pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

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pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:06 pm

Slogging through apps on OSCAR to find people to recommend to my judge. No I will not what court or what judge or what region; the federal judiciary, it turns out, is super big on maintaining privacy. I will say that the fact that my judge is looking at applications right now is not part of a general trend on his/her court, so trying to wriggle specifics out of me won't help you. I'm just posting because I've developed a few pet peeves and I thought I'd share. Of course, be aware that to some extent these tips are personal to me; likely things that stick out to me won't stick out to others. But when it smells bad to one person...well, you know.

1) Don't make me look super hard to figure out your grades. I know, I know, if your grades suck, you want people to see the real you, so there's probably some bad-grades threshold at which it's beneficial to you to not include them on your resume, but I assure you it's pretty low. Let's not kid ourselves here, grades are by far the most important factor in clerkship hiring. Calculate your GPA on your grade sheet and put it on your resume. (Obviously not including HYS in this. Berkeley has those helpful top x% honors, include that. All other schools, you have a GPA, so give it to me.)

2) Don't be cloying in your cover letter. Honestly, some things people write in their cover letters make me think they're simply not ready for the real world. Show me that can be professional. Don't write things in your letter that you wouldn't say out loud in an interview. For the most part, less is more. If you have some actual reason to target the particular judge, include it. If there's something about you that's actually impressive, by all means, PLEASE include it in the cover letter, even if it's also on your resume. But don't give me two paragraphs on how you honed you research and writing skills in legal writing class. If you've got nothing good to say, don't say anything.

3) I feel really weird about asking people to fly in for an interview if it looks from their resume and cover letter that they may never have been to my state. I'm not sure if this is justified, and I might be the only one who feels this way. When I was looking for clerkships in law school I flew across the country to an interview to find out that the judge was looking at about 10 applicants per opening, and I resented it a little. For that reason I look kindly on people who display some attachment to the general region in their cover letters, especially if they work or go to school out of state. Even if it's mostly just lip service. If nothing else, it makes me feel better about asking them to pay to travel here for an interview.

4) Seriously, don't overstate your achievements. Don't try to trick me into thinking you've done something great. Don't say you're "the X editor" of the Law Review if you're one of 5 X editors. The mastheads are on the internet, stupid. Similarly, I'm not impressed with merit scholarships you have in law school that don't reflect something you did IN LAW SCHOOL. Basically all you're saying by writing that on your resume is "My LSAT score was above average at my school." Who cares?

5) I'm amazed at how many people think that the fact that they have been fortunate enough to travel or study abroad merits space on their resumes or cover letters. It's not a job qualification. Anything more than a few words in your "interests" section is gratuitous. Having worked in foreign countries or speaking foreign languages is interesting and often impressive. Having traveled to 20 countries just means you're very lucky.

6) It is so important to find professors who actually know a little about you. Letters of recommendation are generally not as important as your resume and grades (unless, obviously, the judge knows the recommender, in which case the letter doesn't particularly matter because the judge can just call the recommender). But there's been a few people with grades that put them in contention who don't have a single letter that actually says something about them. If all the professor knows about you is what they read on your final exam and the stuff it says on your resume, find someone else. When I get a letter that basically just says "Her exam was one of the best in her class. Also, she's on Law Review, which shows she can write. I'm sure she'd make a great clerk," it at least raises the possibility that maybe the professor thinks you actually deserve a negative letter and doesn't have the heart to say so. And to answer a major question I had when applying: NO, a generic letter from a famous professor is absolutely no better than a generic letter from anybody else, and it is substantially worse than a heartfelt positive letter from ANYONE.

I'll write more if I think of it. Also will come back around to answer questions if anyone's got some.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:38 am

Not OP here, but I have one pointer to add. The cover page OSCAR generates for your application notes your class rank at the top of the page. If you're sitting right around the 55th percentile in your class, for example, one of the first (if not the first) thing chambers will see is "bottom 50%". If your class rank/percentile is ugly, and the judge accepts paper applications, go that route rather than submitting through OSCAR. Might make the difference between your application getting looked at and your application getting tossed on first glance.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:01 pm

Thoughts about publications? Would you totally leave off study abroad programs?

