Federal Magistrate or State Supreme?

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Anonymous User
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Federal Magistrate or State Supreme?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 10, 2014 7:02 pm

I'm a 3L at CCN, in roughly the top 15% of my class (not Kent). What are my chances in the most competitive district courts (EDPA, EDNY, NDIL) and would you take a federal magistrate clerkship in those districts over a state supreme court in a random part of the country?

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Re: Federal Magistrate or State Supreme?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:14 pm

I guess the question is what you want out of the clerkship. Are we just talking prestige/job opportunities at big NYC firms here?

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Nelson
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Re: Federal Magistrate or State Supreme?

Postby Nelson » Sat Jan 11, 2014 1:02 am

Why not get a district ct clerkship outside of those districts? You're a strong candidate for those districts assuming law review, but you're almost certain to get something at the district level with strong recs and a wider net. Assuming you are going to a big firm, any AIII judge is more attractive than a state supreme or magistrate.

ghghghgh
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Re: Federal Magistrate or State Supreme?

Postby ghghghgh » Sat Jan 11, 2014 4:55 pm

Thank you to both of you. I'm looking for a clerkship that will mean something to law firms and government enforcement divisions.

Unfortunately I'm not LR, and I think you're probably right to focus on district courts outside of huge cities. I'm pessimistic because I've seen my friends on law review get destroyed in their clerkship hunts—only a fraction actually found something. If the situation hasn't actually deteriorated over the last year or so, then I can apply to the more selective stuff.

Also any advice on narrowing a list of 150 judges down to 75?

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Detrox
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Re: Federal Magistrate or State Supreme?

Postby Detrox » Sat Jan 11, 2014 6:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm a 3L at CCN, in roughly the top 15% of my class (not Kent). What are my chances in the most competitive district courts (EDPA, EDNY, NDIL) and would you take a federal magistrate clerkship in those districts over a state supreme court in a random part of the country?


Alum here with similar stats.

First off, don't narrow your list down to 75. Keep as many judges as you'd be willing to work for, and don't worry about the oscar limit since spots fill up fast and you can always withdraw apps if you really need to.

Second, If you're at CN, you have a decent shot, but not a "strong" shot at EDPA & DNJ. In a year, with post-grad work experience you'll have a decent shot at EDNY and maybe SDNY. The relative strength of your app will depend on your recommendations since your grades put you in competitive range, but not the top of the list. Unless you have ties or some connection, NDIL will obviously be more difficult (Vice versa if you're at Chicago obviously).

Finally, I'd say take a fed. district court or a SSC over a magistrate, and apply broadly for fed district courts and target SSC's in states you want to work.

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Re: Federal Magistrate or State Supreme?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 12, 2014 3:31 am

Given your stats and goals, you should be focusing on district court clerkships and applying broadly. Not Eastern District of Arkansas broadly, but I think that you should probably be open to a district court in any city/district large enough to have a professional sports franchise. I am currently clerking for a district court in what most of y'all would regard as a tertiary market, I am getting a ton out of my experience, and my firm (major market biglaw) is really supportive and thinks it's a great credential. I think most people with your stats who come away empty-handed do so because they are too geographically selective or prestige-driven, so don't be afraid to apply broadly because there are good judges and good clerkships all over the US.

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Re: Federal Magistrate or State Supreme?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 12, 2014 2:38 pm

I second the advice to apply to as many as possible. It's such a crapshoot that you just have to have your name in a lot of piles.

ghghghgh
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Re: Federal Magistrate or State Supreme?

Postby ghghghgh » Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:55 pm

Thank you to all of you. I'm not sure my recommendations are solid so my search is going to stay away from the top 3 most competitive. Maybe in a few years the market will recover-until then, good luck to anyone else searching.

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Re: Federal Magistrate or State Supreme?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:09 pm

ghghghgh wrote:Thank you to both of you. I'm looking for a clerkship that will mean something to law firms and government enforcement divisions.

Unfortunately I'm not LR, and I think you're probably right to focus on district courts outside of huge cities. I'm pessimistic because I've seen my friends on law review get destroyed in their clerkship hunts—only a fraction actually found something. If the situation hasn't actually deteriorated over the last year or so, then I can apply to the more selective stuff.

Also any advice on narrowing a list of 150 judges down to 75?


Regarding this question (and this is generally applicable for clerkship candidates): I think it's more valuable to think about it as building a list of 75 (or whatever number) instead of whittling it down to 75.

Assuming you'd be willing to work for all 150, first add the judges any of your recommenders have mentioned that they have relationships with. Then add the judges who went to your law school (for law school or undergrad). Add the judges who sit in your hometown, and the judges who have current clerks from your law school. Next, add the judges who have hired the most clerks from your school in the past. Finally, add the judges from your college city, law school city, and cities you worked in during the law school summers. You can change up this order somewhat, but I think it's relatively solid.

Assuming you've already narrowed to 150 by geography, length of clerkship (1 year vs. 2 years), active versus senior status (if this matters to you), and specialty dockets, the above method should generate a pretty good list, though perhaps not exactly 75.

ghghghgh
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Re: Federal Magistrate or State Supreme?

Postby ghghghgh » Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:58 pm

Also helpful advice, thanks again. Good luck to anyone else in the process.




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