professors that help

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swtlilsoni
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professors that help

Postby swtlilsoni » Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:12 am

Choosing courses now. I hear professor connections are very important for clerkships because having a prof call on your behalf is a powerful way to get your foot in the door.

If this is true, should I consider which professors know judges as one of the factors in my course selection?
If so, how do I know which professors know judges?
And even if I do take a class with a prof who knows a judge, how would I reach the point where they'd call for me?

lolwat
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Re: professors that help

Postby lolwat » Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:06 am

1. If your only goal is literally to clerk and maximize your chances in doing so... otherwise no, I'd take whatever classes you'd enjoy taking.

2. Check the bios of your profs, first. If they've clerked, of course they know a judge. Sometimes judges teach classes, that's also pretty obvious. Other than that, I think it's largely word of mouth. You could ask your clerkship advisor in the CSO if you have one.

3. Go talk to them during their office hours. It doesn't have to be about anything substantive, just go talk to them. At some point, tell them you're thinking about clerking and ask whether they have any advice.

Two additional things worth mentioning, I guess:

1. Many professors will make calls for you even to judges they don't know. The only benefit you get to taking a class with professors that know judges and call those judges is that the recommendation is stronger. But you're also fighting with everyone else that's gunning for that kind of advantage. You're not going to be the only one that thought taking the class with that prof gets you a better shot at clerking for the judge they know.

2. Even if the professor knows or clerked for a judge they might never make a call to that judge. There's a few profs at my school that clerked for/know SCOTUS and feeder judges personally and it's not like we've ever had any luck sending any of our students to those judges.

GertrudePerkins
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Re: professors that help

Postby GertrudePerkins » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:45 am

It might be worth talking to 2Ls and 3Ls, especially those with clerkships, to see if they know any profs who are particularly helpful. There are some profs at my school who have a particular reputation for knowing many judges and being able to help.

I wouldn't decide to take a class just on the fact that the prof's bio shows s/he clerked for some important judge. As lolwat said, that's not a very good indication that they either have sway with the judge or would be willing to use it. Better to seek out a professor who perhaps did not himself clerk for anyone noteworthy but has a reputation for calling judges on students' behalf.

ZyzzBrah
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Re: professors that help

Postby ZyzzBrah » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:54 am

Its more important to have professors that will write you great letters/call people for you; one of my professors has gotten a student of his with the same judge (including me) for the past few years, but he doesn't know them personally. He's just a great advocate for his students.

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swtlilsoni
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Re: professors that help

Postby swtlilsoni » Sat Jul 06, 2013 12:20 pm

okay I talked to OCS and they gave me a list of professors on the clerkship committee (whatever that is) that tend to make calls. Now my serious dilemna is this: I already selected classes that I really want to take in the fall, some of them are also offered by these clerkship professors. Is it worth it to switch over?
My only doubt is how much would it even help to switch over..because first, my grades have to be good enough for a clerkship (which I'm not sure of), second, the prof has to like me enough to call for me, third the call has to make a difference, which it may not! so I would basically be switching over for some long shot......what do you guys think?

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sgtgrumbles
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Re: professors that help

Postby sgtgrumbles » Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:03 pm

Unless your single goal for law school is to come out of it with a clerkship, you should probably stick with the classes you have. You mentioned a number of good reasons for that. You should also consider the fact that you probably won't be very engaged by classes you're taking solely because the professor is supposed to be a good clerkship recommender. As a result, you'll make less of an impression on that professor and be less likely to get a good recommendation in the first place.

lolwat
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Re: professors that help

Postby lolwat » Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:06 pm

I already selected classes that I really want to take in the fall, some of them are also offered by these clerkship professors.


I'm trying to understand this sentence. For example, does this mean that there are two "federal courts" classes, one taught by a clerkship prof and the other one not? If that's the case, then switching over is fine. But if you're switching from "employment law" taught by a non-clerkship prof to "federal courts" taught by a clerkship prof, then maybe not.

Clerkships are a long shot to begin with for non-t6 (or maybe even just non-HYS) people anyway. If your goal is to clerk, maximizing your chances can't be a bad thing. Just understand what you're giving up in order to maximize the chances.

