2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:23 am

ph14 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Edit: Its best if you apply NOW to all local judges within that region, then try to hustle more interviews by calling chambers and saying your interview with judge X and would like to meet judge Y while you are in town on this date. So give yourself sometime before the interview to make this happen.


You can do this?? Had no freaking clue. So what you're saying is that, if you're interviewing for just one judge, you can call up other judges in the area that you've applied to but haven't gotten interviews with yet?


Yeah. I got one interview this way. I would think that your chances aren't as good as a judge/the judge's clerks picking you specifically to interview, but it's worth a shot.


Well I'll be. So you can mention the name of the first judge you're interviewing with without worrying that other judges will pass the information along to the first judge? Maybe it wouldn't matter either way.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:28 am

Anonymous User wrote:
ph14 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Edit: Its best if you apply NOW to all local judges within that region, then try to hustle more interviews by calling chambers and saying your interview with judge X and would like to meet judge Y while you are in town on this date. So give yourself sometime before the interview to make this happen.


You can do this?? Had no freaking clue. So what you're saying is that, if you're interviewing for just one judge, you can call up other judges in the area that you've applied to but haven't gotten interviews with yet?


Yeah. I got one interview this way. I would think that your chances aren't as good as a judge/the judge's clerks picking you specifically to interview, but it's worth a shot.


Well I'll be. So you can mention the name of the first judge you're interviewing with without worrying that other judges will pass the information along to the first judge? Maybe it wouldn't matter either way.


Mention Judge X's name to credit yourself, or else they'd think u are BSing. But obviously, u have to confirm an interview date with judge X first before calling judge Y's chambers.

Gotta get ur flight money worth, dude. Everyday I'm hustlin' hustlin'.

Btw, when I said "local", i meant like if you are flying to Houston, TX you can still interview with chambers in Austin, Dallas, etc. Think broadly when stating "I'm in the area"

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 12, 2014 8:52 pm

So what is y'all's approach to interviewing? I'm terrible at interviews but get by okay if I prepare like hell. Questions about Con Law, statutory interpretation, my views on the healthcare act scare me like no other. Have you guys found a successful strategy that works for you?

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Arbiter213 » Wed Feb 12, 2014 8:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So what is y'all's approach to interviewing? I'm terrible at interviews but get by okay if I prepare like hell. Questions about Con Law, statutory interpretation, my views on the healthcare act scare me like no other. Have you guys found a successful strategy that works for you?


In my handful of interviews I didn't have a single substantive question. While some judges do that, it was by no means universal.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Jchance » Wed Feb 12, 2014 8:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So what is y'all's approach to interviewing? I'm terrible at interviews but get by okay if I prepare like hell. Questions about Con Law, statutory interpretation, my views on the healthcare act scare me like no other. Have you guys found a successful strategy that works for you?


Be yourself and prepare answer for "why judge X?" and "why this location". Thats pretty much all I did.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:17 pm

Jchance wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So what is y'all's approach to interviewing? I'm terrible at interviews but get by okay if I prepare like hell. Questions about Con Law, statutory interpretation, my views on the healthcare act scare me like no other. Have you guys found a successful strategy that works for you?


Be yourself and prepare answer for "why judge X?" and "why this location". Thats pretty much all I did.


In my COA interview I was asked about my opinion on the death penalty and about several opinions that the judge had authored. Chambers gave me fair warning about the latter questions. I've heard that the death penalty question is fairly common.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 13, 2014 2:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I apologize if this is a stupid question. But does OSCAR provide the Judge's emails? If so where would I find it.


I am most definitely posting this anon so as to not ruin my clerkship chances ... but it's really not that hard to figure out a judge's email address. (NOTE: I would be VERY careful using this technique. Some judges will appreciate your deductive skills. Others will hit the Delete button immediately because you didn't follow their "process" of filtering all clerk resumes through either a staff attorney or a current clerk.)

The entire federal district court system -- and I *think* the circuit courts as well, though I haven't confirmed it -- uses the following address protocol (WITH EXCEPTIONS - SEE BELOW):

JudgeFirstName_JudgeLastName@twoletters ... courts.gov

To use two actual examples:

Lee_Rosenthal@txs.uscourts.gov (short for U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas)
geraldine_soat_brown@ilsd.uscourts.gov (short for U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois)

EXCEPTIONS:

1. As the Judge Rosenthal example illustrates, some districts leave out the "d" at the end of their subdomain. This can vary even intrastate; the domain for the Northern District of Texas, for instance, is @txnd.uscourts.gov.

