D. Ct./D. Ct./COA?

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Anonymous User
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D. Ct./D. Ct./COA?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:24 am

Here's an odd situation.

I'm an alum. Just outside of top 33%, lower T14. Really strong work experience in public sector/non-profit litigation w/outstanding recs from people who practice in front of important judges regularly, but, y'know, lousy grades for a federal clerkship. Interpreting my application in the most favorable light possible, I look like I'm great at being a lawyer, not at going to law school.

I'm applying for 2014-15 district court clerkships, casting a wide net, hoping that my very positive experience will outweigh the grades that would sink my chances fresh out of school. I thought a nice goal would be to shoot for a COA clerkship in less competitive circuits in 2015-16 with the understanding that it's a super long-shot.

I got asked if I'd be interested in doing 2015-16 with a particular district court judge. Not an offer, but a strong invitation to be seriously considered. Excellent location (for me), wonderful judge.

My questions are:

(1) Should I keep my irons in the fire for 2014-15 if I get the 2015-16 offer? Is it worth doing two district court clerkships in a row?
(2) If so, is there a shot at getting to a COA after that?
(3) If so, is it worth doing that? Three years clerking seems like a long time to me, but a COA would be as high as I could possibly go, and I'd like to do it. My final "exit strategy" would ideally be as an AUSA, but I have friends doing interesting things in biglaw (gasp!) who I could call up, too. (By then, they'd be up for consideration as partners... scary thought.)

lolwat
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Re: D. Ct./D. Ct./COA?

Postby lolwat » Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:43 am

(1) What are you doing right now? Your post only indicated that you're an alum and you have work experience. I have to assume that you're currently employed, in which case, if you get the 2015-16 offer, it makes less sense to do two district court clerkships. As far as whether it's worth it, it depends. In most cases, it's not. Case load and types of cases will vary among districts but the basic job and what you learn from it will likely not vary that much.

(2) Sure, in the sense that it's relatively easier to get a COA clerkship once you have a D.Ct. clerkship. Judges know each other and stuff, after all. Your grades still wouldn't make the cut so you do need this kind of other connection.

(3) I think so. I certainly wouldn't mind doing a COA clerkship after my D.Ct. clerkship at all (though it doesn't look like the odds of it actually happening are very good at this point). Three years clerking isn't optimal, but I don't think it's particularly bad.

Citizen Genet
Posts: 516
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Re: D. Ct./D. Ct./COA?

Postby Citizen Genet » Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:44 am

Anonymous User wrote:Here's an odd situation.

I'm an alum. Just outside of top 33%, lower T14. Really strong work experience in public sector/non-profit litigation w/outstanding recs from people who practice in front of important judges regularly, but, y'know, lousy grades for a federal clerkship. Interpreting my application in the most favorable light possible, I look like I'm great at being a lawyer, not at going to law school.

I'm applying for 2014-15 district court clerkships, casting a wide net, hoping that my very positive experience will outweigh the grades that would sink my chances fresh out of school. I thought a nice goal would be to shoot for a COA clerkship in less competitive circuits in 2015-16 with the understanding that it's a super long-shot.

I got asked if I'd be interested in doing 2015-16 with a particular district court judge. Not an offer, but a strong invitation to be seriously considered. Excellent location (for me), wonderful judge.

My questions are:

(1) Should I keep my irons in the fire for 2014-15 if I get the 2015-16 offer? Is it worth doing two district court clerkships in a row?
(2) If so, is there a shot at getting to a COA after that?
(3) If so, is it worth doing that? Three years clerking seems like a long time to me, but a COA would be as high as I could possibly go, and I'd like to do it. My final "exit strategy" would ideally be as an AUSA, but I have friends doing interesting things in biglaw (gasp!) who I could call up, too. (By then, they'd be up for consideration as partners... scary thought.)


You will be more competitive for a COA applying as an alum in a D. Ct. clerkship, especially if your judge goes to bat for you. The only reason that two D.Ct. clerkships might be better is for timing so that a judge will make calls on your behalf. If you do just the 2015-2016 clerkship and want to clerk COA for 2016-2017, then your D.Ct. judge likely can't make calls. (By the time she/he has an idea of who you are, COA hiring will be close to over.) If you do two clerkships, then the judge you clerked for 2014-2015 can call the COA judge for 2016-2017. Note, I am not saying you should do two years -- I am saying that this is the only benefit having two years would give you in trying to get a 2016-2017 COA. (I shouldn't say only. It will also increase your network and maybe give you a better geographic variety on your resume.... but those are minor for applying for COA.)

As for whether it's worth it, that's up to you. Applying for AUSA positions, the additional year of D.Ct. won't be that big of a boost. The COA can help, but not as much as most would think. Whether it gets you into BigLaw, I have no clue at what hiring looks like for people at that stage of their careers.

Anonymous User
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Re: D. Ct./D. Ct./COA?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:47 pm

Why wouldn't you just take the (presumed) 2015-2016 offer, continue working, quit looking for 2014-2015, and then apply for COA in 2016-2017?




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