2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

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ph14
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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby ph14 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote: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.


1. It's difficult to generalize, but it's not super easy.
2. Yes. But even "flyover" (I don't like that term at all since it seems a bit perjorative but it's easy shorthand) clerkship still get dozens if not hundreds of applications from qualified and competitive candidates for each spot.
3. You likely aren't going to get quizzed directly. But it was pretty common to get questions along the lines of "Best SCOTUS decision," "Best SCOTUS decision in the past decade," "Word SCOTUS decision," "Worst SCOTUS decision in the past decade," "Favorite SCOTUS Justice" (Don't think anyone asked me least favorite, as that might be too disrespectful, though I did get asked my thoughts on particular judges who were well-known for their political leanings), "Best/Worst constitutional doctrine," etc. These are very common, I think the vast majority of my interviews had something along these lines. So you could make it into a question about politics very easy. Note that I interviewed mainly with CoA judges so i'm not certain this is representative.
4. Yes, I agree, though they are in the minority. My school's OCS has a blog which lists openings every now and then for judges who still have 2014-15 spots available.
Last edited by ph14 on Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:56 pm

Re: the no-offered girlfriend - the end of 2L summer used to be a completely normal time to apply, because the plan was still in effect.

And it's difficult to get a D. Ct. clerkship anywhere - it's just not quite as hard as for SNDY etc.

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ph14
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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby ph14 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:58 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Re: the no-offered girlfriend - the end of 2L summer used to be a completely normal time to apply, because the plan was still in effect.

And it's difficult to get a D. Ct. clerkship anywhere - it's just not quite as hard as for SNDY etc.


Yep. The class just before me in law school all got their clerkships in September. The couple who had earlier clerkships, such as in August, were considered early. Pretty huge difference in just a couple of years.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby ClerkAdvisor » Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:00 am

ph14 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Re: the no-offered girlfriend - the end of 2L summer used to be a completely normal time to apply, because the plan was still in effect.

And it's difficult to get a D. Ct. clerkship anywhere - it's just not quite as hard as for SNDY etc.


Yep. The class just before me in law school all got their clerkships in September. The couple who had earlier clerkships, such as in August, were considered early. Pretty huge difference in just a couple of years.


TBF, the plan had been falling apart for years... I know judges who were hiring c/o '10 and '11 grads during their 2L spring...

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ph14
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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby ph14 » Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:01 am

ClerkAdvisor wrote:
ph14 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Re: the no-offered girlfriend - the end of 2L summer used to be a completely normal time to apply, because the plan was still in effect.

And it's difficult to get a D. Ct. clerkship anywhere - it's just not quite as hard as for SNDY etc.


Yep. The class just before me in law school all got their clerkships in September. The couple who had earlier clerkships, such as in August, were considered early. Pretty huge difference in just a couple of years.


TBF, the plan had been falling apart for years... I know judges who were hiring c/o '10 and '11 grads during their 2L spring...


Sure. But I think something like one-third to one-half of my journal got clerkships on the plan call day.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:02 am

ClerkAdvisor wrote:
ph14 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Re: the no-offered girlfriend - the end of 2L summer used to be a completely normal time to apply, because the plan was still in effect.

And it's difficult to get a D. Ct. clerkship anywhere - it's just not quite as hard as for SNDY etc.


Yep. The class just before me in law school all got their clerkships in September. The couple who had earlier clerkships, such as in August, were considered early. Pretty huge difference in just a couple of years.


TBF, the plan had been falling apart for years... I know judges who were hiring c/o '10 and '11 grads during their 2L spring...

Sure. I was in a circuit where none of the COA judges followed the plan. But they were all early, not normal - plenty of people still hired in September or even later.

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ph14
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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby ph14 » Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:03 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
ClerkAdvisor wrote:
ph14 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Re: the no-offered girlfriend - the end of 2L summer used to be a completely normal time to apply, because the plan was still in effect.

And it's difficult to get a D. Ct. clerkship anywhere - it's just not quite as hard as for SNDY etc.


Yep. The class just before me in law school all got their clerkships in September. The couple who had earlier clerkships, such as in August, were considered early. Pretty huge difference in just a couple of years.


TBF, the plan had been falling apart for years... I know judges who were hiring c/o '10 and '11 grads during their 2L spring...

