SCOTUS clerk taking questions about federal clerkships

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Re: SCOTUS clerk taking questions about federal clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:00 pm

Typically you are allowed to be a term clerk for up to four years. Is SCOTUS exempt from this?

For example, let's say I do a two year district court clerkship, followed by a one year term with a non-feeder COA judge, which then flows into a one year term with a COA feeder judge. If I then try to go clerk for SCOTUS, what happens in terms of my four year cap?

Also, just curious, are SCOTUS clerks on the JSP plan, or do they have their own?

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Re: SCOTUS clerk taking questions about federal clerkships

Postby LurkClerk » Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:38 pm

As someone whose time as a law clerk topped out at the COA level, I have always been curious about the workload of SCOTUS clerks. Is it all-consuming like a Kozinski clerkship? Do Justice Alito's clerks work longer hours because their boss doesn't participate in the cert pool?

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Re: SCOTUS clerk taking questions about federal clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 07, 2017 1:10 am

LurkClerk wrote:As someone whose time as a law clerk topped out at the COA level, I have always been curious about the workload of SCOTUS clerks. Is it all-consuming like a Kozinski clerkship? Do Justice Alito's clerks work longer hours because their boss doesn't participate in the cert pool?


Varies from Justice to Justice. For example, EK and SMS are way more demanding than SGB. EK is probably on par with AK, workload-wise.

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Re: SCOTUS clerk taking questions about federal clerkships

Postby LurkerTurnedMember » Fri May 12, 2017 12:31 am

How and which Justices care about socioeconomic diversity in their clerks? So, for example, are some more than others willing to lower the grade/school requirement a bit if the applicant has a unique background? Or is it basically for all of them just straight up perfect/near perfect grades, law review, prior clerkship for a feeder, top 5 law school, and having someone who knows one of them call on your behalf?

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Re: SCOTUS clerk taking questions about federal clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 12, 2017 1:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:
LurkClerk wrote:As someone whose time as a law clerk topped out at the COA level, I have always been curious about the workload of SCOTUS clerks. Is it all-consuming like a Kozinski clerkship? Do Justice Alito's clerks work longer hours because their boss doesn't participate in the cert pool?


Varies from Justice to Justice. For example, EK and SMS are way more demanding than SGB. EK is probably on par with AK, workload-wise.


AK's "workload" isn't anything insane. It's just that he expects you to be in chambers outside of business hours in case he needs you. But it's not like nose to the grindstone the whole time.

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Re: SCOTUS clerk taking questions about federal clerkships

Postby jd20132013 » Fri May 12, 2017 8:55 am

LurkerTurnedMember wrote:How and which Justices care about socioeconomic diversity in their clerks? So, for example, are some more than others willing to lower the grade/school requirement a bit if the applicant has a unique background? Or is it basically for all of them just straight up perfect/near perfect grades, law review, prior clerkship for a feeder, top 5 law school, and having someone who knows one of them call on your behalf?


They can get diversity and perfect grades so it's a moot point.

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Re: SCOTUS clerk taking questions about federal clerkships

Postby mjb447 » Fri May 12, 2017 9:11 am

jd20132013 wrote:
LurkerTurnedMember wrote:How and which Justices care about socioeconomic diversity in their clerks? So, for example, are some more than others willing to lower the grade/school requirement a bit if the applicant has a unique background? Or is it basically for all of them just straight up perfect/near perfect grades, law review, prior clerkship for a feeder, top 5 law school, and having someone who knows one of them call on your behalf?


They can get diversity and perfect grades so it's a moot point.

Yeah, I think fewer than 40 SCOTUS clerks are hired each term. Even if half of those spots were set aside for someone with a diverse/unique background (historically I don't think it works out to be that many), I can't imagine they have to go much outside the top students at the top few schools to fill their ranks.

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Re: SCOTUS clerk taking questions about federal clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 12, 2017 9:27 am

Anonymous User wrote:Typically you are allowed to be a term clerk for up to four years. Is SCOTUS exempt from this?

