how bad is it to not accept a clerkship

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: how bad is it to not accept a clerkship

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue May 28, 2013 12:54 pm

I do think law clerk hiring is different from firm hiring, in part because it is only for a year (so mistakes aren't that big a deal - whatever happens, the clerk is gone in a year), and in part because judges who hire term clerks have to go through hiring each and every year (without having the support/resources for it the way that law firms do). My general impression is that judges hate hiring and want to get it over with as quickly as possible, so that creates a slightly different dynamic (not that law firms necessarily love hiring, but the work is distributed over a larger group of people and they're making a potentially long-term investment in the hires).

Also, I think the "never turn down a judge/offer on the spot" thing is to some extent an artifact of the feeding frenzy created by the hiring plan, within a certain set of judges and students from a certain set of schools. When you have a system where (in theory) judges can only call rising 3Ls at a certain time, interview at a certain time, and make offers at a certain time, you create a whole lot of perverse hiring incentives that also don't exist in law firm hiring. Like I said, I've never actually experienced any of these kinds of offers, but I've also only applied off-plan and in semi-flyover country where I don't think judges pull that kind of move. But CSOs are conservative - and perhaps now operating on an out-of-date model - so they repeat this "wisdom."

So to be clear, no, I don't think it's a problem to turn down a clerkship offer, especially under the circumstances I discussed earlier. But I also think that while there a lot of kowtowing to federal judges that probably isn't merited, clerkship hiring just isn't the same as firm hiring.

lolwat
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Re: how bad is it to not accept a clerkship

Postby lolwat » Tue May 28, 2013 3:12 pm

I don't think people should treat clerkship interviews with judges the same as any other employment. There are a lot of similarities, but there are sufficient differences. I do agree that turning down an offer is not an unforgivable offense but that depends more on why you're doing it and how you do it, imo.

Don't worry, this just means you probably have more of a life than I do right now!


More work, maybe, but probably not more of a life. :D

Anonymous User
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Re: how bad is it to not accept a clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 28, 2013 3:27 pm

I think all the answers of "If you aren't willing to accept, you shouldn't have interviewed" statements are sort of ridiculous. It's essentially the same thing as saying, "Federal clerkship applicants are not allowed to make any attempt to create an optimal result for themselves, and they must submit themselves to the arbitrary, sub-optimal outcomes that goes along with the randomness of interview scheduling." In my opinion, a federal judge which places that kind of burden on applicants over a decision of this magnitude deserves to get rejected on occasion.

I'll put it another way. Those of you who posted with this kind of attitude also seem to agree with this statement:

If you learn something during the interview that causes you to lose interest in the job, you can and should decline.


A judge who extends you an exploding offer who won't even give you 15 minutes to call up previous judges you have interviewed with before making a decision is something I would have learned during the interview that caused me to lose interest in the job, so even according to you guys, I can and should decline.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: how bad is it to not accept a clerkship

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue May 28, 2013 3:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I think all the answers of "If you aren't willing to accept, you shouldn't have interviewed" statements are sort of ridiculous. It's essentially the same thing as saying, "Federal clerkship applicants are not allowed to make any attempt to create an optimal result for themselves, and they must submit themselves to the arbitrary, sub-optimal outcomes that goes along with the randomness of interview scheduling." In my opinion, a federal judge which places that kind of burden on applicants over a decision of this magnitude deserves to get rejected on occasion.

I'll put it another way. Those of you who posted with this kind of attitude also seem to agree with this statement:

If you learn something during the interview that causes you to lose interest in the job, you can and should decline.


A judge who extends you an exploding offer who won't even give you 15 minutes to call up previous judges you have interviewed with before making a decision is something I would have learned during the interview that caused me to lose interest in the job, so even according to you guys, I can and should decline.

Cool, bro, you go ahead and decline as you like, then. It's just there's a difference between "I think exploding offers are bogus and I would never work for a judge who offers them" and "regardless of what you think of exploding offers, here's what potential consequences of declining one might be."

lolwat
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Re: how bad is it to not accept a clerkship

Postby lolwat » Tue May 28, 2013 4:18 pm

I think it needs to be made clear what situation we're talking about because I think people are coming up with different, specific situations just to provide exceptions to the more general statements that are being offered. And yeah, it should not be a surprise that exceptions exist to general rules.

