D.C. Circuit - Off Plan Judges?

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Re: D.C. Circuit - Off Plan Judges?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thank you for the response. Yes, that's the gist of my question.

Now that judges are increasingly moving off plan, I realize that I have a small amount of time to get to a good enough position with enough professors (i.e. take a class and/or RA) that would elicit a solid recommendation and/or a phone call (unless I apply as an alum). I've thought of cold emailing alums, but that feels a bit unseemly to me since it's such a naked proposition. It's just such an opaque situation aside from the 5-6 obvious faculty names that I'm not really sure how to navigate the process.

It depends how you do it. If you send an email that says, "Dear Alum, I'm interested in clerking for your judge and was wondering who your recommenders were," then yes, it's a pretty naked proposition. (I know that's a caricature, just bear with it for the sake of illustration.) But if you instead send an email that says, "Dear Alum, I'm potentially interested in clerking for Judge X and would be grateful if you could tell me more about your experience clerking for him/her," then any non-dick current/former clerk is at least going to chat with you. During that conversation you can try to ask about the role that recommendations play in the hiring process. As long as your questions are reasonably open-ended, you're not going to offend the alum and will perhaps get really useful information. True, you may just get vague platitudes or obvious advice ("Judge X really likes recommendations from professors who know you well."), but that's not much of a downside.

I understand your trepidation, but have you every been on the other side of such a situation? I.e., had someone come to you for advice because of your inside knowledge? Unless they're particularly toolish or rude, it's fun and flattering to be the expert. I think most alums are happy help those who respectfully seek that help.

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Re: D.C. Circuit - Off Plan Judges?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Thank you for the response. Yes, that's the gist of my question.

Now that judges are increasingly moving off plan, I realize that I have a small amount of time to get to a good enough position with enough professors (i.e. take a class and/or RA) that would elicit a solid recommendation and/or a phone call (unless I apply as an alum). I've thought of cold emailing alums, but that feels a bit unseemly to me since it's such a naked proposition. It's just such an opaque situation aside from the 5-6 obvious faculty names that I'm not really sure how to navigate the process.

It depends how you do it. If you send an email that says, "Dear Alum, I'm interested in clerking for your judge and was wondering who your recommenders were," then yes, it's a pretty naked proposition. (I know that's a caricature, just bear with it for the sake of illustration.) But if you instead send an email that says, "Dear Alum, I'm potentially interested in clerking for Judge X and would be grateful if you could tell me more about your experience clerking for him/her," then any non-dick current/former clerk is at least going to chat with you. During that conversation you can try to ask about the role that recommendations play in the hiring process. As long as your questions are reasonably open-ended, you're not going to offend the alum and will perhaps get really useful information. True, you may just get vague platitudes or obvious advice ("Judge X really likes recommendations from professors who know you well."), but that's not much of a downside.

I understand your trepidation, but have you every been on the other side of such a situation? I.e., had someone come to you for advice because of your inside knowledge? Unless they're particularly toolish or rude, it's fun and flattering to be the expert. I think most alums are happy help those who respectfully seek that help.


You're a great and helpful poster. Thank you.

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Re: D.C. Circuit - Off Plan Judges?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:40 pm

From DC Cir website

Notice Regarding Law Clerk Hiring By D.C. Circuit Judges for the 2014-2015 Term

Although the judges of this circuit would uniformly prefer to continue hiring law clerks pursuant to the Federal Law Clerk Hiring Plan, it has become apparent that the plan is no longer working. Because participation in the plan is voluntary, a significant percentage of all United States circuit judges must agree to follow it if it is to work appropriately. During the past few years, a significant and increasing number of circuit judges around the country have hired in advance of the plan’s interview and offer dates, and it is likely that they will continue to do so. As a result, continued adherence to the plan is no longer fair and equitable to either students or judges.

We stand ready to work with the judges of the other circuits to develop an appropriate successor to the current plan. In the meantime, however, the judges of this circuit will hire law clerks at such times as each individual judge determines to be appropriate. We have agreed that none of us will give “exploding offers,” that is, offers that expire if not accepted immediately. Rather, when a judge of this circuit gives a candidate an offer, the candidate will have a reasonable time to consider the offer and interview with other judges before accepting or declining. Additional practices applicable to individual judges may be found on the judges’ OSCAR pages.

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Re: D.C. Circuit - Off Plan Judges?

Postby Tangerine Gleam » Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:51 pm

I think that was posted on Page 1 yesterday.

Either way, pretty funny that the D.C. Cir. decides to do this on the same day this thread was created. Clearly Sentelle is a big TLS reader -- glad we made such an impression.

