Outgoing Bankruptcy Term Clerk Taking Questions

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aliens
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Outgoing Bankruptcy Term Clerk Taking Questions

Postby aliens » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:29 am

I'm an outgoing bankruptcy term clerk in a flyover state. What questions can I answer?

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legalese_retard
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Re: Outgoing Bankruptcy Term Clerk Taking Questions

Postby legalese_retard » Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:20 am

Do you have a job lined up? If so, when did you start looking, get responses, interviews, etc? How was the post-clerkship hiring process for you?

aliens
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Re: Outgoing Bankruptcy Term Clerk Taking Questions

Postby aliens » Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:35 am

legalese_retard wrote:Do you have a job lined up? If so, when did you start looking, get responses, interviews, etc? How was the post-clerkship hiring process for you?


Yes, I am joining a smallish firm (less than 15 attorneys) doing commercial bankruptcy work. I had a two year clerkship and I started job searching over a year before the end of the clerkship. I had one interview last Fall and then no more until late Spring. In total, I had about a dozen interviews. I got one offer for a non-attorney position, which I declined. I used that offer though to leverage the offer from the firm I'm joining. I got my offer in mid-August.

I got a ton of informational interviews. A lot of people were happy to chat with me by phone and in person. I have a ton of future contacts, but there wasn't a lot of bankruptcy hiring right now. In all, the job search process was more stressful to me than all of law school and the bar exam.

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minnbills
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Re: Outgoing Bankruptcy Term Clerk Taking Questions

Postby minnbills » Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:40 am

How did you like the clerkship? Did you have a lot of administrative duties? Are you wiling to share what kind of pay you're getting at your new job?

Congrats on the job, by the way.

midwestrocks
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Re: Outgoing Bankruptcy Term Clerk Taking Questions

Postby midwestrocks » Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:53 am

Was your clerkship in a large market? Do you think the size of the market you clerk in has a big impact on post-clerkship employment?

aliens
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Re: Outgoing Bankruptcy Term Clerk Taking Questions

Postby aliens » Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:56 am

minnbills wrote:How did you like the clerkship? Did you have a lot of administrative duties? Are you wiling to share what kind of pay you're getting at your new job?

Congrats on the job, by the way.


Thanks!

I liked the clerkship a lot. As far as administrative duties, there were some. The career clerk and myself divided them up in a rotation. There were some that only the career clerk handled. For the most part, adminstrative tasks were a welcome change from researching and writing. They provided small blocks of time to step back from thinking so much.

As far as pay, I'm taking a pay cut. As a law clerk, I make around $80K. I entered the clerkship barred and got a grade promotion after the first year. I'll be making around $60K at the firm. For the size of the firm and location, I'm happy with that. It could be a lot worse and I think the potential to earn more is there once I prove myself.

aliens
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Re: Outgoing Bankruptcy Term Clerk Taking Questions

Postby aliens » Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:59 am

midwestrocks wrote:Was your clerkship in a large market? Do you think the size of the market you clerk in has a big impact on post-clerkship employment?


It was not in a large market. Without getting into more specifics, I have my finger on the pulse for both the clerkship market and a couple other bigger markets. From what I've heard, bankruptcy hiring is down even in big markets. There may be more opportunities in a big market, but there are also more people searching there too.

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Re: Outgoing Bankruptcy Term Clerk Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:37 pm

Mind sharing your stat please?

aliens
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Re: Outgoing Bankruptcy Term Clerk Taking Questions

Postby aliens » Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Mind sharing your stat please?


Top 10% at TT. Law review ed board. I was an evening student with prior WE in bankruptcy.

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Re: Outgoing Bankruptcy Term Clerk Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 29, 2013 5:19 pm

If you could go back in time, would you clerk again?

aliens
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Re: Outgoing Bankruptcy Term Clerk Taking Questions

Postby aliens » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:18 am

Anonymous User wrote:If you could go back in time, would you clerk again?