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:09 pm

How closely do you look at job descriptions? I personally keep my job descriptions short because there is no reason for me to describe something in great length when everyone knows pretty much what an SA, for example, does.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Sep 23, 2013 3:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thoughts about publications? Would you totally leave off study abroad programs?

Not the OP, but I have travel (with some details) in the interests section of my resume and have had good conversations about it in interviews. If the OP means that you shouldn't devote space in your cover letter to study abroad/other travel, I agree. But if the OP's also talking about a statement in your interests section, I disagree. Something under Interests/personal like "semester abroad in Timbuktu, travel in Venezuela, Iceland, and Mongolia" would be totally appropriate. If you're spending space in your cover letter talking about your international travel you're probably doing it wrong.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 23, 2013 3:33 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Thoughts about publications? Would you totally leave off study abroad programs?

Not the OP, but I have travel (with some details) in the interests section of my resume and have had good conversations about it in interviews. If the OP means that you shouldn't devote space in your cover letter to study abroad/other travel, I agree. But if the OP's also talking about a statement in your interests section, I disagree. Something under Interests/personal like "semester abroad in Timbuktu, travel in Venezuela, Iceland, and Mongolia" would be totally appropriate. If you're spending space in your cover letter talking about your international travel you're probably doing it wrong.


On a related note, former clerks have told me not to put simply "Traveling" on your interests. Put specific places so you can have something specific to talk with the interviewer about.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby ClerkAdvisor » Mon Sep 23, 2013 3:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:How closely do you look at job descriptions? I personally keep my job descriptions short because there is no reason for me to describe something in great length when everyone knows pretty much what an SA, for example, does.


Obvious job descriptions are just a waste of space. All that matters for the SA are firm and location, and you should indicate if you got an offer. So, if you were an SA at S&C 2L summer, all that it really needs to say is something like : S&C, NYC, NY May 2013 - July 2013 Summer Associate (offer extended). Most other information is pretty extraneous.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby lolwat » Mon Sep 23, 2013 6:32 pm

I agree with some of this, particularly #1, #2, and #6.

#2: I think, unfortunately, people tend to take the advice of their CSOs, which sometimes includes the whole "I honed my research and writing skills through my experiences blah blah" type of thing. Those types of cover letters annoy me, but I can understand why they do it. I had no idea how to write a cover letter before law school, and my CSO's "sample cover letters" included all of that bullshit. I ultimately went for a near-minimalist approach, which includes a few resume things (i.e., top% at X school, editorial board, published note, moot court/clinic, whatever prestigious work experience).

#3: Yeah, sadly, people generally don't have ties outside of like 1-3 markets. As a previous clerk that looked over applications in a flyover district where the local/regional law school was not terribly highly ranked, and few people had substantial connections, I'd personally suggest that you try and look past lack of connections to the state. Bring in the best candidates (qualifications/fit wise), not just the ones that have connections. Obviously irrelevant if your judge just prefers "local" candidates.

#4: Merit scholarships are another thing that CSOs suggest putting on resumes, but I agree otherwise.

#5: I think this is just personal preference, which still means candidates might want to rethink having this on their resume. I think interests are important, and I think traveling and studying abroad makes a particular candidate more interesting. At the same time, having grown up in a household that didn't have a whole lot of extra money laying around, people listing the stuff that they were fortunate enough to have money to do doesn't make them more appealing to me.

As for some of the other questions here: (1) you should definitely include publications and (2) I agree with ClerkAdvisor that obvious job descriptions are a waste of space.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 23, 2013 7:04 pm

lolwat wrote:. . .
(2) I agree with ClerkAdvisor that obvious job descriptions are a waste of space.

