Demystifying the application process?

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Anonymous User
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Re: Demystifying the application process?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:24 pm

Any COA clerks willing to weigh in?

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bruinfan10
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Re: Demystifying the application process?

Postby bruinfan10 » Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:11 am

Anonymous User wrote:Any COA clerks willing to weigh in?

A. Nony Mouse's and ClerkAdvisor's comments are applicable to CoAs.

JusticeJackson
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Re: Demystifying the application process?

Postby JusticeJackson » Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:38 pm

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Last edited by JusticeJackson on Thu Apr 10, 2014 9:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Demystifying the application process?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 23, 2013 4:43 am

When I clerked for a district judge, there would be three stacks for applications. One for prior clerkship experience. A second for 3ls with top grades at top law schools. The last stack was everything else. Usually the judge would interview the best candidates from stacks 1 and 2. A phone call from a circuit judge or district judge could also land someone an interview who otherwise wouldn't have been considered. Calls from professors generally weren't helpful.

My co-clerk and I met with each applicant for about a half hr after the interview with the judge. The judge put great weight on our feedback, knowing how important it was that we'd enjoy working with the new clerk in a tight knit environment for a year. We didn't set a finite number of interviews. The judge would just have people in on a rolling basis until he/she found the right applicant. Under such a system, I think there's a distinct disadvantage to interviewing early; there's an endless supply of good candidates, and you've always got the hope that the great candidate, in terms of a "fit" with that chambers, is still out there. And after a handful of interviews, it was tough to remember anything about the first couple.

Behavior during an interview that reflected poorly on judgment, even stuff that might seem inconsequential in terms of being a good law clerk, would ruin an applicant's chances. For example, we had one woman come into chambers on the morning of her interview with a cup of coffee. She brought that cup of coffee into the judge's office for the interview. Unfortunately for her, that was dispositive for my judge. My co-clerk and I knew it right away.

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Re: Demystifying the application process?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 23, 2013 5:04 am

Anonymous User wrote:Any COA clerks willing to weigh in?


In my (feeder) COA chambers it goes something like this:

1) Grades. We know these don't define you as a person, but when we have hundreds of applicants for each of the 4 spots, grades are a quick and dirty way of narrowing the field. There are plenty of great applicants with straight As, so if you have more than a couple Bs your app is dead in the water

2) Resume. I don't give a fuck if you worked for a fancy firm. I'm more looking for an interesting background, language skills, whatever. Someone well rounded. If law review isn't on your resume though again your app is probably toast.

3) LORs. Hopefully your professor can say something about you as a person, and not just that you were awarded the best grade in her class.

4) Everything else. Haven't read a single writing sample yet, though we'll probably get to those when we need to narrow the pile of apps into a final short list.

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Re: Demystifying the application process?

Postby Citizen Genet » Sat Nov 23, 2013 10:23 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Any COA clerks willing to weigh in?


In my (feeder) COA chambers it goes something like this:

1) Grades. We know these don't define you as a person, but when we have hundreds of applicants for each of the 4 spots, grades are a quick and dirty way of narrowing the field. There are plenty of great applicants with straight As, so if you have more than a couple Bs your app is dead in the water

2) Resume. I don't give a fuck if you worked for a fancy firm. I'm more looking for an interesting background, language skills, whatever. Someone well rounded. If law review isn't on your resume though again your app is probably toast.

3) LORs. Hopefully your professor can say something about you as a person, and not just that you were awarded the best grade in her class.

4) Everything else. Haven't read a single writing sample yet, though we'll probably get to those when we need to narrow the pile of apps into a final short list.


Would you mind PMing me? Not looking for info about you; want to run something by someone who has been in a feeder judges chambers.

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Re: Demystifying the application process?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 23, 2013 7:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:For example, we had one woman come into chambers on the morning of her interview with a cup of coffee. She brought that cup of coffee into the judge's office for the interview. Unfortunately for her, that was dispositive for my judge. My co-clerk and I knew it right away.

What a truly absurd process this is. Monty-Python-animated-sketch-level absurd.

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emciosn
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Re: Demystifying the application process?

Postby emciosn » Sat Nov 23, 2013 11:38 pm

I am currently a clerk (will be doing 2 1-year clerkships, plus I interned for a judge in LS) and had 8 clerkship interviews. I haven't done anything related to hiring yet but these are my thoughts:

1. If you have not sent out snail mail applications you are not really trying. There are plenty of people (with great grades from great schools) who get clerkships by only doing OSCAR apps but you are really cheating yourself by not tracking down the non-OSCAR judges and getting your app in their hands. I send out ~100 paper applications over the two terms I applied and it was well worth it (neither of my clerkships were OSCAR judges). These clerkships are just as beneficial (generally, not talking feeder judges here) and the judges see fewer applicants.

