Alumni Premium?

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Moose700
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Alumni Premium?

Postby Moose700 » Tue Feb 24, 2015 12:56 am

It seems to be common knowledge that it is marginally easier to secure a clerkship as an alum. But how much easier? All things equal, do judges only consider alumni who would have been competitive as 3Ls, or does being an alum expand the universe of opportunities?

To make this concrete -- I am a longtime lurker in the top 10% from a lower T14 w/o LR. I am working for 2 years at a V5, clerking the following year on the SDNY, and am considering applying for a 2017-18 COA in a non-flyover. I don't think I would have been competitive for COA as a 3L, but I am wondering to what extent I'd be competitive now.

Any input very much appreciated. Thanks!

hiima3L
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Re: Alumni Premium?

Postby hiima3L » Tue Feb 24, 2015 3:33 am

T14 in the top 10% with an SDNY clerkship will probably give you horrible chances.

newlawgrad
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Re: Alumni Premium?

Postby newlawgrad » Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:30 am

hiima3L wrote:T14 in the top 10% with an SDNY clerkship will probably give you horrible chances.


This. If this seriously isn't a joke, you will be competitive for literally anything with the exception of DCC (and even then it's not out of the question). For those judges that prefer--or even require--work experience, you will be as close to a shoo-in as there is in idiosyncratic and fatuous clerkship hiring. Move along.

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rpupkin
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Re: Alumni Premium?

Postby rpupkin » Tue Feb 24, 2015 2:12 pm

Based on what I've seen, the "alumni premium" comes into play more for district court clerkships. Although there are exceptions, it seems like COA judges usually prefer 3L -->COA, or 3L --> Dist. Ct. -->COA.

So I think your concern is backwards. You should apply now. If you apply as a fourth-year associate or something, you're probably going to have a harder time landing a COA clerkship.

Anonymous User
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Re: Alumni Premium?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:35 pm

rpupkin wrote:Based on what I've seen, the "alumni premium" comes into play more for district court clerkships. Although there are exceptions, it seems like COA judges usually prefer 3L -->COA, or 3L --> Dist. Ct. -->COA.

So I think your concern is backwards. You should apply now. If you apply as a fourth-year associate or something, you're probably going to have a harder time landing a COA clerkship.


My experience has been far from this. Applied as a 2d year to Districts, got two interviews (both in non-flyover districts, but not SDNY/NDIL/CDCA/etc), accepted before my 2nd interview. Then applied for CoA clerkships (I would not have gotten any out of law school) and received multiple interviews almost immediately despite being on the very early side of the hiring process (several years).

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rpupkin
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Re: Alumni Premium?

Postby rpupkin » Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
rpupkin wrote:Based on what I've seen, the "alumni premium" comes into play more for district court clerkships. Although there are exceptions, it seems like COA judges usually prefer 3L -->COA, or 3L --> Dist. Ct. -->COA.

So I think your concern is backwards. You should apply now. If you apply as a fourth-year associate or something, you're probably going to have a harder time landing a COA clerkship.


My experience has been far from this. Applied as a 2d year to Districts, got two interviews (both in non-flyover districts, but not SDNY/NDIL/CDCA/etc), accepted before my 2nd interview. Then applied for CoA clerkships (I would not have gotten any out of law school) and received multiple interviews almost immediately despite being on the very early side of the hiring process (several years).

We're actually saying similar things. The OP should apply now (even though it's "on the very early side of the hiring process"), and not wait for more years of experience as an associate.

As for the hiring preferences of COA judges, I can only speak to the preferences of the feeders and semi-feeders, who mostly hire straight out of law school. And as your (and the OP's) silly use of "non-flyover" suggests, you seem interested in the prestige of your clerkship. At the COA level at least, it's the judge, not the city or region, that carries weight.

Moose700
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Re: Alumni Premium?

Postby Moose700 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:21 am

rpupkin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
rpupkin wrote:Based on what I've seen, the "alumni premium" comes into play more for district court clerkships. Although there are exceptions, it seems like COA judges usually prefer 3L -->COA, or 3L --> Dist. Ct. -->COA.

So I think your concern is backwards. You should apply now. If you apply as a fourth-year associate or something, you're probably going to have a harder time landing a COA clerkship.