2. If a judge has more than two names, like example #2, place an underscore in-between each one.

3. Some judges -- and no, I don't know which, aside from a few examples -- use "Judge" as their "first name" in their email address. Two more actual examples:

Judge_Grimm@mdd.uscourts.gov
Judge_Rosenthal@txnd.uscourts.gov

4. The above example illustrates how you write email addresses for states like Maryland with only a single district: "mdd" in this case.

Finally, some words of advice, speaking as someone interning for a federal judge this semester (which I HIGHLY recommend btw if you don't get a federal internship during 1L summer), though with the caveat that I'm talking about federal district judges, not appellate: to state the obvious, every federal judge gets a shitload of resumes. To state the hopefully obvious, federal judges in major cities get the most, even though major cities have vastly more district judges total (in most cases). I go to school in a top-five city/region in terms of population, and my judge has received roughly 300 resumes thus far. I haven't read the whole thread, so apologies if people have already stated these suggestions, but here's what I'd recommend for getting to the top of the stack:

1. First of all: I don't know if this is protocol throughout the country, but in my district every judge makes a point of reading every inbound resume. (Okay, sort of: *someone* in a judge's office reads every CV, though in larger districts it's probably a clerk or staff attorney.) At the very least, take comfort in the fact that your resume was at least considered (even if it was rejected).

2. If you have a personal tie of some sort with the judge, USE IT AT THE VERY BEGINNING OF YOUR COVER LETTER. If you're BFFs with one of his recent clerks, SAY IT (particularly if you know the judge really liked said clerk). If you interned for another federal judge in the same district, SAY SO; it will likely guarantee you a phone call to your internship judge at the very least. If your judge has a unique interest that you happen to share, MENTION IT. I know at least one major judge who, for instance, is a huge animal-rights aficionado, and any applicant who's volunteered for, say, a no-kill animal shelter goes to the top of her stack.

3. Don't send out f'ing form letters: TAILOR YOUR APPLICATIONS FOR EACH JUDGE. Get on Lexis or Westlaw and actually READ some of their opinions. Go to the judge wiki and READ their bio. If you can, OBSERVE the judge in court.

That's all for now - I'm off to work...

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby daleearnhardt123 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I apologize if this is a stupid question. But does OSCAR provide the Judge's emails? If so where would I find it.


I am most definitely posting this anon so as to not ruin my clerkship chances ... but it's really not that hard to figure out a judge's email address. (NOTE: I would be VERY careful using this technique. Some judges will appreciate your deductive skills. Others will hit the Delete button immediately because you didn't follow their "process" of filtering all clerk resumes through either a staff attorney or a current clerk.)

The entire federal district court system -- and I *think* the circuit courts as well, though I haven't confirmed it -- uses the following address protocol (WITH EXCEPTIONS - SEE BELOW):

JudgeFirstName_JudgeLastName@twoletters ... courts.gov

To use two actual examples:

Lee_Rosenthal@txs.uscourts.gov (short for U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas)
geraldine_soat_brown@ilsd.uscourts.gov (short for U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois)

EXCEPTIONS:

1. As the Judge Rosenthal example illustrates, some districts leave out the "d" at the end of their subdomain. This can vary even intrastate; the domain for the Northern District of Texas, for instance, is @txnd.uscourts.gov.

2. If a judge has more than two names, like example #2, place an underscore in-between each one.

3. Some judges -- and no, I don't know which, aside from a few examples -- use "Judge" as their "first name" in their email address. Two more actual examples:

Judge_Grimm@mdd.uscourts.gov
Judge_Rosenthal@txnd.uscourts.gov

4. The above example illustrates how you write email addresses for states like Maryland with only a single district: "mdd" in this case.

