pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 05, 2013 1:17 pm

Twiqbal wrote: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.


I would not use it because, even without looking at it, I'm certain it's nothing like the writing required of clerks.

But, really, if you're top 5% at a T10, you're almost certainly going to land something so long as your writing sample isn't full of errors.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 05, 2013 1:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
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.


Quoted anon poster here.

My judge wants LORs because they're really the only way to truly tell if someone's good to work with. The judge's main priority is to hire someone she likes working with because she's hired people she ended up not liking before and it's made for an awkward (and dramatic) year for her.

In her opinion (and mine, FWIW), LORs are extremely telling of a clerk's potential more than anything else, especially if they're from judges/people intimately familiar with an applicant's writing ability. She hired me based primarily on my 3 LORs. And after reviewing 50+ applications, strong LORs really, really stand out to me. My #1 recommended choice for the judge is due to one of the applicant's LORs. It was from a prof saying this is the smartest and hardest working student he has ever had in 15 years of teaching, and everyone likes and gets along with the applicant. Also, the applicant's writing sample was 100% error-free, 6 pages, and very well written. That's someone I would want to work with.

Not trying to be a jerk about it, but not sending in requested materials makes it look like you didn't even read the job announcement. It looks like you don't have any attention to the most basic detail. I understand it may be hard to get a LOR, but that just looks suspicious, i.e., that no one could really recommend you.

As for the writing sample, brevity is a virtue.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:46 pm

Do you consider an analysis of law memo appropriate?

My writing sample is from my 2L job, and it is something along the lines of: "Can we do this under Delaware law?" It has very little factual information about the client, and it is entirely a summary/interpretation of the law. It looks a lot like the client alerts that firms post on their websites.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 06, 2013 2:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Quoted anon poster here.

My judge wants LORs because they're really the only way to truly tell if someone's good to work with. The judge's main priority is to hire someone she likes working with because she's hired people she ended up not liking before and it's made for an awkward (and dramatic) year for her.

In her opinion (and mine, FWIW), LORs are extremely telling of a clerk's potential more than anything else, especially if they're from judges/people intimately familiar with an applicant's writing ability. She hired me based primarily on my 3 LORs. And after reviewing 50+ applications, strong LORs really, really stand out to me. My #1 recommended choice for the judge is due to one of the applicant's LORs. It was from a prof saying this is the smartest and hardest working student he has ever had in 15 years of teaching, and everyone likes and gets along with the applicant. Also, the applicant's writing sample was 100% error-free, 6 pages, and very well written. That's someone I would want to work with.

Not trying to be a jerk about it, but not sending in requested materials makes it look like you didn't even read the job announcement. It looks like you don't have any attention to the most basic detail. I understand it may be hard to get a LOR, but that just looks suspicious, i.e., that no one could really recommend you.

As for the writing sample, brevity is a virtue.


I get it, and I don't disagree with you. I usually provide references and address the lack of LORs in my cover letter, e.g. because the applications are due in a week after the job was posted, I won't be able to get LORs in time. I've had several interviews despite lack of LORs. I'm not saying it's a great plan, and I certainly had a full application package the first time I applied for clerkships.

Also, you get LORs from judges? I'd never have the last judge I clerked for write a LOR. He's a busy US COA judge that gave me the job of my lifetime, and I don't feel like I should bother him with writing LORs and resending them every few months when an Oscar posting comes out that interests me.

I'm also in a weird spot because the recommenders that wrote great LORs for me a few years ago ask me why I want to clerk again and tell me they think clerking again won't advance the ball any for my career, which I find surprising. They offer to put a word in for me with their friends at other firms and government agencies, but for some reason they think a 3rd year attorney should not go back and clerk. It's bizarre. After they give me their spiel on why another clerkship would be useless, I feel weird saying “okay, but I still want to clerk, so please write a letter.” It’s like I don’t value their opinions, even though they did a ton to land me the first clerkship.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 06, 2013 7:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Quoted anon poster here.

My judge wants LORs because they're really the only way to truly tell if someone's good to work with. The judge's main priority is to hire someone she likes working with because she's hired people she ended up not liking before and it's made for an awkward (and dramatic) year for her.

In her opinion (and mine, FWIW), LORs are extremely telling of a clerk's potential more than anything else, especially if they're from judges/people intimately familiar with an applicant's writing ability. She hired me based primarily on my 3 LORs. And after reviewing 50+ applications, strong LORs really, really stand out to me. My #1 recommended choice for the judge is due to one of the applicant's LORs. It was from a prof saying this is the smartest and hardest working student he has ever had in 15 years of teaching, and everyone likes and gets along with the applicant. Also, the applicant's writing sample was 100% error-free, 6 pages, and very well written. That's someone I would want to work with.

