Any Chances at District Clerkship?

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: 273280
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Any Chances at District Clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 21, 2013 4:41 pm

While toiling away over my OSCAR and paper apps, I realized that while no career advisors/mentors/fellow students will tell me to my face if I've got no shot and its a waste of time, I could always ask anonymously to get a straight answer.

Lower Tier I School (25-50)
Top 10% (barely)
Law Review (no managing position)
Lots of judicial internship/extern experience (2 district, 1 COA)
Good SA job this summer, but far away from regions I'm applying to clerk in
3.75 GPA

Applying to pretty much all district courts across the South and Midwest, no desire to be in NE/DC/LA/SF/Chicago/Miami...mostly just looking at other courts in 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th, and 11th Circuits.

Just knowing how competitive it is, and considering I don't hail from a T14 school like the applicants I'll be competing against, is there even any point in my continuing to tailor my cover letters and resumes?

Thanks in advance -

User avatar
nevdash
Posts: 409
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2008 5:01 pm

Re: Any Chances at District Clerkship?

Postby nevdash » Fri Jun 21, 2013 4:58 pm

You're definitely in the running no matter what, but your chances might go up or down significantly based on which school in the 25-50 range you attend. But even if you attend the worst of the bunch, your stats probably make the effort on OSCAR worth it.

Good luck!

Anonymous User
Posts: 273280
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Any Chances at District Clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 21, 2013 5:10 pm

I think you have a shot if you're applying to judges who have a connection to your school or a professor. I don't think you're going to get anything just sending in an app without anything to get it flagged.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273280
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Any Chances at District Clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 21, 2013 5:11 pm

Also how competitive you are depends on who specifically you are targeting. If you simply blanket all dct judges in the midwest and south, you will likely have little luck. If, on the other hand, you do your research and find a couple dozen judges who are good fits for you and send semi-personalized (think 1-2 sentences) cover letters explaining why they are (same undergrad, same law school, you have an uncle in their town, etc) you have a solid shot to land an interview or two. In other words, you'll be competitive with your stats and background but are unlikely to hit just "get lucky" and land an interview without anything more. Luck plays a very small role in all of this -- the people with your credentials who get hired, get hired for a reason (albeit not necessarily always a great one). If you don't give judges that reason, don't expect much.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273280
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Any Chances at District Clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 21, 2013 7:17 pm

You have a puncher's chance. Apply to judges to whom you have a connection (same LS, same UG, lived there, professor knows the judge, has hired from your school before, etc.). And get your professors to make calls to any judges you identify as giving you an above-average shot because of your connection. Effusive praise, strong recommendation to look at your application, etc.

If you are willing to apply outside of major cities you will have a better shot. Good luck!

Anonymous User
Posts: 273280
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Any Chances at District Clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 21, 2013 7:27 pm

OP here

Definitely encouraging to hear that it's not a COMPLETE waste of time. I have been singling out the judges according to the criteria suggested; those that hire from my school, proximity, same UG, etc. Unfortunately, though, don't have many professors who know the judges, nor do I really have any personal legal connections. That being said, I can say with lots of certainty that my recommenders wrote kick-ass letters - so I'll keep my fingers crossed.

As for the small cities - Many of my applications are to cities that many would consider less than desirable. My only hesitation about this, however, is that it will seem fairly transparent. While it is easy to write a cover letter to judges in NYC, LA, DC, ATL, or SF expressing my "intention to live and practice in ______ after graduation," I'm not sure how to go about expressing my excitement or ties to places like Cheyenne, WY or Nome, AK for example. If I tried to suggest a desire to live and practice in any of those or like cities long term, I think I would come off as dishonest, and if I avoid the issue altogether, or am actually truthful about having no desire whatsoever to live in a town that doesn't have paved roads, I might ruin my chances. Any advice there?

Thanks!

User avatar
nevdash
Posts: 409
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2008 5:01 pm

Re: Any Chances at District Clerkship?

Postby nevdash » Fri Jun 21, 2013 7:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:As for the small cities - Many of my applications are to cities that many would consider less than desirable. My only hesitation about this, however, is that it will seem fairly transparent. While it is easy to write a cover letter to judges in NYC, LA, DC, ATL, or SF expressing my "intention to live and practice in ______ after graduation," I'm not sure how to go about expressing my excitement or ties to places like Cheyenne, WY or Nome, AK for example. If I tried to suggest a desire to live and practice in any of those or like cities long term, I think I would come off as dishonest, and if I avoid the issue altogether, or am actually truthful about having no desire whatsoever to live in a town that doesn't have paved roads, I might ruin my chances. Any advice there?


I can't really speak to whether it's good practice on the whole to pretend you have a desire to practice in rural areas, but I got a district court clerkship in an area where I have no ties and no intention of practicing, and I didn't lie in my cover letter or anything. I was even asked in my interview if I had any ties/desire to practice in the area, and answering no didn't kill my chances.

But then again, that's just one judge. So take that anecdote to mean that at least one judge out there in flyover land doesn't care about ties or a desire to practice in the area.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273280
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Any Chances at District Clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 21, 2013 9:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here

Definitely encouraging to hear that it's not a COMPLETE waste of time. I have been singling out the judges according to the criteria suggested; those that hire from my school, proximity, same UG, etc. Unfortunately, though, don't have many professors who know the judges, nor do I really have any personal legal connections. That being said, I can say with lots of certainty that my recommenders wrote kick-ass letters - so I'll keep my fingers crossed.

As for the small cities - Many of my applications are to cities that many would consider less than desirable. My only hesitation about this, however, is that it will seem fairly transparent. While it is easy to write a cover letter to judges in NYC, LA, DC, ATL, or SF expressing my "intention to live and practice in ______ after graduation," I'm not sure how to go about expressing my excitement or ties to places like Cheyenne, WY or Nome, AK for example. If I tried to suggest a desire to live and practice in any of those or like cities long term, I think I would come off as dishonest, and if I avoid the issue altogether, or am actually truthful about having no desire whatsoever to live in a town that doesn't have paved roads, I might ruin my chances. Any advice there?

Thanks!

Just because your profs don't know the judges doesn't mean they shouldn't call. Getting your app pulled from the stack of 1,000 is the biggest hurdle. Having a prof call and rave about you is the surest way to make that happen for most judges, even if the profs don't know the judge. Calls will be HUGE for you. Make them happen.

As for the location issue: you don't have to mention it at all in your cover letter. Or if you want to work in, say, Raleigh, but are applying for judges in other parts of NC, you can just talk about NC generally.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22836
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Any Chances at District Clerkship?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jun 21, 2013 9:08 pm

I think that if a judge really cares about ties to an area, and you don't have them, there's not really much you can do about it - you can't manufacture some spectacular reason that will be convincing. But not all judges care. I mean, if there's anything specific to the location/jurisdiction that you can comment on, go for it. My district has a heavy caseload in two practice areas I'm interested in, so I said I was interested in the district because of my interest in those areas. But if there isn't anything, I wouldn't worry about it too much. (I have no ties to/intention to practice in my current district, either, and I don't think commenting on the practice areas hid that at all.)




Return to “Judicial Clerkships”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.