My Clerkship odds

Seek and share information about clerkship applications, clerkship hiring timelines, and post-clerkship employment opportunities.
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are sharing sensitive information about clerkship applications and clerkship hiring. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned."
Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

My Clerkship odds

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:50 pm

Hi guys, I finished my first year at 15% class ranking, my school ranked slightly above 100 in terms of rankings and transferred to a school ranked in the mid 30s. I managed to get into the top 5% my first semester of my 2L year. I am doing federal clerkship applications, roughly about 170 applications. I am not on law review (never tried out), I have done interschool moot court competitions. I am externing for a superior court state judge this summer and at the same time working as a research assistant for my law professor. I worked at the biggest law firm in China my 1L summer, (couldn't find any here).

My grades are still not all out yet for my second semester, there's a chance I will drop into the top 10% (small chance but possible).

What are my chances for general Federal district courts? Do I have any chance at all in more popular regions like DC, Central California, and SDNY?

Magistrate courts?

I assume zero for court of appeals.

User avatar
kalvano
Posts: 11728
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: My Clerkship odds

Postby kalvano » Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am not on law review (never tried out),


That's going to present a very large issue.

lolwat
Posts: 604
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:30 pm

Re: My Clerkship odds

Postby lolwat » Mon Jun 17, 2013 3:10 pm

So basically:

Top 5%
Mid-30s school
no LR
moot court + extern + RA + law firm in China

Some possibility at local/flyover districts/judges depending on connections. Very little chance of anything competitive unless connections get you there. It's an uncommon resume and the biggest-law-firm-in-China thing might get you a second look just because it's interesting, but no LR (and not even trying out) will be a problem.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: My Clerkship odds

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:00 pm

Does secondary journal matter?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: My Clerkship odds

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Does secondary journal matter?

It "matters" in that it is certainly better to have some journal than no journal. But I doubt it's much of a bump. Maybe if you are EIC...

johndhi
Posts: 358
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 11:25 am

Re: My Clerkship odds

Postby johndhi » Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:37 pm

why do you guys say no LR is such a big issue?

User avatar
stillwater
Posts: 3811
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 2:59 pm

Re: My Clerkship odds

Postby stillwater » Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:38 pm

johndhi wrote:why do you guys say no LR is such a big issue?


judges love that shit.

lolwat
Posts: 604
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:30 pm

Re: My Clerkship odds

Postby lolwat » Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:53 am

why do you guys say no LR is such a big issue?


judges love that shit.


Yeah, this. Regardless of what you might think about LR, "judges love that shit." Off the top of my head I think Milan Smith (9th) and Frank Hull (11th) state that LR is required. And the vast majority of judges, have selected "Yes" for "Law Review/Journal Preferred" or "Other Journal Preferred." I remember having an interview and being asked why I wasn't on LR (I was on a secondary journal).

I know my judge looks primarily at grades but I think he also looks at LR and would really question someone that didn't have it.

theaccidentalclerk
Posts: 151
Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2011 9:29 am

Re: My Clerkship odds

Postby theaccidentalclerk » Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:11 am

On the flip side, my judge could give two hoots about law review. (Though s/he's alumni only, primarily because s/he expects that our firms will have taught us how to write well.)

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22892
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: My Clerkship odds

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:23 am

I don't even know if my judge cares particularly about LR or not, but the unfortunate thing is that if you don't have LR, the assumption is likely to be that either 1) you couldn't get on, which doesn't speak well to your abilities, or 2) you didn't want to do it, which doesn't always speak well to your work ethic (doing grinding out tedious work on stuff you have no personal investment in is a huge part of certain kinds of lawyering). There will certainly be some judges who don't care and see it as pointless busy work, and if you can demonstrate really definitively that you're a good writer through other means, no LR may be less damaging. But a lot of judges are people who dotted every i and crossed every t in law school, including LR.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: My Clerkship odds

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:28 am

lolwat wrote:Yeah, this. Regardless of what you might think about LR, "judges love that shit." Off the top of my head I think Milan Smith (9th) and Frank Hull (11th) state that LR is required. And the vast majority of judges, have selected "Yes" for "Law Review/Journal Preferred" or "Other Journal Preferred." I remember having an interview and being asked why I wasn't on LR (I was on a secondary journal).

I know my judge looks primarily at grades but I think he also looks at LR and would really question someone that didn't have it.


Out of curiosity, how do you answer the question, "why weren't you on LR?"