For example, let's say I do a two year district court clerkship, followed by a one year term with a non-feeder COA judge, which then flows into a one year term with a COA feeder judge. If I then try to go clerk for SCOTUS, what happens in terms of my four year cap?

Also, just curious, are SCOTUS clerks on the JSP plan, or do they have their own?


bump.

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Re: SCOTUS clerk taking questions about federal clerkships

Postby LurkerTurnedMember » Fri May 12, 2017 9:57 am

mjb447 wrote:
jd20132013 wrote:
LurkerTurnedMember wrote:How and which Justices care about socioeconomic diversity in their clerks? So, for example, are some more than others willing to lower the grade/school requirement a bit if the applicant has a unique background? Or is it basically for all of them just straight up perfect/near perfect grades, law review, prior clerkship for a feeder, top 5 law school, and having someone who knows one of them call on your behalf?


They can get diversity and perfect grades so it's a moot point.

Yeah, I think fewer than 40 SCOTUS clerks are hired each term. Even if half of those spots were set aside for someone with a diverse/unique background (historically I don't think it works out to be that many), I can't imagine they have to go much outside the top students at the top few schools to fill their ranks.


Then how come there's barely any diversity, especially socioeconomic diversity? I've seen the layout of clerks of one big circuit and not one was first in their family to go to college. I suspect It's no different at SCOTUS but I was asking to make sure. And it makes sense based on the usual hiring criteria/preferences, like you gotta be from HYS where socioeconomic diversity isn't that great to start with, and then you gotta have a good undergrad too (which socioeconomically diverse students don't always have cause they tend to go to local colleges even when qualified to go to top ones), perfect grades (which require costly study guides and free time not everyone has), public interest background (which requires you don't have loans and family/extended fam to help and therefore pretty much have to do firm life), have 3 letters of rec (which one do u want? The one from my construction job lol or.. Ohh u expect me to kno someone big in the legal field? Oh ok I'll walk myself out..), some big professor or someone who knows them call them on ur behalf, etc. None of it is set up for socioeconomically diverse applicants. It's like it was set up to purposefully exclude them. I just wanted to know if someone is qualified to do the work but just fails by an immaterial margin to meet the overrated criteria typically used now for hiring (they have top 20% grades instead of top 5% or top 10%, they're from a T14, and they don't know someone who knows the Justice, but their writing and research is proven to be good, have prior clerkships, overcame a good amount to get to where they are, and are a work horse), would that person have a shot?

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Re: SCOTUS clerk taking questions about federal clerkships

Postby mjb447 » Fri May 12, 2017 10:29 am

LurkerTurnedMember wrote:I just wanted to know if someone is qualified to do the work but just fails by an immaterial margin to meet the overrated criteria typically used now for hiring (they have top 20% grades instead of top 5% or top 10%, they're from a T14, and they don't know someone who knows the Justice, but their writing and research is proven to be good, have prior clerkships, overcame a good amount to get to where they are, and are a work horse), would that person have a shot?


I really doubt it. (Full disclosure: I'm not a SCOTUS clerk and would never be competitive.) Top 20% of all T14 schools is hundreds of people every year to fill those ~40 spots - how does that app get pulled from the stack? I get that "overcame a good amount to get to where they are" is supposed to be the differentiator here since we're talking about socioeconomic diversity, but how does an app with all of those features get more than a second's glance, particularly if you don't know someone who knows the justice? (This also leaves aside any discussion of whether there is a meaningful difference in ability for SCOTUS purposes between 5% at YHS and 20% at a lower T14, which I don't think every justice would concede is an "immaterial" difference.)

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Re: SCOTUS clerk taking questions about federal clerkships

Postby mjb447 » Fri May 12, 2017 10:35 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Typically you are allowed to be a term clerk for up to four years. Is SCOTUS exempt from this?