Not trying to be a jerk about it, but not sending in requested materials makes it look like you didn't even read the job announcement. It looks like you don't have any attention to the most basic detail. I understand it may be hard to get a LOR, but that just looks suspicious, i.e., that no one could really recommend you.

As for the writing sample, brevity is a virtue.


I get it, and I don't disagree with you. I usually provide references and address the lack of LORs in my cover letter, e.g. because the applications are due in a week after the job was posted, I won't be able to get LORs in time. I've had several interviews despite lack of LORs. I'm not saying it's a great plan, and I certainly had a full application package the first time I applied for clerkships.

Also, you get LORs from judges? I'd never have the last judge I clerked for write a LOR. He's a busy US COA judge that gave me the job of my lifetime, and I don't feel like I should bother him with writing LORs and resending them every few months when an Oscar posting comes out that interests me.

I'm also in a weird spot because the recommenders that wrote great LORs for me a few years ago ask me why I want to clerk again and tell me they think clerking again won't advance the ball any for my career, which I find surprising. They offer to put a word in for me with their friends at other firms and government agencies, but for some reason they think a 3rd year attorney should not go back and clerk. It's bizarre. After they give me their spiel on why another clerkship would be useless, I feel weird saying “okay, but I still want to clerk, so please write a letter.” It’s like I don’t value their opinions, even though they did a ton to land me the first clerkship.


Yeah, 2 judges I interned for as a student wrote LORs for me. They're both extremely nice and I had a great relationship with them, so it wasn't weird asking for them. I would strongly recommend trying to get a LOR from the judge you clerked for--that's exactly the kind of application info we're looking for.

And that is very bizarre about people's comments. Everyone acts like clerking is the greatest legal job out there and should understand that it's not 100% about advancing your career. There is a lot to say about looking forward to going to work in the mornings (and leaving at 5pm).

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 06, 2013 7:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Do you consider an analysis of law memo appropriate?

My writing sample is from my 2L job, and it is something along the lines of: "Can we do this under Delaware law?" It has very little factual information about the client, and it is entirely a summary/interpretation of the law. It looks a lot like the client alerts that firms post on their websites.


Absolutely.

Writing samples with objective analysis are the best, IMO, because it's the most akin to what you'd be doing as a clerk.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Do you consider an analysis of law memo appropriate?

My writing sample is from my 2L job, and it is something along the lines of: "Can we do this under Delaware law?" It has very little factual information about the client, and it is entirely a summary/interpretation of the law. It looks a lot like the client alerts that firms post on their websites.


Absolutely.

Writing samples with objective analysis are the best, IMO, because it's the most akin to what you'd be doing as a clerk.


I have a 6 page writing sample (which I initially feared was too short, but it seems like brevity is cool). Anyway, it's not on a very complex subject and didn't require any genius analysis. What it is, though, is fairly well written. Should I try to find a more complex, sophisticated writing sample? Someone reading it would probably assume I'm a good writer, but probably wouldn't come to any conclusions about whether I'm a smart cookie or not.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Quoted anon poster here.

My judge wants LORs because they're really the only way to truly tell if someone's good to work with. The judge's main priority is to hire someone she likes working with because she's hired people she ended up not liking before and it's made for an awkward (and dramatic) year for her.

In her opinion (and mine, FWIW), LORs are extremely telling of a clerk's potential more than anything else, especially if they're from judges/people intimately familiar with an applicant's writing ability. She hired me based primarily on my 3 LORs. And after reviewing 50+ applications, strong LORs really, really stand out to me. My #1 recommended choice for the judge is due to one of the applicant's LORs. It was from a prof saying this is the smartest and hardest working student he has ever had in 15 years of teaching, and everyone likes and gets along with the applicant. Also, the applicant's writing sample was 100% error-free, 6 pages, and very well written. That's someone I would want to work with.

Not trying to be a jerk about it, but not sending in requested materials makes it look like you didn't even read the job announcement. It looks like you don't have any attention to the most basic detail. I understand it may be hard to get a LOR, but that just looks suspicious, i.e., that no one could really recommend you.

As for the writing sample, brevity is a virtue.


I get it, and I don't disagree with you. I usually provide references and address the lack of LORs in my cover letter, e.g. because the applications are due in a week after the job was posted, I won't be able to get LORs in time. I've had several interviews despite lack of LORs. I'm not saying it's a great plan, and I certainly had a full application package the first time I applied for clerkships.

