Clerkship advice for a TRANSFER?

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Clerkship advice for a TRANSFER?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 04, 2013 12:25 pm

I transferred from a lower T2 to HYS this year. It goes without saying that it was a game-changer, but I'm encountering some real obstacles to clerking. First, I've heard that mostly your clerkship opportunities are based on your prior school, and if your prior school didn't place well, you're going to have difficulties with judges. Second, I'm forced to wait for my fall grades to come in because I have no grades from my new school. This would be fine, except now that judges are dropping the Plan like it's hot, that means missing out on a LOT of clerkships. Third, I was told to only use one recommendation from the old school, and unfortunately this year I'm in all 100+ person doctrinal classes where the professors have no idea who I am, and I haven't been able to build any of those relationships. I'd like to RA next semester and I'm intentionally taking smaller seminars, but off-plan judges will have hired for 2015 long before May or whenever I'd have those relationships.

Are there any transfers out there that have faced these issues and still gotten the clerkship of their dreams? Did you use two recs from the old school? Just ask professors who don't know you to give you a rec? Faced any discrimination/reluctance from judges based on your prior school?

I should note two things: 1) that I was given advice to just apply everywhere because judges in Kansas or Tennessee aren't going to care as much, but I'm geographically limited by my partner and would vastly prefer to be in and around the Northeast Corridor; 2) I'm public interest, so if I can't clerk I'm going to be applying for the even more competitive fellowship process.

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emciosn
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Re: Clerkship advice for a TRANSFER?

Postby emciosn » Wed Dec 04, 2013 2:31 pm

Someone can correct me if I am wrong but I feel like if you applied in the spring for 2015-2016 clerkships (after you get your fall grades) there would still be plenty of judges hiring. The old plan date for 2015-2016 would have been in June 2014 right? So, even though you would have to wait for your fall grades you could still get your apps out well before the hiring plan date. My feeling is that most of the D. Ct. level judges would still be hiring for 2015-2016 and a lot of good COA judges will be hiring. I know comparatively less about COA judges but I feel like only uber-competitive DC Cir. judges are looking this fall for 2015-2016 (I may be way off base).

My 2014-2015 clerkship is in a pretty competitive district and I didn't apply until like March 2013 (still off plan). And if anything I was early for that judge.

Now, if you want to wait until the end of spring 2014 to get another semester of grades and develop relationships, you will probably miss the boat on a lot of clerkships. But there will still be some hiring going on.

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Re: Clerkship advice for a TRANSFER?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 05, 2013 1:29 am

So obviously the plan has completely exploded since I went through the process (looking for 14-15 clerkships), but within my transfer class at HYS, the two T2 students we had landed a non-2/7/9/DC CoA clerkship and a competitive district (ED/SDNY, ND/CD Cal, ND Ill) clerkship. For those of us who actually cared about grades and clerking, everyone I know of who applied (except one person) landed something, including several people on CoA, competitive districts, and slightly less competitive districts.

In my case, I had the same issues building relationships at first, and ultimately decided to wait a year and apply for district courts a year out from graduation (2013). FWIW, I'll be doing a competitive district (ED/SDNY, ND/CD Cal, ND Ill) in which i'm pretty confident my prior school, T35ish, had never placed a clerk before. I used only 1 rec from my old school, and 2 from my new one. The 2 were from professors who, while I hadn't knocked the lights out for (in fact, I'd gotten a P from one), I had still known, and sought out input from. I will also say I applied everywhere, even if I ultimately ended up somewhere people would want to be. If you have a narrow set of places you want to be then you should similarly have reasonable expectations of where you'll end up. Nevertheless I would recommend holding off a year if you truly have no connections, and trying to build those in the interim.

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Re: Clerkship advice for a TRANSFER?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 05, 2013 2:38 am

emciosn wrote:Someone can correct me if I am wrong but I feel like if you applied in the spring for 2015-2016 clerkships (after you get your fall grades) there would still be plenty of judges hiring. The old plan date for 2015-2016 would have been in June 2014 right? So, even though you would have to wait for your fall grades you could still get your apps out well before the hiring plan date. My feeling is that most of the D. Ct. level judges would still be hiring for 2015-2016 and a lot of good COA judges will be hiring. I know comparatively less about COA judges but I feel like only uber-competitive DC Cir. judges are looking this fall for 2015-2016 (I may be way off base).

