Median grades - out of luck?

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Median grades - out of luck?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 01, 2013 8:34 pm

I have slightly above median grades at HLS (5Hs, 5Ps) - am I totally out of luck for a good federal clerkship? What if I gun hard this semester and pull my grades up to straight Hs?

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bk1
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Re: Median grades - out of luck?

Postby bk1 » Tue Oct 01, 2013 8:47 pm

Any federal clerkship is "good." You are not totally out of luck (especially if you apply broadly), but you do have a rough road ahead. Of course getting better grades will improve your chances.

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Re: Median grades - out of luck?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 02, 2013 12:25 pm

bk1 wrote:Any federal clerkship is "good." You are not totally out of luck (especially if you apply broadly), but you do have a rough road ahead. Of course getting better grades will improve your chances.


So, with my stats--T20, top 1/3, URM, secondary journal--do you think I have any chance at a federal clerkship?

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ph14
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Re: Median grades - out of luck?

Postby ph14 » Wed Oct 02, 2013 12:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
bk1 wrote:Any federal clerkship is "good." You are not totally out of luck (especially if you apply broadly), but you do have a rough road ahead. Of course getting better grades will improve your chances.


So, with my stats--T20, top 1/3, URM, secondary journal--do you think I have any chance at a federal clerkship?


Clerkship hiring isn't like firm hiring, where you can make make a lot of meaningful predictions. You're definitely facing an uphill battle with that application profile, but it isn't out of the question that you could snag a district court clerkship somewhere. Take advantage of your various networks to see if you can get a foot in the door somewhere and then hope it goes well.

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Re: Median grades - out of luck?

Postby midwestrocks » Wed Oct 02, 2013 12:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
bk1 wrote:Any federal clerkship is "good." You are not totally out of luck (especially if you apply broadly), but you do have a rough road ahead. Of course getting better grades will improve your chances.


So, with my stats--T20, top 1/3, URM, secondary journal--do you think I have any chance at a federal clerkship?


I think that it would be tough. I was top 10% at a t20 with LR board and I didn't get any Article III interviews. I managed to get a bankruptcy clerkship that I am very happy with though, as well as some magistrate interviews.

URM status might help, but I can't really speak to that. Also, I relied on OSCAR which was probably a mistake as the competition is ridiculous for most postings.

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Re: Median grades - out of luck?

Postby lolwat » Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:11 pm

Clerkship hiring isn't like firm hiring, where you can make make a lot of meaningful predictions. You're definitely facing an uphill battle with that application profile, but it isn't out of the question that you could snag a district court clerkship somewhere. Take advantage of your various networks to see if you can get a foot in the door somewhere and then hope it goes well.


At some point I think there are stats that will require a miracle to land a "federal clerkship" (assuming he basically means Article III clerkship). I think top 33% at a T20 with a secondary journal probably starts getting to this point. People shouldn't just give up if their goal is to clerk, but sometimes the paper credentials just aren't there. That isn't to say it's ever impossible, since it would be accurate to say that a strong enough professor recommendation, interning for a judge during 1L or 2L and performing stellar work (and subsequently either clerking for that judge, or getting a recommendation from the judge), or some other strong connection might overcome a lack of paper credentials, but that is always true.

As long as that is made clear, predictions based solely on resumes can still be pretty meaningful in some cases.

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Re: Median grades - out of luck?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 03, 2013 12:50 am

OP: HLS alum and current clerk here. You are not totally out of luck, especially if you are willing to apply broadly and focus on district courts/SSCs. I think "rough" is overstating things a bit, but you should definitely focus on getting your grades up this year.

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Re: Median grades - out of luck?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 09, 2013 10:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I have slightly above median grades at HLS (5Hs, 5Ps) - am I totally out of luck for a good federal clerkship? What if I gun hard this semester and pull my grades up to straight Hs?

Circuits are out, but you definitely have a shot at districts.

Also 5Hs is above median. It's around top 40%. Median is around 3Hs.

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Re: Median grades - out of luck?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:29 am

I am truly median (3h's)

Any shot at fed clerkships? I assume COA anywhere is out of question?

The reason I ask is I met with peer advisor at OCS today and she told me that I had a shot at clerkships and she also encouraged me to apply to COA to (albeit in small cities). Which sounds like she is perhaps being too optimistic?

Would it be a good idea for me to sit out this cycle and apply as 3L?

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Re: Median grades - out of luck?

Postby bk1 » Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:46 am

Anonymous User wrote:I am truly median (3h's)

Any shot at fed clerkships? I assume COA anywhere is out of question?