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swtlilsoni
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Re: professors that help

Postby swtlilsoni » Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:33 pm

thanks guys
and yes I meant that federal courts is taught by the two professors.

but one of the main issues I think is how helpful prof recommendations will be.

I know every clerkship application requires recommendations, and if these profs are just going to give recommendations like everyone else then it's not that big of a deal.
BUT I also hear that some people get the clerkships just because of their connection. Like, rather than going through a bunch of anonymous applicants, the judge just took the person their friend recommends. If that's the case, it's a huge deal because if I can get the connections through these profs, I may be considered for clerkships based mainly off their connection.

So, in short, do you guys know if the clerkship professors are likely just regular professors that will give a recommendation like everyone else, or if they actually have legit connections that can get your foot in the door?

lolwat
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Re: professors that help

Postby lolwat » Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:02 pm

I don't think anyone can answer that for you, because it's entirely case-by-case. I mean, yes, people do get clerkships because of their connections, but do YOUR professors HAVE and USE those connections? Does the judge value your professors' recommendations? No idea, impossible to answer... only your school and that professor will know.

I do think it increases your chances. And if it's the same class as you mentioned, why not switch over? Unless you know/like the other professor. If you don't know either of them, taking the clerkship prof can only help.

Is there a clerkship resources thing that you can look at? My school has a list of people that have clerked, and a list of judges that have hired from the school. If there seems to be some sort of connection, it's probably legit. (For example, if you notice that one of your clerkship profs has a connection to judge X, and coincidentally, judge X has hired 1-2 clerks from your school every year for the past 10 years that the clerkship prof has been teaching there, that's a pretty good indication that there's a legit connection.)

GertrudePerkins
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Re: professors that help

Postby GertrudePerkins » Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:40 pm

lolwat wrote:I don't think anyone can answer that for you, because it's entirely case-by-case. I mean, yes, people do get clerkships because of their connections, but do YOUR professors HAVE and USE those connections? Does the judge value your professors' recommendations? No idea, impossible to answer... only your school and that professor will know.

I do think it increases your chances. And if it's the same class as you mentioned, why not switch over? Unless you know/like the other professor. If you don't know either of them, taking the clerkship prof can only help.

Is there a clerkship resources thing that you can look at? My school has a list of people that have clerked, and a list of judges that have hired from the school. If there seems to be some sort of connection, it's probably legit. (For example, if you notice that one of your clerkship profs has a connection to judge X, and coincidentally, judge X has hired 1-2 clerks from your school every year for the past 10 years that the clerkship prof has been teaching there, that's a pretty good indication that there's a legit connection.)
I second what lolwat said. Also, are you a part of any groups (e.g., FedSoc, ACS, LR, other journal) that have 3Ls/alumni who you could talk to in order to discover which professors have legit connections? The best way to get this kind of info is to talk to past, present, and future clerks from your law school. I think most people are willing to be open about the prof connections that helped them get a clerkship (unless they were sworn to secrecy for some reason).

Anonymous User
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Re: professors that help

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 07, 2013 4:05 pm

swtlilsoni wrote:Choosing courses now. I hear professor connections are very important for clerkships because having a prof call on your behalf is a powerful way to get your foot in the door.

If this is true, should I consider which professors know judges as one of the factors in my course selection?
If so, how do I know which professors know judges?
And even if I do take a class with a prof who knows a judge, how would I reach the point where they'd call for me?

Make sure to take a writing class from a professor you want to write a rec for you. Writing is so important for clerking, you want at least one professor who has seen your work ethic while writing and read your writing so that he can comment on it in a rec.

legalmindedfella
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Re: professors that help

Postby legalmindedfella » Sun Jul 07, 2013 10:44 pm

sgtgrumbles wrote:Unless your single goal for law school is to come out of it with a clerkship, you should probably stick with the classes you have. You mentioned a number of good reasons for that. You should also consider the fact that you probably won't be very engaged by classes you're taking solely because the professor is supposed to be a good clerkship recommender. As a result, you'll make less of an impression on that professor and be less likely to get a good recommendation in the first place.


It's unlikely anyone takes this advice, but it's incredibly good advice. Taking classes for strategic reasons, when the strategy has nothing to do with the content of the class, has a way of backfiring badly. It's also not the best use of your very limited free choices in what to do with your time in school. Take stuff you're interested in and crush it.




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