Should I apply to clerk?

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Should I apply to clerk?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:35 pm

Credentials: Lower T-14 top 30%ish after 3 semesters. On a secondary journal w/ note published. GPA is a mix of high and median grades with the high ones coming in the classes judges would care about most (as told to me by the clerkship advisor). Interned for the state attorney's office in the state/district I am looking to clerk in, art. III judicial internship in district I want to clerk in (11th Cir.), an IP firm one summer. Undergrad instate, B.S. w/ honors, but mediocre GPA. SA at a v50ish firm this coming summer in the same area doing lit.

Was told by career services that I stand a chance at getting something GPA wise, but I'm at the very low end of what will fly for Art. III. Honestly, I enjoyed the work this past summer, but don't really think that clerking would be more fulfilling than practicing so I would be doing it mostly for the whatever boost it may give my career. Clerking doesn't seem to be a big deal for advancement in the private sector in my market. I have some interest in potentially working as an AUSA, but that doesn't weigh that heavily for me considering that is a long shot anyways (small office in my market), not completely ruled out by not clerking, and would be after at least a decent stretch in private practice (after which I could still try to clerk). If I apply it will only be to art. III judges in my home state (where I'll be working). Factoring my odds (probably low) and my career aspirations, does it make sense to bust my ass again (I feel like OCI just ended) to go through an optional, time consuming, and likely fruitless job search?
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ph14
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Re: Should I apply to clerk?

Postby ph14 » Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Credentials: Lower T-14 top 30%ish after 3 semesters. On a secondary journal w/ note published. GPA is a mix of high and median grades with the high ones coming in the classes judges would care about most (as told to me by the clerkship advisor). Interned for the state attorney's office in the state/district I am looking to clerk in, art. III judicial internship in district I want to clerk in (11th Cir.), an IP firm one summer. Undergrad instate, B.S. w/ honors, but mediocre GPA. SA at a v50ish firm this coming summer in the same area doing lit.

Was told by career services that I stand a chance at getting something GPA wise, but I'm at the very low end of what will fly for Art. III. Honestly, I enjoyed the work this past summer, but don't really think that clerking would be more fulfilling than practicing so I would be doing it mostly for the whatever boost it may give my career. Clerking doesn't seem to be a big deal for advancement in the private sector in my market. I have some interest in potentially working as an AUSA, but that doesn't weigh that heavily for me considering that is a long shot anyways (small office in my market), not completely ruled out by not clerking, and would be after at least a decent stretch in private practice (after which I could still try to clerk). If I apply it will only be to art. III judges in my home state (where I'll be working). Factoring my odds (probably low) and my career aspirations, does it make sense to bust my ass again (I feel like OCI just ended) to go through an optional job search?


Sounds like you aren't that interested in it. It's probably not worth the effort/hassle/loss in money then, if you are this uninterested in it now. Not everyone has to clerk. Don't be pressured into doing it.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Should I apply to clerk?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:44 pm

Like you said, you could always try later, after working a few years - candidates are usually more competitive if applying as alums. So it's not like you're ruling anything out permanently, either.

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Re: Should I apply to clerk?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:53 pm

Clerking doesn't seem to be a big deal for advancement in the private sector in my market.
I find it hard to believe that clerking will not help you if you want to do private practice litigation. I don't know what market you're talking about, but I'm clerking in the circuit you named and I would be surprised if there are many markets around here where clerking will not help you. Sure it may not be a prerequisite, but it will help, and that's pretty much the way it is everywhere. The fact that you may want to become an AUSA down the road makes the case for clerking even stronger.

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Re: Should I apply to clerk?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Clerking doesn't seem to be a big deal for advancement in the private sector in my market.
I find it hard to believe that clerking will not help you if you want to do private practice litigation. I don't know what market you're talking about, but I'm clerking in the circuit you named and I would be surprised if there are many markets around here where clerking will not help you. Sure it may not be a prerequisite, but it will help, and that's pretty much the way it is everywhere. The fact that you may want to become an AUSA down the road makes the case for clerking even stronger.


OP here. Didn't say it wouldn't help. That's definitely not the case. I looked at the partners at my firm (and associates) and those at other Biglaw firms in the area and noticed that very few had clerked. Clearly I am making an inference that may be incorrect. As for the ASU, that is something I would like to keep open, but not necessarily something I am set on. If I knew for sure I eventually wanted that, it might shift my thinking. Also like I said, the AUSA office by me is relatively small.

