How to Prepare for a Clerkship

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letsdoit
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How to Prepare for a Clerkship

Postby letsdoit » Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:19 am

I have a 2-year clerkship with an A3 judge (USDC) starting the summer after I graduate. What are the best ways (if any) to prepare? I'll be handling mostly civil matters, if it matters. Thanks!

exitoptions
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Re: How to Prepare for a Clerkship

Postby exitoptions » Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:40 am

I'm also interested in this. I've been out of school for almost two years. Go through my fed courts materials?

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patrickd139
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Re: How to Prepare for a Clerkship

Postby patrickd139 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 1:21 pm

I'd start by reading 'Getting to Maybe' and all the E&Es, then read OneL and watch The Paper Cha...Oh. Wrong forum.

Seriously though, I asked my judge if there was anything I should do in preparation for the clerkship. The answer was essentially "No, we'll teach you how to do everything you need to do and we don't want to have to break bad habits." I just plan to skim the FRCP and jump in head-first. YMMV.

theaccidentalclerk
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Re: How to Prepare for a Clerkship

Postby theaccidentalclerk » Thu Mar 21, 2013 1:29 pm

One thing that you might do is ask whether your judge handles habeas cases or social security appeals. (Sometimes there are pro se clerks to do the former, and sometimes magistrates handle the latter.) If he does either of these, it wouldn't be the worst idea to skim through a treatise. Both types of cases can get very technical and wonky, so it would help to have a 30,000 foot familiarity with the subject before getting into one of them.

Anonymous User
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Re: How to Prepare for a Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:32 pm

My judge told me the best way to prepare is to read all of the opinions from the court for about 6 months prior to the clerkship. I plan to do this and review my fed courts treatise.

Citizen Genet
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Re: How to Prepare for a Clerkship

Postby Citizen Genet » Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:43 pm

Another common recommendation is to make sure you read the relevant local rules. This are usually found on the Court's website.

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hope&change
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Re: How to Prepare for a Clerkship

Postby hope&change » Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:56 pm

Reaching out to your judge's current/past clerks for samples of their bench memos, draft opinions, etc. might be a good idea.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: How to Prepare for a Clerkship

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:21 pm

Wish I'd done some of these things before starting. :lol: Personally, I think re-familiarizing myself with the FRCP would have been helpful, because I didn't do a lot of civil stuff in law school and I'd forgotten most of what I knew (doesn't help that my Civ Pro prof was AWFUL).

My judge told me the best way to prepare is to read all of the opinions from the court for about 6 months prior to the clerkship.

Is this for COA? (just curious.) I think if you do this (COA or district court), you might find it helpful to look specifically for how orders/opinions are structured (they're often very formulaic) and for the kind of language/tone that's used, rather than for content - if you read a lot quite quickly I think you start to see the patterns. (At least, for me, one of the hardest things when I started was sounding like a judge rather than an advocate.)

Anonymous User
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Re: How to Prepare for a Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 22, 2013 1:16 am

For a district court clerkship, a fed courts treatise is actually not nearly as useful as you might think. My suggestions:

1. As someone said earlier, read the local rules of the court, and if your judge has specific practice rules, read those too.

2. Find and read at least one long, well-reasoned opinion from your court for each of the following types of cases: (a) Section 1983 (especially police misconduct if the court is in a big city); (b) employment discrimination; (c) diversity negligence actions; (d) ERISA; (e) Social Security appeals; and (f) habeas. These are the most common types of cases at the district court level, and it'll be helpful to know what sorts of issues arise in those cases.

Anonymous User
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Re: How to Prepare for a Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 22, 2013 10:35 am

Local rules are key. There are several law review articles about the duties of a law clerk that may be beneficial. Also, be nice to everyone once you start. Employees that have been there a long time can be really helpful and knowledgable.

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Re: How to Prepare for a Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 23, 2013 11:23 pm

My judge told me to read as many of the opinions/orders/etc. she wrote as possible because she tries to be as consistent as possible and is very methodical.

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Re: How to Prepare for a Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:23 pm

1) Be familiar with common procedural rules and issues that come up. I'm on an appellate court but there are one or two types of cases that I expect to see each session. Knowing the basic law behind these cases going in will save you a ton of time beccause you'll be able to focus on whatever wrinkle is presented by that case. There are just some doctrines that are overly complicated the first time around. When you're a newbie everything takes longer so you don't want to be muddling through something that an experienced clerk will lay out in 1-2 sentences.

2) A look over the local rules are helpful.

3) Familiarity with the judge's writing style is important but really something that is learned over time.

If you really have nothing better to do:

Try and note the good "survey cases" in recurring areas of law. These are circuit court cases that comprehensively discuss and lay out the governing law in a particular area.

Get familiar with the statutes that might come up. Read the headings and know how stuff is organized.

Citizen Genet
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Re: How to Prepare for a Clerkship

Postby Citizen Genet » Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:10 pm

Anyone know any good dummies guides for any of the following : Sentencing Guidelines, AEDPA, Social Security?

EDIT: And if anyone references the Sentencing Guidelines Manual as a dummies guide.... hell to pay.

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hope&change
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Re: How to Prepare for a Clerkship

Postby hope&change » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:44 am

Citizen Genet wrote:Anyone know any good dummies guides for any of the following : Sentencing Guidelines, AEDPA, Social Security?

EDIT: And if anyone references the Sentencing Guidelines Manual as a dummies guide.... hell to pay.


Wright & Miller's federal procedure treatise (available on West) has a very helpful section on habeas corpus and AEDPA. And I've yet to find any good Sentencing Guidelines guide, so I'd be interested if anyone has any good suggestions.




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