Yes, it was a great experience. My judge is a great mentor and I learned a lot. I also met a ton of local practitioners that will be contacts for life. Plus there are other court staff that I enjoyed meeting and getting to know during my term.

Despite a long job search, I do not think I would have my new job without the clerkship. Before the clerkship, I was already working in bankruptcy, so the clerkship didn't pigeonhole me any more than I already was. It actually solidified my interest and commitment to the practice area, which I know is a reason I got the new job.

The biggest negative to the clerkship is two years without being under a retirement plan. Also, I struggled to get along with my co-clerk, who is a career clerk. As an example, my co-clerk has not spoken to me for the last month or so.

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Re: Outgoing Bankruptcy Term Clerk Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 31, 2013 1:54 pm

I'm starting up in two weeks -- wondering if you have any advice for prep going into the clerkship? Thanks!

aliens
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Re: Outgoing Bankruptcy Term Clerk Taking Questions

Postby aliens » Sat Aug 31, 2013 2:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm starting up in two weeks -- wondering if you have any advice for prep going into the clerkship? Thanks!


My answer depends on what bankruptcy experience you already have. If you have none, then you need to obtain basic knowledge of the most common bankruptcy issues. By that I mean, the different chapters and what they're used for, preference actions, dischargeability actions, fraudulent transfer actions, what is filed as an adversary and what is not, cash collateral issues, etc.

If you have experience in bankruptcy, then I'd focus on reading the judge's opinions for the last few years. This helps understand both writing style of the judge and you'll understand the judge's opinion on many issues. You can build from the judge's past opinions on opinions you work on. Also if you don't have bankruptcy experience, reading the opinions can help give you a base knowledge of common issues that your judge sees. I'd also review the local rules for the bankruptcy court, as well as any local forms and administrative orders in place by your judge.

Other than that, there's not a lot to learn ahead of time. A lot of the learning has to be done on the job. Until my last day I was constantly presented with new issues I hadn't seen before.

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Re: Outgoing Bankruptcy Term Clerk Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 31, 2013 4:01 pm

aliens wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm starting up in two weeks -- wondering if you have any advice for prep going into the clerkship? Thanks!


My answer depends on what bankruptcy experience you already have. If you have none, then you need to obtain basic knowledge of the most common bankruptcy issues. By that I mean, the different chapters and what they're used for, preference actions, dischargeability actions, fraudulent transfer actions, what is filed as an adversary and what is not, cash collateral issues, etc.

If you have experience in bankruptcy, then I'd focus on reading the judge's opinions for the last few years. This helps understand both writing style of the judge and you'll understand the judge's opinion on many issues. You can build from the judge's past opinions on opinions you work on. Also if you don't have bankruptcy experience, reading the opinions can help give you a base knowledge of common issues that your judge sees. I'd also review the local rules for the bankruptcy court, as well as any local forms and administrative orders in place by your judge.

Other than that, there's not a lot to learn ahead of time. A lot of the learning has to be done on the job. Until my last day I was constantly presented with new issues I hadn't seen before.


Thanks! I did a lot of consumer work during law school and my clerkship looks like it's going to be 90% consumer so I'm hoping that I have a good foundation. Just as a follow-up, have you read any of the ABI subject primers (A Practical Guide to Bankruptcy Valuation, etc.)? I'm trying to figure out some good go-to sources for unfamiliar issues besides Collier.

Also, do you have any suggestions about CM/ECF that would've been helpful at the beginning of the clerkship? What's the learning curve like for the filing system?

Sorry to bombard with questions, just don't want to show up on day 1 looking like a deer in the headlights.

Thanks again!

aliens
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Re: Outgoing Bankruptcy Term Clerk Taking Questions

Postby aliens » Sun Sep 01, 2013 8:18 am

Anonymous User wrote:
aliens wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm starting up in two weeks -- wondering if you have any advice for prep going into the clerkship? Thanks!


