jrsbaseball5 wrote:Without getting too specific for your own sake, what was the most interesting or exciting thing about your work?
The most interesting aspect of my job was that I was able to see a ton of different types of cases. For example, I'd had no exposure to civil rights litigation in law school or at my firm, but I saw tons of these cases as a clerk. And during my entire clerkship, I worked on employment, securities, class actions, breach of contract, and tons of other different types of cases. As an attorney you will have the rest of your career to specialize, but in the beginning, it helps to see different types of cases so you have some idea of what else is out there.
I think law students at top schools benefit the most from this. If you read the forums, you will see the same law firms again and again. When people ask about exit options, the answer is usually "go AUSA or a small firm." But beyond that, nobody can provide specifics. As a clerk, you can see all the different types of practices out there. And you get a very good sense of which firms and attorneys are respected by the judges and clerks, and which ones are not.
The other interesting aspect of clerking that doesn't get discussed very much (although I did see one poster mention this) is that you learn more about yourself than you would as a practitioner. As a law clerk you have some influence (not a ton, but it's not insignificant) with the judge. My judge liked to ask me at the beginning of our opinion meetings, "So, what do you think?" Although he didn't always go with my recommendation, there were times when he was on the fence and I brought a perspective he didn't see exactly.
With this kind of freedom and influence, you quickly see patterns with how you recommend results. Most of the time, there is no clear cut right or wrong legal answer (or, both results are legally defensible). When that happens, how you weigh the factors and what you recommend to the judge tells you a lot about what kind of lawyer you will be. For example, I found myself frequently siding with the little guy when they went up against a formidable defendant. That's been incredibly informative to me about what type of attorney I want to be in the future, and who I want to represent.