For example, let's say I do a two year district court clerkship, followed by a one year term with a non-feeder COA judge, which then flows into a one year term with a COA feeder judge. If I then try to go clerk for SCOTUS, what happens in terms of my four year cap?

Also, just curious, are SCOTUS clerks on the JSP plan, or do they have their own?


bump.

We tried figuring the first question out in the Clerks Taking Questions thread, but no one there knew. I think the best answers (if you manage to end up in that situation) were to see if they'd take you on for free or hope that they amend the rule to not apply to SCOTUS. viewtopic.php?f=34&t=146252&start=1825#p9613302

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Re: SCOTUS clerk taking questions about federal clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 12, 2017 10:44 am

mjb447 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Typically you are allowed to be a term clerk for up to four years. Is SCOTUS exempt from this?

For example, let's say I do a two year district court clerkship, followed by a one year term with a non-feeder COA judge, which then flows into a one year term with a COA feeder judge. If I then try to go clerk for SCOTUS, what happens in terms of my four year cap?

Also, just curious, are SCOTUS clerks on the JSP plan, or do they have their own?


bump.

We tried figuring the first question out in the Clerks Taking Questions thread, but no one there knew. I think the best answers (if you manage to end up in that situation) were to see if they'd take you on for free or hope that they amend the rule to not apply to SCOTUS. viewtopic.php?f=34&t=146252&start=1825#p9613302


Ah, thanks.

For that matter though, are SCOTUS clerks even on the JSP? Does the (only one person per chamber) JSP 14 rule apply to them?

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Re: SCOTUS clerk taking questions about federal clerkships

Postby LurkerTurnedMember » Fri May 12, 2017 10:45 am

mjb447 wrote:
LurkerTurnedMember wrote:I just wanted to know if someone is qualified to do the work but just fails by an immaterial margin to meet the overrated criteria typically used now for hiring (they have top 20% grades instead of top 5% or top 10%, they're from a T14, and they don't know someone who knows the Justice, but their writing and research is proven to be good, have prior clerkships, overcame a good amount to get to where they are, and are a work horse), would that person have a shot?


I really doubt it. (Full disclosure: I'm not a SCOTUS clerk and would never be competitive.) Top 20% of all T14 schools is hundreds of people every year to fill those ~40 spots - how does that app get pulled from the stack? I get that "overcame a good amount to get to where they are" is supposed to be the differentiator here since we're talking about socioeconomic diversity, but how does an app with all of those features get more than a second's glance, particularly if you don't know someone who knows the justice? (This also leaves aside any discussion of whether there is a meaningful difference in ability for SCOTUS purposes between 5% at YHS and 20% at a lower T14, which I don't think every justice would concede is an "immaterial" difference.)


I see your point. I didn't think of how many apps they get. But it wouldn't be unreasonable to think they read at least the cover letters of each. And if the cover letter shows it, pull it out of a stack. And I don't think there is a big enough difference between a top 20% at a T10 school and a top 10/5% at HYS, especially if there is prior on-point work experience and they literally show you through references and writing material and published work that they are good researchers and writers. I think what happened is that there needed to be some easily determinable characteristics that correlated to being a good thinker, researcher, and writer. So grades, selectivity of law school, selectivity of law review and work on it, etc got chosen. But after years, people started assuming these are THE ONLY characteristics that prove the applicant is a good thinker, researcher, and writer. And so people lost focus of the goal and started clinching too hard to the already-selected means and in doing so gave too much meaning to even small immaterial differences among them. So now if there is someone who really is qualified and would be great at the job, it doesn't seem to matter cause they're, for example, top 10% at duke instead of the app right next to them that's top 5% at harvard, even if the harvard student wouldn't do as great.

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Re: SCOTUS clerk taking questions about federal clerkships

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri May 12, 2017 11:04 am

I'm not sure number of applications is so much an issue for SCOTUS because they're not going to look at someone who doesn't already have a feeder clerkship, and can narrow things down by that and by recommendations from profs. If you don't have an in already I can't imagine they even look at the app.