My answer depends on what bankruptcy experience you already have. If you have none, then you need to obtain basic knowledge of the most common bankruptcy issues. By that I mean, the different chapters and what they're used for, preference actions, dischargeability actions, fraudulent transfer actions, what is filed as an adversary and what is not, cash collateral issues, etc.

If you have experience in bankruptcy, then I'd focus on reading the judge's opinions for the last few years. This helps understand both writing style of the judge and you'll understand the judge's opinion on many issues. You can build from the judge's past opinions on opinions you work on. Also if you don't have bankruptcy experience, reading the opinions can help give you a base knowledge of common issues that your judge sees. I'd also review the local rules for the bankruptcy court, as well as any local forms and administrative orders in place by your judge.

Other than that, there's not a lot to learn ahead of time. A lot of the learning has to be done on the job. Until my last day I was constantly presented with new issues I hadn't seen before.


Thanks! I did a lot of consumer work during law school and my clerkship looks like it's going to be 90% consumer so I'm hoping that I have a good foundation. Just as a follow-up, have you read any of the ABI subject primers (A Practical Guide to Bankruptcy Valuation, etc.)? I'm trying to figure out some good go-to sources for unfamiliar issues besides Collier.

Also, do you have any suggestions about CM/ECF that would've been helpful at the beginning of the clerkship? What's the learning curve like for the filing system?

Sorry to bombard with questions, just don't want to show up on day 1 looking like a deer in the headlights.

Thanks again!


No problem. I haven't read the ABI subject primers, so I cannot speak to their helpfulness. FWIW, my judge regularly used Colliers, so I don't think there's any problem with using it as your primary source for explanation.

As a clerk, I used CM/ECF a lot to view the docket and documents. Using it for that is easy and you'll learn in that in 2 minutes. I also used CM/ECF to upload orders and opinions that I drafted for the judge to sign. This is also very easy and you'll have no trouble with it. There's a couple of reports that were judge-specific that I used it for. But you shouldn't be filing and so the complicated things about CM/ECF are nothing that you'll use. Practitioners use most of those features and the clerk's office uses more features during docket quality control. But you shouldn't need to know any of that. In any event, CM/ECF is intuitive and if you're even moderately computer literate, you'll be fine.

For the court's schedule, my judge used CHAP (it varies by judge) and that program is ok. If you have someone good train you on it, it'll be easier. Once you know it, it's fine. This will be how you set hearings, strike hearings, block off time that the judge will be away, etc. There's nothing you can do to learn ahead of time because your judge may use a different program altogether.

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Re: Outgoing Bankruptcy Term Clerk Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:02 pm

Thanks!

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20160810
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Re: Outgoing Bankruptcy Term Clerk Taking Questions

Postby 20160810 » Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:22 am

Did you get a lot of frivolous adversary proceedings suing MERS and claiming that because the debtor's note was securitized nobody "holds" it and thus the debtor gets a free house?

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Re: Outgoing Bankruptcy Term Clerk Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:24 am

Anonymous User wrote:I'm starting up in two weeks -- wondering if you have any advice for prep going into the clerkship? Thanks!

READ THE LOCAL RULES READ THEM NOW GO GO GO

aliens
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Re: Outgoing Bankruptcy Term Clerk Taking Questions

Postby aliens » Mon Sep 02, 2013 8:24 am

SBL wrote:Did you get a lot of frivolous adversary proceedings suing MERS and claiming that because the debtor's note was securitized nobody "holds" it and thus the debtor gets a free house?


Not one. And there are a ton of foreclosures in this area.

aliens
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Re: Outgoing Bankruptcy Term Clerk Taking Questions

Postby aliens » Mon Sep 02, 2013 8:27 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm starting up in two weeks -- wondering if you have any advice for prep going into the clerkship? Thanks!

READ THE LOCAL RULES READ THEM NOW GO GO GO


Yes, the local rules are very important. I advised that he/she read them along with other prep things. Local rules are fairly easy to understand though. And you can learn them quickly on the job. Understanding bankruptcy concepts requires more work and it may be more beneficial to understand common bankruptcy issues before a clerkship than local rules. You know, because, how long a party has to respond to a motion isn't rocket science.