My experience has been far from this. Applied as a 2d year to Districts, got two interviews (both in non-flyover districts, but not SDNY/NDIL/CDCA/etc), accepted before my 2nd interview. Then applied for CoA clerkships (I would not have gotten any out of law school) and received multiple interviews almost immediately despite being on the very early side of the hiring process (several years).

We're actually saying similar things. The OP should apply now (even though it's "on the very early side of the hiring process"), and not wait for more years of experience as an associate.

As for the hiring preferences of COA judges, I can only speak to the preferences of the feeders and semi-feeders, who mostly hire straight out of law school. And as your (and the OP's) silly use of "non-flyover" suggests, you seem interested in the prestige of your clerkship. At the COA level at least, it's the judge, not the city or region, that carries weight.


OP here. Thanks very much -- I hadn't considered the potential downside of waiting too long!

Anonymous User
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Re: Alumni Premium?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 26, 2015 12:03 pm

Anyone have any comments on "alumni premium" re D. Ct. clerkships? I was a bit above median at DNCG, did a state court clerkship and have been doing the firm thing since then. Worth a shot?

Anonymous User
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Re: Alumni Premium?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 26, 2015 2:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Anyone have any comments on "alumni premium" re D. Ct. clerkships? I was a bit above median at DNCG, did a state court clerkship and have been doing the firm thing since then. Worth a shot?


Definitely more so than CoA, as in there seem to be more judges who put a premium on it. I had similar grades at MVP (no state court clerkship) and did okay. Some judges that contacted me were very intent on finding someone with at least a year or two of firm experience, others not.

Anonymous User
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Re: Alumni Premium?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:Anyone have any comments on "alumni premium" re D. Ct. clerkships? I was a bit above median at DNCG, did a state court clerkship and have been doing the firm thing since then. Worth a shot?


D. ct. clerk. Almost every judge in my court prefers alumni. My judge hires exclusively people with 2+ years of experience. Plenty of D. ct. judges do too. There are a few COA judges I can think of who I know prefer alumni, some of which exclusively hire alumni.

Anonymous User
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Re: Alumni Premium?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:24 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Anyone have any comments on "alumni premium" re D. Ct. clerkships? I was a bit above median at DNCG, did a state court clerkship and have been doing the firm thing since then. Worth a shot?


Definitely more so than CoA, as in there seem to be more judges who put a premium on it. I had similar grades at MVP (no state court clerkship) and did okay. Some judges that contacted me were very intent on finding someone with at least a year or two of firm experience, others not.


Thanks. I guess since my recommenders are willing to just make some slight modifications from their letters the first time around and I'm not really committed to staying at my firm long-term (so I don't care that much if they're going to like it or not), I might just start sending some out every once in a while. I want to both go to another market and end up in gvmt and I've always wanted to do a D. Ct. clerkship.

theaccidentalclerk
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Re: Alumni Premium?

Postby theaccidentalclerk » Fri Feb 27, 2015 2:37 pm

Anyone have any comments on "alumni premium" re D. Ct. clerkships? I was a bit above median at DNCG, did a state court clerkship and have been doing the firm thing since then. Worth a shot?


The issue with alumni-only clerkships is that the pool of applicants is sooooooo much smaller than the non-alumni-only applicant pool. If I had to guess, I'd guess by a factor of five. That means that whatever the judge or his clerks use as cutoffs to whittle the number of competitive applicants to a manageable level is a LOT lower. It also adds a new criteria (experience -- where you worked, what you did, etc.) that you have some control over post-law school.

Anyway, to answer your question, I'd think that if your firm is a reputable (read: reasonably national) one, you'd have some success.

Anonymous User
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Re: Alumni Premium?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 01, 2015 2:35 pm

theaccidentalclerk wrote:
Anyone have any comments on "alumni premium" re D. Ct. clerkships? I was a bit above median at DNCG, did a state court clerkship and have been doing the firm thing since then. Worth a shot?


The issue with alumni-only clerkships is that the pool of applicants is sooooooo much smaller than the non-alumni-only applicant pool. If I had to guess, I'd guess by a factor of five. That means that whatever the judge or his clerks use as cutoffs to whittle the number of competitive applicants to a manageable level is a LOT lower. It also adds a new criteria (experience -- where you worked, what you did, etc.) that you have some control over post-law school.