Also I do think the difference between top 5% at HYS and top 20% at a lower T14 is material, for this narrow purpose. Not for being a good lawyer, but for being a SCOTUS clerk. The criterion isn't "who could do this job," it's "who is the absolute best, academically."

The diversity thing is a huge issue but I think it's about all the factors you identified earlier that make law a pretty non-diverse profession generally. (Although you don't have to have a public interest background at all for SCOTUS, that I'm aware of - I think most follow the traditional biglaw trajectory.)

Thomas does hire from non-T14s on occasion and someone hired a U Hawaii grad this last round (or recently - I forget details). But those candidates have amazing qualifications independent of their schools, and were at the very top. There just isn't any need for the justices to "look past" the top candidates. Those who are interested in increasing diversity can do so without going outside traditionally top candidates.

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Re: SCOTUS clerk taking questions about federal clerkships

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri May 12, 2017 11:09 am

Meant to add - I really don't think you can say the justices are hiring people who wouldn't do as well as those with the slightly lower ranking at a slightly lower school, or that they're missing out on better candidates. I think everyone who gets hired is going to be amazing. I think the abilities needed to be a good SCOTUS clerk probably track the abilities needed to be the top of your class academically more closely than almost any other job out there.

(Also this is all speculation from someone completely never competitive for this, so take it for what it's worth.)

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Re: SCOTUS clerk taking questions about federal clerkships

Postby LurkerTurnedMember » Fri May 12, 2017 11:21 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I'm not sure number of applications is so much an issue for SCOTUS because they're not going to look at someone who doesn't already have a feeder clerkship, and can narrow things down by that and by recommendations from profs. If you don't have an in already I can't imagine they even look at the app.

Also I do think the difference between top 5% at HYS and top 20% at a lower T14 is material, for this narrow purpose. Not for being a good lawyer, but for being a SCOTUS clerk. The criterion isn't "who could do this job," it's "who is the absolute best, academically."

The diversity thing is a huge issue but I think it's about all the factors you identified earlier that make law a pretty non-diverse profession generally. (Although you don't have to have a public interest background at all for SCOTUS, that I'm aware of - I think most follow the traditional biglaw trajectory.)

Thomas does hire from non-T14s on occasion and someone hired a U Hawaii grad this last round (or recently - I forget details). But those candidates have amazing qualifications independent of their schools, and were at the very top. There just isn't any need for the justices to "look past" the top candidates. Those who are interested in increasing diversity can do so without going outside traditionally top candidates.


I could make myself clearer. Sorry. I meant to also make it clear that there are a lot of assumptions behind what makes a "top candidate." It's natural. Kind of like if I said I'm looking for a CEO or an "American" people's minds don't think of a muslim woman. Their minds typically jump to a white christian guy. This type of association is everywhere, and it sucks. One place it resides is in the clerkship hiring process and it leads people to automatically assume a top candidate is someone top 10% from HYS. But other criteria can affect whether someone is not just qualified, but most qualified for the job. Someone who's top 20% at a T10 might also have published articles in reputable journals, had multiple clerkships, has references, including prior judges, that glow about her writing, and has overcome things to get to where she is. Even though it's not top 10% at HYS, this applicant is still very good, I'd say even better than a top 10% from HYS that didn't do clinics, doesn't have published work, had just one year of post grad work as a clerk, and was always expected to go through top schools in his life. Letting go of faulty assumptions of what makes a top candidate, and looking at things holistically and objectively, means you don't just say "why would they pass a top candidate by choosing someone other than top 10% from HYS when they don't have to?" Instead you gotta ask yourself "why woukd they pass on the top candidate merely because they didn't get top 10% at HYS or aren't bffs with someone I know?"

