Let's Talk Bankruptcy

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Let's Talk Bankruptcy

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:01 pm

I noticed that there was no thread in relation to this and I am particularly interested in working for a bankruptcy judge.
I would appreciate any advice in relation to...

1) Which districts are worth it and which not? Obviously DE and SDNY are good places to be at, Boston I have been told is horrible cause you are too close to SDNY and companies just go to SDNY. Any other places that are respected and if so how much.

2) How competitive one needs to be? How do you get to clerk for them? If someone can clarify on the basis of district, it would also be appreciated.

3) Opportunities after the end of the clerkship? I guess this ties to question 1.

Feel welcome to ask further questions....

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Re: Let's Talk Bankruptcy

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I noticed that there was no thread in relation to this and I am particularly interested in working for a bankruptcy judge.
I would appreciate any advice in relation to...

1) Which districts are worth it and which not? Obviously DE and SDNY are good places to be at, Boston I have been told is horrible cause you are too close to SDNY and companies just go to SDNY. Any other places that are respected and if so how much.

2) How competitive one needs to be? How do you get to clerk for them? If someone can clarify on the basis of district, it would also be appreciated.

3) Opportunities after the end of the clerkship? I guess this ties to question 1.

Feel welcome to ask further questions....


1. Besides Delaware and SDNY, ND Illinois, Northern and Southern Texas, and Central California are decent. Lots of good data on bankruptcy filings here: http://lopucki.law.ucla.edu/bankruptcy_research.asp.

2. Demonstrated interest in bankruptcy is key. That means taking bankruptcy in law school, working for a firm's bankruptcy department, being a research assistant for a bankruptcy professor, Duberstein competition, journal article on bankruptcy, etc. Grades are obviously important but can get a bankruptcy clerkship in non-Delaware/SDNY courts if top 1/3 in top 25 law school.

3. Opportunities will usually be local and may include a midsized firm (possibly large law firm in bigger cities) that does bankruptcy or working for the government, such as for the AG in their bankruptcy department.

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Re: Let's Talk Bankruptcy

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I noticed that there was no thread in relation to this and I am particularly interested in working for a bankruptcy judge.
I would appreciate any advice in relation to...

1) Which districts are worth it and which not? Obviously DE and SDNY are good places to be at, Boston I have been told is horrible cause you are too close to SDNY and companies just go to SDNY. Any other places that are respected and if so how much.

2) How competitive one needs to be? How do you get to clerk for them? If someone can clarify on the basis of district, it would also be appreciated.

3) Opportunities after the end of the clerkship? I guess this ties to question 1.

Feel welcome to ask further questions....


1. Besides Delaware and SDNY, ND Illinois, Northern and Southern Texas, and Central California are decent. Lots of good data on bankruptcy filings here: http://lopucki.law.ucla.edu/bankruptcy_research.asp.

2. Demonstrated interest in bankruptcy is key. That means taking bankruptcy in law school, working for a firm's bankruptcy department, being a research assistant for a bankruptcy professor, Duberstein competition, journal article on bankruptcy, etc. Grades are obviously important but can get a bankruptcy clerkship in non-Delaware/SDNY courts if top 1/3 in top 25 law school.

3. Opportunities will usually be local and may include a midsized firm (possibly large law firm in bigger cities) that does bankruptcy or working for the government, such as for the AG in their bankruptcy department.

This is all pretty credited. If you don't get those districts, consider picking out individual judges in other districts who are well regarded. Even if you're doing mainly Chapter 7 cases, you can still learn a lot working for the right judge. Or you could always clerk in Detroit and roll the dice on being there in time for the biggest Chapter 9 filing ever.

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emciosn
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Re: Let's Talk Bankruptcy

Postby emciosn » Thu Feb 07, 2013 5:15 pm

I applied to about 120 bankruptcy clerkships last fall and ended up getting an offer in November to work for a non DE/SDNY bankruptcy Judge. DE and SDNY are obviously cream of the crop, but as the poster said above there is decent chapter 11 activity in ND Ill, ND and SD Texas and CD California. Outside of DE and SDNY, though, you will do mostly chapter 7 or 13 work, even in those other big districts.

I interviewed with a DE judge early in the fall and I can say that the position was extremely competitive. There were several hundred applications for only one position and I don't think the judge really considered applicants from outside the T30. My understanding is that many, if not most, of the DE and SDNY judges hire people with work experience or a previous full time clerkship. I think it would be very difficult to land a DE or SDNY clerkship right out of law school unless you are a top(ish) student at top school. Landing a DE or SDNY clerkship can open a lot of doors for you, though.

That said I am very happy with the clerkship I landed. I have seen a lot of people on these boards comment that being top third at a t25-30 is enough to get a clerkship. ITE I do not think that is true. A lot of bankruptcy judges are going with career clerks and the relatively few term clerkships that are available are going to students with pretty impressive, bankruptcy-specific credentials. I would say that you need to be more like top 15% at a t25-30 (you could rank lower at a very highly ranked school, obviously) to feel confident about getting a bankruptcy clerkship.

On top of good grades to need a demonstrated interest in bankruptcy. Take bankruptcy and commercial law courses (secured transactions, payment systems, etc), do well in those courses, find a firm (even a smaller firm - I worked for a mid sized firm during the summer/school year) around your law school that has a bankruptcy practice group and get some experience, intern with a bankruptcy judge for a semester, write something bankruptcy related (Note: get someone at the firm you are working for to write an article with you for the American Bankruptcy Institute Journal - it is not as hard as you think to get something in there and it is monthly), get your school to send a team to the Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court competition at St. John's, anything that will allow you to put the word bankruptcy on your resume one more time. Judges want to make sure that bankruptcy is what you want to do and that you are not just treating a clerkship with them as a fallback.

