Two questions for all y'all

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Anonymous User
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Two questions for all y'all

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:10 pm

Hi everyone

I am considering a transfer from a school near the bottom of the T14 to Harvard or Yale. Presuming I am lucky enough to be accepted to one of these schools, I have two concerns I could really use some more perspective on:

1. Can anyone speak to the effect of transferring on clerkships? Are transfer students disadvantaged? Do they have truble cultivating the relationships required for strong recommendations?

2. Do you think a student at the top of his class (say, top 2%) from a school like Duke/Northwestern/Georgetown has a better chance at a great clerkship than a top-ish student (say, top 25%) from Yale or Harvard?

Sorry for the request for speculation, but thanks so much for any help you can provide! I really appreciate it.

Citizen Genet
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Re: Two questions for all y'all

Postby Citizen Genet » Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hi everyone

I am considering a transfer from a school near the bottom of the T14 to Harvard or Yale. Presuming I am lucky enough to be accepted to one of these schools, I have two concerns I could really use some more perspective on:

1. Can anyone speak to the effect of transferring on clerkships? Are transfer students disadvantaged? Do they have truble cultivating the relationships required for strong recommendations?

2. Do you think a student at the top of his class (say, top 2%) from a school like Duke/Northwestern/Georgetown has a better chance at a great clerkship than a top-ish student (say, top 25%) from Yale or Harvard?

Sorry for the request for speculation, but thanks so much for any help you can provide! I really appreciate it.


Can't speak to the first, but as for the second: Yes. Unequivocally yes. A person who is in the Top 2% at any of those schools (and basically in the Top 5 students at Duke or Northwestern) will have a better shot at a great clerkship than in the 20-25% range at HYS. The former has excellent chances at a solid circuit court clerkship; if that student moved into the top spot by graduation, he or she would have chance at feeders and a SCOTUS clerkship. None of that is going to happen at Top 20-25% elsewhere.

theaccidentalclerk
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Re: Two questions for all y'all

Postby theaccidentalclerk » Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:52 pm

If you are top 2% at Duke or NW, that means you are in the top 4 students in the class. The only benefit of transferring would be to marginally improve your SCOTUS chances if you could replicate that performance at Harvard or Yale or Stanford. Emphasis on marginally. You're probably in the running for most feeders now -- there may be an odd one here or there that only takes the top student to two at Duke or NW, but I doubt even that -- so you're going to be in the running even if you don't transfer. Plus, you're going to have to develop relationships with faculty to make calls at a new school reeeeeaaalllly quickly -- as in the first semester you're there.

I guess my bottom line is that with one exception*, I wouldn't transfer if I were you. The upside is very marginal, and the downside -- you "only" get top 25% or so grades and kill your chances at the most competitive COA judges -- is substantial.

* The exception is if you have your heart set on academia. In that case, it might make sense to transfer to Yale. You'd still have the downside of hurting your clerkship chances (i.e., you'd end up clerking for a "worse" judge, not that you wouldn't be able to clerk for a COA judge), but I could see a reasonable argument that the upside of a Yale JD on the academic market outweighs that.

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Re: Two questions for all y'all

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:48 pm

But also keep in mind that right now you only have one semester of grades (I assume you're a second semester 1L). I was in the top 2% after my first semester and now, as a second semester 2L, I'm in the top 5%ish. That's still pretty damn good but feeders are mostly closed off to me now anyway (I'm outside the T14). I have another friend who finished first semester in about the same spot and quickly fell to top 10-15%.

So keep in mind the risk of falling in your class. If you do, you might wish you had transferred. That said, the above posters are absolutely correct. Just realize you can't assume you will repeat this performance every semester.

Anonymous User
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Re: Two questions for all y'all

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:55 pm

wow, thanks for all the excellent advice!

As it happens, I do indeed have my heart set in academia, as in, I am only interested in becoming a professor. Otherwise, I would never dream of giving up a shot at the number one spot. I'm aware that I might not have the same luck in the future, but I never figured that I might regret not transferring - very good advice.

Another thought: say I lucked out twice, repeat my performance here, and transfer. I would have at least one excellent recommendation from a professor at my current university, and all my 1L grades will be on my application to clerk. So, am I right to understand that I would still get at least some of the benefit of my 1L grades, even though I chose to transfer?

Thanks again everyone, this is really helpful. I have a really hard decision to mark and I'm looking for as many perspectives as I can get.

theaccidentalclerk
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Re: Two questions for all y'all

Postby theaccidentalclerk » Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:25 pm

As it happens, I do indeed have my heart set in academia, as in, I am only interested in becoming a professor. Otherwise, I would never dream of giving up a shot at the number one spot. I'm aware that I might not have the same luck in the future, but I never figured that I might regret not transferring - very good advice.


Well, in that case, you wouldn't be insane to try to transfer to Yale. It's just head and shoulders superior to every other school in terms of academic hiring. Though I would say one word of caution. The legal academic hiring market now is beyond atrocious. Basically, ITE has caught up to legal academia in the past year or two. And it's probably just going to get worse -- the general consensus is that schools are going to close, the only question is how many. So while on the one hand you have lots of time to let things shake out (two more years of law school, at least one year clerking, and at least two years practicing, then probably a VAP/fellowship after that), it's worth thinking about whether you want to plan for a career that may not be feasible, at least practically speaking.

(By the way, my recommendation if you really are serious about legal academia is to go get a PhD after your clerkship, preferably in a field like econ that is hiring in case the law school market stays in the pits.)

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nevdash
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Re: Two questions for all y'all

Postby nevdash » Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:a student at the top of his class (say, top 2%) from a school like Duke/Northwestern/Georgetown

Anonymous User wrote:all y'all

Dude, just say that you're top 2% at Duke.

Anonymous User
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Re: Two questions for all y'all

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:18 pm

nevdash wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:a student at the top of his class (say, top 2%) from a school like Duke/Northwestern/Georgetown

Anonymous User wrote:all y'all

Dude, just say that you're top 2% at Duke.

I was just thinking, this person can't be at Duke because no one in the south would ever say "all yall." It's just yall.

sidhesadie
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Re: Two questions for all y'all

Postby sidhesadie » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
nevdash wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:a student at the top of his class (say, top 2%) from a school like Duke/Northwestern/Georgetown

Anonymous User wrote:all y'all

Dude, just say that you're top 2% at Duke.

I was just thinking, this person can't be at Duke because no one in the south would ever say "all yall." It's just yall.



That's not true, at least in some places - I don't live in the south but a LOT of my family does. Y'all is singular, and all y'all is plural. ;)

Anonymous User
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Re: Two questions for all y'all

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:20 am

lol. OG here, I'll admit that i am not a Duke student.




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