Recommended classes for future clerks?

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dannynoonan87
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Recommended classes for future clerks?

Postby dannynoonan87 » Sat Nov 02, 2013 2:33 pm

2L here. I'm hoping to take some upper-level classes that might look good when I'm applying for district court clerkships.

Any recommendations beyond Federal Courts and advanced Con Law?

Anonymous User
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Re: Recommended classes for future clerks?

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

Take whatever you'd like. Most judges care about grades, but not about individual courses.

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ph14
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Re: Recommended classes for future clerks?

Postby ph14 » Sat Nov 02, 2013 3:15 pm

dannynoonan87 wrote:2L here. I'm hoping to take some upper-level classes that might look good when I'm applying for district court clerkships.

Any recommendations beyond Federal Courts and advanced Con Law?


Antitrust.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Recommended classes for future clerks?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Nov 02, 2013 3:55 pm

ph14 wrote:
dannynoonan87 wrote:2L here. I'm hoping to take some upper-level classes that might look good when I'm applying for district court clerkships.

Any recommendations beyond Federal Courts and advanced Con Law?


Antitrust.

This will vary by district. Antitrust would have been utterly useless for me. Admin was VERY useful; environmental law or civil rights legislation would have been good, possibly employment law, or maybe advanced civ pro if your school offers that.

But as for getting a clerkship: I don't think anyone cares (unless it's a specialized court, of course). I didn't even take Fed Courts. (I did take advanced con law, but I don't see how it would be relevant to most clerkships.)

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ph14
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Re: Recommended classes for future clerks?

Postby ph14 » Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:22 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
ph14 wrote:
dannynoonan87 wrote:2L here. I'm hoping to take some upper-level classes that might look good when I'm applying for district court clerkships.

Any recommendations beyond Federal Courts and advanced Con Law?


Antitrust.

This will vary by district. Antitrust would have been utterly useless for me. Admin was VERY useful; environmental law or civil rights legislation would have been good, possibly employment law, or maybe advanced civ pro if your school offers that.

But as for getting a clerkship: I don't think anyone cares (unless it's a specialized court, of course). I didn't even take Fed Courts. (I did take advanced con law, but I don't see how it would be relevant to most clerkships.)


That's probably true. I talked to a judge and s/he recommended to take federal courts and antitrust (among other classes, i'm sure).

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Recommended classes for future clerks?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:01 pm

Oh, yes, I should have made clear that different judges will have different preferences - didn't at all mean to suggest my experience was the only way to go. Fed Courts is the class I've heard the greatest support for, but after a certain point I think useful classes will depend on the specific judge/docket, which makes it a little hard to give advice. And if there are courses you want to take for your preferred career path after clerking, I would definitely take those regardless.

I also meant to mention before that I have seen people suggest avoiding a lot of "Law and ---" courses - that judges prefer to see classic doctrinal courses, not "fluff" classes (probably includes some seminars).

Omerta
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Re: Recommended classes for future clerks?

Postby Omerta » Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:58 am

Take every civpro class. I think bankruptcy is very helpful, but not necessary. Bankruptcy rules, particularly the automatic stay, can come up in complicated cases and you get bankruptcy appeals too.

Conflict of law is really really helpful. I've already had 3 substantial conflict issues in just over 2 months of clerking. Understanding preclusion rules, parallel proceeding issues, and prior judgments is a must.

Also, take an e-discovery course or pretrial litigation seminar if your school offers it. Discovery disputes suck, but they're frequent. FRCP 11, 15, 26, 30 and 37 weren't covered in detail in my civpro classes and issues involving these rules have come up a lot.

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Re: Recommended classes for future clerks?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:10 pm

I am currently clerking on a U.S. court of appeals. In addition to the classes named, I would recommend Remedies. I took this class during my third year of law school, and I have found myself pulling open my case book a few times during the clerkship. Remedies will give you a better idea of what powers the court has to grant relief in different kinds of cases. From calculating damages to drafting injunctions to granting TROs to imposing an equitable trust to holding a party in contempt, lots of useful information in a Remedies course.

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Tangerine Gleam
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Re: Recommended classes for future clerks?

Postby Tangerine Gleam » Sun Nov 03, 2013 3:31 pm

I think Remedies, Constitutional Litigation, Criminal Procedure, and Admin Law come up fairly often. But yeah, for the most part, just take what you want.

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Re: Recommended classes for future clerks?

Postby Citizen Genet » Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:18 pm

I agree that FedCourts, Remedies, and Conflicts are all extremely helpful. Even more so because they are fairly difficult conceptually and almost all entirely based in precedent rather than statute. Evidence is a must. Even though a judge will likely make the big decisions for trials, the issues come up fairly often in MSJs. If you're working on the criminal docket, any CrimPro course is helpful, especially bail to jail.