Sure. I was in a circuit where none of the COA judges followed the plan. But they were all early, not normal - plenty of people still hired in September or even later.


Sure. I surely agree with you (great minds :)).

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:05 am

Yeah, I missed your post before posting.

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ph14
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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby ph14 » Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:06 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Yeah, I missed your post before posting.


We're just in sync :).

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 14, 2014 2:35 am

ph14 wrote:3. You likely aren't going to get quizzed directly. But it was pretty common to get questions along the lines of "Best SCOTUS decision," "Best SCOTUS decision in the past decade," "Word SCOTUS decision," "Worst SCOTUS decision in the past decade," "Favorite SCOTUS Justice" (Don't think anyone asked me least favorite, as that might be too disrespectful, though I did get asked my thoughts on particular judges who were well-known for their political leanings), "Best/Worst constitutional doctrine," etc. These are very common, I think the vast majority of my interviews had something along these lines. So you could make it into a question about politics very easy. Note that I interviewed mainly with CoA judges so i'm not certain this is representative.


Do you think there's a certain standard judges have in mind when asking these questions, like what *things* they are assessing? Or are they actually trying to elicit your political stance? Seems weird to me.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby ph14 » Fri Feb 14, 2014 2:37 am

Anonymous User wrote:
ph14 wrote:3. You likely aren't going to get quizzed directly. But it was pretty common to get questions along the lines of "Best SCOTUS decision," "Best SCOTUS decision in the past decade," "Word SCOTUS decision," "Worst SCOTUS decision in the past decade," "Favorite SCOTUS Justice" (Don't think anyone asked me least favorite, as that might be too disrespectful, though I did get asked my thoughts on particular judges who were well-known for their political leanings), "Best/Worst constitutional doctrine," etc. These are very common, I think the vast majority of my interviews had something along these lines. So you could make it into a question about politics very easy. Note that I interviewed mainly with CoA judges so i'm not certain this is representative.


Do you think there's a certain standard judges have in mind when asking these questions, like what *things* they are assessing? Or are they actually trying to elicit your political stance? Seems weird to me.


I mean probably a bunch of things: analytical ability, political leanings, how you think about a problem, how you talk to the judge about an issue or problem, etc. I think they're just trying to learn more about you. I don't think that they are asking these questions for the primary purpose of finding out your political views, but I do think it often comes out through this, if it wasn't already apparent.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 14, 2014 2:07 pm

As someone who is anti-death penalty, how should I approach a question about it in an interview?

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby ph14 » Fri Feb 14, 2014 2:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:As someone who is anti-death penalty, how should I approach a question about it in an interview?


Be honest. If you can't work on those cases let the judge know.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:50 pm

ph14 you said you had several COA interviews. Did you have any where the clerks were interviewing you? I've heard interviews with the clerks can be way tougher/more aggressive than interviews with the judge.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby ph14 » Fri Feb 14, 2014 5:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:ph14 you said you had several COA interviews. Did you have any where the clerks were interviewing you? I've heard interviews with the clerks can be way tougher/more aggressive than interviews with the judge.


Yes. I interviewed with the judge's law clerks in almost all of my interviews. The only exception was when I didn't interview at the judge's chambers. I also had a few screener phone interviews, which were either with clerks or former clerks.

I think it depends on the clerks and the judges, but there were definitely a few times when I felt that the law clerks were harder (something like they wanted to confirm that you could do the job analytically) than the judge, who wanted more to check for a personality match. There were times that it was also the opposite too, although i'm not sure if that was because interviewing with the judge was generally more intimidating.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:As someone who is anti-death penalty, how should I approach a question about it in an interview?


As the current clerk above who had the "hunch," this is the answer I would have been hoping for.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby ph14 » Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:As someone who is anti-death penalty, how should I approach a question about it in an interview?


As the current clerk above who had the "hunch," this is the answer I would have been hoping for.


What do you mean? You would not hire someone who had different views on the death penalty than you?

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:16 pm

ph14 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:As someone who is anti-death penalty, how should I approach a question about it in an interview?


As the current clerk above who had the "hunch," this is the answer I would have been hoping for.


What do you mean? You would not hire someone who had different views on the death penalty than you?


