No Law Review, No Clerkship??

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No Law Review, No Clerkship??

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 21, 2013 12:35 am

I am at a top 20 school that is the top in the region and state. I transferred from a T2/T3 school where I was top 25%. At my new school, 2L year will probably end up top 3rd, maybe top 25%. Made best brief finalist for moot court and student director of a clinic with three good LORs. We are going through the petitioning process right now and I am at a tremendous disadvantage as a 2L. They only allow a max of 2 on the main journal. I only have till memorial day for my petition as my wife booked a non-refundable vacation and i am working full time at the school.

Do to family concerns I want to clerk but cannot travel. I do not want to do district level state, but anything else is great. I am not applying for COA federal.

Basically, I am hating the petition and have serious doubts about getting on LR in the first place. Am I just screwing myself? To be honest, I do not think I even want to be on it beyond the resume.

Do I need law review or a secondary journal? Hope not.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: No Law Review, No Clerkship??

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue May 21, 2013 12:46 am

Some judges won't care, some judges will. It's one of those boxes almost everyone applying for clerkships will be able to check, so not having it may look weird. In other words, it seems that having LR will never hurt you (for a clerkship), but not having it might hurt you, so is it worth passing up the chance to maximize your chances?

I think the usual advice for people who aren't on LR is to find other ways of demonstrating writing skill, especially to get published. I have talked to more than one judge/career clerk who thinks that being on LR doesn't really tell you anything about an applicant's writing skills, and I suspect such people would be fine with other evidence of writing ability (one judge I know looks specifically for writing experience outside of law school - like journalism or the like). But again, some judges will want to see LR (if for no other reason than that the absence of LR provides an excuse to weed out applicants).

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Re: No Law Review, No Clerkship??

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 21, 2013 2:16 am

bump

lolwat
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Re: No Law Review, No Clerkship??

Postby lolwat » Tue May 21, 2013 10:45 am

having LR will never hurt you (for a clerkship), but not having it might hurt you


This.

LR >>>>>> 2ndary >>>>>>> nothing

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Re: No Law Review, No Clerkship??

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 21, 2013 11:03 am

Ask your professor recommenders who they know and what they think is reasonable for you. A recommender's phone call to a judge they know is the single biggest determinant of getting an interview, since there will be lots of people applying to every position with similar grades and credentials, or better.

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Re: No Law Review, No Clerkship??

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 21, 2013 3:01 pm

I was on a secondary journal at a T20 (on the executive board as well) and my impression is that it really did not help me much, it at all. But definitely feel not having it would have hurt. There are so many secondary journals now that it seems that it is not all that difficult to get on one if you miss law review (which would obviously provide a bigger boost). It just seems that it would reflect poorly on you to not have something (even secondary) when everyone else who is competitive for these positions will have it. Let me tell you, with your grades (top third at a T20, top 20% at a T2/T3) you will already be fighting an uphill battle for federal clerkships (don't know as much about state) so anything you can add will help and you want to be sure you aren't doing anything to hurt yourself.

So, my advice is to tough it out and try to get on law review or some secondary if you miss that.

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Re: No Law Review, No Clerkship??

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 21, 2013 6:26 pm

I'll be working for a bankruptcy judge next year and I have no journal experience and no moot court board. I also got a decent number of interviews with bk judges. That said, I think bankruptcy judges value other things (bk experience) and aren't as competitive.

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Re: No Law Review, No Clerkship??

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 21, 2013 8:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Ask your professor recommenders who they know and what they think is reasonable for you. A recommender's phone call to a judge they know is the single biggest determinant of getting an interview, since there will be lots of people applying to every position with similar grades and credentials, or better.


This. A classmate at one of NDCG got a COA clerkship a few years back with no journal on the strength of such a call.

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Re: No Law Review, No Clerkship??

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 22, 2013 3:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I was on a secondary journal at a T20 (on the executive board as well) and my impression is that it really did not help me much, it at all. But definitely feel not having it would have hurt.


If not being on one would hurt you, then avoiding that hurt by being on one necessarily helps you.

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pushkin
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Re: No Law Review, No Clerkship??

Postby pushkin » Wed May 22, 2013 6:11 pm

Short answer: law review is not a pre-req for any clerkship.

But: Journals are a significant plus factor for most judges, if only because they demonstrate your ability to do part of the clerk's job, i.e. editing legal writing and making sure legal claims are substantiated.

So if you aren't on LR, show that another way, either by serving on a secondary journal by working as a research assistant for a professor. My sense is that once you've checked one of these boxes, the marginal benefit from being on a more prestigious journal is pretty slim. Perhaps more important (at least once you get to the interview stage) is having something meaningful to say about what you actually did for the journal/professor.

This all also probably varies within the T-14... My experience at HLS was that having grades a bit above median and a leadership position on a secondary was enough to get me multiple interviews with federal COA, district and state supremes. Obviously the same might not be true further down the rankings, but I think non LR folks at T-14s are by no means ruled out for state supreme, "other" federal (claims, bankruptcy, trade, etc), etc.

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Re: No Law Review, No Clerkship??

Postby lolwat » Wed May 22, 2013 9:21 pm

This all also probably varies within the T-14... My experience at HLS was that having grades a bit above median and a leadership position on a secondary was enough to get me multiple interviews with federal COA, district and state supremes.


WTF, jesus. Needed to get into HYS or bust, obviously. Leadership position on a secondary journal and top 5% at my school got me maybe 5-6 d.ct. interviews and 1 COA interview--and NONE during the hiring plan (two interviews I had early off-plan and the remaining ones were post-hiring plan where the judge had some slots free up for the following year for one reason or another).

