Why Clerk 1 Year Out, Why Clerk 2 Years Out?

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Why Clerk 1 Year Out, Why Clerk 2 Years Out?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:18 am

Hi,

I'm at 3L, top 5% lower T14, secondary journal, scheduled to work at a top West Coast firm starting in 2013. I didn't get any interviews for clerkships last time around, so I'm interested in taking another crack. That said, I'm not sure whether I want to do 2014, or 2015, or whether it matters. Also, I'm wondering whether it's "worth" applying to Midwest or East Coast district courts when I'm very likely going to be practicing on the West Coast in the long run.

Thoughts? I have a relatively small amount of loans that I could probably pay off with 2 years of biglaw. I'd like to do at least that much time in biglaw; I'm thinking I might like to get out sooner rather than later, though. Not sure where I'd go. I think throwing a clerkship in there would help me out.

What are other non-clerk 3Ls thoughts on applying to 14 or 15? Should I apply narrowly? Broadly?

Thanks for reading.

Anonymous User
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Re: Why Clerk 1 Year Out, Why Clerk 2 Years Out?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 09, 2013 7:02 pm

I'm just a 2L, so take it with a grain of salt--but given your finances & preferences, wouldn't the optimal choice be to (at least try) to time your clerkship for a term after you finish biglaw? The common wisdom is that clerkships make for excellent transition opportunities, whether it's biglaw--> PI or biglaw-->gov (not sure about biglaw--mid/small). Maybe the clerkship location makes a difference if you're interested in particular offices (e.g., specific USAO location), but you'll be pretty competitive for almost all the West Coast AIII's as an alum with top 5%. If you feel confident you can pay off loans in 2 years and your start date is this year, you could aim for 2015 or wait a year/two and shoot for 2016. Either way, it's probably best to at least apply broadly--options aren't a bad thing.

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Re: Why Clerk 1 Year Out, Why Clerk 2 Years Out?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:08 am

I did a Fed. COA clerkship, and now I'm in my second year at biglaw. I always thought I'd do COA -> 1-2 years biglaw -> Fed. District Court. When I got in to the firm, I realized that they just want me to get to work. They were very skeptical about letting me go clerk again, and advised me against it. They didn't specifically say "you don't have a job here if you leave," but they said that "an employer would think that I don't want to get to work." I never did it. I really think the best time to clerk is right out of law school, and after that you should only do it in a transition period between jobs.

What's worse, for you it would be a huge pay cut. Under the GS pay scale, because I have previous federal experience, I would come in at a GS-13, and they would match me up to the highest GS-13 step in the locality (like 120 in relatively big cities). However, I think you'd come in as a GS-12, which maxes out much lower.

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Re: Why Clerk 1 Year Out, Why Clerk 2 Years Out?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What's worse, for you it would be a huge pay cut. Under the GS pay scale, because I have previous federal experience, I would come in at a GS-13, and they would match me up to the highest GS-13 step in the locality (like 120 in relatively big cities). However, I think you'd come in as a GS-12, which maxes out much lower.


Sorry to go slightly off topic but I can't send you a PM. I served in the military for four years before law school. Would that translate into a higher GS level or a higher step within a GS level?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Why Clerk 1 Year Out, Why Clerk 2 Years Out?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What's worse, for you it would be a huge pay cut. Under the GS pay scale, because I have previous federal experience, I would come in at a GS-13, and they would match me up to the highest GS-13 step in the locality (like 120 in relatively big cities). However, I think you'd come in as a GS-12, which maxes out much lower.


Sorry to go slightly off topic but I can't send you a PM. I served in the military for four years before law school. Would that translate into a higher GS level or a higher step within a GS level?

No, the GS payscale is calculated based on only work experience after law school graduation. (For clerkships, anyway. It's actually JSP, I think.)

clerker
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Re: Why Clerk 1 Year Out, Why Clerk 2 Years Out?

Postby clerker » Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hi,

I'm at 3L, top 5% lower T14, secondary journal, scheduled to work at a top West Coast firm starting in 2013. I didn't get any interviews for clerkships last time around, so I'm interested in taking another crack. That said, I'm not sure whether I want to do 2014, or 2015, or whether it matters. Also, I'm wondering whether it's "worth" applying to Midwest or East Coast district courts when I'm very likely going to be practicing on the West Coast in the long run.

Thoughts? I have a relatively small amount of loans that I could probably pay off with 2 years of biglaw. I'd like to do at least that much time in biglaw; I'm thinking I might like to get out sooner rather than later, though. Not sure where I'd go. I think throwing a clerkship in there would help me out.

What are other non-clerk 3Ls thoughts on applying to 14 or 15? Should I apply narrowly? Broadly?

Thanks for reading.


If you know you're going to practice on the West Coast in the long run, target a clerkship there. Wait until you've got a year or two of practice experience, then apply.

The value of a clerkship in your home district is far greater than if you clerk in another district. And the more time you wait after graduation, the better your odds are. First, judges will like that you've got some experience litigating and can hit the ground running. Second, you are well positioned to pounce at any last minute OSCAR openings.

I would avoid clerking in the Midwest or East Coast districts, despite the fact that some of them might be "prestigious." Unless you have some compelling reason (open to living there in the future, significant other there, etc) I would focus efforts on your West Coast city. And there are far fewer things you can do to increase your odds of landing a clerkship than simply waiting. Top 5% at T14 clears the minimum credential bar for the most competitive districts in the West Coast.

That clerking would provide a convenient exit later on is an added bonus.




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