I'm not really sure what the answer is for me. One thing is that my summer job (USAO) had asked me to start work early because they had an urgent project, so I did writeon in the evenings and didn't give it the last couple of thorough citechecks it probably deserved. I sort of expected to grade on (top 5%) but apparently my school doesn't have complete grade-ons, so that didn't work out. Finally, a friend who did journal told me it wasn't worth it so I wasn't totally enthralled about going after it. In place of it I wrote and published two student notes.

Good answer? What parts should I toss or emphasize?

lolwat
Posts: 604
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:30 pm

Re: My Clerkship odds

Postby lolwat » Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:38 am

Out of curiosity, how do you answer the question, "why weren't you on LR?"

I'm not really sure what the answer is for me. One thing is that my summer job (USAO) had asked me to start work early because they had an urgent project, so I did writeon in the evenings and didn't give it the last couple of thorough citechecks it probably deserved. I sort of expected to grade on (top 5%) but apparently my school doesn't have complete grade-ons, so that didn't work out. Finally, a friend who did journal told me it wasn't worth it so I wasn't totally enthralled about going after it. In place of it I wrote and published two student notes.

Good answer? What parts should I toss or emphasize?


I just said I didn't have the grades to grade on during my 1L year, and grading on took up the vast majority the spots on LR. (I ended up top 5% and that's what they see if they just look at my resume, but my 1L grades were like... top 20% due to a shitty first semester). I don't know how good of an answer that is, but I think it was factually correct and I tried not to state it in a really apologetic tone.

Obviously emphasize the good parts and minimize the bad. Maybe something like "My summer job at the U.S. Attorney's Office had an urgent project and asked me to start work early (before/during write-on), and I did so." And I can't think of the best way to work in your two published student notes, but I would 100% do so.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: My Clerkship odds

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
lolwat wrote:Yeah, this. Regardless of what you might think about LR, "judges love that shit." Off the top of my head I think Milan Smith (9th) and Frank Hull (11th) state that LR is required. And the vast majority of judges, have selected "Yes" for "Law Review/Journal Preferred" or "Other Journal Preferred." I remember having an interview and being asked why I wasn't on LR (I was on a secondary journal).

I know my judge looks primarily at grades but I think he also looks at LR and would really question someone that didn't have it.


Out of curiosity, how do you answer the question, "why weren't you on LR?"

I'm not really sure what the answer is for me. One thing is that my summer job (USAO) had asked me to start work early because they had an urgent project, so I did writeon in the evenings and didn't give it the last couple of thorough citechecks it probably deserved. I sort of expected to grade on (top 5%) but apparently my school doesn't have complete grade-ons, so that didn't work out. Finally, a friend who did journal told me it wasn't worth it so I wasn't totally enthralled about going after it. In place of it I wrote and published two student notes.

Good answer? What parts should I toss or emphasize?

Do NOT emphasize
I sort of expected to grade on (top 5%) but apparently my school doesn't have complete grade-ons
or
a friend who did journal told me it wasn't worth it
The former makes you look like an airhead (you counted on a grade-on that didn't exist?) and the latter makes you look unserious. Stick with the USAO story, I guess. The fact that you wrote and published two notes independent of LR shows you can write and are interested in the law. Emphasize that.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: My Clerkship odds

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:23 pm

There are judges (more than a few) who want LR because of the prestige factor which I think is pointless, but my opinion does not count. For others, LR represents substantive writing and Bluebooking experience implying that they will have to do less basic instruction teaching you to write from the ground up. Essentially, they're busy and don't want to have handhold you more than they have to.

Publishing something substantive in an outside journal can negate the latter judges' criteria. Most judges are aware of the effort it takes to research, write, edit, (rinse and repeat for re-writing and re-editing), and Bluebooking. So some judges will value the publication credential in a secondary journal or law review in lieu of LR experience at your particular school.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: My Clerkship odds

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:33 pm

Hi, this is the OP

Should I get my Professors that didn't write letters of recommendation to make calls to Judges for me?
Should I get my judge who I am currently externing for to make calls for me?
If I do decide to get them to make calls for me, what is a polite number of calls I should ask for? Would calls to 3-4 judges be too much? Or can I even go as far as having them make 10 calls for me?

Any clue what a conversation between a judge and a professor would look like? Does my professor lead the conversation or will the judge lead? How do I figure out good times for my Professor/Judge to call?

Surprisingly the Professors who could have wrote the best letters of recommendations for me are not the ones who wrote my LORs. I can probably get two Professors to call on my behalf and my current judge who is my extern. Any clues who a judge might ask them if they phone in for me? How well do they have to know me out of my academic setting? My judge is the only person who can a test to me on a personal level.

Should I get my judge who I am currently externing for to make calls for me?
What about former employers?
I can definitely get my old bosses to make phone calls on my behalf.




Return to “Judicial Clerkships”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.