So, would you not say something like "Researched and wrote memoranda on issues including the interpretive rule exception to the APA, the Freedom of Information Act, and the Federal Arbitration Act" or whatever?

Or something even more vague than that? "Researched and wrote memoranda on various legal issues."

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby andythefir » Mon Sep 23, 2013 7:05 pm

Thanks for answering these questions. I was wondering if the judges have a preference between the Oscar generated cover letters and PDFs/word documents-the Oscar mail merge function seems pretty neat. Thanks.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby lolwat » Mon Sep 23, 2013 7:14 pm

So, would you not say something like "Researched and wrote memoranda on issues including the interpretive rule exception to the APA, the Freedom of Information Act, and the Federal Arbitration Act" or whatever?

Or something even more vague than that? "Researched and wrote memoranda on various legal issues."


It depends in part on the rest of your resume. I would never really do the second, because it should be obvious at any SA (or any real legal job, for that matter) that you researched and wrote memoranda on legal issues at some point during the summer. I used to have that (and I might still do, shit) and it's just a waste. I think if you did something unique--like some jurisdictions allow supervised students to actually do substantive trial stuff at the DA's office or whatever (don't know too much about this, but IIRC it's a thing), that's worth putting down.

Another consideration is, are you going to have like, 5 lines of blank space if you don't put something for your 2L SA? If so, put the first thing that includes APA, FOIA, FAA etc. Also, if you're applying to some judge that does a lot of work on certain areas (or seems to care a lot about some of those issues -- some judges write law review articles and such on certain issues they care about, for example) I would definitely take a few minutes to have a separate resume for that application.

But otherwise, if your resume is otherwise full of good stuff, I would just have the line of the firm you worked at, the city/state, the dates, and your position (and if applicable, where the offer was extended). No description of work done at the firm is necessary.

Thanks for answering these questions. I was wondering if the judges have a preference between the Oscar generated cover letters and PDFs/word documents-the Oscar mail merge function seems pretty neat. Thanks.


My judge didn't.

Also, I'm going to add that I'm not the OP (as people that post here know, I pretty much never anon myself, plus I'm finished with my clerkship now), but I honestly figure since so many things are judge specific, the more people with experience that can answer how their judge (or how they) view things, the more info will be out there for applicants.
Last edited by lolwat on Mon Sep 23, 2013 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Scotusnerd » Mon Sep 23, 2013 7:14 pm

Tagging, thanks for sharing this. I won't make these mistakes.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:27 pm

If I may: assuming you have good recommenders that can speak about you personally, get them to call chambers. This is going to vary widely by judge, but in my chambers there's no quicker way to get your app pulled than to have a professor call and praise you effusively. It's not going to get your app pulled if it's not otherwise competitive, but we have many dozens of applications that are all competitive. They start to blend together. At a certain point it's honestly hard to choose. This is a good way to get chosen.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:07 pm

lolwat wrote:#5: I think this is just personal preference, which still means candidates might want to rethink having this on their resume. I think interests are important, and I think traveling and studying abroad makes a particular candidate more interesting. At the same time, having grown up in a household that didn't have a whole lot of extra money laying around, people listing the stuff that they were fortunate enough to have money to do doesn't make them more appealing to me.

That could apply to a lot of interests/hobbies, though (like, say, scuba diving or sailing, which are interesting but not cheap). Conversely, travel abroad need not be expensive (I didn't pay for a lot of mine - that is, I traveled through my job, not because my parents paid for it - and if you're not K-JD I'd assume you just saved up for it), and study abroad often falls under the usual financial aid and doesn't have to be more expensive than regular classes (admittedly if you're working your way through school it's probably tougher to swing).

Really, I think this all goes to the issue with interests/personal stuff on a resume - you don't know how people will take it. Someone asked about professional poker player as an interest - some judges would love that, I know one who homeschooled his 12 children and was deacon of his more-fundamentalist church who probably wouldn't go for it. I don't think travel is nearly as controversial as that, but I suppose you could always hit on something that won't appeal to the reader (but you know, I have no interest in what major league sports team someone follows, and people put that on resumes. I wouldn't not hire someone because of it, but I don't care).