Also, you get LORs from judges? I'd never have the last judge I clerked for write a LOR. He's a busy US COA judge that gave me the job of my lifetime, and I don't feel like I should bother him with writing LORs and resending them every few months when an Oscar posting comes out that interests me.

I'm also in a weird spot because the recommenders that wrote great LORs for me a few years ago ask me why I want to clerk again and tell me they think clerking again won't advance the ball any for my career, which I find surprising. They offer to put a word in for me with their friends at other firms and government agencies, but for some reason they think a 3rd year attorney should not go back and clerk. It's bizarre. After they give me their spiel on why another clerkship would be useless, I feel weird saying “okay, but I still want to clerk, so please write a letter.” It’s like I don’t value their opinions, even though they did a ton to land me the first clerkship.


Curious about the LORs. If I apply for clerkships and I'm currently working at a firm, what if I don't include a LOR from someone who works at my firm. Honestly, my firm would probably get pissed if I were to apply for clerkships. Do people assessing clerkship applications understand this or would this be a serious detriment?

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Oct 06, 2013 9:18 pm

As long as you have letters that can speak specifically to your strengths, I don't think most judges would care. You might encounter the odd judge who did (because clerkship hiring is so idiosyncratic), but I can't think it would be significant.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:12 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Quoted anon poster here.

My judge wants LORs because they're really the only way to truly tell if someone's good to work with. The judge's main priority is to hire someone she likes working with because she's hired people she ended up not liking before and it's made for an awkward (and dramatic) year for her.

In her opinion (and mine, FWIW), LORs are extremely telling of a clerk's potential more than anything else, especially if they're from judges/people intimately familiar with an applicant's writing ability. She hired me based primarily on my 3 LORs. And after reviewing 50+ applications, strong LORs really, really stand out to me. My #1 recommended choice for the judge is due to one of the applicant's LORs. It was from a prof saying this is the smartest and hardest working student he has ever had in 15 years of teaching, and everyone likes and gets along with the applicant. Also, the applicant's writing sample was 100% error-free, 6 pages, and very well written. That's someone I would want to work with.

Not trying to be a jerk about it, but not sending in requested materials makes it look like you didn't even read the job announcement. It looks like you don't have any attention to the most basic detail. I understand it may be hard to get a LOR, but that just looks suspicious, i.e., that no one could really recommend you.

As for the writing sample, brevity is a virtue.


I get it, and I don't disagree with you. I usually provide references and address the lack of LORs in my cover letter, e.g. because the applications are due in a week after the job was posted, I won't be able to get LORs in time. I've had several interviews despite lack of LORs. I'm not saying it's a great plan, and I certainly had a full application package the first time I applied for clerkships.

Also, you get LORs from judges? I'd never have the last judge I clerked for write a LOR. He's a busy US COA judge that gave me the job of my lifetime, and I don't feel like I should bother him with writing LORs and resending them every few months when an Oscar posting comes out that interests me.

I'm also in a weird spot because the recommenders that wrote great LORs for me a few years ago ask me why I want to clerk again and tell me they think clerking again won't advance the ball any for my career, which I find surprising. They offer to put a word in for me with their friends at other firms and government agencies, but for some reason they think a 3rd year attorney should not go back and clerk. It's bizarre. After they give me their spiel on why another clerkship would be useless, I feel weird saying “okay, but I still want to clerk, so please write a letter.” It’s like I don’t value their opinions, even though they did a ton to land me the first clerkship.


Curious about the LORs. If I apply for clerkships and I'm currently working at a firm, what if I don't include a LOR from someone who works at my firm. Honestly, my firm would probably get pissed if I were to apply for clerkships. Do people assessing clerkship applications understand this or would this be a serious detriment?


You should be fine. I didn't have a LOR from any past employers, just professors. If anything, judges would look at you weird if you didn't have any professors write a LOR on your behalf. Unless you're an alumni applicant perhaps.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:48 pm

Is having multiple publications a plus? What's the most you have ever seen?

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 07, 2013 3:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Do you consider an analysis of law memo appropriate?

My writing sample is from my 2L job, and it is something along the lines of: "Can we do this under Delaware law?" It has very little factual information about the client, and it is entirely a summary/interpretation of the law. It looks a lot like the client alerts that firms post on their websites.


Absolutely.

Writing samples with objective analysis are the best, IMO, because it's the most akin to what you'd be doing as a clerk.