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Re: Should I apply to clerk?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Clerking doesn't seem to be a big deal for advancement in the private sector in my market.
I find it hard to believe that clerking will not help you if you want to do private practice litigation. I don't know what market you're talking about, but I'm clerking in the circuit you named and I would be surprised if there are many markets around here where clerking will not help you. Sure it may not be a prerequisite, but it will help, and that's pretty much the way it is everywhere. The fact that you may want to become an AUSA down the road makes the case for clerking even stronger.


OP here. Didn't say it wouldn't help. That's definitely not the case. I looked at the partners at my firm (and associates) and those at other Biglaw firms in the area and noticed that very few had clerked. Clearly I am making an inference that may be incorrect. As for the ASU, that is something I would like to keep open, but not necessarily something I am set on. If I knew for sure I eventually wanted that, it might shift my thinking. Also like I said, the AUSA office by me is relatively small.

I presume very few graduated #1 in their class, but if you had the opportunity to do that, you would, wouldn't you? Clerking is a no-brainer "plus" on your resume. Just because others don't have it doesn't mean its not a good thing to have.

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ph14
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Re: Should I apply to clerk?

Postby ph14 » Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Clerking doesn't seem to be a big deal for advancement in the private sector in my market.
I find it hard to believe that clerking will not help you if you want to do private practice litigation. I don't know what market you're talking about, but I'm clerking in the circuit you named and I would be surprised if there are many markets around here where clerking will not help you. Sure it may not be a prerequisite, but it will help, and that's pretty much the way it is everywhere. The fact that you may want to become an AUSA down the road makes the case for clerking even stronger.


OP here. Didn't say it wouldn't help. That's definitely not the case. I looked at the partners at my firm (and associates) and those at other Biglaw firms in the area and noticed that very few had clerked. Clearly I am making an inference that may be incorrect. As for the ASU, that is something I would like to keep open, but not necessarily something I am set on. If I knew for sure I eventually wanted that, it might shift my thinking. Also like I said, the AUSA office by me is relatively small.

I presume very few graduated #1 in their class, but if you had the opportunity to do that, you would, wouldn't you? Clerking is a no-brainer "plus" on your resume. Just because others don't have it doesn't mean its not a good thing to have.


What? It's a year of your life, tens of thousands of dollars in foregone earnings, opportunity cost of taking a job, up-front costs in finding recommenders, getting letters of rec, preparing applications, mailing them out, getting interviews, etc.

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Re: Should I apply to clerk?

Postby imchuckbass58 » Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Honestly, I enjoyed the work this past summer, but don't really think that clerking would be more fulfilling than practicing so I would be doing it mostly for the whatever boost it may give my career.


Don't clerk, for this reason.

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Re: Should I apply to clerk?

Postby ClerkAdvisor » Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:18 am

imchuckbass58 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Honestly, I enjoyed the work this past summer, but don't really think that clerking would be more fulfilling than practicing so I would be doing it mostly for the whatever boost it may give my career.


Don't clerk, for this reason.


^this. You can always apply as an alum if you change your mind. My only additional suggestion would be to call up some former alums who clerked in your target market to see if they have any different perspective to give you. It never hurts to get some better information about the value of clerking in your target market.

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Re: Should I apply to clerk?

Postby theaccidentalclerk » Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:04 am

Just to be the slightest bit contrarian, in some of the secondary markets outside of NYC/DC/Chicago/LA/SF/Boston -- maybe most of them -- the reason that you don't see a lot of federal clerk alums in litigation groups isn't because a federal clerkship isn't valued. It's because those markets draw heavily from the local/regional schools, and only the very top students at those schools can get a federal clerkship. How those firms see a federal clerkship will run the gamut from "s/he's a superstar who did something I couldn't even hope to do" to "what an insufferable snob."

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Re: Should I apply to clerk?

Postby clerker » Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:20 am

It can't hurt to raise your grades as much as possible. You never know what you're going to want to do in the future, and if you do decide that you want to clerk, having top grades will get you noticed. Like the other poster said, you're not ruling anything out by skipping out on applying now. But make sure you preserve your options.