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby lolwat » Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:30 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
lolwat wrote:#5: I think this is just personal preference, which still means candidates might want to rethink having this on their resume. I think interests are important, and I think traveling and studying abroad makes a particular candidate more interesting. At the same time, having grown up in a household that didn't have a whole lot of extra money laying around, people listing the stuff that they were fortunate enough to have money to do doesn't make them more appealing to me.

That could apply to a lot of interests/hobbies, though (like, say, scuba diving or sailing, which are interesting but not cheap). Conversely, travel abroad need not be expensive (I didn't pay for a lot of mine - that is, I traveled through my job, not because my parents paid for it - and if you're not K-JD I'd assume you just saved up for it), and study abroad often falls under the usual financial aid and doesn't have to be more expensive than regular classes (admittedly if you're working your way through school it's probably tougher to swing).

Really, I think this all goes to the issue with interests/personal stuff on a resume - you don't know how people will take it. Someone asked about professional poker player as an interest - some judges would love that, I know one who homeschooled his 12 children and was deacon of his more-fundamentalist church who probably wouldn't go for it. I don't think travel is nearly as controversial as that, but I suppose you could always hit on something that won't appeal to the reader (but you know, I have no interest in what major league sports team someone follows, and people put that on resumes. I wouldn't not hire someone because of it, but I don't care).


I agree with everything above generally, and I just re-read the part you quoted from me and, to just to elaborate slightly, I guess my point was (1) interests are still very important to have on a resume, as I've consistently mentioned, but (2) there are things that make a candidate "interesting" that I wouldn't give intangible points to when going through their application. If they're chosen for interviews, those things will be conversation pieces, but if I'm asked for my opinion about the candidate (either when choosing candidates to interview or after the interview), my assessment is not going to be any more or less favorable because of those things. It's typically never a negative to include things like that, though.

I mean, to me, interests like that are not really any different than me looking at some HYS kid's application and not giving them any extra points just for being at HYS. But the interests section is something you can better tailor to your readers than which school you're going to, so if an applicant takes the time to research individual judges (which will only really be feasible to a certain extent) and finds that something will or will not appeal to any particular judge, it makes sense to tailor the resume for that judge.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:40 pm

Totally agree.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:05 pm

To OP:

Would someone who is on a secondary journal who gets published somehow make up for the fact that they are not on law review?

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:46 am

Hey all, OP here.

Anonymous User wrote:Thoughts about publications? Would you totally leave off study abroad programs?

Publications are fantastic. I would leave off study abroad entirely (I did leave mine off when I applied). At most, study abroad merits one line of text under your undergrad school (you know, where you put your honors and stuff) rather than formatting it as though it was another school you attended.

Anonymous User wrote:How closely do you look at job descriptions? I personally keep my job descriptions short because there is no reason for me to describe something in great length when everyone knows pretty much what an SA, for example, does.

Not closely at all. Other commenters in the thread have given good answers to this. Just be sure to point out if you've done something unusual and cool, and the fact that it's cool isn't obvious from the job title.

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Not the OP, but I have travel (with some details) in the interests section of my resume and have had good conversations about it in interviews. If the OP means that you shouldn't devote space in your cover letter to study abroad/other travel, I agree. But if the OP's also talking about a statement in your interests section, I disagree. Something under Interests/personal like "semester abroad in Timbuktu, travel in Venezuela, Iceland, and Mongolia" would be totally appropriate. If you're spending space in your cover letter talking about your international travel you're probably doing it wrong.

Sorry if I was unclear. Your interests section is the perfect place to describe your travel. My pet peeve involves people putting it elsewhere in their resume/cover letter.

lolwat wrote:I agree with some of this, particularly #1, #2, and #6.
...
#4: Merit scholarships are another thing that CSOs suggest putting on resumes, but I agree otherwise.

