I have an interview coming up with a COA judge in what is the epitome of a flyover location. It's the first interview I've been given, but I haven't sent out many apps yet, either (I'm a little behind).
I don't know how the judge operates, but if I'm lucky enough to receive an offer very soon after I interview, I want to be able to accept it without reservation. The thing is, I have a few judges on my list who are in more desirable locations (both objectively and for personal reasons), and I want to make sure I'm not missing out on better opportunities just because I'm in a rush to land something -- anything.
To provide a little more context, I'm from a flyover part of the country myself, and I probably eventually want to settle down there to start a family. But before I do that, I'd like to take a shot at some kind of complex litigation/appellate practice in CHI/DC/etc., whether with a big firm's appellate group or a boutique. As far as I can tell, that kind of work doesn't really exist in the medium-sized city I'm from.
I go to a school a little outside the T14, but I'm at the top of the class. I don't think feeder judges are in play, both because it's too late and because we've never really sent anyone to the most competitive judges.
So, to crystallize that rambling into a few questions:
1) Once you get past the "prestigious" feeder-like judges, is everything sort of interchangeable? I.e., will I have similar career opportunities clerking for a random judge in a flyover location than clerking for a non-feeder judge in a more desirable location?
2) Assuming that non-feeder clerkships are fungible, would it be better to wait on the 2 or 3 judges who are much closer to my eventual geographic landing spot? My thinking is that this would better connect me to that part of the country, but I could see this mattering more for a district court position (where you actually interact with the attorneys).
Basically, If I were ranking COA positions, this would be toward the bottom. But it seems foolish to pass up ANY COA position, because you never know if something else will come along. I'd appreciate any advice/perspective on this. Thanks!
Edit: I'm feeling a little paranoid for some reason (thus the vagueness above)... if you would mind not quoting but just referring to this post as "flyover guy" or something, I'd appreciate it.