Do non-biglaw firms have a negative view on clerkships?

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Do non-biglaw firms have a negative view on clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:59 pm

I'm on my second federal clerkship out of necessity. I was applying for firm jobs while clerking for my first judge and completely struck out. Luckily, I was able to secure a last minute clerkship with another federal judge. While I did score a couple of interviews with biglaw firms during my first clerkship, none of the medium/small-sized firms with job openings ever replied to my applications (and these firms were looking for recent graduates, not experienced attorneys). When I was reviewing the website profiles of the attorneys at non-biglaw firms, I rarely saw any attorneys with clerkship experience. I can't tell if any of the attorneys at those firms actually clerked, or if the firms decided not to identify the clerkships of their attorneys. I'm getting concerned because it seems like the biglaw firms are hiring fewer new associates each year. While non-biglaw firms in my market have been posting job openings for my class year, they haven't been receptive to my resume.

On a somewhat related note, I was at a local bar association happy hour and talked with a litigation attorney at a small firm. When I told him that I was clerking for a judge, he assumed that it was an internship or a secretary position. He thought law clerks for federal judges were paralegals and he didn't know they went to law school. I can understand a transactional attorney not knowing the difference between a law clerk and paralegal, but it was a little disconcerning coming from a litigation attorney.

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MarkRenton
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Re: Do non-biglaw firms have a negative view on clerkships?

Postby MarkRenton » Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:43 pm

That story's kind of insane. I wouldn't draw any generalities or conclusions from it.

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Re: Do non-biglaw firms have a negative view on clerkships?

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Wed Oct 30, 2013 10:01 pm

It is definitely possible to be overqualified for a position, in the law or anywhere else. I had better luck with bigger firms then with smaller firms, and in general people tend to like (and hire) people who are like them: similar school, similar background, whatever. I'm sure there are fewer clerks in smaller or midsize firms, and I wouldn't be surprised at all if people less know what to make of that in terms of background. For interviewing I think the aspects of your resume that you emphasize are different depending on who you are talking to, so you may want to think about different ways to "tailor" your experience clerking for different audiences.

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Re: Do non-biglaw firms have a negative view on clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 31, 2013 10:26 am

Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:It is definitely possible to be overqualified for a position, in the law or anywhere else. I had better luck with bigger firms then with smaller firms, and in general people tend to like (and hire) people who are like them: similar school, similar background, whatever. I'm sure there are fewer clerks in smaller or midsize firms, and I wouldn't be surprised at all if people less know what to make of that in terms of background. For interviewing I think the aspects of your resume that you emphasize are different depending on who you are talking to, so you may want to think about different ways to "tailor" your experience clerking for different audiences.


I'm the original poster -

I would definitely highlight how my clerkship experiences would apply to the firm's practice, but I can't even get the firms to respond, let alone interview me. I just don't know what to do when the firms that value clerkships aren't hiring and the firms that are hiring don't think clerking is worthwhile experience.

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Re: Do non-biglaw firms have a negative view on clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:03 pm

I've heard of law firms not really caring one way or another about clerkships, but this is the first I've heard of clerkships hurting you.

Can I ask what kind of region this is?

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Re: Do non-biglaw firms have a negative view on clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:14 am

Anonymous User wrote:I've heard of law firms not really caring one way or another about clerkships, but this is the first I've heard of clerkships hurting you.

Can I ask what kind of region this is?


I am in Texas

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dood
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Re: Do non-biglaw firms have a negative view on clerkships?

Postby dood » Fri Nov 01, 2013 8:01 am

Anonymous User wrote:I'm on my second federal clerkship out of necessity. I was applying for firm jobs while clerking for my first judge and completely struck out. Luckily, I was able to secure a last minute clerkship with another federal judge. While I did score a couple of interviews with biglaw firms during my first clerkship, none of the medium/small-sized firms with job openings ever replied to my applications (and these firms were looking for recent graduates, not experienced attorneys). When I was reviewing the website profiles of the attorneys at non-biglaw firms, I rarely saw any attorneys with clerkship experience. I can't tell if any of the attorneys at those firms actually clerked, or if the firms decided not to identify the clerkships of their attorneys. I'm getting concerned because it seems like the biglaw firms are hiring fewer new associates each year. While non-biglaw firms in my market have been posting job openings for my class year, they haven't been receptive to my resume.

On a somewhat related note, I was at a local bar association happy hour and talked with a litigation attorney at a small firm. When I told him that I was clerking for a judge, he assumed that it was an internship or a secretary position. He thought law clerks for federal judges were paralegals and he didn't know they went to law school. I can understand a transactional attorney not knowing the difference between a law clerk and paralegal, but it was a little disconcerning coming from a litigation attorney.


either you are blatantly making up the story about the litigation attorney, or he is, or there was a MASSIVE miscommunication. anyone who has ever stepped foot into a court room, or for that matter, ever filed anything knows what a clerk does.

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Re: Do non-biglaw firms have a negative view on clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 01, 2013 5:19 pm

dood wrote:either you are blatantly making up the story about the litigation attorney, or he is, or there was a MASSIVE miscommunication. anyone who has ever stepped foot into a court room, or for that matter, ever filed anything knows what a clerk does.


Unless he was faking it, he had no clue. I know he isn't admitted to practice in the federal district where I am at, so he may not know anything about federal practice. However, the state courts of appeal have law clerks. Either way, I am not planning on applying to his firm. I'm just concerned that attorneys at similar firms may also be clueless.

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Re: Do non-biglaw firms have a negative view on clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 02, 2013 3:01 pm

I live in a second-tier city, and the only lawyer I've ever run across who was clueless about clerkships had gone to an unaccredited law school and had a true bottom-of-the-barrel practice. Every other lawyer I've met knows what a clerkship is.

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Re: Do non-biglaw firms have a negative view on clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 02, 2013 3:20 pm

I was an SA for a small boutique firm in Los Angeles this summer. The litigation partner LOVED that I had externed with a federal judge (in a distant jurisdiction) and bragged about it to opposing counsel, etc. She also boasted about an associate's state court clerkship experience in the office (and perhaps out of the office as well).

I could see a smaller transactional practice not really placing emphasis on it, but litigators should tend to like attorneys who know how to write for the court.

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Re: Do non-biglaw firms have a negative view on clerkships?

Postby kings84_wr » Sat Nov 02, 2013 3:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I've heard of law firms not really caring one way or another about clerkships, but this is the first I've heard of clerkships hurting you.

Can I ask what kind of region this is?


I am in Texas


If a law firm doesn't understand the value of a federal clerkship (or understand even what you do in a clerkship), you really don't want to work at that firm anyways. I think your story is an example of a bizarre or clueless attorney rather than a correlation to all smaller firms.

PM if you have questions regarding Texas litigation firms (especially if you are in the S.D. of Tex.)

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Re: Do non-biglaw firms have a negative view on clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:50 pm

kings84_wr wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I've heard of law firms not really caring one way or another about clerkships, but this is the first I've heard of clerkships hurting you.

Can I ask what kind of region this is?


I am in Texas


If a law firm doesn't understand the value of a federal clerkship (or understand even what you do in a clerkship), you really don't want to work at that firm anyways. I think your story is an example of a bizarre or clueless attorney rather than a correlation to all smaller firms.

PM if you have questions regarding Texas litigation firms (especially if you are in the S.D. of Tex.)


Yes, but at this point can beggars really be chosers? And no, I am not in the S.D. Tex.




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