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Ohiobumpkin
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Re: Outgoing Bankruptcy Term Clerk Taking Questions

Postby Ohiobumpkin » Fri Sep 06, 2013 12:59 pm

How important would it be to write a note (and hopefully publish) on a bankruptcy issue if you have no bankruptcy experience before law school in order to be a competitive candidate for a bankruptcy clerkship? Sorry for the run-on sentence.

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Re: Outgoing Bankruptcy Term Clerk Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 06, 2013 2:20 pm

Ohiobumpkin wrote:How important would it be to write a note (and hopefully publish) on a bankruptcy issue if you have no bankruptcy experience before law school in order to be a competitive candidate for a bankruptcy clerkship? Sorry for the run-on sentence.

Not Op, but a bankruptcy law clerk. I didn't have pre-law school bankruptcy experience and I don't know any law clerks with that either (most just went from undergrad to law school). Take bankruptcy classes (or related classes such as secured transactions, commercial law courses, etc.) and try to work on a few bankruptcy assignments in a summer position (or intern for a bankruptcy judge) so that you vividly describe your interest in bankruptcy law. I didn't write my note on bankruptcy (I am published though), but it would be a plus. I don't think it is essential as long as you can demonstrate an interest in some way or another.

aliens
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Re: Outgoing Bankruptcy Term Clerk Taking Questions

Postby aliens » Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:01 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Ohiobumpkin wrote:How important would it be to write a note (and hopefully publish) on a bankruptcy issue if you have no bankruptcy experience before law school in order to be a competitive candidate for a bankruptcy clerkship? Sorry for the run-on sentence.

Not Op, but a bankruptcy law clerk. I didn't have pre-law school bankruptcy experience and I don't know any law clerks with that either (most just went from undergrad to law school). Take bankruptcy classes (or related classes such as secured transactions, commercial law courses, etc.) and try to work on a few bankruptcy assignments in a summer position (or intern for a bankruptcy judge) so that you vividly describe your interest in bankruptcy law. I didn't write my note on bankruptcy (I am published though), but it would be a plus. I don't think it is essential as long as you can demonstrate an interest in some way or another.


I agree with this 100%. I am published and wrote on a bankruptcy issue, but my judge never discussed it with me during the interview or during my clerkship. It's more the ability to research and write than the topic covered. My judge asked candidates without bankruptcy experience to spend the year before the clerkship taking bankruptcy related classes or self-learning if necessary. The judge isn't looking for an expert in the topic, just someone who can understand the terms and jargon and run with that to solve the problems that arise. Despite having bankruptcy experience, I always encountered new issues that I learned as I went.

In my opinion from my experience with my judge, to be competitive for a bankruptcy clerkship, you must have three things:
- A resume that gets the clerk to put your resume into the possible pile for the judge to review. This is a crapshoot really b/c everyone applying is qualified. My judge liked graduates from the judge's undergrad and law schools. The judge also liked unique people with interesting stories. I tried to select those individuals. Bankruptcy experience was a secondary consideration. The term clerk replacing me had no bankruptcy experience.
- A resume that the judge notices and makes the judge want to interview you
- A good fit personality wise with the judge, the career clerk, and the term clerk (to a lesser extent for the term clerk as they will be departing and not working with the new person)

Obviously different judges have different ways to review apps, so it's not a golden rule.

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emciosn
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Re: Outgoing Bankruptcy Term Clerk Taking Questions

Postby emciosn » Sun Sep 08, 2013 10:38 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Ohiobumpkin wrote:How important would it be to write a note (and hopefully publish) on a bankruptcy issue if you have no bankruptcy experience before law school in order to be a competitive candidate for a bankruptcy clerkship? Sorry for the run-on sentence.

