How does your judge select clerks?

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: 273406
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How does your judge select clerks?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 22, 2014 3:19 pm

station4 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Type of Court: Federal district court

Particular Preferences: We're in a kind of middle-of-nowhere sort of area, and the judge is from here, so one of the things he looks for is people that are from here and want to come here and practice. That said, none of his clerks has ever actually been from here, at the end of the day. Still, it's something that gets us to pull people out of the stack for the judge's personal review.

Otherwise, the judge doesn't have much of a "profile." His clerks have come from a handful of schools (all in the T20, though where they fell within there varies a bit), and he has repeated somewhat. He seems to like people from his undergrad or law school, though he doesn't limit himself to them.

One thing that is particular to my judge is that he doesn't take on alums. He prefers to take people directly from law school. That doesn't mean he's anti-work experience; he's had a number of clerks who worked between UG and LS. But alums are a no-no.

Review Process: We (the clerks) review applications as they come in. We aren't actively soliciting apps right now, but even now we read the odd few that come in hardcopy. Once we get our OSCAR up and rolling, I'm sure we'll have more of this stuff to do.

Anyway, we review them. Our review looks at everything EXCEPT transcripts. We are actually instructed NOT to look at transcripts. That said, we look at your resume and your recs, so we can generally tell how well you did academically. We just won't know you got a B in CivPro once. We put applications into loose categories of 'no,' 'maybe,' and 'yes.' Once that's done, we take the 'yes' pile to the judge. He'll go through, and he'll pick which ones he wants to interview.

We call those folks up, and ask how soon they can get to the middle of nowhere. It's a fairly pricy interview, since no one actually lives here that's interviewing here (there's no ABA law school nearby). Then there's the interview. It starts with the judge, and then they come over to us. The judge usually seems them for a few more minutes at the end. Sometimes he offers on the spot (that's what happened to me), and sometimes he thinks it over for a couple days (my co-clerk).

And that's our chambers in a nutshell.


I know it's just one data point, but for your middle of nowhere location/pricey interview, how many people does your judge interview for each slot?


About ten people for two slots, this last time around. We'll see what happens when we actively start searching for my and my co-clerk's replacements.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273406
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How does your judge select clerks?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 22, 2014 6:55 pm

I'm at a D.Ct. in a big coastal city.

(1) Clerks make initial cut, creating a small "yes" pile based on quick review of resume (first), transcript (second), recs (third).

(2) Give yes pile to judge. Judge makes it smaller.

(3) Clerks read writing samples of the small pile. Remove applicants with bad typos, awkward style, etc.

Several otherwise highly-qualified applicants (including one top-of-the-class student) have been dinged solely on the basis of the writing sample. The sample doesn't have to be mind-blowing, but the writing has to be good.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273406
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How does your judge select clerks?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 22, 2014 7:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm at a D.Ct. in a big coastal city.

(1) Clerks make initial cut, creating a small "yes" pile based on quick review of resume (first), transcript (second), recs (third).

(2) Give yes pile to judge. Judge makes it smaller.

(3) Clerks read writing samples of the small pile. Remove applicants with bad typos, awkward style, etc.

Several otherwise highly-qualified applicants (including one top-of-the-class student) have been dinged solely on the basis of the writing sample. The sample doesn't have to be mind-blowing, but the writing has to be good.


How do you make determinations of transcript quality, esp. at schools that don't rank? I'm at a T10 that doesn't rank and I'm curious if your judge cares about overall grades, 1L grades, or grades in only doctrinal courses.

User avatar
bruinfan10
Posts: 510
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2011 12:25 am

Re: How does your judge select clerks?

Postby bruinfan10 » Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:35 am

.
Last edited by bruinfan10 on Thu May 08, 2014 4:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273406
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How does your judge select clerks?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 23, 2014 2:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm at a D.Ct. in a big coastal city.

(1) Clerks make initial cut, creating a small "yes" pile based on quick review of resume (first), transcript (second), recs (third).

(2) Give yes pile to judge. Judge makes it smaller.

(3) Clerks read writing samples of the small pile. Remove applicants with bad typos, awkward style, etc.

Several otherwise highly-qualified applicants (including one top-of-the-class student) have been dinged solely on the basis of the writing sample. The sample doesn't have to be mind-blowing, but the writing has to be good.


How do you make determinations of transcript quality, esp. at schools that don't rank? I'm at a T10 that doesn't rank and I'm curious if your judge cares about overall grades, 1L grades, or grades in only doctrinal courses.


For each of the non-ranking schools, one of us figures out what a rough cutoff should be. I went to one such school (t10 with "alternative" grades and no ranks divulged to students), so I know what to look for on transcripts from my alma matter. If it's a school we're less familiar with, usually a former clerk (or another clerk down the hall) went to that school and can give us some guidance. It's usually not too hard to tell, though.