#5: I think this is just personal preference, which still means candidates might want to rethink having this on their resume. I think interests are important, and I think traveling and studying abroad makes a particular candidate more interesting. At the same time, having grown up in a household that didn't have a whole lot of extra money laying around, people listing the stuff that they were fortunate enough to have money to do doesn't make them more appealing to me.

Totally disagree with those CSOs but I see where they're coming from. I just think we all understand the law school merit scholarship game. Just about every law student at every school could have chosen to take a larger scholarship at a lower-ranked school.

I also agree that an interests section is great. It's basically the only chance anyone gets in their application to tell the reader that they're human. I recommend having one, although MAX 2 lines. And including travel in that section is fine. Maybe I'm just cynical about study abroad.

andythefir wrote:Thanks for answering these questions. I was wondering if the judges have a preference between the Oscar generated cover letters and PDFs/word documents-the Oscar mail merge function seems pretty neat. Thanks.

No preference whatsoever. Maybe I'm missing the point, but I think formatting is largely overrated. Like the $100 I've spent on resume paper (between 1L externship apps and paper clerkship apps) because the CSO told me to--I'm pretty sure it was completely wasted.

Anonymous User wrote:If I may: assuming you have good recommenders that can speak about you personally, get them to call chambers. This is going to vary widely by judge, but in my chambers there's no quicker way to get your app pulled than to have a professor call and praise you effusively. It's not going to get your app pulled if it's not otherwise competitive, but we have many dozens of applications that are all competitive. They start to blend together. At a certain point it's honestly hard to choose. This is a good way to get chosen.

Yeah this is something that's become very clear to me since starting to slog through OSCAR. There are SO MANY applications, and it's very easy to get looked over. Anything you can do to get your application pulled from the pile is time well spent. (Although remember that being pushy or overly persistent might get your application pulled in a way you don't want. Be nice to judicial assistants!!)

Anonymous User wrote:To OP:

Would someone who is on a secondary journal who gets published somehow make up for the fact that they are not on law review?

This is really tough to say and probably varies widely. My knee jerk reaction is no, unless you're at, say, a top 6 school in which case lack of Law Review is less important. But to answer the question you DIDN'T ask, NO, these types of informal comparisons between secondary (i.e. non-grades) factors are not useful and will just serve to drive you crazy. Lots of people who aren't on Law Review get clerkships.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 24, 2013 9:40 am

How many applications are current clerks sorting through this time of year?

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 26, 2013 10:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:How many applications are current clerks sorting through this time of year?


Only about 1-2 per week in our chambers in a fairly competitive district on the East Coast. We don't have anything up on OSCAR at this time and won't until at least early next year. The judge takes a quick look at the ones that come in and gives them to us to file for now. I don't think there is any advantage, at least in my chambers, to sending in an app now. Nobody is going to get a call for a while.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 04, 2013 3:22 pm

Glad to see this thread. I'm in the same boat as OP and, after spending 10 hours going through applications the past few days, here are some pointers. They may be specific to my judge and me, so take it as you will.

1. Good god this should be obvious, but do not apply if you don't submit all of the requested materials. My judge asks for letters of rec for a reason.

2. Make sure your application materials are perfect. 100% perfect. It looks so incredibly bad to have a typo or spelling error. I know of a judge who swears he wouldn't even hire the valedictorian of HYS if he/she had a typo in application materials. Look over everything until you would bet money that they're perfect. Have other people look too.

3. Almost universally, writing samples can be shortened to 5-10 pages. Do not send a 30 page appellate brief. Also, I think law review notes/comments make terrible writing samples because they're nothing like judicial writing.

4. Don't just reiterate your resume in your CL. Both my judge and I prefer short CLs that get to the point.

5. Related to (4), you don't need to explain in detail why you want to clerk. You can just say, e.g., I want to litigate so I want to clerk. Judges know clerkships are coveted.

