Former State Supreme Court Clerk Taking Q's

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Former State Supreme Court Clerk Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 10, 2014 11:01 am

Slow day at work thus far. Former state supreme court clerk willing to take questions if anyone is interested.

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Re: Former State Supreme Court Clerk Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 10, 2014 11:05 am

Current fed district court clerk. Would there be any added career value to doing a SSC clerkship in the future?

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Re: Former State Supreme Court Clerk Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 10, 2014 11:25 am

Anonymous User wrote:Current fed district court clerk. Would there be any added career value to doing a SSC clerkship in the future?



OP here. No I don't think so. In terms of relative prestige, Fed. Dist Court > SSC. The only way I could see it having some added value is if you're in a flyover district and you want to work in the state where you would do a SSC clerkship. My clerkship had a ton of appeal in the state where I clerked, but very little appeal when I looked out-of-state.

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Re: Former State Supreme Court Clerk Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 10, 2014 11:36 am

What about doing it the other way (SSC-->fed dist. or COA)? Do you think there are any jobs in your state that a federal clerkship would help with but for which a SSC clerkship might not be enough on its own?

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Re: Former State Supreme Court Clerk Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 10, 2014 11:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:What about doing it the other way (SSC-->fed dist. or COA)? Do you think there are any jobs in your state that a federal clerkship would help with but for which a SSC clerkship might not be enough on its own?


OP here. Yeah, definitely. I found I had a lot of luck with the regional small and mid-size firms (where I'm at now) because they tend to have a bigger practice in state courts, but less luck with the bigger firms. As far as the "big-law" firms in my state (of which there are many) I think a federal clerkship would have been an added bonus because: (1) the increase in "prestige" with respect to the position and (2) because the majority of their practice is in federal court.

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Re: Former State Supreme Court Clerk Taking Q's

Postby BearState » Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:23 pm

What kind of interaction do you have with other justices/their clerks?

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Re: Former State Supreme Court Clerk Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:54 pm

BearState wrote:What kind of interaction do you have with other justices/their clerks?


OP here. A fair amount. My judge was friendlier with some judges more than others, so the judges he was friendly with would tend to be in chambers more often. With respect to the clerks, we would have occasional happy hours and lunches from which friendships developed. Other clerks were more secluded. To the extent their was interaction, however, it was purely social. That is, (at least from my experience), don't expect to be discussing decisions etc. with other law clerks. In fact, at least with my judge, we weren't allowed to discuss cases with anyone who wasn't a member of our particular chambers. That may different from court to court and judge to judge, however.

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Re: Former State Supreme Court Clerk Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 10, 2014 7:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Current fed district court clerk. Would there be any added career value to doing a SSC clerkship in the future?



OP here. No I don't think so. In terms of relative prestige, Fed. Dist Court > SSC. The only way I could see it having some added value is if you're in a flyover district and you want to work in the state where you would do a SSC clerkship. My clerkship had a ton of appeal in the state where I clerked, but very little appeal when I looked out-of-state.



Current third year student here. Last summer I accepted a one-year ssc clerkship after I graduate. I'm not certain that I will want to continue to work in the state where I am clerking. Any advice on the job hunt and how to switch states/advice on the success other clerks on your court had regarding exit options?

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Re: Former State Supreme Court Clerk Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 11, 2014 10:46 am

OP here. I wanted to stay in state, as did most of my colleagues. A couple of my co-clerks went on to work at fed. agencies in D.C., however. In terms of looking out-of-state, your clerkship certainly won't hurt and will help; it just won't give you the same boost as if you had wanted to work in state. As always, your success in looking in different areas will depend largely on your ties to the region. Thus, if you're from New York, for example, but are clerking in Massachusetts, you will probably have relative success finding a job in New York because you have ties to the region. If you're looking to work somewhere you have no ties to whatsoever, you're hunt will be a bit more difficult, but that's true with or without the clerkship.

My best advice, whether in or out-of-state, is to not wait for job postings to open up. Network like crazy, contact alumni at firms you'd be interested in looking at. This is particularly true if you're looking at smaller firms. This will be even more important if you're out-of-state, as it will demonstrate that you have a genuine interest in being in that region.

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Re: Former State Supreme Court Clerk Taking Q's

Postby nickhalden » Wed Jan 21, 2015 9:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. I wanted to stay in state, as did most of my colleagues. A couple of my co-clerks went on to work at fed. agencies in D.C., however. In terms of looking out-of-state, your clerkship certainly won't hurt and will help; it just won't give you the same boost as if you had wanted to work in state. As always, your success in looking in different areas will depend largely on your ties to the region. Thus, if you're from New York, for example, but are clerking in Massachusetts, you will probably have relative success finding a job in New York because you have ties to the region. If you're looking to work somewhere you have no ties to whatsoever, you're hunt will be a bit more difficult, but that's true with or without the clerkship.