The judges cares about overall grades, but doctrinal grades might be taken a bit more seriously because doctrinal classes often have a more stringent curve. But LRW awards and the like are also viewed quite favorably.

thirtyandseven
Posts: 49
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:36 pm

Re: How does your judge select clerks?

Postby thirtyandseven » Sun Feb 23, 2014 4:13 pm

Does it stand out at all if a candidate takes the time to upload individual pdf cover letters with a heading and everything, as opposed to using the plaintext cover letter merge functionality on OSCAR?

Jchance
Posts: 589
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2012 2:17 am

Re: How does your judge select clerks?

Postby Jchance » Sun Feb 23, 2014 4:26 pm

thirtyandseven wrote:Does it stand out at all if a candidate takes the time to upload individual pdf cover letters with a heading and everything, as opposed to using the plaintext cover letter merge functionality on OSCAR?


You can make heading using OSCAR online editing function (center, then increase font size, etc.), no need to pdf each letter

Anonymous User
Posts: 273406
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How does your judge select clerks?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 23, 2014 4:32 pm

thirtyandseven wrote:Does it stand out at all if a candidate takes the time to upload individual pdf cover letters with a heading and everything, as opposed to using the plaintext cover letter merge functionality on OSCAR?


Do not care *at all* about this. Cannot imagine something less important about a clerkship app.

thirtyandseven
Posts: 49
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:36 pm

Re: How does your judge select clerks?

Postby thirtyandseven » Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Do not care *at all* about this. Cannot imagine something less important about a clerkship app.


Jchance wrote:You can make heading using OSCAR online editing function (center, then increase font size, etc.), no need to pdf each letter


Thanks for the replies. For whatever reason, my school's clerkship counselor mentioned that some people do individual pdfs to create headings "because judges might think it's impressive." Leave it to my school to simultaneously tell me to do something useless while also telling me the least efficient way of doing that useless thing. My fault for not at least verifying the merge capabilities before posting.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273406
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How does your judge select clerks?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:How does your judge view publications? What is the most you have ever seen on a résumé?


I don't think mine (D. Ct.) cares at all. Most people don't have more than one thing. Two max. Beyond that, unless you have prior academic experience like a Ph.D., I'd think it's a bit odd.


I don't think mine (CA9) cares either. A long list of publications would be weird and offputting, I think.


Curious as to rationale here. Wouldn't multiple publications show good writing, attention to detail, ability to research well? I am not a former academic but throughout UG I published with a few faculty in academic journals. Is including these a bad idea?

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22848
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: How does your judge select clerks?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:21 pm

I don't think those articles would be a problem. The danger with too many articles on legal topics/in law school is that the judge may think you want to be an academic (and maybe you do), and some judges want to hire people who are going to end up in practice. (There are some judges who like proto-academics, of course, but completely anecdotally, I've seen academic-leaning applicants here report facing trouble for looking too academic.)

Anonymous User
Posts: 273406
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How does your judge select clerks?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:32 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I don't think those articles would be a problem. The danger with too many articles on legal topics/in law school is that the judge may think you want to be an academic (and maybe you do), and some judges want to hire people who are going to end up in practice. (There are some judges who like proto-academics, of course, but completely anecdotally, I've seen academic-leaning applicants here report facing trouble for looking too academic.)


Thanks for the reply. I super want to practice (no interest in academia). None of my publications are about law (except one is kind of incidentally related). Is there a way to not come off as a proto-professor?

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22848
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: How does your judge select clerks?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:45 pm

I really wouldn't worry about it. It's only publishing in law reviews that signals professor wannabe, I think; UG publications are different and fine.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273406
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How does your judge select clerks?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:00 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I don't think those articles would be a problem. The danger with too many articles on legal topics/in law school is that the judge may think you want to be an academic (and maybe you do), and some judges want to hire people who are going to end up in practice. (There are some judges who like proto-academics, of course, but completely anecdotally, I've seen academic-leaning applicants here report facing trouble for looking too academic.)


My concern is different. My judge is fine with the academia thing. For me though I'd rather see a range of things in a resume. A list of 10 publications doesn't tell me anything about your writing that I wouldn't get from just listing a couple of the publications you are most proud of.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22848
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: How does your judge select clerks?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:22 pm

Except it tells you they've written ten publications... If someone has written that many publications and they are academically inclined, it's kind of a thing to list them all rather than to just select a couple. I mean, I guess I'd either say "10 publications, details available on request," or I'd list them all (possibly in an addendum to the resume rather than in the resume itself), but it would never occur to me only to list a couple.




Return to “Judicial Clerkships”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.