Clerking: Are There Judges That Don't Care About Grades?

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Clerking: Are There Judges That Don't Care About Grades?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 15, 2013 11:40 am

So, 1L grades were awful (bottom 25%) at a T50. Sucks, but I'll be taking classes next year where I can bring those grades up. Ultimately, I'd like to work for the gov't or in PI, so there's less pressure on grades.

Clerking is still desirable for those employers right? I know judges often require good grades, but I was wondering if there are any that would still look impressive to clerk for that don't care about them. I have a good deal of experience from before law school with labor/employment law and I can speak, write, and read in Spanish.

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Re: Clerking: Are There Judges That Don't Care About Grades?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:08 pm

The only judges I know of that don't care about grades are state trial-level judges, and I can't say it's so much that they don't care about grades, as they just don't require as high grades as other judges.

I'm trying to think of encouraging ways to write this, but my feeling is that coming from a T50, you would need grades within the top 20% to have a shot at any state intermediate court clerkship, and higher to get anything above that (and that would not be a shoo-in, just a threshold). Judges can be quirky, so it's hard to identify a strict bottom-line for grades, because sometimes something unusual will catch their eye and they'll hire just because of that. And sometimes it's possible to work experience/personal connections (e.g. intern for a judge and do good work and get them on your side, or of course, the classic family connections). Do you know any judges from your work in labor/employment law? (Being bilingual isn't directly helpful because everything that goes through the court will be in English, though of course some judges may value that in and of itself.)

But my gut reaction is that you'd really need to get those grades up a LOT.

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Re: Clerking: Are There Judges That Don't Care About Grades?

Postby kalvano » Sat Jun 15, 2013 5:04 pm

I was top 30% and published at a top 50 and I didn't get jack shit. And I applied everywhere. So I would not pin my hopes on getting a clerkship. At all.

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Re: Clerking: Are There Judges That Don't Care About Grades?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 15, 2013 5:12 pm

How about Court of Common Pleas? Similar predicament to OP, except that I'm at a school ranked 15-30.

Ultimate goal is PI. Would like to do prosecution, immigration law, family law, or some sort of indigent legal aid in general. No models n' bottles for me, lol.

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Re: Clerking: Are There Judges That Don't Care About Grades?

Postby Geist13 » Sat Jun 15, 2013 5:15 pm

State trial level clerk hiring appears to occur primarily under the table. Work for the PD/DA and tell everyone you work with to keep an ear to the ground for judges looking for a clerk. Clerking at the state trial level will help with employment for DA/PD.

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Re: Clerking: Are There Judges That Don't Care About Grades?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jun 15, 2013 5:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:How about Court of Common Pleas? Similar predicament to OP, except that I'm at a school ranked 15-30.

Ultimate goal is PI. Would like to do prosecution, immigration law, family law, or some sort of indigent legal aid in general. No models n' bottles for me, lol.

It's not clear that they hire on a regular cycle - according to the Vermont Law School guide to state clerkships [which is a really useful resource, your career office can give you the password for it],

"Full-time judicial law clerk positions, either as personal clerks for a judge or pool position (not working directly for a judge), are available to graduates of accredited law schools when vacancies occur. Judges may contact Human Resources when looking for clerks. Applicants should submit materials to Human Resources to be included in “eligibility file” and also apply directly with the hiring judge. Pool positions, when available, are posted at http://courts.phila.gov (click on “Employment” for vacancies and an application form)."

Currently, they only list "legal clerk I" positions, which are pretty clearly administrative and don't require a law degree. No idea what qualifications they'd look for if/when they are hiring law clerks. I still think bottom 25% is tough, but as always, connections and networking can make a huge difference.

(Also, state trial level law clerk hiring isn't particularly under the table in my state - it's advertised like any other job and tends to follow a predictable cycle, though nothing like the hiring plan for federal clerkships. But I'm sure it varies a lot by state.)

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Re: Clerking: Are There Judges That Don't Care About Grades?

Postby Geist13 » Sat Jun 15, 2013 6:10 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:(Also, state trial level law clerk hiring isn't particularly under the table in my state - it's advertised like any other job and tends to follow a predictable cycle, though nothing like the hiring plan for federal clerkships. But I'm sure it varies a lot by state.)


Yeah, a lot of it is advertised in my state as well (definitely not a regular cycle though). But it is pretty widely known that the judges generally prefer resumes delivered by attorneys they know instead of bothering with the huge stack of applications they get from HR. From what I have heard, in many instances judges will have names from contacts before HR even posts an opening.