Not Op, but a bankruptcy law clerk. I didn't have pre-law school bankruptcy experience and I don't know any law clerks with that either (most just went from undergrad to law school). Take bankruptcy classes (or related classes such as secured transactions, commercial law courses, etc.) and try to work on a few bankruptcy assignments in a summer position (or intern for a bankruptcy judge) so that you vividly describe your interest in bankruptcy law. I didn't write my note on bankruptcy (I am published though), but it would be a plus. I don't think it is essential as long as you can demonstrate an interest in some way or another.


Also a BK law clerk, not OP. I also don't think it is necessary to write your not on a BK issue (I didn't) but it is important to have some sort of BK interest come through on your resume (as discussed above).

On the topic of writing sample though I do have one bit of advice that I think worked for me. There is a publication called the ABI (American Bankruptcy Institute) Journal. It is monthly and basically a collection of short articles on current bankruptcy topics. It is fairly easy to get something in if you select a good topic and submit before someone else writes on it (a recent Circuit Court opinion on a bankruptcy issue or something). The word limit is only 2500 words, so it is not too difficult to research and write and is the perfect length for a writing sample (I think notes can be so long that judges don't bother reading them). You could get an attorney at a firm you are working for to "co-author" the article with you (lends legitimacy) but do the writing research yourself. Even if it doesn't get published it shows the judge you had some initiative to even try (just put a blurb on the top about how you wanted to get it published but someone else wrote on it first, etc.). I did this and every single judge I interviewed with talked about the article with me. It was an interesting topic, short, and easy to digest.

Just a suggestion, and easier and maybe even more useful than doing a whole note on a BK issue.

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Ohiobumpkin
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Re: Outgoing Bankruptcy Term Clerk Taking Questions

Postby Ohiobumpkin » Sun Sep 08, 2013 10:55 am

emciosn wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Ohiobumpkin wrote:How important would it be to write a note (and hopefully publish) on a bankruptcy issue if you have no bankruptcy experience before law school in order to be a competitive candidate for a bankruptcy clerkship? Sorry for the run-on sentence.

Not Op, but a bankruptcy law clerk. I didn't have pre-law school bankruptcy experience and I don't know any law clerks with that either (most just went from undergrad to law school). Take bankruptcy classes (or related classes such as secured transactions, commercial law courses, etc.) and try to work on a few bankruptcy assignments in a summer position (or intern for a bankruptcy judge) so that you vividly describe your interest in bankruptcy law. I didn't write my note on bankruptcy (I am published though), but it would be a plus. I don't think it is essential as long as you can demonstrate an interest in some way or another.


Also a BK law clerk, not OP. I also don't think it is necessary to write your not on a BK issue (I didn't) but it is important to have some sort of BK interest come through on your resume (as discussed above).

On the topic of writing sample though I do have one bit of advice that I think worked for me. There is a publication called the ABI (American Bankruptcy Institute) Journal. It is monthly and basically a collection of short articles on current bankruptcy topics. It is fairly easy to get something in if you select a good topic and submit before someone else writes on it (a recent Circuit Court opinion on a bankruptcy issue or something). The word limit is only 2500 words, so it is not too difficult to research and write and is the perfect length for a writing sample (I think notes can be so long that judges don't bother reading them). You could get an attorney at a firm you are working for to "co-author" the article with you (lends legitimacy) but do the writing research yourself. Even if it doesn't get published it shows the judge you had some initiative to even try (just put a blurb on the top about how you wanted to get it published but someone else wrote on it first, etc.). I did this and every single judge I interviewed with talked about the article with me. It was an interesting topic, short, and easy to digest.

Just a suggestion, and easier and maybe even more useful than doing a whole note on a BK issue.


That is a great idea. Thank you! Also, thank you to OP and the other BK clerks who have provided advice. I am choosing between two possible topics to write my note on, which is for a business law journal. One is a bankruptcy topic, and the other is a quasi-environmental problem posed to businesses.




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