I clerk in bankruptcy court. AMA.

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emciosn
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Re: I clerk in bankruptcy court. AMA.

Postby emciosn » Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:As far as qualifications go for BK clerkships (outside of SDNY and Del), is BK experience/interest paramount?

I have some BK experience at a firm I work at, and have taken a couple BK courses in LS. GPA not set in stone but will hopefully/likely be somewhere around top 25/33% when I apply from a school similar to yours. Also on a secondary journal.

Anything else I can do in order to be competitive?


Not OP--I am starting a bankruptcy clerkship this fall and did like 8 interviews last fall with bankruptcy judges. A demonstrated interest in bankruptcy is extremely important. So, it is not that experience is necessary per se but you do need enough on your resume to show that you are actually really interested in bankruptcy and not just applying to BK clerkships because you feel they are less competitive etc. You generally demonstrate an interest in bankruptcy by having bankruptcy related activities on your resume (plus bankruptcy coursework, including secured transactions/payment systems).

Playing up and bankruptcy experience you got at a firm is good, try to get something bankruptcy-related published perhaps (the ABI journal is monthly and if you could get a practitioner to sign on it may not be so hard to get something in), St. John's has a bankruptcy moot court competition every spring (Duberstein--would have to wait until next year for that obviously), you could try to get an internship during the semester with a local bankruptcy judge, you could join the ABI (for students it is only $20), basically anything that gets the word bankruptcy on your resume.

Even outside of D. Del and SDNY demonstrating an interest in bankruptcy is extremely important. Being able to convince the judge that you are actually interested in bankruptcy at your interview will be equally as important. D. Del and SDNY bankruptcy judges have 300+ applications for each spot, even in less prestigious districts you still have 100+ for a single spot. Now, these may not be D. Ct. or COA numbers but the positions are still very competitive and the judges have no reason to waste their time on someone who is not genuinely interested in clerking for a bankruptcy judge.

As far as your grades go: the higher the better (do as well as you can this semester obviously). If you are from a T1 your grades would not disqualify you from judges not in SDNY and D. Del (you may be out in the more competition Texas and California districts as well) but you will probably have to really demonstrate an interest through your activities to get an interview. I have seen some stuff around here that says top third makes you competitive for bankruptcy clerkships but I don't really think that is the case ITE. Strong grades and a demonstrated interest is a must.

I came out of a T20--don't want to give too many more details since I'm not anon (I really think abuse of the anonymous feature is rampant in the clerkship forum) but PM if you have any more questions.

Anonymous User
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Re: I clerk in bankruptcy court. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 09, 2013 2:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:As far as qualifications go for BK clerkships (outside of SDNY and Del), is BK experience/interest paramount?

I have some BK experience at a firm I work at, and have taken a couple BK courses in LS. GPA not set in stone but will hopefully/likely be somewhere around top 25/33% when I apply from a school similar to yours. Also on a secondary journal.

Anything else I can do in order to be competitive?

(OP here)

I'm pulling this a bit out of my ass here, but try as hard as you can to land in the top-25%. At least from my school, top third didn't carry any weight whatsoever, but top quarter was good enough to get your resume looked at most places. Kinda arbitrary and stupid, but that's the legal profession for you. Selling your interest in bankruptcy is something you do at the interview stage, and with grades outside of the top quarter it's going to be a little hard to get there unless there's some mitigating exceptional factor (maybe you got the highest grade in your bankruptcy class, wrote a journal article about a bankruptcy issue, have a recommendation from a bankruptcy judge, etc.)

Ultimately though, as far as selling your interest in bankruptcy is concerned, I think you have all the ingredients. You've taken the right courses and you have a little experience in practice, which means all you need to do is - if you reach the interview stage - come up with a compelling end to the following sentence: "I am interested in bankruptcy because..."

You would not believe how many applicants are content merely to state, as if for the record, that they are interested in bankruptcy. That is not enough - you need to explain why, as well as what it was about your bankruptcy-related experience that led you to develop this interest.

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Re: I clerk in bankruptcy court. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 10, 2013 10:37 pm

OP here,

I am now done with my clerkship and imagine many others are about to begin. Bumping because I am happy to field more questions if there are any.

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Re: I clerk in bankruptcy court. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:40 pm

Thank you for taking questions. I will start a bankruptcy clerkship in a major market in 2014 (not SDNY or Del).