For example, are we clearly talking about a situation where someone has interviewed with Judge X, is currently interviewing with Judge Y, gets an offer from Judge Y and then asks for 24 hours to call Judge X, and then makes an informed decision based on that call? Sure, in that situation, it's perfectly fine to get an offer from Judge X and decline the offer from Judge Y (in, obviously, a very politely conveyed manner). It's also fine to accept the offer from Judge Y and tell Judge X that you're withdrawing from consideration, obviously.

If we're now talking about: (1) interviewed with Judge X; (2) currently interviewing with Judge Y; (3) gets an offer from Judge Y, who demands an immediate answer, then sure, that fuzzies things up a little bit. And I mean, yeah, if exploding offer from a judge that doesn't allow you to make a phone call makes you think "WTF I DON'T WANT TO WORK FOR SUCH AN ASSHOLE" then by all means, decline. I seriously doubt most people feel the same way. Especially when they might not get an offer from the judge they interviewed with before, but clearly has an offer from the one that just gave them the offer.

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Haymarket
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Re: how bad is it to not accept a clerkship

Postby Haymarket » Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:27 am

Anonymous User wrote:I'll put it another way. Those of you who posted with this kind of attitude also seem to agree with this statement:

If you learn something during the interview that causes you to lose interest in the job, you can and should decline.


You're an idiot. The correct behavior is, "If you learn something during the interview that causes you to lose interest, you should withdraw from consideration after the interview before they give you an offer.

Obviously this does not apply for offers given on the spot at the interview, but you should absolutely not let yourself be considered for a clerkship you would not accept on the spot.

But sure, go ahead and keep denying offers and let your schools get blacklisted by these judges and let your reputation (at least among those clerks) get trashed. Morons.

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bk1
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Re: how bad is it to not accept a clerkship

Postby bk1 » Mon Jun 03, 2013 4:13 pm

I think the wisdom exists to cover the school's ass more than yours. My impression is that the blowback on you personally will likely be minimal, but it might get your school blacklisted with that judge. I think in this instance, if you don't give a flying fuck about the people who will graduate from your school then do whatever you damn well please. Even if you do kind of care, it's not like getting blacklisted with a single judge for people who have the grades for a clerkship is really that big a blow to them.

It's a dick move (assuming you can't mitigate the blowback), but it's not that big of a dick move. Do what's best for you imo as long as you go in knowing the risks.

lolwat
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Re: how bad is it to not accept a clerkship

Postby lolwat » Mon Jun 03, 2013 4:41 pm

Even if you do kind of care, it's not like getting blacklisted with a single judge for people who have the grades for a clerkship is really that big a blow to them.


No quarrel with the rest of your post since I agree, but this is not necessarily true. There are schools that could piss off half the judges in the country and still do fine (HYS), but few enough judges hire at my (t20) school to begin with that losing even one of them permanently can be very bad. Especially if it's a judge that hires often from the school (e.g. one clerk per year or per every two years). Obviously not as big of a blow to lose a COA judge that happened to hire the #1 kid from our class for the first time in the history of that judge's career or something and would very possibly rarele ever do so again regardless of experience, but still, something to avoid.

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bk1
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Re: how bad is it to not accept a clerkship

Postby bk1 » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:56 pm

lolwat wrote:
Even if you do kind of care, it's not like getting blacklisted with a single judge for people who have the grades for a clerkship is really that big a blow to them.


No quarrel with the rest of your post since I agree, but this is not necessarily true. There are schools that could piss off half the judges in the country and still do fine (HYS), but few enough judges hire at my (t20) school to begin with that losing even one of them permanently can be very bad. Especially if it's a judge that hires often from the school (e.g. one clerk per year or per every two years). Obviously not as big of a blow to lose a COA judge that happened to hire the #1 kid from our class for the first time in the history of that judge's career or something and would very possibly rarele ever do so again regardless of experience, but still, something to avoid.

Maybe, but on the whole the people who have grades to get a clerkship likely have good employment (even from a T20). I'm not really crying that some dude at a T20 misses the clerkship boat and is now going to his 160k job instead. While it isn't always true, it is the case far more often than not (which brings me back to this is a dick move, but only a small one).




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