Clerk in Territorial Court Taking Qs

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Clerk in Territorial Court Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 01, 2013 7:52 am

To explain what that even means, since I had no idea as a 2L:

The territorial courts are the federal courts which are located in the U.S. territories, or "Article IV" courts. They include: Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. (I know Puerto Rico is a territory, but their district court is Article III.) Other than American Samoa ("The High Court of American Samoa") the others, like mine, aren't significantly different from their Article III counterparts, but there are some things that are unique.

Since we are a little off the beaten path, I figured I'd answer questions, if you guys have any.

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Re: Clerk in Territorial Court Taking Qs

Postby Citizen Genet » Tue Oct 01, 2013 7:01 pm

I am interested To know what kind of background you have. Stats and did you live in the territory before clerking.

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Re: Clerk in Territorial Court Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:47 pm

Citizen Genet wrote:I am interested To know what kind of background you have. Stats and did you live in the territory before clerking.


When I applied as a 3L, stats-wise: T20, editor on law review, published, solid recs

In terms of my experience with the territory, I had never even been here before I came for my interview. I had to wikipedia everything to have any clue at all where I was going when I got the call. None of the other territorial clerks I know had lived in their court's location before, either.

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SemperLegal
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Re: Clerk in Territorial Court Taking Qs

Postby SemperLegal » Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Citizen Genet wrote:I am interested To know what kind of background you have. Stats and did you live in the territory before clerking.


When I applied as a 3L, stats-wise: T20, editor on law review, published, solid recs

In terms of my experience with the territory, I had never even been here before I came for my interview. I had to wikipedia everything to have any clue at all where I was going when I got the call. None of the other territorial clerks I know had lived in their court's location before, either.


How's life? Is there a big culture shock, or does the transfer from student to clerk dwarf the transition from mainland to island living?

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Re: Clerk in Territorial Court Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:54 pm

SemperLegal wrote:How's life? Is there a big culture shock, or does the transfer from student to clerk dwarf the transition from mainland to island living?


I don't know that it really qualifies as culture "shock", but there is definitely some adjustment. I think the part that makes it really challenging is that you are simultaneously adjusting to becoming a clerk and learning your way around the community. It's hard to learn how people do their thing when you're too busy working to meet that many of them.

Each of the territories is really unique, and all of them have some pretty serious deviations from the mainland, and trying to navigate that while trying to learn how to clerk is steep.

That said, it has also been a lot of fun. You get to learn a new culture, and you get to see how things operate sort of from the inside out, which is great.

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Re: Clerk in Territorial Court Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 02, 2013 9:04 pm

What other options did you consider?

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Re: Clerk in Territorial Court Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 02, 2013 9:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What other options did you consider?


I was interviewed by a non-2/9/DC COA and several district courts. In terms of other, non-clerkship opportunities, I was focusing on the public sector, which had not gotten to hiring at the time I accepted the clerkship. I had interviews with some government honors programs, but turned them down in order to clerk.

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Re: Clerk in Territorial Court Taking Qs

Postby jessuf » Thu Oct 03, 2013 9:14 am

They made you travel for the interview? How pricey was that flight?

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Re: Clerk in Territorial Court Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 03, 2013 9:33 pm

Jessuf wrote:They made you travel for the interview? How pricey was that flight?


I won't sugar coat it; it was incredibly expensive. Priciest interview I've ever gone on.

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Re: Clerk in Territorial Court Taking Qs

Postby worldtraveler » Tue Oct 15, 2013 5:12 pm

Any advice for an applicant who would prefer a territorial court?

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Re: Clerk in Territorial Court Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 15, 2013 5:23 pm

Did you choose this territorial clerkship over a regular Art. III clerkship? If so, why?

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Re: Clerk in Territorial Court Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Did you choose this territorial clerkship over a regular Art. III clerkship? If so, why?


When I accepted this clerkship, I had some outstanding Art. III clerkships that I'd interviewed for, but no other offers. If I had had both, I can't say with absolute certainty what I would have done. However, I suspect I would have chosen here anyway. The people I met were great, and I'm getting an experience that really isn't available stateside. At least, to my mind. And the classes of clerks that came before seem to have had the same exit options as our Art. III counterparts, so there is minimal downside.

worldtraveler wrote:Any advice for an applicant who would prefer a territorial court?


Well, in general, the territorial judges look for some of the same stuff that mainland judges do. Resume, letters of rec, grades, school, etc. I do know that my judge put particular emphasis on determining if I would be a good fit for the community. If I was adaptable, could handle living on an island, that sort of thing. Anything you can do to highlight that I think helps.

Otherwise, to give you more specific advice, I have to ask: what about the territorial courts makes you think you would prefer it to one on the mainland?
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Clerk in Territorial Court Taking Qs

Postby kay2016 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:05 am

What do you plan to do next? Are you looking for a job on the island or coming back stateside?

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Re: Clerk in Territorial Court Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:44 am

kay2016 wrote:What do you plan to do next? Are you looking for a job on the island or coming back stateside?


I am planning on return to the mainland. My clerkship is more than one year, though, so I have some time to land on a final decision. I won't start looking for jobs for awhile, most likely.

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Re: Clerk in Territorial Court Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 16, 2013 5:20 pm

If a clerkship is for two years, when should we start looking for a job?