6. I believe strongly in interest sections, but they should not make you sound boring. Don't just list what everyone else likes doing (cooking, reading, traveling), but make them specific and stand out.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Glad to see this thread. I'm in the same boat as OP and, after spending 10 hours going through applications the past few days, here are some pointers. They may be specific to my judge and me, so take it as you will.

1. Good god this should be obvious, but do not apply if you don't submit all of the requested materials. My judge asks for letters of rec for a reason.

2. Make sure your application materials are perfect. 100% perfect. It looks so incredibly bad to have a typo or spelling error. I know of a judge who swears he wouldn't even hire the valedictorian of HYS if he/she had a typo in application materials. Look over everything until you would bet money that they're perfect. Have other people look too.

3. Almost universally, writing samples can be shortened to 5-10 pages. Do not send a 30 page appellate brief. Also, I think law review notes/comments make terrible writing samples because they're nothing like judicial writing.

4. Don't just reiterate your resume in your CL. Both my judge and I prefer short CLs that get to the point.

5. Related to (4), you don't need to explain in detail why you want to clerk. You can just say, e.g., I want to litigate so I want to clerk. Judges know clerkships are coveted.

6. I believe strongly in interest sections, but they should not make you sound boring. Don't just list what everyone else likes doing (cooking, reading, traveling), but make them specific and stand out.


I think 1 & 3 refer to me. Ha. I'm out of law school a few years, and I'm a former clerk. I only apply to 1-2 clerkships every few months when something comes up that looks really interesting, so getting someone to write a LOR for a clerkship is a pain for the recommender because (1) usually they don't think I should be applying to clerk again in the first place (2) I'd have to send them emails every few months to go into Oscar and resend the letter and (3) the clerkships I apply to are usually short notice jobs that require a quick turn around on the LORs, and I feel bad about imposing on the people that are nice enough to agree to write a LOR for me. So, if the turn around is fairly short, sometimes I submit without the LORs. My writing sample is way too long, but I keep using it based on inertia and because I'm not quite sure how to break my writing sample(s) into something coherent. I.e., when I look to cut it, I feel like all the sections are necessary. Oh well. I guess I won't be clerking again. This is good input, though.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Twiqbal » Fri Oct 04, 2013 7:33 pm

What do you think about using a paper from a seminar, rather than a brief from my legal writing class, for a writing sample? The paper is the best piece of legal writing I have, but it does not have much in the way of concrete legal analysis, like you would find in a brief. It is very theoretical.

Would using something like this get my application thrown out? Or would it make me stand out (in a good way)?

I am top 5% at a T10 and am looking mostly at circuit court judges.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Oct 04, 2013 7:44 pm

Not OP, but neither of the judges I clerked for would have wanted a seminar paper because they wanted to see the concrete legal analysis. However, I can't say that's universal - there are some circuit judges (I think) who like LR notes as writing samples, and they might like a seminar paper. I personally still wouldn't go with a very theoretical piece, but I'm not certain it would be bad.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby lolwat » Sat Oct 05, 2013 1:47 am

I submitted like, my 22-or-something-page Note when I was applying for clerkships. It didn't have much legal analysis in it at all, and it really didn't make much sense to use just an excerpt. I got interviews (primarily from district court judges, but given that I was at a T20 and not in the top 1% that's not terribly surprising) and ultimately a clerkship. So no, I don't think it's going to kill your chances to use a seminar paper if that's your best writing sample, and I think if anything, circuit judges are probably more likely to prefer them than district judges. But this is a very broad, general statement that isn't going to cover every circuit judge out there.

I think what it really comes down to is that you should use your best writing, whatever it is (unless you know that the judge has certain preferences, then you use a different writing sample for that judge), and if you have multiple potential samples that are all pretty great, THEN you worry about which one to use, and the right one is usually the one with substantive legal analysis and under 10 pages.




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