I'd just be interested to know the basis for someone's support. Being pro DP wouldn't necessarily disqualify an applicant in my view, but it is hardly a plus factor.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby ph14 » Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
ph14 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:As someone who is anti-death penalty, how should I approach a question about it in an interview?


As the current clerk above who had the "hunch," this is the answer I would have been hoping for.


What do you mean? You would not hire someone who had different views on the death penalty than you?


I'd just be interested to know the basis for someone's support. Being pro DP wouldn't necessarily disqualify an applicant in my view, but it is hardly a plus factor.


That's a little bit disappointing. I hope that I will not hold someone's political preferences against them when I interview candidates as a law clerk. Where are you clerking? E.g., SSC/COA/DCT, etc.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:38 am

ph14 wrote:
That's a little bit disappointing. I hope that I will not hold someone's political preferences against them when I interview candidates as a law clerk. Where are you clerking? E.g., SSC/COA/DCT, etc.


Eh. Do you really not think that most judges consider politics in hiring?

But for me, it isn't necessarily about politics. If someone has well-reasoned views that I happen to fundamentally disagree with, I'll still respect that person. Re the death penalty though, while I know this won't win me any friends here, I pretty much equate support of death penalty with supporting creationism. I've yet to hear a good argument in favor.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby ph14 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:17 am

Anonymous User wrote:
ph14 wrote:
That's a little bit disappointing. I hope that I will not hold someone's political preferences against them when I interview candidates as a law clerk. Where are you clerking? E.g., SSC/COA/DCT, etc.


Eh. Do you really not think that most judges consider politics in hiring?

But for me, it isn't necessarily about politics. If someone has well-reasoned views that I happen to fundamentally disagree with, I'll still respect that person. Re the death penalty though, while I know this won't win me any friends here, I pretty much equate support of death penalty with supporting creationism. I've yet to hear a good argument in favor.


PM me if you would. I'd like to respond but I would rather not derail the thread anymore than we have already.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 15, 2014 10:12 am

ph14 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:As someone who is anti-death penalty, how should I approach a question about it in an interview?


As the current clerk above who had the "hunch," this is the answer I would have been hoping for.


What do you mean? You would not hire someone who had different views on the death penalty than you?


Just to weigh in more generally -- the death penalty came up in a couple of my interviews, including one lengthy conversation/debate with a judge (who has the opposite view of the DP than I do, and whom I'll be clerking for in 2015). I think if your resume indicates any interest in criminal issues (I've also heard from friends this is true for immigration and basically any issue where the decisions almost always come out against the disadvantaged party in the COA), you should be prepared to answer questions about how your personal views might affect your approach to a case. As far as I could tell being honest is certainly the best answer, while always emphasizing that you understand what the law is, and you will -- of course -- apply the law regardless of political/personal opinions.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby BelugaWhale » Sat Feb 15, 2014 11:50 am

ph14 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
ph14 wrote:
That's a little bit disappointing. I hope that I will not hold someone's political preferences against them when I interview candidates as a law clerk. Where are you clerking? E.g., SSC/COA/DCT, etc.


Eh. Do you really not think that most judges consider politics in hiring?

But for me, it isn't necessarily about politics. If someone has well-reasoned views that I happen to fundamentally disagree with, I'll still respect that person. Re the death penalty though, while I know this won't win me any friends here, I pretty much equate support of death penalty with supporting creationism. I've yet to hear a good argument in favor.


PM me if you would. I'd like to respond but I would rather not derail the thread anymore than we have already.

Yeah I find what you said about there being no compelling pro DP arguments to be, in my opinion, not well grounded. But yeah, no derail in mind, feel free to PM me as well. I'm actually writing a little something/publishing on the DP this year.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Elston Gunn » Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:20 pm

There are a lot of SDNY judges who said they would follow "the plan." Now that there is no plan (or am I missing something?) does that make it reasonable to send applications to them now.

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Re: 2015-2016 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby ph14 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:21 pm

Elston Gunn wrote:There are a lot of SDNY judges who said they would follow "the plan." Now that there is no plan (or am I missing something?) does that make it reasonable to send applications to them now.


There's still a purported plan. It's just that, many judges are hiring before the plan. That's especially true now that 2Ls can submit applications through OSCAR instead of by snail mail.




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