How difficult do you think it would be for me to find a job in a market where I didn't clerk? In other words, do you know if bankruptcy clerkships can open up opportunities throughout the county, or are more limited to where you clerk?

Also, how important are grades and journals when you look for a job after you clerk? Right now I'm in the top 10% and on LR at a T20 school. Do you know if firms still care about grades or are only looking at where you clerk.

Thanks again.

Anonymous User
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Re: I clerk in bankruptcy court. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 12, 2013 5:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thank you for taking questions. I will start a bankruptcy clerkship in a major market in 2014 (not SDNY or Del).

How difficult do you think it would be for me to find a job in a market where I didn't clerk? In other words, do you know if bankruptcy clerkships can open up opportunities throughout the county, or are more limited to where you clerk?

Also, how important are grades and journals when you look for a job after you clerk? Right now I'm in the top 10% and on LR at a T20 school. Do you know if firms still care about grades or are only looking at where you clerk.

Thanks again.

The nice thing about bankruptcy is that the Code is the Code is the Code, so your experience will be beneficial in all 50 states. I think as long as you have ties and can articulate a reason for wanting to work at a particular firm, where you clerked doesn't limit where you can end up at all, except maybe inasmuch as your judge might have more pull with local firms.

I ended up working in a different city as my clerkship but in the same district. However one of my co clerks took a job halfway across the country, and another one went to a different district in the same state. Bankruptcy is incredibly portable.

Your grades will remain crucial to the application process, which in your case is a good thing. Clerking will make your law review experience less important, I suspect. Or at least I never did law review and nobody seemed to care in interviews.

Anonymous User
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Re: I clerk in bankruptcy court. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 12, 2013 6:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here,

I am now done with my clerkship and imagine many others are about to begin. Bumping because I am happy to field more questions if there are any.


Any idea what the market is like right now for SDNY/D Del. bankruptcy clerks?

Anonymous User
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Re: I clerk in bankruptcy court. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:14 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here,

I am now done with my clerkship and imagine many others are about to begin. Bumping because I am happy to field more questions if there are any.


Any idea what the market is like right now for SDNY/D Del. bankruptcy clerks?

Obviously that's the cream of the crop, so your options should be good for NYC biglaw. The only concern is that flings are WAY down recently, so you should expect to have to hustle a little like everyone else. Go to networking events and all that shit just to be safe.

Anonymous User
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Re: I clerk in bankruptcy court. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:12 pm

Thanks for doing this! I'm guessing this varies by jurisdiction, but two questions -- Would a second job on nights/weekends likely cause any issues? I'm thinking of doing real estate on the side. Also, would there likely be any issues with trying to get published during the clerkship?

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Re: I clerk in bankruptcy court. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 15, 2013 1:56 pm

Was there really anything to it besides writing orders granting relief from stay and the like? I don't mean to be a little shit. I'm asking because I'm seriously considering this route if there's more to do than filling-in order templates.

Anonymous User
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Re: I clerk in bankruptcy court. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here,

I am now done with my clerkship and imagine many others are about to begin. Bumping because I am happy to field more questions if there are any.


Any idea what the market is like right now for SDNY/D Del. bankruptcy clerks?

Obviously that's the cream of the crop, so your options should be good for NYC biglaw. The only concern is that flings are WAY down recently, so you should expect to have to hustle a little like everyone else. Go to networking events and all that shit just to be safe.


I think OP's right. I talked to a handful of current/former Bankr. SDNY clerks during interview process, and current clerks mentioned that the job market is not very healthy right now. Seemed like they all had jobs lined up, however, so maybe the downturn is just forcing them to search longer and with a greater variety of firms than before.

midwestrocks
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Re: I clerk in bankruptcy court. AMA.

Postby midwestrocks » Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Was there really anything to it besides writing orders granting relief from stay and the like? I don't mean to be a little shit. I'm asking because I'm seriously considering this route if there's more to do than filling-in order templates.


Did you hear from somewhere that that's what bankruptcy clerks do? I hope that isn't the case because I'm starting one next fall, but somehow I highly doubt it.

peter2009
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Re: I clerk in bankruptcy court. AMA.

Postby peter2009 » Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:07 pm

midwestrocks wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Was there really anything to it besides writing orders granting relief from stay and the like? I don't mean to be a little shit. I'm asking because I'm seriously considering this route if there's more to do than filling-in order templates.