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Re: Clerking: Are There Judges That Don't Care About Grades?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sat Jun 15, 2013 7:32 pm

wrong forum

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Re: Clerking: Are There Judges That Don't Care About Grades?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:00 pm

Geist13 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:(Also, state trial level law clerk hiring isn't particularly under the table in my state - it's advertised like any other job and tends to follow a predictable cycle, though nothing like the hiring plan for federal clerkships. But I'm sure it varies a lot by state.)


Yeah, a lot of it is advertised in my state as well (definitely not a regular cycle though). But it is pretty widely known that the judges generally prefer resumes delivered by attorneys they know instead of bothering with the huge stack of applications they get from HR. From what I have heard, in many instances judges will have names from contacts before HR even posts an opening.

That makes sense. I do think the people I know who have got these gigs have often done trial level internships and probably have connections.

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Re: Clerking: Are There Judges That Don't Care About Grades?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:13 pm

OP here--Thanks everyone for the replies. Do you think that if I manage to get on a secondary journal at my school (a few don't consider grades and I have relevant experience so they might pick me for that) would it be that beneficial to do a clerkship?

It would be amazing if I could eventually end up with a fed job with some place like the DOL, NLRB, or some other place. But, (I'm obviously not banking on that). For just trying to get a PI or lower government level position, would a clerkship be that much more useful to have if I'm on a journal?

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Re: Clerking: Are There Judges That Don't Care About Grades?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:23 pm

Honestly, for a lot of PI/lower state government, I'm not sure either journals or clerkships are as helpful as getting relevant internships and meeting as many people in the fields as you can. I suppose a journal can be useful to check the "I can write" box, but I have heard employers express skepticism about journals, because there are so many of them that almost anyone can get on one if they just put in the effort, it's not clear that they really demonstrate writing ability.

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Re: Clerking: Are There Judges That Don't Care About Grades?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:33 pm

Top 30% from a T20 and didn't get anything through the regular rising 3L/summer 2L process. Doubt you will either unless you have a personal connection or some other in. There are too many people clerking.

In fact, I would drop out if I were you, just being honest.

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Re: Clerking: Are There Judges That Don't Care About Grades?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:37 pm

OP here-- :lol: Definitely not interested in dropping out. I know my grades are terrible, but I've got two years to bring them up and I'm in a strong market. I network like a mofo and I've never had a problem getting a job in PI or gov't because I've done a lot to build up my relevant experience. Sorry, that's bragadocious, but I network, I volunteer, I have the experience, and I'll be taking seminars and easier classes to pull up my grades. So, I'm not worried in being in a more respectable place gradewise come graduation. Before then, I can apply to employers that don't care about grades (FWIW, I already have a PI internship lined up for the fall).

So anyway, that's why I'm just wondering if a clerkship would help me in that endeavor. If not, I'll still bring my grades up, but there's a lower stress-level. Might still be neat to do either way. Just wondering if it's useful (and thanks A. Nony. Mouse for the reply to that).

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stillwater
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Re: Clerking: Are There Judges That Don't Care About Grades?

Postby stillwater » Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:51 pm

i heard judges dont care at all

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Postby Myself » Sat Jun 15, 2013 11:09 pm

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Last edited by Myself on Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Clerking: Are There Judges That Don't Care About Grades?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 16, 2013 1:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So, 1L grades were awful (bottom 25%) at a T50. Sucks, but I'll be taking classes next year where I can bring those grades up. Ultimately, I'd like to work for the gov't or in PI, so there's less pressure on grades.

Clerking is still desirable for those employers right? I know judges often require good grades, but I was wondering if there are any that would still look impressive to clerk for that don't care about them. I have a good deal of experience from before law school with labor/employment law and I can speak, write, and read in Spanish.


Just to give you a sense of hope, I was able to get a intermediate state court clerkship with absolutely horrific 1L grades at a lower ranked school. I was ill my 1L year which contributed to some of it, but was able to pull almost straight A's my second year, got published, and won an outside moot court competition. You have to apply broadly, get ready for a ton of rejections, and work any connections you might have. Some judges do take the time to read what you send in and can see serious candidates who might not match up on paper.

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Re: Clerking: Are There Judges That Don't Care About Grades?

Postby bk1 » Sun Jun 16, 2013 1:36 pm

Moved to appropriate forum.

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Re: Clerking: Are There Judges That Don't Care About Grades?

Postby schweitziro » Sun Jun 16, 2013 6:19 pm

To get a PI gig you need to hustle and network. They don't care about grades as much. I would suggest trying to get a law clerk position pt during the school year and join your state's trial lawyer assoc. Anecdotally, I work at a top PI firm in a major market and while am top 10% a lot of my co-workers are not even close.




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