, for your run-of-the-mill district court judge, that probably means T14 with very good grades).

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

Postby DreamingInDigital » Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:47 pm

The district court judge I clerked for asked for undergraduate grades. I can tell you that neither the judge nor the judge's clerks cared about a candidate's undergraduate GPA (by contrast, law school grades mattered greatly to the judge). The judge would occasionally look at a candidate's transcript to find out whether the candidate had taken any interesting classes as an undergraduate. It was a conversation-starter for the judge and nothing more.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:54 pm

DreamingInDigital wrote:The district court judge I clerked for asked for undergraduate grades. I can tell you that neither the judge nor the judge's clerks cared about a candidate's undergraduate GPA (by contrast, law school grades mattered greatly to the judge). The judge would occasionally look at a candidate's transcript to find out whether the candidate had taken any interesting classes as an undergraduate. It was a conversation-starter for the judge and nothing more.

Did most of the apps you reviewed have UGPAs listed on their resume or did they just send the transcript?




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