Clerking before transactional practice?

Seek and share information about clerkship applications, clerkship hiring timelines, and post-clerkship employment opportunities.
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are sharing sensitive information about clerkship applications and clerkship hiring. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned."
Anonymous User
Posts: 273120
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Clerking before transactional practice?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 30, 2013 5:53 pm

A professor recently asked me if I might want to pursue a clerkship after graduation. I had not previously considered clerking because I am more interested in a transactional practice rather than litigation. I am a 2L with a job offer in my desired (secondary) market for next summer, which should (let's assume/hope) turn into a full-time offer for after graduation.

My professor's take was that, even if I were absolutely set on transactional work, clerking would give me some exposure to the court system which I would otherwise not get, thereby helping my career. Also, there is the obvious "prestige"/resume factor. Is this true? My sense is that everyone who has clerked recommends it, but those recommendations typically come from professors and/or litigators. I'm not sure that a year spent clerking would be well spent given my interests. The firm does give bonuses/credit for time spent clerking.

Would it make a difference if it were a District Court vs. COA? I am currently first in my class at a school ranked in 20s/30s. Typically 0-2 people go to COA (i.e. probably long shot), while a good number go to District Courts (i.e. probably good chance). What about SSC? I think it is fairly well-respected in my state, and I definitely want to stay here after graduation.

Appreciate thoughts on any of the above. Thanks.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273120
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerking before transactional practice?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:A professor recently asked me if I might want to pursue a clerkship after graduation. I had not previously considered clerking because I am more interested in a transactional practice rather than litigation. I am a 2L with a job offer in my desired (secondary) market for next summer, which should (let's assume/hope) turn into a full-time offer for after graduation.

My professor's take was that, even if I were absolutely set on transactional work, clerking would give me some exposure to the court system which I would otherwise not get, thereby helping my career. Also, there is the obvious "prestige"/resume factor. Is this true? My sense is that everyone who has clerked recommends it, but those recommendations typically come from professors and/or litigators. I'm not sure that a year spent clerking would be well spent given my interests. The firm does give bonuses/credit for time spent clerking.

Would it make a difference if it were a District Court vs. COA? I am currently first in my class at a school ranked in 20s/30s. Typically 0-2 people go to COA (i.e. probably long shot), while a good number go to District Courts (i.e. probably good chance). What about SSC? I think it is fairly well-respected in my state, and I definitely want to stay here after graduation.

Appreciate thoughts on any of the above. Thanks.


I was in a secondary market this last summer at a firm that has a strong corp group. Every attorney I asked said not to do it. They said that 1) you end up losing in pay 2) it doesnt help a corp practice and 3) they sometimes look at people who do that knowing they want corp as a flight risk for academia (this I only heard once). # 1&2 alone were enough to sway me.

I dont see the benefits. You might be able to justify COA because its so prestigious but District and SSC probably not.

badaboom61
Posts: 404
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:36 pm

Re: Clerking before transactional practice?

Postby badaboom61 » Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:17 pm

This has been debated on these forums before I'm pretty sure. Basically, clerking will not really hurt you, but it won't be nearly as helpful as it would be in litigation. You will learn a lot about being a general "lawyer" as a clerk, but it won't translate that much to daily practice and you'll need to catch up to your class when you get back to the firm. If you want to clerk and your firm will allow it, go clerk. If you don't, don't feel like you need to / would ever be hurt by not clerking.

Any of those courts would be an acceptable place to clerk; I wouldn't go any lower than an SSC as a transactional lawyer. Generally, in terms of prestige, CoA > DC > SSC, and since none of them is going to be that directly translatable to your practice group you should probably go by that to the extent you get to choose. However, people don't really have that much of a choice; apply to all of them and take the first offer you get.

daryldixon
Posts: 233
Joined: Sun Oct 27, 2013 3:55 am

Re: Clerking before transactional practice?

Postby daryldixon » Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:22 pm

I don't think it will benefit you if you are sure you only want to do transactional work.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273120
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerking before transactional practice?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:27 pm

Have you thought about trying to clerk for the Delaware Chancery court? I've seen transactional attorneys do this before.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273120
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerking before transactional practice?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:55 pm

Original Anon here. Thanks for all the replies. I am not too worried about the difference in pay. It's only for a year, and if the benefits otherwise outweigh the drawbacks the money alone wouldn't sway me. Not helping (or worse, hurting) my career is a much bigger issue.

re: becoming a better "general lawyer"-- could that facilitate moving in-house at some point?

re: Delaware-- I have not considered that. Interesting option, which I will look into. Thanks.

badaboom61
Posts: 404
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:36 pm

Re: Clerking before transactional practice?

Postby badaboom61 » Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
re: becoming a better "general lawyer"-- could that facilitate moving in-house at some point?



Possibly, but most likely it will be a wash. It will mostly be a personal benefit of "Ooh I feel like I understand this deal better because I know what a judge would say about this term and blah de blah de blah." It might help you a bit more if you were to move to another firm, because it would be "prestigious" thing to list on your website bio, but I can't imagine in house counsel caring that much. Granted, this is mostly me speculating.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273120
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerking before transactional practice?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:42 pm

Similar boat and my firm wasn't a huge fan of the idea; unless I did DE's Chancery Court, that was about it. I say go for it. Maybe you'll hate transactional work. I mean, who in law school can know for sure (considering law school hardly teaches transactional). This will at least help you transition to lit if you do indeed hate transactional. P

keg411
Posts: 5935
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:10 pm

Re: Clerking before transactional practice?

Postby keg411 » Fri Nov 01, 2013 8:42 am

If I were you, I wouldn't rule out clerking if you have the opportunity. What if you change your mind about corporate vs. litigation? What if your firm thinks you should be in litigation or is only hiring a few people in the transactional practices? What if you end up getting no-offered? What if you do some transactional work over the summer and decide that you hate it?

Unless your SA firm is all/almost all transactional work or you would not even think about doing litigation, you shouldn't close the door on something like clerking because you really never know. First semester 2L, I thought I wanted transactional work. I'm now doing litigation, and am disappointed in myself for not making a bigger push to clerk (instead of taking classes like Tax, which all but destroyed my chances GPA-wise).




Return to “Judicial Clerkships”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.