I was top 15% at a T25 with a lot of very good bankruptcy-specific credentials and I didn't end up in DE or SDNY (PM if you want more specifics). That said, very few do right out of law school and I am ecstatic that I ended up with the offer that I did. Most bankruptcy clerkships are perhaps not as competitive as the big district court clerkships (some are still very competitive - DE, SDNY, ND Ill, etc.) but they are still difficult to land.

Enough rambling - if you have any questions feel free to ask!

josehill
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Re: Let's Talk Bankruptcy

Postby josehill » Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:04 am

deleted

Anonymous User
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Re: Let's Talk Bankruptcy

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 20, 2013 5:30 am

Any updates on the post-bankruptcy clerkship hiring market?

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Re: Let's Talk Bankruptcy

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:08 am

Horrible right now. Bankruptcy practice is at all time low. I am coming out of a bankruptcy clerkship in a flyover state. There is no bankruptcy hiring in this flyover state. I've networked my butt off and it's not happening. That's biglaw, midlaw, small law, all of it is extremely slow. Debtor and creditor work is slow. Commercial and consumer is slow. I hear reports that partners aren't meeting billable hours for the first time in their careers. It's dismal.

I'm from an east coast city (not NYC or DE) and have done substantial networking in that city. All reports have been that bankruptcy is so slow. My contacts have also noted that NYC and DE are slow and not hiring. If they are hiring, it's for very experienced attorneys, not entry level or 2-3 associates. I have substantial years of bankruptcy experience and I'm not making the cut.

My hope is to get a litigation position. Convincing a firm I want to be in litigation when my experience is so bankruptcy focused is hard. But I've gotten some interviews and am hopeful for an offer.

A bankruptcy clerkship ITE =/= a job.

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Re: Let's Talk Bankruptcy

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:25 pm

Perfect. Thanks.

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Re: Let's Talk Bankruptcy

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:56 pm

Wasn't surprised to read this article this morning re: Weil Gotshal after reading your post.

[Weil Gotshal] to Cut Lawyers and Some Partner Pay -- http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/06/24/big-law-firm-to-cut-lawyers-and-some-partner-pay/?hpw&_r=3&

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Re: Let's Talk Bankruptcy

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 28, 2013 5:38 pm

So, did anyone get an interview offer today?

Anonymous User
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Re: Let's Talk Bankruptcy

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Horrible right now. Bankruptcy practice is at all time low. I am coming out of a bankruptcy clerkship in a flyover state. There is no bankruptcy hiring in this flyover state. I've networked my butt off and it's not happening. That's biglaw, midlaw, small law, all of it is extremely slow. Debtor and creditor work is slow. Commercial and consumer is slow. I hear reports that partners aren't meeting billable hours for the first time in their careers. It's dismal.

I'm from an east coast city (not NYC or DE) and have done substantial networking in that city. All reports have been that bankruptcy is so slow. My contacts have also noted that NYC and DE are slow and not hiring. If they are hiring, it's for very experienced attorneys, not entry level or 2-3 associates. I have substantial years of bankruptcy experience and I'm not making the cut.

My hope is to get a litigation position. Convincing a firm I want to be in litigation when my experience is so bankruptcy focused is hard. But I've gotten some interviews and am hopeful for an offer.

A bankruptcy clerkship ITE =/= a job.

FWIW, my expierience is that bankruptcy filings are definitely down, but this isn't necessarily toxic for finding work. Selling myself as a general litigator wasn't a huge challenge, and I ended up at a midlaw firm where I can do both bk (as things come up) and lit. I'm sure this stuff differs from market to market though.

Anonymous User
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Re: Let's Talk Bankruptcy

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 07, 2013 8:27 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Horrible right now. Bankruptcy practice is at all time low. I am coming out of a bankruptcy clerkship in a flyover state. There is no bankruptcy hiring in this flyover state. I've networked my butt off and it's not happening. That's biglaw, midlaw, small law, all of it is extremely slow. Debtor and creditor work is slow. Commercial and consumer is slow. I hear reports that partners aren't meeting billable hours for the first time in their careers. It's dismal.

I'm from an east coast city (not NYC or DE) and have done substantial networking in that city. All reports have been that bankruptcy is so slow. My contacts have also noted that NYC and DE are slow and not hiring. If they are hiring, it's for very experienced attorneys, not entry level or 2-3 associates. I have substantial years of bankruptcy experience and I'm not making the cut.

My hope is to get a litigation position. Convincing a firm I want to be in litigation when my experience is so bankruptcy focused is hard. But I've gotten some interviews and am hopeful for an offer.

A bankruptcy clerkship ITE =/= a job.

FWIW, my expierience is that bankruptcy filings are definitely down, but this isn't necessarily toxic for finding work. Selling myself as a general litigator wasn't a huge challenge, and I ended up at a midlaw firm where I can do both bk (as things come up) and lit. I'm sure this stuff differs from market to market though.


I'm the anon that posted about the horrible job market. You are correct that selling yourself as a general litigator is a good option. I have nearly 10 years of bankruptcy experience, so that ship sailed for me. I've tried to do it, but I get rejected because they believe I'll leave the job for bankruptcy. From my experience, I wouldn't take a bankruptcy clerkship thinking it's a job ticket right now. But it's better than no job, so if it's what you got, take the clerkship.




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