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worldtraveler
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Re: Clerk in Territorial Court Taking Qs

Postby worldtraveler » Thu Oct 17, 2013 11:05 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Did you choose this territorial clerkship over a regular Art. III clerkship? If so, why?


When I accepted this clerkship, I had some outstanding Art. III clerkships that I'd interviewed for, but no other offers. If I had had both, I can't say with absolute certainty what I would have done. However, I suspect I would have chosen here anyway. The people I met were great, and I'm getting an experience that really isn't available stateside. At least, to my mind. And the classes of clerks that came before seem to have had the same exit options as our Art. III counterparts, so there is minimal downside.

worldtraveler wrote:Any advice for an applicant who would prefer a territorial court?


Well, in general, the territorial judges look for some of the same stuff that mainland judges do. Resume, letters of rec, grades, school, etc. I do know that my judge put particular emphasis on determining if I would be a good fit for the community. If I was adaptable, could handle living on an island, that sort of thing. Anything you can do to highlight that I think helps.

Otherwise, to give you more specific advice, I have to ask: what about the territorial courts makes you think you would prefer it to one on the mainland?


I mainly do work on rule of law initiatives in developing countries, so if I clerk I think it would be interesting to see how judicial systems work in the territories with a lack of resources and major separation from the mainland. One of my professors suggested that I should look into given my interests.

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Re: Clerk in Territorial Court Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 20, 2013 1:16 pm

worldtraveler wrote:I mainly do work on rule of law initiatives in developing countries, so if I clerk I think it would be interesting to see how judicial systems work in the territories with a lack of resources and major separation from the mainland. One of my professors suggested that I should look into given my interests.


So are you thinking of clerking in the local territorial courts (which exist in all the territories, I believe) or the federal territorial courts (which operate like slightly-modified Art. III district courts)?

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Re: Clerk in Territorial Court Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 20, 2013 1:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:If a clerkship is for two years, when should we start looking for a job?


I'm planning to start looking next summer (the summer bridging my first and second years) in terms of possible appellate clerkships and government jobs. I think firm hiring doesn't happen until later one, so I'm saving that for spring of my second year.

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Re: Clerk in Territorial Court Taking Qs

Postby worldtraveler » Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:I mainly do work on rule of law initiatives in developing countries, so if I clerk I think it would be interesting to see how judicial systems work in the territories with a lack of resources and major separation from the mainland. One of my professors suggested that I should look into given my interests.


So are you thinking of clerking in the local territorial courts (which exist in all the territories, I believe) or the federal territorial courts (which operate like slightly-modified Art. III district courts)?


I think I'd prefer local but not really sure how to even find those opportunities. All the alumni and advice I can find is for federal.

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Re: Clerk in Territorial Court Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:22 pm

worldtraveler wrote:I think I'd prefer local but not really sure how to even find those opportunities. All the alumni and advice I can find is for federal.


I'm in federal, but we hang with the local clerks. I'll ask around and see how they found their jobs/what they think would help you.

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Re: Clerk in Territorial Court Taking Qs

Postby worldtraveler » Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:I think I'd prefer local but not really sure how to even find those opportunities. All the alumni and advice I can find is for federal.


I'm in federal, but we hang with the local clerks. I'll ask around and see how they found their jobs/what they think would help you.


Thanks!

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Re: Clerk in Territorial Court Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:51 pm

worldtraveler wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:I think I'd prefer local but not really sure how to even find those opportunities. All the alumni and advice I can find is for federal.


I'm in federal, but we hang with the local clerks. I'll ask around and see how they found their jobs/what they think would help you.


Thanks!


Sorry I took so long. I've asked around and tried to get a general sense for you (or, if you've moved on to some other plan - since I took freaking forever - for anyone else who is interested). The local courts don't have a centralized system. It seems that each judge does things differently, and most frequently they just post openings with career services folks.

I do know that several of them are starting to move now, though, as the current clerks' terms move to about their halfway point.

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Tangerine Gleam
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Re: Clerk in Territorial Court Taking Qs

Postby Tangerine Gleam » Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:14 pm

What types of cases are on the docket?

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Re: Clerk in Territorial Court Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:22 pm

Tangerine Gleam wrote:What types of cases are on the docket?


In a very generalized sense, most of our cases are the same types you see on the docket of any Art. III court. So I'll focus on what makes our dockets a little more unique: we handle some local cases (also true of D.D.C., though they're Art. III, but DC is weird), we have more land/property cases (because a lot of land is owned by non-residents), bankruptcy is handled slightly differently, and we get a ton of tax cases (because taxes are handled differently in the territories).

There's more than that, but getting much more specific would out which court I'm at, and I'm hoping to avoid doing so.

EDIT: I should add - another thing that sets our docket/litigation apart is that all of it has to be within the confine's of the territory's controlling statute. Each territory has one - the Foraker Act, the Revised Organic Act, etc. - and it determines things like the structure of the territory's government, the set-up of its court system, and which Constitutional protections each territory is entitled to. That makes our Constitutional litigation interesting, and every so often gives a judge the chance to consider the legitimacy of some really old Supreme Court precedent on the application of Constitutional Law to the territories.

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Re: Clerk in Territorial Court Taking Qs

Postby Tangerine Gleam » Wed Jan 08, 2014 1:13 am

Very interesting! Do you work on criminal matters?




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