Is this too unusual of a career/clerk path?

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Is this too unusual of a career/clerk path?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:07 am

I am about to finish my first year at a firm, and am beginning a Dist. Ct. clerkship in August. I have a couple of outstanding COA apps for 2014 judges who I know hire late, but assuming I don't get those and given my geographical limitations (significant other), I won't be getting a COA clerkship in 2014. Is it acceptable or too unusual to do something else for 2014, and then do COA in 2015? I'm seeing more judges pop up obviously for 2015, many of whom I know have a preference for people with more experience, but I'm concerned that firm --> dist. ct. --> something else --> app. ct. is too unusual a path, and I'm also not sure what I could do for that third year. I worry that bouncing in and out of private practice looks bad.

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Re: Is this too unusual of a career/clerk path?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:13 am

There are a number of people that do this. I think it depends on how willing the 2014 option is to have you for only a year.

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Re: Is this too unusual of a career/clerk path?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:18 am

Anonymous User wrote:There are a number of people that do this. I think it depends on how willing the 2014 option is to have you for only a year.

Yeah, I think this is increasingly common--still not *common*, but less unusual than it used to be, especially in major cities where judges often prefer alums. I know several people who have done this, although all have spent both "off" years (in your case 2012-'13 and 2014-'15) at a law firm in the same city they're clerking in.

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Re: Is this too unusual of a career/clerk path?

Postby lolwat » Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:41 am

Anonymous User wrote:I am about to finish my first year at a firm, and am beginning a Dist. Ct. clerkship in August. I have a couple of outstanding COA apps for 2014 judges who I know hire late, but assuming I don't get those and given my geographical limitations (significant other), I won't be getting a COA clerkship in 2014. Is it acceptable or too unusual to do something else for 2014, and then do COA in 2015? I'm seeing more judges pop up obviously for 2015, many of whom I know have a preference for people with more experience, but I'm concerned that firm --> dist. ct. --> something else --> app. ct. is too unusual a path, and I'm also not sure what I could do for that third year. I worry that bouncing in and out of private practice looks bad.


This sounds similar to my situation and I don't think it's necessarily bad. It's just rare as hell so you might want to have some explanation.

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Re: Is this too unusual of a career/clerk path?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:55 am

Why not try to extend your D.Ct. clerkship for an extra year? Lots of districts and judges are moving that way anyway; your judge might be thrilled to have a clerk stay on for an extra year.

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Re: Is this too unusual of a career/clerk path?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:56 am

Anonymous User wrote:Why not try to extend your D.Ct. clerkship for an extra year? Lots of districts and judges are moving that way anyway; your judge might be thrilled to have a clerk stay on for an extra year.


He/she has already hired clerks for the next year (2014)

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Re: Is this too unusual of a career/clerk path?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:57 am

lolwat wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I am about to finish my first year at a firm, and am beginning a Dist. Ct. clerkship in August. I have a couple of outstanding COA apps for 2014 judges who I know hire late, but assuming I don't get those and given my geographical limitations (significant other), I won't be getting a COA clerkship in 2014. Is it acceptable or too unusual to do something else for 2014, and then do COA in 2015? I'm seeing more judges pop up obviously for 2015, many of whom I know have a preference for people with more experience, but I'm concerned that firm --> dist. ct. --> something else --> app. ct. is too unusual a path, and I'm also not sure what I could do for that third year. I worry that bouncing in and out of private practice looks bad.


This sounds similar to my situation and I don't think it's necessarily bad. It's just rare as hell so you might want to have some explanation.


I think my main concern is coming back to a firm (which I basically intend to do) with only 2 years of firm work and feeling very out of place as, I presume, a 4th or possibly even 5th year.

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Re: Is this too unusual of a career/clerk path?

Postby lolwat » Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:33 am

I think my main concern is coming back to a firm (which I basically intend to do) with only 2 years of firm work and feeling very out of place as, I presume, a 4th or possibly even 5th year.


I don't know enough about firms, but I think you'd just really be looked upon as a lateral candidate rather than a post-clerkship candidate. Even now a lot of firms treat me as a lateral. It might just be a matter of firm policy/negotiating credit at that point. Plus, lots of people do D.Ct. -> COA right out of law school and enter a firm as a __th year. Whatever that __ is, a lot of firms seem to be comfortable enough with people joining them with clerkship experience but no firm experience.

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Re: Is this too unusual of a career/clerk path?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 20, 2013 5:28 pm

I'm in the same boat and I have the same concerns. In my (regional) market, leaving a firm to clerk is considered a sign that you don't want to be at a firm at all. It would really hurt career progression. So, if I do it, it will be with the plan of leaving my home town and moving to a big city for good.

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Re: Is this too unusual of a career/clerk path?

Postby ClerkAdvisor » Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am about to finish my first year at a firm, and am beginning a Dist. Ct. clerkship in August. I have a couple of outstanding COA apps for 2014 judges who I know hire late, but assuming I don't get those and given my geographical limitations (significant other), I won't be getting a COA clerkship in 2014. Is it acceptable or too unusual to do something else for 2014, and then do COA in 2015? I'm seeing more judges pop up obviously for 2015, many of whom I know have a preference for people with more experience, but I'm concerned that firm --> dist. ct. --> something else --> app. ct. is too unusual a path, and I'm also not sure what I could do for that third year. I worry that bouncing in and out of private practice looks bad.


Serious question here: Why do you want the second clerkship? The value of the second clerkship diminishes the longer you are out of school. Unless you have a very specific need for a second clerkship in this situation,* then I think you woud be better off staying at the firm. From a long term prospective, your career would probably be more benefitted by (a) staying at the firm or (b) doing a stint in government.

*- I think doing two one-year clerkships in a row is fine, either right out of law school or one year out of law school. But once you get out of the junior associate years, you'd be better off getting hands-on practice experience.

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Re: Is this too unusual of a career/clerk path?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 21, 2013 1:10 pm

Part of it is I've heard wonderful things from friends and I understand it to, naturally, be a very different perspective on the judicial process. Part of it is it just seems like the final step in my legal education/career before I dedicate myself fully to private practice or whatever I decide to do long-term.




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