Clerking After Working -- is there a "sweet spot" or a "max"

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blsingindisguise
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Clerking After Working -- is there a "sweet spot" or a "max"

Postby blsingindisguise » Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:10 am

I.e. assuming you had clerk-level qualifications when you graduated, but went into practice first, is there an ideal number of years (or range of years) to work before applying to an Art III clerkship? Is there a number of years after which it looks weird to apply?

theaccidentalclerk
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Re: Clerking After Working -- is there a "sweet spot" or a "max"

Postby theaccidentalclerk » Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:39 am

Alum only judges generally fall into two categories. The majority are those like alums with about 2-4 years of experience -- enough to know kind of what you're doing, but not enough to get set in your ways. If you are much more than about five years out, it will hurt you. You don't have a chance if you have more than seven or so years.

The second type are the judges who view their clerks more as staff attorneys. Prior to 2007 or so, they'd generally only have career clerks, and through attrition or whatever reason, they have to hire term clerks to fill in the gaps now. These judges will take attorneys with a decade of experience. The bad news is that there aren't many of them; the good news is that there really aren't that many attorneys with 5-10 years of experience and the credentials to clerk for an AIII judge who actually are willing to leave practice for 1-4 years to do so. So if you fall in this category -- say good grades from a T14 with 5+ years of biglaw or comparable experience -- you'll get a bunch of interviews. But you do need an exit plan for post-clerkship, obviously.

blsingindisguise
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Re: Clerking After Working -- is there a "sweet spot" or a "max"

Postby blsingindisguise » Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:54 am

theaccidentalclerk wrote:Alum only judges generally fall into two categories. The majority are those like alums with about 2-4 years of experience -- enough to know kind of what you're doing, but not enough to get set in your ways. If you are much more than about five years out, it will hurt you. You don't have a chance if you have more than seven or so years.

The second type are the judges who view their clerks more as staff attorneys. Prior to 2007 or so, they'd generally only have career clerks, and through attrition or whatever reason, they have to hire term clerks to fill in the gaps now. These judges will take attorneys with a decade of experience. The bad news is that there aren't many of them; the good news is that there really aren't that many attorneys with 5-10 years of experience and the credentials to clerk for an AIII judge who actually are willing to leave practice for 1-4 years to do so. So if you fall in this category -- say good grades from a T14 with 5+ years of biglaw or comparable experience -- you'll get a bunch of interviews. But you do need an exit plan for post-clerkship, obviously.


This is useful info, thx. Is there a reliable away of identifying these "alum only" judges? And what about for judges who are not "alum only" -- still worth applying with 2-4 years of experience?

andythefir
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Re: Clerking After Working -- is there a "sweet spot" or a "max"

Postby andythefir » Fri Aug 30, 2013 12:02 pm

I have a few related questions: will a few years out cure some deficiencies in the application (say, no journal or good but not great grades)? Do judges only want clerks who were at mega-firms before clerking or will a smaller firm/government job work?

theaccidentalclerk
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Re: Clerking After Working -- is there a "sweet spot" or a "max"

Postby theaccidentalclerk » Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:08 pm

I have a few related questions: will a few years out cure some deficiencies in the application (say, no journal or good but not great grades)? Do judges only want clerks who were at mega-firms before clerking or will a smaller firm/government job work?


It's not that it will cure deficiencies. It's that the alum-only market is muuuuuuch smaller than the 2L/3L market. So some flaws will get overlooked just because it's not as competitive. With respect to your specific examples, I think alum-only judges are much more willing to overlook no journal and good-but-not-great grades, at least for people from the T14 with biglaw experience.

As for things other than biglaw, federal government is obviously OK. State/local government is more touch and go depending on what you are doing. Smaller firm probably depends on the firm and market.

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legalese_retard
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Re: Clerking After Working -- is there a "sweet spot" or a "max"

Postby legalese_retard » Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:00 am

blsingindisguise wrote:
theaccidentalclerk wrote:Alum only judges generally fall into two categories. The majority are those like alums with about 2-4 years of experience -- enough to know kind of what you're doing, but not enough to get set in your ways. If you are much more than about five years out, it will hurt you. You don't have a chance if you have more than seven or so years.

The second type are the judges who view their clerks more as staff attorneys. Prior to 2007 or so, they'd generally only have career clerks, and through attrition or whatever reason, they have to hire term clerks to fill in the gaps now. These judges will take attorneys with a decade of experience. The bad news is that there aren't many of them; the good news is that there really aren't that many attorneys with 5-10 years of experience and the credentials to clerk for an AIII judge who actually are willing to leave practice for 1-4 years to do so. So if you fall in this category -- say good grades from a T14 with 5+ years of biglaw or comparable experience -- you'll get a bunch of interviews. But you do need an exit plan for post-clerkship, obviously.


This is useful info, thx. Is there a reliable away of identifying these "alum only" judges? And what about for judges who are not "alum only" -- still worth applying with 2-4 years of experience?


I think OSCAR now has an option to sort applicants for the "legal experience preferred" option. I've seen several judges actually write a small blurb in the OSCAR posting itself explaining their preference for experienced alums. I also recommend checking http://www.uscourts.gov under the Careers tab. I've seen several clerkships where judges are only looking for experienced applicants, but most of these openings are for immediate hires.

Unless the judge explicitly states that he or she does not hire alums, I would apply. With more alums applying, I think judges are starting to open up to hiring alums over new graduates.




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