Edit: apologies if I moved the discussion away from where the thread is supposed to be. I just remembered my clerkship experiences (def not scotus) and how it was so heavily biased toward well off applicants that I just wished they would've just had a simpler app that said, "How much does your family make?" Might as well, just make it easier for us to know we're not wanted and save us a lot of time. So I got a bit passionate in my responses here lol carry on with clerkship questions
Last edited by LurkerTurnedMember on Fri May 12, 2017 11:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: SCOTUS clerk taking questions about federal clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 12, 2017 11:32 am

The connections thing is huge. Someone from CCN got hired by SCOTUS from not much above median because of extremely strong backing from ACS/FedSoc.

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Re: SCOTUS clerk taking questions about federal clerkships

Postby runinthefront » Fri May 12, 2017 11:38 am

LurkerTurnedMember wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:I'm not sure number of applications is so much an issue for SCOTUS because they're not going to look at someone who doesn't already have a feeder clerkship, and can narrow things down by that and by recommendations from profs. If you don't have an in already I can't imagine they even look at the app.

Also I do think the difference between top 5% at HYS and top 20% at a lower T14 is material, for this narrow purpose. Not for being a good lawyer, but for being a SCOTUS clerk. The criterion isn't "who could do this job," it's "who is the absolute best, academically."

The diversity thing is a huge issue but I think it's about all the factors you identified earlier that make law a pretty non-diverse profession generally. (Although you don't have to have a public interest background at all for SCOTUS, that I'm aware of - I think most follow the traditional biglaw trajectory.)

Thomas does hire from non-T14s on occasion and someone hired a U Hawaii grad this last round (or recently - I forget details). But those candidates have amazing qualifications independent of their schools, and were at the very top. There just isn't any need for the justices to "look past" the top candidates. Those who are interested in increasing diversity can do so without going outside traditionally top candidates.


I could make myself clearer. Sorry. I meant to also make it clear that there are a lot of assumptions behind what makes a "top candidate." It's natural. Kind of like if I said I'm looking for a CEO or an "American" people's minds don't think of a muslim woman. Their minds typically jump to a white christian guy. This type of association is everywhere, and it sucks. One place it resides is in the clerkship hiring process and it leads people to automatically assume a top candidate is someone top 10% from HYS. But other criteria can affect whether someone is not just qualified, but most qualified for the job. Someone who's top 20% at a T10 might also have published articles in reputable journals, had multiple clerkships, has references, including prior judges, that glow about her writing, and has overcome things to get to where she is. Even though it's not top 10% at HYS, this applicant is still very good, I'd say even better than a top 10% from HYS that didn't do clinics, doesn't have published work, had just one year of post grad work as a clerk, and was always expected to go through top schools in his life. Letting go of faulty assumptions of what makes a top candidate, and looking at things holistically and objectively, means you don't just say "why would they pass a top candidate by choosing someone other than top 10% from HYS when they don't have to?" Instead you gotta ask yourself "why woukd they pass on the top candidate merely because they didn't get top 10% at HYS or aren't bffs with someone I know?"

etting go of faulty assumptions of what makes a top candidate, and looking at things holistically and objectively, means you don't just say "why would they pass a top candidate by choosing someone other than top 10% from HYS when they don't have to?" Instead you gotta ask yourself "why woukd they pass on the top candidate merely because they didn't get top 10% at HYS or aren't bffs with someone I know?"

A top 20% T10er isn't even a "top" student at their own law school. I don't understand why you keep insisting that a student who is incredibly involved in extracurriculars outside of the classroom, yet still gets beat in the classroom by 40 to 120 of her peers (depending on the T13) is somehow qualified to clerk on the Court.

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Re: SCOTUS clerk taking questions about federal clerkships

Postby LurkerTurnedMember » Fri May 12, 2017 11:45 am

runinthefront wrote:
LurkerTurnedMember wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:I'm not sure number of applications is so much an issue for SCOTUS because they're not going to look at someone who doesn't already have a feeder clerkship, and can narrow things down by that and by recommendations from profs. If you don't have an in already I can't imagine they even look at the app.

