If you just want biglaw, it's not worth it to clerk.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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If you just want biglaw, it's not worth it to clerk.

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:11 pm

Here's why:

If you have the grades and other credentials/connections to clerk, you don't need a clerkship to get you these connections/credentials. If you somehow get lucky and get a clerkship without top grades or connections, you're still going to be looked down upon for not having the grades/LR that other clerks have. I know this from firsthand experience. There's an associate at my firm who clerked on the 9th Circuit. He/she didn't have the credentials one would normally expect from a 9th Circuit clerk. So far, I have seen ZERO positive impact on this person's career from his/her clerkship. He/she doesn't get better work or anything else. I suppose he/she might get hooked up with another biglaw associate job via one of his/her fellow clerks, but that still won't help him/her make partner in the long run or help him/her develop business.
Last edited by ExBiglawAssociate on Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: If you just want biglaw, it's not worth it to clerk.

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:17 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:Here's why:

If you have the grades and other credentials/connections to clerk, you don't need a clerkship to get you these connections/credentials. If you somehow get lucky and get a clerkship without top grades or connections, you're still going to be looked down upon for not having the grades/LR that other clerks have. I know this from firsthand experience. There's an associate at my firm who clerked on the 9th Circuit. He/she didn't have the credentials one would normally expect from a 9th Circuit clerk. So far, I have seen ZERO positive impact on this person's career from his/her clerkship. He/she doesn't get better work or anything else. I suppose he/she might get hooked up with another biglaw associate job via one of her fellow clerks, but that still won't him/her make partner in the long run or help him/her develop business.

Do grades/the other usual credentials that clerks have help you do this? I guess I'm asking, does anything you can actually do in law school help you make partner/develop business?

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Re: If you just want biglaw, it's not worth it to clerk.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:19 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:Here's why:

If you have the grades and other credentials/connections to clerk, you don't need a clerkship to get you these connections/credentials. If you somehow get lucky and get a clerkship without top grades or connections, you're still going to be looked down upon for not having the grades/LR that other clerks have. I know this from firsthand experience. There's an associate at my firm who clerked on the 9th Circuit. He/she didn't have the credentials one would normally expect from a 9th Circuit clerk. So far, I have seen ZERO positive impact on this person's career from his/her clerkship. He/she doesn't get better work or anything else. I suppose he/she might get hooked up with another biglaw associate job via one of her fellow clerks, but that still won't him/her make partner in the long run or help him/her develop business.

It sounds like that dude only got a job at your firm because of his clerkship, so I'd say it had a pretty positive impact.

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Re: If you just want biglaw, it's not worth it to clerk.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:23 pm

I pretty strongly disagree with the gist of the OP, so I'll offer my thoughts:

1.) This is a specialized situation, but I would recommend a bankruptcy court clerkship to anyone who wants to do restructuring at a firm. It's just great experience.

2.) If you clerk, you work 40(ish)-hour weeks and get a year's worth of credit, so if your plan is to gun for partner (I know, I know), you're saving yourself a year of 80-hour weeks, which is all to the good.

3.) Speaking of gunning for parter, I'm not convinced that having clerked doesn't help your chances when you come up for partnership. I don't think it's a primary (or even a secondary) consideration, but I'll wager it doesn't hurt.

4.) If you have your head in the game, you'll learn a LOT clerking. Having a year to observe litigation in federal court and write tentative decisions will give you skills other incoming associates just don't have.

5.) For most people I know, clerking is just fun.

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Re: If you just want biglaw, it's not worth it to clerk.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:41 pm

If you somehow get lucky and get a clerkship without top grades or connections, you're still going to be looked down upon for not having the grades/LR that other clerks have.


And if you're in certain litigation groups at certain firms, you're going to be looked down upon if you didn't clerk. This is especially true on the lateral market. I know for a fact that certain V20 firms won't look at laterals for litigation if they don't have an AIII clerkship. Others make it an implicit requirement for partnership. I actually know of a couple firms in a non-NYC big market that encourage their promising associates to go and clerk as alums -- even as fifth or sixth year associates -- because they know that no clerkship means an automatic no vote from a lot of the big hitters.

Plus, if you ever have designs to move to a secondary/tertiary market (i.e., not NYC/DC/Chicago/Boston/LA/SF) outside of the coasts, an AIII clerkship is a huge credential. For example, I just got off the phone with the MP for a satellite office of a NLJ 100 firm (my home market -- think like Minneapolis or Seattle or Denver). He basically said that although they really need someone now, they'd be willing to wait until the fall because AIII clerks don't come along very often in that market.

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Re: If you just want biglaw, it's not worth it to clerk.