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Re: Should I apply to clerk?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:01 pm

ph14 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I find it hard to believe that clerking will not help you if you want to do private practice litigation. I don't know what market you're talking about, but I'm clerking in the circuit you named and I would be surprised if there are many markets around here where clerking will not help you. Sure it may not be a prerequisite, but it will help, and that's pretty much the way it is everywhere. The fact that you may want to become an AUSA down the road makes the case for clerking even stronger.


OP here. Didn't say it wouldn't help. That's definitely not the case. I looked at the partners at my firm (and associates) and those at other Biglaw firms in the area and noticed that very few had clerked. Clearly I am making an inference that may be incorrect. As for the ASU, that is something I would like to keep open, but not necessarily something I am set on. If I knew for sure I eventually wanted that, it might shift my thinking. Also like I said, the AUSA office by me is relatively small.

I presume very few graduated #1 in their class, but if you had the opportunity to do that, you would, wouldn't you? Clerking is a no-brainer "plus" on your resume. Just because others don't have it doesn't mean its not a good thing to have.


What? It's a year of your life, tens of thousands of dollars in foregone earnings, opportunity cost of taking a job, up-front costs in finding recommenders, getting letters of rec, preparing applications, mailing them out, getting interviews, etc.

I didn't say there weren't downsides. There are. I don't think they outweigh the career advantages of clerking, but they exist. (As an aside: in my opinion, nothing on the list you just made is of any consequence except for the opportunity cost. Finding recommenders? Mailing applications? Come on.)

My point was that looking at firm bios and seeing few clerks doesn't mean that clerking would not be a boost to one's career. I drew an analogy: just because you don't see many firm bios that say #1 in class or magna cum laude doesn't mean those things wouldn't be a boost to one's career. It means those things are hard to come by. Without some positive evidence that clerking is frowned upon or otherwise devalued in OP's market (which I think is highly unlikely), I think his method for determining whether clerking would help his career is deeply flawed.

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ph14
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Re: Should I apply to clerk?

Postby ph14 » Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
ph14 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
OP here. Didn't say it wouldn't help. That's definitely not the case. I looked at the partners at my firm (and associates) and those at other Biglaw firms in the area and noticed that very few had clerked. Clearly I am making an inference that may be incorrect. As for the ASU, that is something I would like to keep open, but not necessarily something I am set on. If I knew for sure I eventually wanted that, it might shift my thinking. Also like I said, the AUSA office by me is relatively small.

I presume very few graduated #1 in their class, but if you had the opportunity to do that, you would, wouldn't you? Clerking is a no-brainer "plus" on your resume. Just because others don't have it doesn't mean its not a good thing to have.


What? It's a year of your life, tens of thousands of dollars in foregone earnings, opportunity cost of taking a job, up-front costs in finding recommenders, getting letters of rec, preparing applications, mailing them out, getting interviews, etc.


I didn't say there weren't downsides. There are. I don't think they outweigh the career advantages of clerking, but they exist. (As an aside: in my opinion, nothing on the list you just made is of any consequence except for the opportunity cost. Finding recommenders? Mailing applications? Come on.)

My point was that looking at firm bios and seeing few clerks doesn't mean that clerking would not be a boost to one's career. I drew an analogy: just because you don't see many firm bios that say #1 in class or magna cum laude doesn't mean those things wouldn't be a boost to one's career. It means those things are hard to come by. Without some positive evidence that clerking is frowned upon or otherwise devalued in OP's market (which I think is highly unlikely), I think his method for determining whether clerking would help his career is deeply flawed.


So it is not a "no-brainer" then.
Last edited by ph14 on Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Should I apply to clerk?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:38 pm

^In my opinion it is. I'm not sure if you're being obtuse by ignoring everything in my comment but the first ~10 words, and I'm not going to argue about the definition of a "no-brainer." But IMO/IME, for 99% of law students interested in litigation, especially those who might want an AUSA/fed gov job down the line, clerking is an easy decision. The $XX,XXX pay cut for a year is a drop in the bucket over the course of one's lifetime. The other "costs" you named are inconsequential, and the career benefits are innumerable. OP seems to think that doesn't apply in his market. My point is that I'm highly skeptical of that assertion, and his method of determining it (reading firm bios) is a poor one.

Of course, as others have said, if you don't think you'd like clerking, well, that may change the calculus. (I am not sure that OP really knows -- I have yet to meet a current or former clerk who wished they hadn't clerked.)




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