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Re: D.C. Circuit - Off Plan Judges?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:It depends how you do it. If you send an email that says, "Dear Alum, I'm interested in clerking for your judge and was wondering who your recommenders were," then yes, it's a pretty naked proposition. (I know that's a caricature, just bear with it for the sake of illustration.) But if you instead send an email that says, "Dear Alum, I'm potentially interested in clerking for Judge X and would be grateful if you could tell me more about your experience clerking for him/her," then any non-dick current/former clerk is at least going to chat with you. During that conversation you can try to ask about the role that recommendations play in the hiring process. As long as your questions are reasonably open-ended, you're not going to offend the alum and will perhaps get really useful information. True, you may just get vague platitudes or obvious advice ("Judge X really likes recommendations from professors who know you well."), but that's not much of a downside.

I understand your trepidation, but have you every been on the other side of such a situation? I.e., had someone come to you for advice because of your inside knowledge? Unless they're particularly toolish or rude, it's fun and flattering to be the expert. I think most alums are happy help those who respectfully seek that help.

Thank you for this.

When do you think it would be an ideal time to reach out to the alums? If you do it too early, then it probably seems too far fetched, but if you do it too late then you won't have time to re-adjust your strategy with professors. Considering the break down of the plan and how early some judges start interviewing (Fall/Winter of 2L), it seems like the summer after 1L year is now ideal (or might even be too late since you only have one more semester of interactions). Thoughts?

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Re: D.C. Circuit - Off Plan Judges?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thank you for this.

When do you think it would be an ideal time to reach out to the alums? If you do it too early, then it probably seems too far fetched, but if you do it too late then you won't have time to re-adjust your strategy with professors. Considering the break down of the plan and how early some judges start interviewing (Fall/Winter of 2L), it seems like the summer after 1L year is now ideal (or might even be too late since you only have one more semester of interactions). Thoughts?

It's a little hard to say, because it's not clear to me how early judges will hire in the absence of the plan. Remember that, in a way, judges would prefer to hire later in the process: the later they can hire, the greater the sample size of a given applicant's grades, the less danger of hiring someone whose awesome 1L grades were just a fluke. So I would guess a lot of judges will still wait until at least after 2L fall grades. If that's correct, then right about now seems like a reasonable time to start talking to alums. But remember to do your basic research before reaching out. Some judges (e.g., a number on the D.D.C.) basically only hire people who will have had a year of post-LS experience by the time they begin clerking. Probably can wait longer before reaching out to alums of such a judge. But if you're just dying to clerk (16 hours per day) for Kozinski, then you do probably need to reach out during the summer after 1L.

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Re: D.C. Circuit - Off Plan Judges?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:49 am

A little off topic, but not big enough to start a new thread.

JRB's Oscar posting came up a few days ago. She has this weird language in it about welcoming apps from people who didn't take the traditional academic route or somesuch. I'm curious -- does she mean it? Or is it just fluff, and she hires the same top 5 students at a T14 (maybe top 10 from Harvard) that everyone else in the DC Circuit does.

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Re: D.C. Circuit - Off Plan Judges?

Postby Citizen Genet » Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:A little off topic, but not big enough to start a new thread.

JRB's Oscar posting came up a few days ago. She has this weird language in it about welcoming apps from people who didn't take the traditional academic route or somesuch. I'm curious -- does she mean it? Or is it just fluff, and she hires the same top 5 students at a T14 (maybe top 10 from Harvard) that everyone else in the DC Circuit does.



She has hired below the Top 14 in the past (I'm positive she's hired from American and GMU, I feel like she may have hired a Vandy or Texas student once.) My guess though is that you still need to have a great connection or something incredibly interesting (helped develop property rights in a burgeoning democracy....) to set you apart as a blind applicant. That being said, it's like what, $1.30 to mail in an application? I say go for it.

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Re: D.C. Circuit - Off Plan Judges?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:59 pm

Anyone have David Sentelle's mailing address? He isn't on the judicial yellow book.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: D.C. Circuit - Off Plan Judges?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:12 am

Wouldn't you just send it to the DC Cir. courthouse?

(Unless you mean e-mail, in which case, excuse RC fail.)

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Re: D.C. Circuit - Off Plan Judges?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:17 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Wouldn't you just send it to the DC Cir. courthouse?

(Unless you mean e-mail, in which case, excuse RC fail.)


Yeah okay. Some of the D.C. Cir. judges has room numbers and some had varying information.

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Re: D.C. Circuit - Off Plan Judges?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:18 am

Anonymous User wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Wouldn't you just send it to the DC Cir. courthouse?

(Unless you mean e-mail, in which case, excuse RC fail.)


Yeah okay. Some of the D.C. Cir. judges has room numbers and some had varying information.

I don't think room numbers matter (unless you're actually visiting the judge) - if it gets to the courthouse, the judge will get it. (Unless there's something unusual about Sentelle I don't know, which is totally possible.)

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Re: D.C. Circuit - Off Plan Judges?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:16 pm

I'm a 2L at a T30 with no real idea of what I'm supposed to be doing, so any advice is greatly appreciated. General disclaimer: I am fully aware that I don't stand a chance. My question is this: should I be applying by paper to all of the DC Cir. judges right now? Can I apply to senior judges, too? Or should I wait to see if they update oscar with specific instructions, as some have done?




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