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.