Also I do think the difference between top 5% at HYS and top 20% at a lower T14 is material, for this narrow purpose. Not for being a good lawyer, but for being a SCOTUS clerk. The criterion isn't "who could do this job," it's "who is the absolute best, academically."

The diversity thing is a huge issue but I think it's about all the factors you identified earlier that make law a pretty non-diverse profession generally. (Although you don't have to have a public interest background at all for SCOTUS, that I'm aware of - I think most follow the traditional biglaw trajectory.)

Thomas does hire from non-T14s on occasion and someone hired a U Hawaii grad this last round (or recently - I forget details). But those candidates have amazing qualifications independent of their schools, and were at the very top. There just isn't any need for the justices to "look past" the top candidates. Those who are interested in increasing diversity can do so without going outside traditionally top candidates.


I could make myself clearer. Sorry. I meant to also make it clear that there are a lot of assumptions behind what makes a "top candidate." It's natural. Kind of like if I said I'm looking for a CEO or an "American" people's minds don't think of a muslim woman. Their minds typically jump to a white christian guy. This type of association is everywhere, and it sucks. One place it resides is in the clerkship hiring process and it leads people to automatically assume a top candidate is someone top 10% from HYS. But other criteria can affect whether someone is not just qualified, but most qualified for the job. Someone who's top 20% at a T10 might also have published articles in reputable journals, had multiple clerkships, has references, including prior judges, that glow about her writing, and has overcome things to get to where she is. Even though it's not top 10% at HYS, this applicant is still very good, I'd say even better than a top 10% from HYS that didn't do clinics, doesn't have published work, had just one year of post grad work as a clerk, and was always expected to go through top schools in his life. Letting go of faulty assumptions of what makes a top candidate, and looking at things holistically and objectively, means you don't just say "why would they pass a top candidate by choosing someone other than top 10% from HYS when they don't have to?" Instead you gotta ask yourself "why woukd they pass on the top candidate merely because they didn't get top 10% at HYS or aren't bffs with someone I know?"

etting go of faulty assumptions of what makes a top candidate, and looking at things holistically and objectively, means you don't just say "why would they pass a top candidate by choosing someone other than top 10% from HYS when they don't have to?" Instead you gotta ask yourself "why woukd they pass on the top candidate merely because they didn't get top 10% at HYS or aren't bffs with someone I know?"

A top 20% T10er isn't even a "top" student at their own law school. I don't understand why you keep insisting that a student who is incredibly involved in extracurriculars outside of the classroom, yet still gets beat in the classroom by 40 to 120 of her peers (depending on the T13) is somehow qualified to clerk on the Court.


You missed the whole point. The small grade differences ARE the faulty assumption. In top schools, an exam earning top 5% and one earning top 20% are not that far apart. A lot has to do with a professor's writing preferences, or luck of the draw for the question, or other things unrelated to ability to research and write. Besides, what does memorizing an outline some other student before u likely wrote and regurgitating it on an exam in a more flushed out way have anything to do with research and writing? So stop ASSUMING the criteria YOU use to differentiate qualifications is accurate in doing so. That's like if I'm looking for a CEO and I go, "Well, Joe does golf, and he is tall, and he is a man.. That's typically what successful CEOs in the past have had.. Sarah is good at being CEO, but man, she just can't grow a beard like past successful CEOs could. Sure she has great extracurriculars but she's just not the top candidate. It's decided, we're gonna pick Joe, the top candidate." Lolol

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Re: SCOTUS clerk taking questions about federal clerkships

Postby runinthefront » Fri May 12, 2017 11:54 am

LurkerTurnedMember wrote:You missed the whole point. The small grade differences ARE the faulty assumption. In top schools, an exam earning top 5% and one earning top 20% are not that far apart.

I don't agree with this at all.

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Re: SCOTUS clerk taking questions about federal clerkships

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri May 12, 2017 12:05 pm

The thing is, you're creating a straw top-5%-at-Harvard candidate by suggesting the top 5% at Harvard person ONLY has top grades, while the top 20% at Duke has clinics AND work experience AND published articles AND glowing references. SCOTUS/feeders are going to hire the top 5% person from Harvard who has all those other things as well (clinics and work experience and published articles etc). It's not top grades in a vacuum vs. wonderful experience without the top grades.