Finally, some words of advice, speaking as someone interning for a federal judge this semester (which I HIGHLY recommend btw if you don't get a federal internship during 1L summer), though with the caveat that I'm talking about federal district judges, not appellate: to state the obvious, every federal judge gets a shitload of resumes. To state the hopefully obvious, federal judges in major cities get the most, even though major cities have vastly more district judges total (in most cases). I go to school in a top-five city/region in terms of population, and my judge has received roughly 300 resumes thus far. I haven't read the whole thread, so apologies if people have already stated these suggestions, but here's what I'd recommend for getting to the top of the stack:

1. First of all: I don't know if this is protocol throughout the country, but in my district every judge makes a point of reading every inbound resume. (Okay, sort of: *someone* in a judge's office reads every CV, though in larger districts it's probably a clerk or staff attorney.) At the very least, take comfort in the fact that your resume was at least considered (even if it was rejected).

2. If you have a personal tie of some sort with the judge, USE IT AT THE VERY BEGINNING OF YOUR COVER LETTER. If you're BFFs with one of his recent clerks, SAY IT (particularly if you know the judge really liked said clerk). If you interned for another federal judge in the same district, SAY SO; it will likely guarantee you a phone call to your internship judge at the very least. If your judge has a unique interest that you happen to share, MENTION IT. I know at least one major judge who, for instance, is a huge animal-rights aficionado, and any applicant who's volunteered for, say, a no-kill animal shelter goes to the top of her stack.

3. Don't send out f'ing form letters: TAILOR YOUR APPLICATIONS FOR EACH JUDGE. Get on Lexis or Westlaw and actually READ some of their opinions. Go to the judge wiki and READ their bio. If you can, OBSERVE the judge in court.

That's all for now - I'm off to work...


I am probably in the same stage of this process as you, so I'm not speaking from much experience, but I would think this is god awful advice.

Not only do I suspect a judge would be infuriated to see that you "deducted" his/her email address and essentially sent spam, but I would think that some of the more agitated ones might try to get their circuit to blacklist you. Most of them set up explicit processes for applications, there is simply no reason to be "deducing" their email address and then emailing them directly.

Also, Your last point flies directly in the face of guidance i've received from former clerks and professors, some of whom made it to SCOTUS. A generic cover letter is exactly what is expected. Your resume, transcript, and writing sample are what is supposed to make or break you. Not some fluff you conjure up in a cover letter that they expect is just a formality.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote: I am most definitely posting this anon so as to not ruin my clerkship chances ... but it's really not that hard to figure out a judge's email address. (NOTE: I would be VERY careful using this technique. Some judges will appreciate your deductive skills. Others will hit the Delete button immediately because you didn't follow their "process" of filtering all clerk resumes through either a staff attorney or a current clerk.)
major judge who, for instance, is a huge animal-rights aficionado, and any applicant who's volunteered for, say, a no-kill animal shelter goes to the top of her stack.



Current D.Ct. clerk here. I'm sure different judges view this differently, but in my opinion it would be suicide to e-mail a judge directly. I've seen my judge's inbox and it's flooded. The last thing he/she would want would be thousands of applicants sending in resumes.

Each chambers has its own chambers-specific e-mail. I think that would be much safer.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Citizen Genet » Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote: I am most definitely posting this anon so as to not ruin my clerkship chances ... but it's really not that hard to figure out a judge's email address. (NOTE: I would be VERY careful using this technique. Some judges will appreciate your deductive skills. Others will hit the Delete button immediately because you didn't follow their "process" of filtering all clerk resumes through either a staff attorney or a current clerk.)
major judge who, for instance, is a huge animal-rights aficionado, and any applicant who's volunteered for, say, a no-kill animal shelter goes to the top of her stack.



Current D.Ct. clerk here. I'm sure different judges view this differently, but in my opinion it would be suicide to e-mail a judge directly. I've seen my judge's inbox and it's flooded. The last thing he/she would want would be thousands of applicants sending in resumes.


This. Do not email a judge directly unless explicitly told or invited to.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:11 pm

Anybody know whether Nina Pillard has started interviewing for 2015 yet?

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:16 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Totally agree you should never email a judge directly unless you've been directed to.

About customizing: I think if you have anything with which to tailor a letter, you should: you have some connection (worked for someone who clerked for the judge, worked at the judge's old firm or interned at their old USAO office), you have a specific reason for being in the area (grew up there, family all there, fiance lives there), you have a specific reason for wanting to be in that court (especially if it's a specialty docket). And if you research the judge and there's some genuine connection - they've spoken about sentencing reform and you have experience with/are passionate about sentencing reform - you could throw that in there.