The reason I ask is I met with peer advisor at OCS today and she told me that I had a shot at clerkships and she also encouraged me to apply to COA to (albeit in small cities). Which sounds like she is perhaps being too optimistic?

Would it be a good idea for me to sit out this cycle and apply as 3L?

Why sit out? You have nothing to lose by applying this cycle and then applying next cycle if you don't get anything.

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Re: Median grades - out of luck?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:50 am

Anonymous User wrote:I am truly median (3h's)

Any shot at fed clerkships? I assume COA anywhere is out of question?

The reason I ask is I met with peer advisor at OCS today and she told me that I had a shot at clerkships and she also encouraged me to apply to COA to (albeit in small cities). Which sounds like she is perhaps being too optimistic?

Would it be a good idea for me to sit out this cycle and apply as 3L?


Just apply, man. I didn't have the typical grades of a clerk, but still got one.

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Re: Median grades - out of luck?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:19 pm

bk1 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I am truly median (3h's)

Any shot at fed clerkships? I assume COA anywhere is out of question?

The reason I ask is I met with peer advisor at OCS today and she told me that I had a shot at clerkships and she also encouraged me to apply to COA to (albeit in small cities). Which sounds like she is perhaps being too optimistic?

Would it be a good idea for me to sit out this cycle and apply as 3L?

Why sit out? You have nothing to lose by applying this cycle and then applying next cycle if you don't get anything.

OP here,

2 main concerns

the time needed to get all the apps ready, and whether itll eat up time for other stuff

and i really dont have good connections with profs.there is probably one prof who knows me on a name basis but everybody else will probably ask who i am. So getting the LOR's will be rough.

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Re: Median grades - out of luck?

Postby bk1 » Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:22 pm

Well you've got about half a year before most judges will start hiring so you've got time to develop professor connections and perfecting a writing sample. Those things you have to do no matter when you apply so you should put effort into both of those asap. Those are also the bulk of the time that it takes to apply for clerkships (outside of figuring out when judges are hiring, but your school and upperclassmates will help with that).

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Re: Median grades - out of luck?

Postby lolwat » Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:28 pm

the time needed to get all the apps ready, and whether itll eat up time for other stuff


Um it's really not that time consuming

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Re: Median grades - out of luck?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:33 pm

lolwat wrote:
the time needed to get all the apps ready, and whether itll eat up time for other stuff


Um it's really not that time consuming


+1 I sent out all my applications 1 week after I decided I wanted to clerk. It took my recommenders about 2 weeks to get their letters out from the day I asked. (Btw, I had interviews before my letters of rec had even been received, so I also wouldn't worry too much about how long it takes your recommenders to get their letters out.)

- median HLS student who got a district court clerkship fairly easily as a 3L

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Re: Median grades - out of luck?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:28 pm

op here, ok you guyz convinced me, ill do it.

Edit: also im guessing though i should wait for this semesters grades to come out right?

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Re: Median grades - out of luck?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 10, 2013 5:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:op here, ok you guyz convinced me, ill do it.

Edit: also im guessing though i should wait for this semesters grades to come out right?


Start doing stuff now!!

The only thing your semester grades will really do is change your GPA, and you can change that easily.

Get recommenders, get your resume brushed up and updated, get you writing sample perfected, etc.

I moved early and you gotta hustle too, especially if you are median.

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Re: Median grades - out of luck?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 10, 2013 8:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:op here, ok you guyz convinced me, ill do it.

Edit: also im guessing though i should wait for this semesters grades to come out right?


Start doing stuff now!!

The only thing your semester grades will really do is change your GPA, and you can change that easily.

Get recommenders, get your resume brushed up and updated, get you writing sample perfected, etc.

I moved early and you gotta hustle too, especially if you are median.

here's the thing, professor reqs

i really dont have any relationships at all with any profs so i was hoping for using this semesters profs as my letter.


edit: on a related note, im totally confused about the timeframe...what is an "early" timeline...what is a regular timeline...and when is an application considered late? Like if I applied next semester, say janurary, is that a late app?

Generally speaking of course, I know judges do different things

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Re: Median grades - out of luck?

Postby bk1 » Thu Oct 10, 2013 8:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:here's the thing, professor reqs

i really dont have any relationships at all with any profs so i was hoping for using this semesters profs as my letter.


edit: on a related note, im totally confused about the timeframe...what is an "early" timeline...what is a regular timeline...and when is an application considered late? Like if I applied next semester, say janurary, is that a late app?

Generally speaking of course, I know judges do different things

Yes, cultivate relationships with profs now. Ideally you should ask them either towards the end of this semester or early next semester.