My 2014-2015 clerkship is in a pretty competitive district and I didn't apply until like March 2013 (still off plan). And if anything I was early for that judge.

Now, if you want to wait until the end of spring 2014 to get another semester of grades and develop relationships, you will probably miss the boat on a lot of clerkships. But there will still be some hiring going on.


Some judges are hiring now, and we've been told to apply as soon as possible for all judges--ideally by February. Which is just crazy. I also assumed that there would be plenty of judges still hiring by May or whatever, but the clerkship advisers are freaking me out.

Anonymous User wrote:So obviously the plan has completely exploded since I went through the process (looking for 14-15 clerkships), but within my transfer class at HYS, the two T2 students we had landed a non-2/7/9/DC CoA clerkship and a competitive district (ED/SDNY, ND/CD Cal, ND Ill) clerkship. For those of us who actually cared about grades and clerking, everyone I know of who applied (except one person) landed something, including several people on CoA, competitive districts, and slightly less competitive districts.

In my case, I had the same issues building relationships at first, and ultimately decided to wait a year and apply for district courts a year out from graduation (2013). FWIW, I'll be doing a competitive district (ED/SDNY, ND/CD Cal, ND Ill) in which i'm pretty confident my prior school, T35ish, had never placed a clerk before. I used only 1 rec from my old school, and 2 from my new one. The 2 were from professors who, while I hadn't knocked the lights out for (in fact, I'd gotten a P from one), I had still known, and sought out input from. I will also say I applied everywhere, even if I ultimately ended up somewhere people would want to be. If you have a narrow set of places you want to be then you should similarly have reasonable expectations of where you'll end up. Nevertheless I would recommend holding off a year if you truly have no connections, and trying to build those in the interim.


That's good to hear, thanks. I wish I could wait a year, but I'm public interest, so I can't just work somewhere for a year--no offers, no entry-level jobs, no one-year fellowships. Otherwise I would totally just hold off and apply as an alum. I really regret not sucking up to professors this semester.

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Re: Clerkship advice for a TRANSFER?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:13 am

Anonymous User wrote:I transferred from a lower T2 to HYS this year. It goes without saying that it was a game-changer, but I'm encountering some real obstacles to clerking. First, I've heard that mostly your clerkship opportunities are based on your prior school, and if your prior school didn't place well, you're going to have difficulties with judges. Second, I'm forced to wait for my fall grades to come in because I have no grades from my new school. This would be fine, except now that judges are dropping the Plan like it's hot, that means missing out on a LOT of clerkships. Third, I was told to only use one recommendation from the old school, and unfortunately this year I'm in all 100+ person doctrinal classes where the professors have no idea who I am, and I haven't been able to build any of those relationships. I'd like to RA next semester and I'm intentionally taking smaller seminars, but off-plan judges will have hired for 2015 long before May or whenever I'd have those relationships.

Are there any transfers out there that have faced these issues and still gotten the clerkship of their dreams? Did you use two recs from the old school? Just ask professors who don't know you to give you a rec? Faced any discrimination/reluctance from judges based on your prior school?

I should note two things: 1) that I was given advice to just apply everywhere because judges in Kansas or Tennessee aren't going to care as much, but I'm geographically limited by my partner and would vastly prefer to be in and around the Northeast Corridor; 2) I'm public interest, so if I can't clerk I'm going to be applying for the even more competitive fellowship process.


I was a transfer to CCN, and had similar issues a few years ago. I applied before the plan completely exploded and I had a full 2L year to make faculty connections. Ultimately I was able to scrounge up 3 profs at my new school, 1 in fall and spring semester, and 1 I was an RA for.

For what it's worth, while a couple of transfers got clerkships for right after 3L year, virtually everyone who wanted to clerk got much better results applying as an alum. The people who applied as 3Ls ended up in less competitive districts around the country, often in places where they're from. The SDNY/EDPA/DDC clerkships didn't seem to come to transfers straight out.

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Re: Clerkship advice for a TRANSFER?