Postby mephistopheles » Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:44 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:There's an associate at my firm who clerked on the 9th Circuit. He/she didn't have the credentials one would normally expect from a 9th Circuit clerk. So far, I have seen ZERO positive impact on this person's career from his/her clerkship.



um, bonus?

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Re: If you just want biglaw, it's not worth it to clerk.

Postby exitoptions » Tue Apr 02, 2013 3:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:3.) Speaking of gunning for parter, I'm not convinced that having clerked doesn't help your chances when you come up for partnership. I don't think it's a primary (or even a secondary) consideration, but I'll wager it doesn't hurt.


This and the bonus make it totally worth it for me. Billing out consistent 60 hour weeks will crush your soul. Taking a break for a year or two and working 40 hours a week can really refresh you and make it possible for some people to come back and make a go at partner.

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nevdash
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Re: If you just want biglaw, it's not worth it to clerk.

Postby nevdash » Tue Apr 02, 2013 3:40 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:If you have the grades and other credentials/connections to clerk, you don't need a clerkship to get you these connections/credentials.

Stop and think about that sentence.

Now refrain from ever posting here again.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: If you just want biglaw, it's not worth it to clerk.

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:25 pm

mephistopheles wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:There's an associate at my firm who clerked on the 9th Circuit. He/she didn't have the credentials one would normally expect from a 9th Circuit clerk. So far, I have seen ZERO positive impact on this person's career from his/her clerkship.



um, bonus?


negated by forgone biglaw salary

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: If you just want biglaw, it's not worth it to clerk.

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
If you somehow get lucky and get a clerkship without top grades or connections, you're still going to be looked down upon for not having the grades/LR that other clerks have.


And if you're in certain litigation groups at certain firms, you're going to be looked down upon if you didn't clerk. This is especially true on the lateral market. I know for a fact that certain V20 firms won't look at laterals for litigation if they don't have an AIII clerkship. Others make it an implicit requirement for partnership. I actually know of a couple firms in a non-NYC big market that encourage their promising associates to go and clerk as alums -- even as fifth or sixth year associates -- because they know that no clerkship means an automatic no vote from a lot of the big hitters.

Plus, if you ever have designs to move to a secondary/tertiary market (i.e., not NYC/DC/Chicago/Boston/LA/SF) outside of the coasts, an AIII clerkship is a huge credential. For example, I just got off the phone with the MP for a satellite office of a NLJ 100 firm (my home market -- think like Minneapolis or Seattle or Denver). He basically said that although they really need someone now, they'd be willing to wait until the fall because AIII clerks don't come along very often in that market.


I've never heard of clerkships being an "implicit requirement" for partnership. Also, your points, if true (which I doubt because I don't think any firms have a hard and fast rule that everyone in their lit department has to clerk), only stand for the proposition that people who want to work in super elite lit practices who already have the credentials to get themselves in the door should clerk. This group probably overlaps significantly with people who want to be professors, work in BIGFED, or do other things that require a clerkship, so it really doesn't address the same group of people I was addressing in my OP: people who are set on biglaw as a long-term career. Bottom line: your points barely apply to anyone, even if they are true. They only apply to people with tippy top credentials who are dead set on making partner at a biglaw firm. That's a very small group of people.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: If you just want biglaw, it's not worth it to clerk.

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:32 pm

nevdash wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:If you have the grades and other credentials/connections to clerk, you don't need a clerkship to get you these connections/credentials.

Stop and think about that sentence.

Now refrain from ever posting here again.


Uh, no. The credentials that get you a clerkship are the same credentials that get you top litigation jobs. Your clerkship experience is never required to practice in biglaw. Why don't YOU stop and think about what you're saying and never post here ever again. What you're suggesting is that having some family member who knows a judge somehow makes you a much more valuable litigator because that's literally the only difference between some people with top credentials who don't get clerkships and those who do.

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bruinfan10
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Re: If you just want biglaw, it's not worth it to clerk.

Postby bruinfan10 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:41 pm

Clerkships provide added marketability in the event you need to lateral, which is inestimably valuable in a work environment as unstable as biglaw. Two people with similar resumes looking to lateral, one has an AIII clerkship and one doesn't, which would you rather be? You take a small salary hit given the bonus and gain security and a lasting credential.
Last edited by bruinfan10 on Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:05 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: If you just want biglaw, it's not worth it to clerk.

Postby Citizen Genet » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:50 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
What you're suggesting is that having some family member who knows a judge somehow makes you a much more valuable litigator because that's literally the only difference between some people with top credentials who don't get clerkships and those who do.


So I won't defend the original attack on you (and have appreciated your insights in other threads) but I think you're going a bit far with this. I've talked to multiple lit partners and almost everyone has unabashedly been pro-clerking (even those who did not clerk). Most say that a year clerking is like 3 years of litigation experience crammed into that first year.