Also, one judge specifically asked why I was on a secondary journal and not law review. That was a sucky question to have to answer.

Unfortunately, the OP specified:

"I am at a top 20 school that is the top in the region and state."


There's only a few that meet that description, and I think LR will be an important thing there.

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Re: No Law Review, No Clerkship??

Postby hiima3L » Thu May 23, 2013 7:49 am

pushkin wrote:This all also probably varies within the T-14... My experience at HLS was that having grades a bit above median and a leadership position on a secondary was enough to get me multiple interviews with federal COA, district and state supremes. Obviously the same might not be true further down the rankings, but I think non LR folks at T-14s are by no means ruled out for state supreme, "other" federal (claims, bankruptcy, trade, etc), etc.


God damn. At my T30 the valedictorian got a mag. clerkship and only 8 other people got federal clerkships. And this year's class apparently only got 10. I truly did not appreciate the distinction between HYS and everyone else until post-graduation and hearing from my handful of HYS friends. It's unbelievable.
Last edited by hiima3L on Thu May 23, 2013 1:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: No Law Review, No Clerkship??

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu May 23, 2013 9:45 am

hiima3L wrote:
pushkin wrote:This all also probably varies within the T-14... My experience at HLS was that having grades a bit above median and a leadership position on a secondary was enough to get me multiple interviews with federal COA, district and state supremes. Obviously the same might not be true further down the rankings, but I think non LR folks at T-14s are by no means ruled out for state supreme, "other" federal (claims, bankruptcy, trade, etc), etc.


God damn. At my T30 the valedictorian got a mag. clerkship and only 8 other people got federal clerkships. And this year's class apparently only got 10. I truly did not appreciate the distinction between HYS and everyone else until post-graduation and hearing from my handful of HYS friends. It's unbelievable.

Yeah, at my lower T1, out of my class, 8 people got federal clerkships. And the thing is, since I graduated 2011, I think they might be counting people like me, who did a state clerkship straight out and went to a federal clerkship after that. A different world.

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Re: No Law Review, No Clerkship??

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 23, 2013 12:16 pm

Another data point: Our chambers doesn't even really look at grades for HSY people (and there's always usually one clerk from one of those schools around). I mean, if someone had affirmatively BAD grades they probably wouldn't be considered, but there aren't really any of those applying.

For the rest of the T14, the cutoff is basically cum laude/honors/Stone to get an interview. Though my judge would probably give substantial preference to Chicago and Columbia people at that point (s/he's had a good experience with them, I think -- and there's always usually one of these around as well). So someone from (say) Duke would have to have great grades or a much better interview to get the nod over a Chicago person, all things being equal.

For the solid, top 30ish state schools, you probably need magna (or at least top 10% if that's not magna) and law review.

For the local third and fourth tier schools, you need summa and law review.

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Re: No Law Review, No Clerkship??

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 24, 2013 1:26 am

Anonymous User wrote:Another data point: Our chambers doesn't even really look at grades for HSY people (and there's always usually one clerk from one of those schools around). I mean, if someone had affirmatively BAD grades they probably wouldn't be considered, but there aren't really any of those applying.

For the rest of the T14, the cutoff is basically cum laude/honors/Stone to get an interview. Though my judge would probably give substantial preference to Chicago and Columbia people at that point (s/he's had a good experience with them, I think -- and there's always usually one of these around as well). So someone from (say) Duke would have to have great grades or a much better interview to get the nod over a Chicago person, all things being equal.

For the solid, top 30ish state schools, you probably need magna (or at least top 10% if that's not magna) and law review.

For the local third and fourth tier schools, you need summa and law review.

Wow, your chambers is extremely forgiving.

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Re: No Law Review, No Clerkship??

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 24, 2013 10:17 am

Wow, your chambers is extremely forgiving.


I guess -- though I should have mentioned that it's a USDC, not COA. We're in the periphery of a big market (so like DNJ or DMd).

lolwat
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Re: No Law Review, No Clerkship??

Postby lolwat » Fri May 24, 2013 10:23 am

Less competitive districts will often look at schools outside the t14 and regional/local schools, but you still have to be like top 1-5% to get it (we still get apps from T14s and the grade requirement is slightly lower for them). A lot of COA judges do that too. I think it's a smart move overall to do that, anyway.

run26.2
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Re: No Law Review, No Clerkship??

Postby run26.2 » Thu Jun 20, 2013 12:06 pm

lolwat wrote:Also, one judge specifically asked why I was on a secondary journal and not law review. That was a sucky question to have to answer.

You should have asked him why he was on his court and not the Supreme Court.

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Re: No Law Review, No Clerkship??

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 20, 2013 5:32 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
I think the usual advice for people who aren't on LR is to find other ways of demonstrating writing skill, especially to get published. I have talked to more than one judge/career clerk who thinks that being on LR doesn't really tell you anything about an applicant's writing skills, and I suspect such people would be fine with other evidence of writing ability (one judge I know looks specifically for writing experience outside of law school - like journalism or the like). But again, some judges will want to see LR (if for no other reason than that the absence of LR provides an excuse to weed out applicants).


This is credited.

I am clerking at a federal specialty court and my judge hired me based on my writing, specifically, my recommenders (tenured prof, LRW/moot court proof, appellate court judge) all said my writing was exceptional. My judge doesn't really care about grades but rather wants people who can write and research well. I acknowledge she/he is in the minority, though.

Your grades are not going to get you a clerkship. Hell, I'd be surprised if you even get one interview (I only got one--but that's all it takes). You're going to have to make up for it in other ways.




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