Postby Doorkeeper » Fri Dec 06, 2013 1:16 am

Anonymous User wrote:That's good to hear, thanks. I wish I could wait a year, but I'm public interest, so I can't just work somewhere for a year--no offers, no entry-level jobs, no one-year fellowships. Otherwise I would totally just hold off and apply as an alum. I really regret not sucking up to professors this semester.

This doesn't make much sense. If you're public interest at HYS, then there are definitely one or two year fellowship that you can do post-JD/pre-clerkship. Have you talked to OPIA about this before jumping to this conclusion?

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Re: Clerkship advice for a TRANSFER?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 06, 2013 1:27 am

Doorkeeper wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:That's good to hear, thanks. I wish I could wait a year, but I'm public interest, so I can't just work somewhere for a year--no offers, no entry-level jobs, no one-year fellowships. Otherwise I would totally just hold off and apply as an alum. I really regret not sucking up to professors this semester.

This doesn't make much sense. If you're public interest at HYS, then there are definitely one or two year fellowship that you can do post-JD/pre-clerkship. Have you talked to OPIA about this before jumping to this conclusion?


Yes. They told me that there are only like 2 one-year fellowships (very specific and very hard to get--I think the ACLU has one and Vera Institute has one), and that whatever happens, don't get stuck with a gap year with your clerkships. I could apply for a regular two-year fellowship like Skadden or EJW, but they apparently prefer people who have clerked and the process is more competitive than clerking, so if I can clerk first, it's better all around. If I don't get a clerkship by the end of summer, though, I will definitely be applying for those fellowships and applying to clerk after.

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Re: Clerkship advice for a TRANSFER?

Postby emciosn » Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:41 am

Anonymous User wrote:
emciosn wrote:Someone can correct me if I am wrong but I feel like if you applied in the spring for 2015-2016 clerkships (after you get your fall grades) there would still be plenty of judges hiring. The old plan date for 2015-2016 would have been in June 2014 right? So, even though you would have to wait for your fall grades you could still get your apps out well before the hiring plan date. My feeling is that most of the D. Ct. level judges would still be hiring for 2015-2016 and a lot of good COA judges will be hiring. I know comparatively less about COA judges but I feel like only uber-competitive DC Cir. judges are looking this fall for 2015-2016 (I may be way off base).

My 2014-2015 clerkship is in a pretty competitive district and I didn't apply until like March 2013 (still off plan). And if anything I was early for that judge.

Now, if you want to wait until the end of spring 2014 to get another semester of grades and develop relationships, you will probably miss the boat on a lot of clerkships. But there will still be some hiring going on.


Some judges are hiring now, and we've been told to apply as soon as possible for all judges--ideally by February. Which is just crazy. I also assumed that there would be plenty of judges still hiring by May or whatever, but the clerkship advisers are freaking me out.


I see--honestly I would say that getting all your apps out by next February is not off base. My advice would be to strive to meet that "deadline." This gives you time to get your fall grades (study hard!) but doesn't give you an extra semester to form relationships. BUT, forming relationship in the classroom setting is kind of overrated. Hopefully you will really kill it in one or two classes this semester (again, study hard!). Then, just go sit with the professor that you had for the class you scored well in for like twenty minutes or so and discuss your goals, that you did well in his/her classes, and would love it if they could write a letter for you. Professors get it and are expected to be called on for this sort of thing. As long as you make a sincere effort to go meet with him/her face to face and help him/her to learn a little about you, you will have a fine letter of rec. I basically did this for one of my letters and it turned out great. Actually, one of my closest student/prof relationships developed out of that conversation. It is really no different that meeting with an alumni for coffee for twenty minutes and asking them to put in a good word for you with the hiring partner based on your grades, etc.

I think people drastically underestimate the value of just sitting with the professor for a while and having a frank discussion about what you need. If you are a likeable person the prof will decide they like you and the prof wants to help the school place kids in clerkships. Who better than the kid that did so well in his/her class? Again it worked great for me and at this point it is probably your best/only option. First you have to get the grade(s)--so get of TLS and go study!

(Note: meet with the professor face to face, no email or phone except to set up the appointment).