Per last cycle: early is probably around Feb/March when the first big group of judges hire (there are judges that hire earlier but they tend to be very selective) and regular is around June (the Plan date). At least according to last year, January would be an early app. Of course, things have a good chance of moving earlier this cycle compared to last. That said, judges probably will still want to see 2L fall grades so they likely won't hire any earlier than late Jan/early Feb and I suspect most judges won't hire until the spring/early summer.

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Re: Median grades - out of luck?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 10, 2013 9:27 pm

bk1 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:here's the thing, professor reqs

i really dont have any relationships at all with any profs so i was hoping for using this semesters profs as my letter.


edit: on a related note, im totally confused about the timeframe...what is an "early" timeline...what is a regular timeline...and when is an application considered late? Like if I applied next semester, say janurary, is that a late app?

Generally speaking of course, I know judges do different things

Yes, cultivate relationships with profs now. Ideally you should ask them either towards the end of this semester or early next semester.

Per last cycle: early is probably around Feb/March when the first big group of judges hire (there are judges that hire earlier but they tend to be very selective) and regular is around June (the Plan date). At least according to last year, January would be an early app. Of course, things have a good chance of moving earlier this cycle compared to last. That said, judges probably will still want to see 2L fall grades so they likely won't hire any earlier than late Jan/early Feb and I suspect most judges won't hire until the spring/early summer.

ok cool, so to clarify, if i sent in my app February of next yr, i would be on time for a 2015 clerkship? I'm a 2l and class of 2015. And so if i waited a yr, I would be in effect applying for a 2016 clerkship?

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Re: Median grades - out of luck?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:op here, ok you guyz convinced me, ill do it.

Edit: also im guessing though i should wait for this semesters grades to come out right?


Start doing stuff now!!

The only thing your semester grades will really do is change your GPA, and you can change that easily.

Get recommenders, get your resume brushed up and updated, get you writing sample perfected, etc.

I moved early and you gotta hustle too, especially if you are median.


I take this back. For some reason, I thought you were a 3L applying in fall. If you're a 2L right now, then I would wait and focus on cultivating relationships for now.

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Re: Median grades - out of luck?

Postby bk1 » Fri Oct 11, 2013 12:18 am

Anonymous User wrote:ok cool, so to clarify, if i sent in my app February of next yr, i would be on time for a 2015 clerkship? I'm a 2l and class of 2015. And so if i waited a yr, I would be in effect applying for a 2016 clerkship?

Generally yes (there are judges who hire at differing times than the rest but this is true for the most part).

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Re: Median grades - out of luck?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 11, 2013 1:35 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have slightly above median grades at HLS (5Hs, 5Ps) - am I totally out of luck for a good federal clerkship? What if I gun hard this semester and pull my grades up to straight Hs?

Circuits are out, but you definitely have a shot at districts.

Also 5Hs is above median. It's around top 40%. Median is around 3Hs.


There are multiple people in c/o 2013 who got COA clerkships without latin honors. I can also say that I graduated cum laude, got 6 H's 1L year, and got an interview in a major city on the 9th (as well as a D.Ct. clerkship). I don't think OP's chances for a COA clerkship are great, but advice like "you're out" is premature and unhelpful at this point.

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Re: Median grades - out of luck?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have slightly above median grades at HLS (5Hs, 5Ps) - am I totally out of luck for a good federal clerkship? What if I gun hard this semester and pull my grades up to straight Hs?

Circuits are out, but you definitely have a shot at districts.

Also 5Hs is above median. It's around top 40%. Median is around 3Hs.


There are multiple people in c/o 2013 who got COA clerkships without latin honors. I can also say that I graduated cum laude, got 6 H's 1L year, and got an interview in a major city on the 9th (as well as a D.Ct. clerkship). I don't think OP's chances for a COA clerkship are great, but advice like "you're out" is premature and unhelpful at this point.

I was the original responder.

My advice was really for the OP to focus on districts (if he/she wanted COA). Of course anything is possible with a close connection to the right faculty member, but when looking at the COA clerk list from c/o 2013, I saw almost no one without latin honors.

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Re: Median grades - out of luck?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 13, 2013 5:20 pm

All I can say is that, yes, grades are by far and away the biggest thing, but they're not dispositive. I am clerking for a judge who doesn't care a whole lot about grades (unless you got some bad ones 1L year). I was barely above median and landed one, and I am currently reviewing apps for the judge. In the judge's opinion (as well as mine FWIW), amazing recommendations >> demonstrated writing ability >> grades.




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