But I also think that if you're applying broadly - as you should - there will be lots of judges that you can't really do this for. In which case, generic is fine. I think a forced/false attempt at customization doesn't do you any good at all.

I agree that it's the rest of your application that matters most, but since there are so many brilliant applications, if you have something you can use to get your application looked at twice, the CL can help. But I think there really has to be some substance there. And for the average district court judge, reading their opinions isn't going to be remotely helpful because their job isn't to imprint their opinions with their unique jurisprudential stance or anything - they're just trying to grind through everything and get it right. That's different for COA, obviously.

Yeah I totally disagree with the tailoring the cover letter based on judge's opinions. The amount of time and effort you would need to expend to mail out a single such detailed cover letter to a judge who will in all likelihood base his/her decisions on grades and stuff is mind boggling and simply not efficient. If you're mailing out more than a few letters, like me, such a method would take forever.

edit: I'm disagreeing with the Anon poster, not the mod here, if you can tailor based on ties or legit subject area interest, then yes...i just dont think tailoring based on case opinions is a good idea.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Anybody know whether Nina Pillard has started interviewing for 2015 yet?


She has done very few 2015 interviews, but chambers should start moving around now / early next week. Her first sitting was two days ago, so that was the focus for awhile.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Edit: Its best if you apply NOW to all local judges within that region, then try to hustle more interviews by calling chambers and saying your interview with judge X and would like to meet judge Y while you are in town on this date. So give yourself sometime before the interview to make this happen.


You can do this?? Had no freaking clue. So what you're saying is that, if you're interviewing for just one judge, you can call up other judges in the area that you've applied to but haven't gotten interviews with yet?


Well I'll be. So you can mention the name of the first judge you're interviewing with without worrying that other judges will pass the information along to the first judge? Maybe it wouldn't matter either way.



Yes, totally do this. Especially if you are traveling a good distance to be there, clerks are often willing to hustle the judge along in considering your applications. I got two extra interviews (and ultimately an offer) in one COA with this method. They totally expect it -- just say that you applied to Judge X for 2015, and you're traveling to interview with Judge Y on [date], but since you'll be in the area, you were wondering whether Judge X might also want to interview you. They'll call or email you back if the judge is in fact interested. It shouldn't be a ding against you, from what I've experienced and heard, most decent judges actually feel better about making you travel all the way out there if you can consolidate.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:55 pm

daleearnhardt123 wrote:I am probably in the same stage of this process as you, so I'm not speaking from much experience, but I would think this is god awful advice.

Not only do I suspect a judge would be infuriated to see that you "deducted" his/her email address and essentially sent spam, but I would think that some of the more agitated ones might try to get their circuit to blacklist you. Most of them set up explicit processes for applications, there is simply no reason to be "deducing" their email address and then emailing them directly.

Also, Your last point flies directly in the face of guidance i've received from former clerks and professors, some of whom made it to SCOTUS. A generic cover letter is exactly what is expected. Your resume, transcript, and writing sample are what is supposed to make or break you. Not some fluff you conjure up in a cover letter that they expect is just a formality.


OP here. Please note that I specifically did not recommend emailing judges; I said to be VERY careful in doing so, since it could very easily backfire, and I would never actually follow my own advice. Still, someone asked how to email a judge, and I explained how to do so.

As for my last points, they came directly from two federal judges: when they have dozens, if not hundreds, of applicants with T14 transcripts, law review and moot court credentials, and a totally solid writing sample, they look for indicators that they're going to "click" with a prospective clerk hire -- and shared interests are the best indicators aside from an actual interview of getting a feel for someone's personality. But yeah, YMMV. I'm sure plenty of judges don't even read cover letters, let alone look for shared interests.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:About customizing: I think if you have anything with which to tailor a letter, you should: you have some connection (worked for someone who clerked for the judge, worked at the judge's old firm or interned at their old USAO office), you have a specific reason for being in the area (grew up there, family all there, fiance lives there), you have a specific reason for wanting to be in that court (especially if it's a specialty docket). And if you research the judge and there's some genuine connection - they've spoken about sentencing reform and you have experience with/are passionate about sentencing reform - you could throw that in there.