Wow, thanks for this. I was wondering because CS told me to use a sample where I talk more about the factual situation of the client. The "like the plaintiff in X v. Y, our client bla bla" type of memo. My firm on the other hand, was completely opposed to me using a memo where a single client fact is mentioned, even if name redacted.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Do you consider an analysis of law memo appropriate?

My writing sample is from my 2L job, and it is something along the lines of: "Can we do this under Delaware law?" It has very little factual information about the client, and it is entirely a summary/interpretation of the law. It looks a lot like the client alerts that firms post on their websites.


Absolutely.

Writing samples with objective analysis are the best, IMO, because it's the most akin to what you'd be doing as a clerk.


Wow, thanks for this. I was wondering because CS told me to use a sample where I talk more about the factual situation of the client. The "like the plaintiff in X v. Y, our client bla bla" type of memo. My firm on the other hand, was completely opposed to me using a memo where a single client fact is mentioned, even if name redacted.


I don't know why your CS would say that. Advocacy pieces are fine, but objective analysis is still the best.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Do you consider an analysis of law memo appropriate?

My writing sample is from my 2L job, and it is something along the lines of: "Can we do this under Delaware law?" It has very little factual information about the client, and it is entirely a summary/interpretation of the law. It looks a lot like the client alerts that firms post on their websites.


Absolutely.

Writing samples with objective analysis are the best, IMO, because it's the most akin to what you'd be doing as a clerk.


I have a 6 page writing sample (which I initially feared was too short, but it seems like brevity is cool). Anyway, it's not on a very complex subject and didn't require any genius analysis. What it is, though, is fairly well written. Should I try to find a more complex, sophisticated writing sample? Someone reading it would probably assume I'm a good writer, but probably wouldn't come to any conclusions about whether I'm a smart cookie or not.


It will be fine if it's well written.

It's kind of amazing how quickly you can find out if someone is a good writer. 1-2 pages is usually enough.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Quoted anon poster here.

My judge wants LORs because they're really the only way to truly tell if someone's good to work with. The judge's main priority is to hire someone she likes working with because she's hired people she ended up not liking before and it's made for an awkward (and dramatic) year for her.

In her opinion (and mine, FWIW), LORs are extremely telling of a clerk's potential more than anything else, especially if they're from judges/people intimately familiar with an applicant's writing ability. She hired me based primarily on my 3 LORs. And after reviewing 50+ applications, strong LORs really, really stand out to me. My #1 recommended choice for the judge is due to one of the applicant's LORs. It was from a prof saying this is the smartest and hardest working student he has ever had in 15 years of teaching, and everyone likes and gets along with the applicant. Also, the applicant's writing sample was 100% error-free, 6 pages, and very well written. That's someone I would want to work with.

Not trying to be a jerk about it, but not sending in requested materials makes it look like you didn't even read the job announcement. It looks like you don't have any attention to the most basic detail. I understand it may be hard to get a LOR, but that just looks suspicious, i.e., that no one could really recommend you.

As for the writing sample, brevity is a virtue.


I get it, and I don't disagree with you. I usually provide references and address the lack of LORs in my cover letter, e.g. because the applications are due in a week after the job was posted, I won't be able to get LORs in time. I've had several interviews despite lack of LORs. I'm not saying it's a great plan, and I certainly had a full application package the first time I applied for clerkships.

Also, you get LORs from judges? I'd never have the last judge I clerked for write a LOR. He's a busy US COA judge that gave me the job of my lifetime, and I don't feel like I should bother him with writing LORs and resending them every few months when an Oscar posting comes out that interests me.

I'm also in a weird spot because the recommenders that wrote great LORs for me a few years ago ask me why I want to clerk again and tell me they think clerking again won't advance the ball any for my career, which I find surprising. They offer to put a word in for me with their friends at other firms and government agencies, but for some reason they think a 3rd year attorney should not go back and clerk. It's bizarre. After they give me their spiel on why another clerkship would be useless, I feel weird saying “okay, but I still want to clerk, so please write a letter.” It’s like I don’t value their opinions, even though they did a ton to land me the first clerkship.


Curious about the LORs. If I apply for clerkships and I'm currently working at a firm, what if I don't include a LOR from someone who works at my firm. Honestly, my firm would probably get pissed if I were to apply for clerkships. Do people assessing clerkship applications understand this or would this be a serious detriment?


You should be fine. I didn't have a LOR from any past employers, just professors. If anything, judges would look at you weird if you didn't have any professors write a LOR on your behalf. Unless you're an alumni applicant perhaps.