2. If you don't want to bear the expense of paper apps the interview process is going to be rough on you. Like I said I did 8 interviews on my own dime which was not fun or cheap but I got the job.

3. One comment that really stood out to me in this thread is that there is "a never ending stream of qualified applicants" (or something to that effect). This was in response to a comment lamenting how arbitrary the clerkship hiring process can be. That is totally true. Hiring someone every year is a pain for judges and if someone qualified comes along who the judge likes you better believe the judge will snatch that person up. So, getting out paper applications early to judges you really like can be beneficial. As can finding some sort of connection to chambers (alumni, professor, interning for a judge in LS...).

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nevdash
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Re: Demystifying the application process?

Postby nevdash » Sun Nov 24, 2013 2:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:For example, we had one woman come into chambers on the morning of her interview with a cup of coffee. She brought that cup of coffee into the judge's office for the interview. Unfortunately for her, that was dispositive for my judge. My co-clerk and I knew it right away.

What a truly absurd process this is. Monty-Python-animated-sketch-level absurd.

Things like this probably aren't all that uncommon. My judge once mentioned over lunch some of the things that tanked candidates in past interviews and things that bothered him/her about past interns (who obviously aren't vetted as closely during hiring). They were pretty minor things. But I don't think this is indicative of judges having bad or absurd attitudes; you just don't become an Art. III judge by not caring about the small stuff.

lolwat
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Re: Demystifying the application process?

Postby lolwat » Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:15 pm

Things like this probably aren't all that uncommon. My judge once mentioned over lunch some of the things that tanked candidates in past interviews and things that bothered him/her about past interns (who obviously aren't vetted as closely during hiring). They were pretty minor things. But I don't think this is indicative of judges having bad or absurd attitudes; you just don't become an Art. III judge by not caring about the small stuff.


When you have a functionally infinite number of qualified applicants for a spot and anything about any particular applicant bothers you, there's almost no reason not to just reject (or at least waitlist) and move onto the next one. Also, why would you bring a cup of coffee to an interview, clerkship or not, to begin with? You don't.

When I reviewed applications I filtered for grades and schools. Schools that didn't rank their students were extremely annoying (it forces you to look at the resume instead of a spreadsheet and that's just annoying to do with several hundred individual applications) and it probably took a 3.7+ GPA to get pulled. My judge didn't have a preference for t14 kids outside of a few specific schools. This led to people at the top 5-10% at t25 schools getting pulled... occasionally lower schools if you were like first or second in your class. After that, it's almost all about how interesting your resume is and your letters of recommendation. Pre-interview we had lots of input on who got interviews (so a genuine connection to a clerk would probably get your application pulled just as much as a connection to the judge), and post-interview the judge made the final decisions without much input from us because it was almost always about fit with him at that point since we wouldn't be working there when that year's clerks started (the judge was still interested in hearing what we thought, though).

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Re: Demystifying the application process?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:29 pm

nevdash wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:For example, we had one woman come into chambers on the morning of her interview with a cup of coffee. She brought that cup of coffee into the judge's office for the interview. Unfortunately for her, that was dispositive for my judge. My co-clerk and I knew it right away.

What a truly absurd process this is. Monty-Python-animated-sketch-level absurd.

Things like this probably aren't all that uncommon. My judge once mentioned over lunch some of the things that tanked candidates in past interviews and things that bothered him/her about past interns (who obviously aren't vetted as closely during hiring). They were pretty minor things. But I don't think this is indicative of judges having bad or absurd attitudes; you just don't become an Art. III judge by not caring about the small stuff.


Could you give some additional examples?

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Re: Demystifying the application process?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 26, 2013 6:26 am

Anonymous User wrote:
nevdash wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:For example, we had one woman come into chambers on the morning of her interview with a cup of coffee. She brought that cup of coffee into the judge's office for the interview. Unfortunately for her, that was dispositive for my judge. My co-clerk and I knew it right away.

What a truly absurd process this is. Monty-Python-animated-sketch-level absurd.

Things like this probably aren't all that uncommon. My judge once mentioned over lunch some of the things that tanked candidates in past interviews and things that bothered him/her about past interns (who obviously aren't vetted as closely during hiring). They were pretty minor things. But I don't think this is indicative of judges having bad or absurd attitudes; you just don't become an Art. III judge by not caring about the small stuff.


Could you give some additional examples?


i can give you another example, but this one is by no means minor. we had someone come in who had just finished another district court clerkship in a nearby district. the judge asked the candidate some questions about that clerkship, and at one point the candidate said: "Judge X didn't even read the briefs before signing my orders." how does someone think it's a good idea to tell that to ANOTHER JUDGE WHO IS CONSIDERING HIRING YOU????? the thing is, all these cautionary tales could have been avoided with common sense. there's just a lot of book smart people who don't have any of it. if you are one of those people, a clerkship probably isnt in the cards. nor is a successful career in the law




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