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Re: Clerkship advice for a TRANSFER?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:14 am

emciosn wrote:I see--honestly I would say that getting all your apps out by next February is not off base. My advice would be to strive to meet that "deadline." This gives you time to get your fall grades (study hard!) but doesn't give you an extra semester to form relationships. BUT, forming relationship in the classroom setting is kind of overrated. Hopefully you will really kill it in one or two classes this semester (again, study hard!). Then, just go sit with the professor that you had for the class you scored well in for like twenty minutes or so and discuss your goals, that you did well in his/her classes, and would love it if they could write a letter for you. Professors get it and are expected to be called on for this sort of thing. As long as you make a sincere effort to go meet with him/her face to face and help him/her to learn a little about you, you will have a fine letter of rec. I basically did this for one of my letters and it turned out great. Actually, one of my closest student/prof relationships developed out of that conversation. It is really no different that meeting with an alumni for coffee for twenty minutes and asking them to put in a good word for you with the hiring partner based on your grades, etc.

I think people drastically underestimate the value of just sitting with the professor for a while and having a frank discussion about what you need. If you are a likeable person the prof will decide they like you and the prof wants to help the school place kids in clerkships. Who better than the kid that did so well in his/her class? Again it worked great for me and at this point it is probably your best/only option. First you have to get the grade(s)--so get of TLS and go study!

(Note: meet with the professor face to face, no email or phone except to set up the appointment).


I know how to get a recommendation. I did it last year to transfer. But the rec I got to transfer that was just from a doctrinal professor who had I spoken to in office hours was qualitatively inferior to the one where I had actually built a relationship with the professor in and outside of class. And given that judges are concerned with writing ability and legal acumen, it worries me to rely on that kind of rec instead, say, being a research assistant.

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Re: Clerkship advice for a TRANSFER?

Postby emciosn » Fri Dec 06, 2013 2:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
emciosn wrote:I see--honestly I would say that getting all your apps out by next February is not off base. My advice would be to strive to meet that "deadline." This gives you time to get your fall grades (study hard!) but doesn't give you an extra semester to form relationships. BUT, forming relationship in the classroom setting is kind of overrated. Hopefully you will really kill it in one or two classes this semester (again, study hard!). Then, just go sit with the professor that you had for the class you scored well in for like twenty minutes or so and discuss your goals, that you did well in his/her classes, and would love it if they could write a letter for you. Professors get it and are expected to be called on for this sort of thing. As long as you make a sincere effort to go meet with him/her face to face and help him/her to learn a little about you, you will have a fine letter of rec. I basically did this for one of my letters and it turned out great. Actually, one of my closest student/prof relationships developed out of that conversation. It is really no different that meeting with an alumni for coffee for twenty minutes and asking them to put in a good word for you with the hiring partner based on your grades, etc.

I think people drastically underestimate the value of just sitting with the professor for a while and having a frank discussion about what you need. If you are a likeable person the prof will decide they like you and the prof wants to help the school place kids in clerkships. Who better than the kid that did so well in his/her class? Again it worked great for me and at this point it is probably your best/only option. First you have to get the grade(s)--so get of TLS and go study!

(Note: meet with the professor face to face, no email or phone except to set up the appointment).


I know how to get a recommendation. I did it last year to transfer. But the rec I got to transfer that was just from a doctrinal professor who had I spoken to in office hours was qualitatively inferior to the one where I had actually built a relationship with the professor in and outside of class. And given that judges are concerned with writing ability and legal acumen, it worries me to rely on that kind of rec instead, say, being a research assistant.


Ok--just trying to help think of ways to get your apps in by Feb.

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Re: Clerkship advice for a TRANSFER?

Postby Jchance » Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:53 pm

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Last edited by Jchance on Thu Sep 17, 2015 4:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Clerkship advice for a TRANSFER?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 26, 2014 4:13 pm

I transferred to a T14 this year too. I have a COA interview this week. Get on it. Get as many letters from your old school for now and get letters from faculty you've taken classes with. Don't be shy even if you don't know them. Worst that will happen is they will say no. No shame in that. The plan is out the window, use this to your advantage. You may not be the strongest candidate at HYS, but you must be extremely cunning to have gotten there from a lower T2. Use that cunning: stop asking questions and apply everywhere ASAP!




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