Well that's what the issue is, I am an alumni applicant. I can use a prof who I've RA'ed for as a 1L and a judge who I interned for to write recs, plus other profs, I just don't want to use anyone at my current firm. I'm wondering if that will be suspicious applying for a clerkship not using anyone at my current firm

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:35 pm

No. It won't matter.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 08, 2013 11:48 pm

Thanks so much for doing this!

How brief is too brief for a cover letter? Is it acceptable to do the "bare bones" approach of saying I'm applying to clerk, my recommenders are X, Y, and Z, and please contact me with questions? Or should information like class rank/honors, LR, [prestigious] undergrad and past/future work experience go in as well?

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Oct 09, 2013 1:04 am

Personally, I always found the shorter the cover letter, the better, since otherwise it pretty much duplicated the resume. The only thing I was interested in seeing in addition to what you list is anything about your connections - you're applying because Jane Doe, former clerk to the judge, suggested you apply, or you want to clerk in that location because your family has lived there for 5 generations, or whatever it is. But there must be a lot of people advising applicants to do the long cover letters, because I saw them a lot. And some judges may like them? So I think they're somewhat debated.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 09, 2013 1:47 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Personally, I always found the shorter the cover letter, the better, since otherwise it pretty much duplicated the resume. The only thing I was interested in seeing in addition to what you list is anything about your connections - you're applying because Jane Doe, former clerk to the judge, suggested you apply, or you want to clerk in that location because your family has lived there for 5 generations, or whatever it is. But there must be a lot of people advising applicants to do the long cover letters, because I saw them a lot. And some judges may like them? So I think they're somewhat debated.


I went short and sweet and had pretty good success (some interviews and a clerkship resulted). The long one takes more work and can seem duplicative. The short and sweet one was easy peezy for me to do and didn't require my making up BS. I just plugged and chugged judge's names in for each cover letter. And the only time I changed the CL was when I put in a location connection.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby lolwat » Wed Oct 09, 2013 2:52 pm

Personally, I always found the shorter the cover letter, the better, since otherwise it pretty much duplicated the resume. The only thing I was interested in seeing in addition to what you list is anything about your connections - you're applying because Jane Doe, former clerk to the judge, suggested you apply, or you want to clerk in that location because your family has lived there for 5 generations, or whatever it is. But there must be a lot of people advising applicants to do the long cover letters, because I saw them a lot. And some judges may like them? So I think they're somewhat debated.


Yeah this 98% of the time. Mine's slightly longer than the shortest cover letter examples out there, but the added text does really just highlight a few things from my resume (it doesn't regurgitate the entire thing, just points out a few specific goodstuffs).

There are at least a few judges that prefer and require more than just the basic barebones letter. See, e.g., Wardlaw (9th Cir), Lee (E.D. Va.).

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 09, 2013 10:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks so much for doing this!

How brief is too brief for a cover letter? Is it acceptable to do the "bare bones" approach of saying I'm applying to clerk, my recommenders are X, Y, and Z, and please contact me with questions? Or should information like class rank/honors, LR, [prestigious] undergrad and past/future work experience go in as well?


After reading 100+ CLs, I firmly believe in short and sweet ones. I actually think CLs for clerkships are so unnecessary because every judge knows how coveted they are and how easy it will be to hire someone who will say yes on the spot. But I digress.

The best CLs are ones that catch your attention. That normally involves a really outstanding achievement, connection, or something that most other applicants won't have. You should flat out brag if you can, but of course do so humbly. I bragged about my recommenders' reviews of my work and all the writing awards I got in LS, which stood out to my judge.

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jessuf
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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby jessuf » Wed Oct 09, 2013 11:41 pm

Should I write handwritten thank you notes?

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 10, 2013 1:23 am

Jessuf wrote:Should I write handwritten thank you notes?


Depends on the judge. What was the vibe you got? If he or she seems more old school and traditional, I'd do a handwritten thank you note and also email another thank you through the law clerk's email.

If the judge seems younger and doesn't care, then I would just do email or even no thank you.

I didn't do a thank you note and got my clerkship.

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nevdash
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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby nevdash » Sat Oct 12, 2013 12:20 pm

Jessuf wrote:Should I write handwritten thank you notes?

No. Chambers will probably assume that any handwritten document is a prisoner motion and just throw it away anyway.

But seriously, I don't think a note would make any difference. In my experience, the judge has already made up his or her mind about you during the interview, and the situations where something as small as a note would break a tie are super rare.

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Re: pointers for applicants from current clerk looking to hire

Postby JusticeJackson » Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:10 pm

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Last edited by JusticeJackson on Thu Apr 10, 2014 8:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.




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