And as virtually everyone has pointed out, clerking makes you much more valuable as a lateral and for exit options. I know your subject line says "if you just want biglaw," but I can't think you mean just that. (As in, do you really mean that this advice is for people who plan on going into biglaw and plan on staying there forever? Because if so, that's an incredibly poor plan for so, so many reasons.) Clerking gives you exit options to jobs that you otherwise might not have (BigFed being the main one).

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Re: If you just want biglaw, it's not worth it to clerk.

Postby 005618502 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:04 pm

Citizen Genet wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
What you're suggesting is that having some family member who knows a judge somehow makes you a much more valuable litigator because that's literally the only difference between some people with top credentials who don't get clerkships and those who do.


So I won't defend the original attack on you (and have appreciated your insights in other threads) but I think you're going a bit far with this. I've talked to multiple lit partners and almost everyone has unabashedly been pro-clerking (even those who did not clerk). Most say that a year clerking is like 3 years of litigation experience crammed into that first year.

And as virtually everyone has pointed out, clerking makes you much more valuable as a lateral and for exit options. I know your subject line says "if you just want biglaw," but I can't think you mean just that. (As in, do you really mean that this advice is for people who plan on going into biglaw and plan on staying there forever? Because if so, that's an incredibly poor plan for so, so many reasons.) Clerking gives you exit options to jobs that you otherwise might not have (BigFed being the main one).


So I am guessing all of this is only about litigation. No point in clerking if you are going general corporate/M&A/Securities/Cap. markets... right?

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Re: If you just want biglaw, it's not worth it to clerk.

Postby nevdash » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:22 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
nevdash wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:If you have the grades and other credentials/connections to clerk, you don't need a clerkship to get you these connections/credentials.

Stop and think about that sentence.

Now refrain from ever posting here again.


Uh, no. The credentials that get you a clerkship are the same credentials that get you top litigation jobs. Your clerkship experience is never required to practice in biglaw. Why don't YOU stop and think about what you're saying and never post here ever again. What you're suggesting is that having some family member who knows a judge somehow makes you a much more valuable litigator because that's literally the only difference between some people with top credentials who don't get clerkships and those who do.

What's really absurd, even aside from your conclusion, is that you think you're providing some OH SO WISE advice that's going to make everyone in this forum question what they thought they knew about clerkships, yet your post was just a tautology followed by a story of one person who clerked and his/her reputation in a single firm.

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Re: If you just want biglaw, it's not worth it to clerk.

Postby alpa chino » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:30 pm

nevdash wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:If you have the grades and other credentials/connections to clerk, you don't need a clerkship to get you these connections/credentials.

Stop and think about that sentence.

Now refrain from ever posting here again.


Lol this.


Also, the clerkship isn't for advancing at your current Biglaw firm (since basically nobody will make partner anyway), it's for helping yourself compete with the other billion former Biglaw litigation associates competing for limited opportunities after their firms push them out.

And protip: some of these scarce opportunities involve working for very competitive government agencies and other organizations that get so many applicants with perfect resumes that a clerkship will help set you apart.

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Detrox
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Re: If you just want biglaw, it's not worth it to clerk.

Postby Detrox » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:32 pm

ITT: Someone butthurt about not applying for clerkships or not getting one after applying tries to justify how he/she is still great and at the top because of their BIGLAW job.

User has been outed and warned.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: If you just want biglaw, it's not worth it to clerk.

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:38 pm

nevdash wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
nevdash wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:If you have the grades and other credentials/connections to clerk, you don't need a clerkship to get you these connections/credentials.

Stop and think about that sentence.

Now refrain from ever posting here again.


Uh, no. The credentials that get you a clerkship are the same credentials that get you top litigation jobs. Your clerkship experience is never required to practice in biglaw. Why don't YOU stop and think about what you're saying and never post here ever again. What you're suggesting is that having some family member who knows a judge somehow makes you a much more valuable litigator because that's literally the only difference between some people with top credentials who don't get clerkships and those who do.

What's really absurd, even aside from your conclusion, is that you think you're providing some OH SO WISE advice that's going to make everyone in this forum question what they thought they knew about clerkships, yet your post was just a tautology followed by a story of one person who clerked and his/her reputation in a single firm.


You seem to be devoting a lot of your own time and effort to a thread that by your own words doesn't mean anything. Also, you seem to have a difficult time distinguishing between someone who is using a tautology to prove a point (something I am not doing here) and someone who is merely pointing how something is a tautology to show how idiotic it is for people to use it as a basis for argument (which I am doing).

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: If you just want biglaw, it's not worth it to clerk.