Anyway, to answer your question, I'd think that if your firm is a reputable (read: reasonably national) one, you'd have some success.


Yeah, I figured it might be the case re: applicant pool, especially for openings for clerkships starting on short notice in a few months that have short application timelines.

Firm is regional, but I'm hoping that the relatively hands-on experience I've gotten will make up for it.

Might also apply to a few magistrate judges in locations that I'm really interested in since it seems that those often lead to D. Ct. in the same courthouse.

Anonymous User
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Re: Alumni Premium?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 02, 2015 7:46 pm

theaccidentalclerk wrote:
Anyone have any comments on "alumni premium" re D. Ct. clerkships? I was a bit above median at DNCG, did a state court clerkship and have been doing the firm thing since then. Worth a shot?


The issue with alumni-only clerkships is that the pool of applicants is sooooooo much smaller than the non-alumni-only applicant pool. If I had to guess, I'd guess by a factor of five. That means that whatever the judge or his clerks use as cutoffs to whittle the number of competitive applicants to a manageable level is a LOT lower. It also adds a new criteria (experience -- where you worked, what you did, etc.) that you have some control over post-law school.

Anyway, to answer your question, I'd think that if your firm is a reputable (read: reasonably national) one, you'd have some success.


I wouldn't say it's that significant. A judge here who only hires alumni got about 300 applicants. I know for some districts that's significantly less than most, but for ours it was about the same for other judges who don't indicate alumni preference.

Anonymous User
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Re: Alumni Premium?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:46 am

Anonymous User wrote:
theaccidentalclerk wrote:
Anyone have any comments on "alumni premium" re D. Ct. clerkships? I was a bit above median at DNCG, did a state court clerkship and have been doing the firm thing since then. Worth a shot?


The issue with alumni-only clerkships is that the pool of applicants is sooooooo much smaller than the non-alumni-only applicant pool. If I had to guess, I'd guess by a factor of five. That means that whatever the judge or his clerks use as cutoffs to whittle the number of competitive applicants to a manageable level is a LOT lower. It also adds a new criteria (experience -- where you worked, what you did, etc.) that you have some control over post-law school.

Anyway, to answer your question, I'd think that if your firm is a reputable (read: reasonably national) one, you'd have some success.


Yeah, I figured it might be the case re: applicant pool, especially for openings for clerkships starting on short notice in a few months that have short application timelines.

Firm is regional, but I'm hoping that the relatively hands-on experience I've gotten will make up for it.

Might also apply to a few magistrate judges in locations that I'm really interested in since it seems that those often lead to D. Ct. in the same courthouse.


Quoting myself here - is this a good idea or am I setting myself up for potentially getting one of these clerkships and then ending up unemployed after the fact?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273047
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Alumni Premium?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 11, 2015 7:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
theaccidentalclerk wrote:
Anyone have any comments on "alumni premium" re D. Ct. clerkships? I was a bit above median at DNCG, did a state court clerkship and have been doing the firm thing since then. Worth a shot?


The issue with alumni-only clerkships is that the pool of applicants is sooooooo much smaller than the non-alumni-only applicant pool. If I had to guess, I'd guess by a factor of five. That means that whatever the judge or his clerks use as cutoffs to whittle the number of competitive applicants to a manageable level is a LOT lower. It also adds a new criteria (experience -- where you worked, what you did, etc.) that you have some control over post-law school.

Anyway, to answer your question, I'd think that if your firm is a reputable (read: reasonably national) one, you'd have some success.


Yeah, I figured it might be the case re: applicant pool, especially for openings for clerkships starting on short notice in a few months that have short application timelines.

Firm is regional, but I'm hoping that the relatively hands-on experience I've gotten will make up for it.

Might also apply to a few magistrate judges in locations that I'm really interested in since it seems that those often lead to D. Ct. in the same courthouse.


Quoting myself here - is this a good idea or am I setting myself up for potentially getting one of these clerkships and then ending up unemployed after the fact?


I clerk for a DJ who looks very favorably on MJ clerks, especially those who clerk for MJs in our court. I know of at least a handful former MJ clerks here and elsewhere who went on to clerk for DJs, including one of my co-clerks.

Also, I don't know any MJ clerk who has had trouble finding a job after clerking. Granted, their employment options generally are less limited than DJ clerks (all things equal).




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