My best advice, whether in or out-of-state, is to not wait for job postings to open up. Network like crazy, contact alumni at firms you'd be interested in looking at. This is particularly true if you're looking at smaller firms. This will be even more important if you're out-of-state, as it will demonstrate that you have a genuine interest in being in that region.


What was your path to a SSC position? Were LS grades a heavy portion?

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Re: Former State Supreme Court Clerk Taking Q's

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:18 pm

They usually are, though it depends somewhat on your school and the state. Or if you have connections that trump grades.

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Re: Former State Supreme Court Clerk Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 22, 2015 1:49 pm

Grades matter a lot, but connections to the area matter more than with federal judges in my experience. (I happened to come across the file evaluating the applicants for my year while looking for a file when the secretary was out and couldn't help but look at it). The only reason I can see for me getting the job over some of the other candidates is that I'm from the area of the intermediate appellate court that my judge supervises (like the idea of Circuit Justices, and about as meaningful). Some other applicants were better qualified. I think every clerk for a judge on the court is either from the state or went to the local law schools.

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Re: Former State Supreme Court Clerk Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:25 am

Anonymous User wrote:Grades matter a lot, but connections to the area matter more than with federal judges in my experience. (I happened to come across the file evaluating the applicants for my year while looking for a file when the secretary was out and couldn't help but look at it). The only reason I can see for me getting the job over some of the other candidates is that I'm from the area of the intermediate appellate court that my judge supervises (like the idea of Circuit Justices, and about as meaningful). Some other applicants were better qualified. I think every clerk for a judge on the court is either from the state or went to the local law schools.


OP here. I think this is generally right. I was from out-of-state and I was only the second clerk my judge hired who came from out-of-state and went to a school out-of-state, but I lived in a nearby state and knew I wanted to practice in the state in which I clerked due to personal reasons. However, grades were still super important. We generally didn't even interview anyone whose grades were outside the top 15 percent or so absent something compelling in their application. Bottom line--local connections or a desire to practice in state were almost a prerequisite, but local connections alone were inadequate if your grades weren't up to par.

I did know of a couple of judges on the court, however, that were more "prestige whores" and were more interested in finding clerks from top schools rather than local schools. This is probably the exception rather than the rule.

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Re: Former State Supreme Court Clerk Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:32 am

nickhalden wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. I wanted to stay in state, as did most of my colleagues. A couple of my co-clerks went on to work at fed. agencies in D.C., however. In terms of looking out-of-state, your clerkship certainly won't hurt and will help; it just won't give you the same boost as if you had wanted to work in state. As always, your success in looking in different areas will depend largely on your ties to the region. Thus, if you're from New York, for example, but are clerking in Massachusetts, you will probably have relative success finding a job in New York because you have ties to the region. If you're looking to work somewhere you have no ties to whatsoever, you're hunt will be a bit more difficult, but that's true with or without the clerkship.

My best advice, whether in or out-of-state, is to not wait for job postings to open up. Network like crazy, contact alumni at firms you'd be interested in looking at. This is particularly true if you're looking at smaller firms. This will be even more important if you're out-of-state, as it will demonstrate that you have a genuine interest in being in that region.


What was your path to a SSC position? Were LS grades a heavy portion?


OP again---my last posted sort of answered this but I'll address it directly. I decided I wanted to clerk my second year. I had good grades in law school at a T20 (Top 10%) and was on a secondary journal. I had an outside shot at some federal clerkships but was too risk adverse to forego applying for state clerkships 2L year and hope that I landed a fed clerkship 3L year. So, I blanketed the entire SSC with applications where I wanted to clerk and landed a couple of interviews and ended up with an offer. I didn't have compelling reasons for wanting to clerk on that court specifically, other than my fiancee lived in the state and I knew I wanted to practice there and thought clerking at that level would be a great way to start a career in that state. There was really no magic to it with me, other than having good grades and having a legitimate reason for wanting to be there.

My judge has hired two former interns (including my co-clerk) and I know of other judges on my court that have as well. So, if you don't have the stand-out grades, I think a good way to give yourself a shot is to intern and do outstanding work. IMO, unlike federal judges, a state judge is more likely to hire someone that has previously served as an intern.

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Re: Former State Supreme Court Clerk Taking Q's

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:37 am

Funny, the judges I know who don't hire their former interns are state judges, and the ones that do are federal. Which really just means it varies (I'm sure other samples of judges come out differently).

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Re: Former State Supreme Court Clerk Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:46 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Funny, the judges I know who don't hire their former interns are state judges, and the ones that do are federal. Which really just means it varies (I'm sure other samples of judges come out differently).


OP here. Ha, shows what I know. But i think you're right, it probably varies widely from court to court or even judge to judge.




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