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:ITT: Someone butthurt about not applying for clerkships or not getting one after applying tries to justify how he/she is still great and at the top because of their BIGLAW job.


In this post: someone posting anonymously to say something about me that isn't true and/or perpetuate the falsehood that a clerkship somehow makes you a smarter person.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: If you just want biglaw, it's not worth it to clerk.

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:56 pm

I could get behind the idea that if you get a biglaw job and want nothing more than to work only for that firm and make partner and stay forever and ever, amen, a clerkship isn't going to do much for you (other than the intangible learning experience, which personally, I think is valuable, but obviously people survive in biglaw without it). And I also get that if you don't have the usual kinds of credentials people who do biglaw/clerk usually have (grades/LR/school/etc.), clerking isn't going to magically transform you into a desirable candidate (this comes up in the clerking job hunt threads a lot) - and that conversely, if you already have the credentials to get biglaw, clerking isn't going to add much.

But I think a lot of people here just have a hard time thinking that most people will 1) want to stay in biglaw forever and/or 2) be able to stay at the same firm forever. Therefore, clerking is just one more thing you can do to set yourself apart for future other jobs (whether biglaw or other) - both as a nifty credential, and also by providing connections you really aren't going to get doing early-year-associate things.

Plus, if you *do* already have great credentials, clerking certainly isn't going to *hurt* you. And for a lot of people, the experience itself is really fun and valuable. So, sure, maybe it's not going to get you to partner or build your book of business, but I'd be surprised if there's anything you can be doing instead of clerking that's really going to help you do that anyway.

(This is assuming you want to do lit - if you're transactional, clerking has much less direct value anyway.)

But I don't think anyone here is saying clerking makes anyone smarter. It gives you a different kind of experience from being a biglaw associate, and it makes connections you can't make otherwise. That doesn't mean you're smarter than you were before clerking.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: If you just want biglaw, it's not worth it to clerk.

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:03 pm

I agree that it's a good experience and that you can make connections, but the forgone biglaw salary and other costs don't outweigh the benefits for me personally. You have to move (twice), go through the job hunt (twice, if you include trying to get a clerkship), and build new relationships with people at a new firm. These things cost you time and, ultimately, money. Maybe clerking works out better for some people in the long run than if they had stayed in biglaw, but I just haven't seen this clearly at most biglaw firms.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: If you just want biglaw, it's not worth it to clerk.

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:09 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:I agree that it's a good experience and that you can make connections, but the forgone biglaw salary and other costs don't outweigh the benefits for me personally. You have to move (twice), go through the job hunt (twice, if you include trying to get a clerkship), and build new relationships with people at a new firm. These things cost you time and, ultimately, money. Maybe clerking works out better for some people in the long run than if they had stayed in biglaw, but I just haven't seen this clearly at most biglaw firms.

But you don't *have* to move or go to a new firm from a clerkship - for lots of people all it does is add one job search to the pile. I'd imagine most people actually go back to their 2L firm rather than to a new firm.

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bruinfan10
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Re: If you just want biglaw, it's not worth it to clerk.

Postby bruinfan10 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:46 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:I agree that it's a good experience and that you can make connections, but the forgone biglaw salary and other costs don't outweigh the benefits for me personally. You have to move (twice), go through the job hunt (twice, if you include trying to get a clerkship), and build new relationships with people at a new firm. These things cost you time and, ultimately, money. Maybe clerking works out better for some people in the long run than if they had stayed in biglaw, but I just haven't seen this clearly at most biglaw firms.

I will say the search is brutal. And expensive. And repeatedly doesn't pan out for qualified candidates due to circumstances outside their control. Doesn't mean clerkships aren't worth it, but yeah, it is rough.

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Re: If you just want biglaw, it's not worth it to clerk.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:53 pm

I've heard the opposite, for some litigation firms it is almost an unspoken requirement to go clerk and then return to the firm. I will say that several alumni from my clerkship have indeed been able to trade up to better ranked firms or get jobs at firms when they were "on the cusp" but didn't get an offer during law school, including firms where the judge has a connection.

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Re: If you just want biglaw, it's not worth it to clerk.

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:22 am

And if you're in certain litigation groups at certain firms, you're going to be looked down upon if you didn't clerk.


Not just by people in your group/firm. Opposing counsel or co-counsel as well. I have a good bit (5+ years) or practice experience, mostly doing high profile litigation. I've been in the room when opposing lawyers have been discussed. Two questions always come up. Where'd she go to school? Where'd he clerk? The worst were people who went to a good school but didn't clerk. It was just assumed that they were idiots with crappy grades. (It was understandable why people from mediocre schools didn't clerk -- they probably didn't have the opportunity.)




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