But I also think that if you're applying broadly - as you should - there will be lots of judges that you can't really do this for. In which case, generic is fine. I think a forced/false attempt at customization doesn't do you any good at all.


To clarify further: I was intending this advice more for people who are gunning for a comparatively small number of clerkships (a few dozen at most) versus hundreds. My first comment (which, in hindsight, I didn't make clear enough) was intended to absolutely reference any direct connection you have with a judge: you know his former clerk (or even intern), so-and-so who knows him personally suggested you contact him, you summered at his old firm, etc. I got my current internship specifically because I'm on my school's mock trial team with a 3L he's already hired as a 2014-2015 clerk, and she posted a note on our Facebook group saying that he was actively seeking a spring intern.

As for personalized cover letters: I'm planning on sending them to my top-10 "picks," all of whom are judges in cities where I'd like to live after graduation. I'm sure as hell not "tailoring" cover letters for every single judge!

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
In my COA interview I was asked about my opinion on the death penalty and about several opinions that the judge had authored. Chambers gave me fair warning about the latter questions. I've heard that the death penalty question is fairly common.



Fairly common for your judge or fairly common for CoA judges in general (or at least those CoA judges who ask substantive questions)?

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby ph14 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
In my COA interview I was asked about my opinion on the death penalty and about several opinions that the judge had authored. Chambers gave me fair warning about the latter questions. I've heard that the death penalty question is fairly common.



Fairly common for your judge or fairly common for CoA judges in general (or at least those CoA judges who ask substantive questions)?


I interviewed with multiple CoA judges, never got any question about the death penalty.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:54 pm

I (current clerk) was tempted to ask an applicant a question about the death penalty the other day. If I'd known that was a thing, I probably would have asked.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby ph14 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I (current clerk) was tempted to ask an applicant a question about the death penalty the other day. If I'd known that was a thing, I probably would have asked.


Did the candidate have something in their background that would suggest they might not be okay working on a death penalty case? Maybe that's why some people get asked that question.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:12 pm

ph14 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I (current clerk) was tempted to ask an applicant a question about the death penalty the other day. If I'd known that was a thing, I probably would have asked.


Did the candidate have something in their background that would suggest they might not be okay working on a death penalty case? Maybe that's why some people get asked that question.


Just a hunch.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby ph14 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:12 pm

Ah okay.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:22 pm

ph14 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I (current clerk) was tempted to ask an applicant a question about the death penalty the other day. If I'd known that was a thing, I probably would have asked.


Did the candidate have something in their background that would suggest they might not be okay working on a death penalty case? Maybe that's why some people get asked that question.

My district court judge asked the death penalty question, in part because he had interviewed clerks who had stuff on their resume that suggested they might not be okay with it.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby ph14 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:25 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
ph14 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I (current clerk) was tempted to ask an applicant a question about the death penalty the other day. If I'd known that was a thing, I probably would have asked.


Did the candidate have something in their background that would suggest they might not be okay working on a death penalty case? Maybe that's why some people get asked that question.

My district court judge asked the death penalty question, in part because he had interviewed clerks who had stuff on their resume that suggested they might not be okay with it.


Yeah that makes perfect sense to me.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:44 pm

A few questions/random interjections:

1. Outside of the "feeder courts," just how difficult is it to get a D.Ct. gig in a major city in a major state? Examples off the top of my head would be L.A., Chicago, Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, and Miami.

2. Does it make any difference whatsoever if one of the above cities happens to house multiple top-ranked law schools? (Chicago and L.A. being the obvious examples)

3. To what extent should one expect to be quizzed about their personal political views? (I'm asking only b/c the death penalty is apparently a "thing")

4. FWIW, I know for a fact that there are *some* federal judges (D.Ct. and magistrate, at least) who haven't even hired anyone for 2014-2015 yet, let alone 2015-2016 (or 2016-2017 - ye gods!). My gf is clerking for a federal magistrate judge. She didn't even start sending in resumes until getting no-offered after her 2L summer (she had two BigLaw SA gigs that were disastrous, for various reasons). This judge is presently interviewing 3Ls to replace her in August.




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