Did you hear from somewhere that that's what bankruptcy clerks do? I hope that isn't the case because I'm starting one next fall, but somehow I highly doubt it.


This is definitely not all judicial bankruptcy clerks do. Anyone who had any experience with a bankruptcy court would know that. Clerks research, help draft opinions, attend hearings, and review Orders among many other things.

Anonymous User
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Re: I clerk in bankruptcy court. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:12 pm

I know K&E and Kramer to offer bonii to bankruptcy clerks
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:How would you describe your post clerkship job prospects? Thank you!

I have accepted an offer at a mid-sized firm, doing a mix of bankruptcy and litigation work. I had one other offer from a boutique firm (which paid the market rate). Pretty much zero interest from V100 firms (I applied to about 15 and got a mix of radio silence and rejections). I interviewed at a handful of other places, with varying degrees of success.

Smaller and mid sized firms are much more likely, I discovered, to buy that a bankruptcy clerkship is beneficial if you want to pursue a career in not-exclusively-bankruptcy law (it is, by the way). Big firms have plenty of people who clerked at the District Court or COA level, so they're pretty much only going to be interested in a bankruptcy clerk if you want to work in their bankruptcy department and they have an open space therein.

All in all, I'd say my job prospects are definitely better than what one might otherwise expect from someone with my grades (top-20%, no lawl review) coming from my school, because I have a year's worth of experience doing something where I'm learning a lot and developing <Taken> a very specific set of skills </Taken>. But a bankruptcy clerkship, at least outside of SDNY/Del, is definitely not a ticket to the V100 for someone who wouldn't otherwise have a shot there.


When did you start applying for post-clerkship jobs? Are you receiving a clerkship bonus and one year's credit toward partnership?

My firm was pretty good about crediting me for the clerkship. I'll be coming in at a second-year associate's salary and getting a year's credit partnership-wise. I didn't ask for, nor will I be getting, a bonus. I'm not going to lie and say it wouldn't be nice, but ITE bonii for non-article-III clerks aren't the norm. (There are a handful of big firms - I think Weil is one but I'm not sure - who do give out bonuses for bk clerks, but none of them were really in my range grades/school wise).

I started applying to firms back in November when I passed the bar, which was stupid, because responses ranged from "No" to "It's too early to know." If you're a fan of getting good news, I recommend waiting until at least January, probably February. You're just not going to get movement before that.

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Re: I clerk in bankruptcy court. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 19, 2013 6:48 pm

peter2009 wrote:
midwestrocks wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Was there really anything to it besides writing orders granting relief from stay and the like? I don't mean to be a little shit. I'm asking because I'm seriously considering this route if there's more to do than filling-in order templates.


Did you hear from somewhere that that's what bankruptcy clerks do? I hope that isn't the case because I'm starting one next fall, but somehow I highly doubt it.


This is definitely not all judicial bankruptcy clerks do. Anyone who had any experience with a bankruptcy court would know that. Clerks research, help draft opinions, attend hearings, and review Orders among many other things.


Seconded by a law clerk in a busy district (not SDNY or DE though). Opinions can be very long and involve a multitude of areas of law (including really complex jurisdictional issues) with thorough analysis.

Anonymous User
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Re: I clerk in bankruptcy court. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:06 pm

Any advice on what constitutes a good writing sample for bankruptcy judges.

Anonymous User
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Re: I clerk in bankruptcy court. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Any advice on what constitutes a good writing sample for bankruptcy judges.

A memo or a law review article in pre-publication form (unless directed otherwise) would work.

MonsterTRM
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Re: I clerk in bankruptcy court. AMA.

Postby MonsterTRM » Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:48 pm

Can you give a general timeline of when you applied, interviewed, when you knew you'd be clerking, etc.?

Anonymous User
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Re: I clerk in bankruptcy court. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:20 am

Anonymous User wrote:Any advice on what constitutes a good writing sample for bankruptcy judges.

If you wrote a paper on any kind of bk topic that would be ideal. If not, just go with the best paper you wrote in law school.

Anonymous User
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Re: I clerk in bankruptcy court. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:21 am

MonsterTRM wrote:Can you give a general timeline of when you applied, interviewed, when you knew you'd be clerking, etc.?

OP here: I applied off plan, so I applied in June, interviewed in July, and knew I'd be clerking a week after when I got and accepted the offer. I interviewed my replacement in September and he got an offer on the spot.




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