And again - there are probably top 20% at Duke folks who would be just as good as top 5% at Harvard. I don't think you can say they're going to be per se better and the court is missing out. The vast majority of law school graduates are not going to clerk for SCOTUS no matter how privileged they are.

And yeah, greater diversity on the court would be great - justices as well as clerks. But wishing they'd look past traditional markers of success to choose you isn't going to make it so. Again, I think it's necessary to work at the front end, and make educational success more egalitarian.

(I also agree that someone who excels on exams consistently enough to be top 5% is just better at law school exams than someone who ends up top 20%. And I don't think being top 5% is just about regurgitating someone's outline in a more fleshed out way.)

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Re: SCOTUS clerk taking questions about federal clerkships

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri May 12, 2017 12:13 pm

(I should also say that I don't think being top 5% at Harvard automatically makes someone a better lawyer than people from all kinds of other schools with other grades. But that's because being a lawyer involves a whole ton of things completely unlike law school. I actually think that, to the extent I know anything about it, being a SCOTUS clerk is going to be very like law school, in terms of what makes you successful.)

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Re: SCOTUS clerk taking questions about federal clerkships

Postby lawlorbust » Fri May 12, 2017 12:41 pm

LurkerTurnedMember wrote:I could make myself clearer. Sorry. I meant to also make it clear that there are a lot of assumptions behind what makes a "top candidate." It's natural. Kind of like if I said I'm looking for a CEO or an "American" people's minds don't think of a muslim woman. Their minds typically jump to a white christian guy. This type of association is everywhere, and it sucks. One place it resides is in the clerkship hiring process and it leads people to automatically assume a top candidate is someone top 10% from HYS. But other criteria can affect whether someone is not just qualified, but most qualified for the job. Someone who's top 20% at a T10 might also have published articles in reputable journals, had multiple clerkships, has references, including prior judges, that glow about her writing, and has overcome things to get to where she is. Even though it's not top 10% at HYS, this applicant is still very good, I'd say even better than a top 10% from HYS that didn't do clinics, doesn't have published work, had just one year of post grad work as a clerk, and was always expected to go through top schools in his life. Letting go of faulty assumptions of what makes a top candidate, and looking at things holistically and objectively, means you don't just say "why would they pass a top candidate by choosing someone other than top 10% from HYS when they don't have to?" Instead you gotta ask yourself "why woukd they pass on the top candidate merely because they didn't get top 10% at HYS or aren't bffs with someone I know?"


To rephrase something everyone else in this thread is incredulous about: If your hypothetical candidate is so smart and accomplished and deserving of a clerkship at SCOTUS, why couldn't she hack it at Duke?

That doesn't say very much of her ability to overcome obstacles, does it?

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mjb447
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Re: SCOTUS clerk taking questions about federal clerkships

Postby mjb447 » Fri May 12, 2017 12:55 pm

runinthefront wrote:
LurkerTurnedMember wrote:You missed the whole point. The small grade differences ARE the faulty assumption. In top schools, an exam earning top 5% and one earning top 20% are not that far apart.

I don't agree with this at all.

I'll acknowledge that there's some imprecision in scores on a single exam, but I don't think it's so completely random that after a few semesters the difference between a 5% student and a 20% student is totally or even mostly luck based. (Like Nony said, that's a separate question from whether either of these students will be good lawyers generally.)

jd20132013
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Re: SCOTUS clerk taking questions about federal clerkships

Postby jd20132013 » Fri May 12, 2017 3:42 pm

Then how come there's barely any diversity, especially socioeconomic diversity?



What a strange question. It's because they don't care about that.

My point was simply that if they did they wouldn't have to compromise in any meaningful way on "credentials" (scare quotes are chosen advisedly)




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