As for substantive courses, like everyone has pointed out, it will depend court to court. Admiralty for D. Nev. will be useless, but probably incredibly helpful for E.D. Va. or E.D. La. (I saw incredibly helpful not because it comes up so frequently, but because it is likely to come up at least a couple of times and if you know nothing about, good luck.) If your judge is part of the patent program, take all of the IP courses you can; if he or she isn't, then it's probably not necessary.

The only substantive class I can think of that is pretty universal across districts is Employment Discrimination. But truth be told, the concepts are really not that difficult. And the ones that are, aren't going to be covered in your Employment Discrimination course. Some schools have a dedicated Section 1983 course. That would be a good one to take.

But like everyone else said - it's all a moot point until you have a clerkship. So take whatever courses will get you the best grades while still looking like you take school seriously.

EDIT: Also, I didn't take conflicts and I would love a recommendation for a good mini-treatise or E&E on the subject. Anyone?

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Re: Recommended classes for future clerks?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 03, 2013 11:07 pm

Current district court clerk. I think that federal courts is by far the most important class you can take. Evidence is a must-take at the district court level and is probably very useful for COA clerks. Other classes that would be very useful at the district court level include administrative law, criminal procedure, employment discrimination, a section 1983/constitutional litigation class (to the extent that you don't cover these issues in fed courts), and any advanced civil procedure class. I personally think that taking a class about discovery would be sort of useless unless you are clerking for a magistrate judge.

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Re: Recommended classes for future clerks?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:28 am

Evidence is the only class I can think of where I have needed to draw on what I had learned in school. Everything else is either briefed well (i.e., I don't have to research it much, just have to see who's not BS-ing to figure out who's more convincing), or it's briefed so poorly that I have to do all the research myself.

Evidence and civ pro are the only classes I think you have to know very well. Everything else is (normally) so specific and unfamiliar that you have to research it anyway. But not being able to talk confidently with your judge about civ pro and evidence would be very bad.

Also, my judge wants good writers. Get good grades in writing-based classes and LORs from people who can attest to your writing ability.

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Arbiter213
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Re: Recommended classes for future clerks?

Postby Arbiter213 » Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:22 pm

Would legislation be recommended? I'm debating my last class (could also take 4th amendment crim pro or securities regulation (won't be useful for my docket but generally useful)).

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Re: Recommended classes for future clerks?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 05, 2013 1:10 am

Out of that list I would definitely take 4th Amendment.

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Stupendous_Man
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Re: Recommended classes for future clerks?

Postby Stupendous_Man » Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:09 am

To prepare for the clerkship: I'd echo that evidence is not optional, and I've also used crim pro a lot but some clerks don't do crim at all. I didn't take fed courts, so I don't know if it would have been an advantage. Classes I wish I had taken but did not are: some kind of pretrial/trial advocacy or advanced civil procedure class. This would be more helpful at the district court level than appellate, for appellate I'd think fed courts is more important, and I'd guess an advanced con law class couldn't hurt. At the district court level you will be crushed by the amount of discovery disputes. Truth is you will almost certainly suck at this job for the first few months and have to learn a lot on the fly no matter what you took, but lean towards procedural classes, then substantive classes, and avoid "Perceptions of Unicorns and the Law" type classes.

To get the clerkship: barring a shocking amount of the aforementioned unicorn classes, it doesn't really matter. Take what you're interested in and do well. Judge will likely want to see Evidence and the popular belief is they expect to see fed courts but neither I nor my co-clerk took it. In terms of looking good in your application, the biggest impact will almost certainly be your overall GPA, followed by your writing grades, and then being on law review (or at least a journal, or some proof of your attention to detail and editing skills). Your recommendations also really matter.

Good luck!

daryldixon
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Re: Recommended classes for future clerks?

Postby daryldixon » Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:39 am

This depends on the court.

I have heard Fed Courts, Admin Law, and and kind of advanced Civil Procedure classes are the most helpful.

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dannynoonan87
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Re: Recommended classes for future clerks?

Postby dannynoonan87 » Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:22 am

thx all

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Re: Recommended classes for future clerks?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:46 am

Although the pre-application advice to take primarily BLL instead of "law and..." classes is generally credited, my (COA) judge is obsessed with an esoteric branch of legal academia and the fact that I had a transcript full of those "law and..." classes (and aced them) actually helped me land the job, despite having very little in the way of BLL on my transcript.

Moral of the story: Judges are Idiosyncratic.

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Recommended classes for future clerks?

Postby Doorkeeper » Tue Nov 05, 2013 6:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Although the pre-application advice to take primarily BLL instead of "law and..." classes is generally credited, my (COA) judge is obsessed with an esoteric branch of legal academia and the fact that I had a transcript full of those "law and..." classes (and aced them) actually helped me land the job, despite having very little in the way of BLL on my transcript.

Moral of the story: Judges are Idiosyncratic.

I would love to know who your judge is. Please feel free to PM me if you're comfortable.




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