Should I do 2016 clerkship if offered?

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: 273382
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Should I do 2016 clerkship if offered?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 28, 2015 8:03 pm

2013 T10 grad with a year of experience at a V5. Currently in the middle of a 2014-15 district court clerkship in a large but non-SDNY/CDCA district. My judge has a connection to a well-regarded judge within our circuit and has talked to me about applying for 2016-17, saying that she would support my application with enthusiasm.

It seems like a great opportunity. I have met the circuit judge and like her. I know the current clerks well, and while they work hard, they are happy. I feel that I would be a better lawyer for having done the clerkship. My concern is that I would be in my fourth year at that point. It feels a bit late to be clerking, though I recognize it is increasingly common.

I have an offer to return to my V5 and likely will. They wouldn't be thrilled if I left again after a year, but there is precedent for it among current associates and ultimately, I think they would support me. Career goal is to make it to USAO/DOJ main.

Any and all thoughts are welcome. I have to decide by Monday whether to submit my app.

EDIT to add that I recognize it would be far from a sure thing that I would get an offer. I just want to make sure, given the relationship with my current judge, that I would be willing to accept the clerkship if I did get an offer.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273382
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Should I do 2016 clerkship if offered?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 01, 2015 12:54 pm

Bump to see if anyone has thoughts before I have to make a decision tomorrow

Jchance
Posts: 588
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2012 2:17 am

Re: Should I do 2016 clerkship if offered?

Postby Jchance » Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Career goal is to make it to USAO/DOJ main.


Unless you want appellate litigation at the USAO/DOJ or if somehow this Circuit judge has special connection to get you in the USAO/DOJ, a Circuit clerkship in your situation would be purely for prestige, which is mitigated by your district clerkship. I wouldn't do it if I was you.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273382
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Should I do 2016 clerkship if offered?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 01, 2015 4:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:2013 T10 grad with a year of experience at a V5. Currently in the middle of a 2014-15 district court clerkship in a large but non-SDNY/CDCA district. My judge has a connection to a well-regarded judge within our circuit and has talked to me about applying for 2016-17, saying that she would support my application with enthusiasm.

It seems like a great opportunity. I have met the circuit judge and like her. I know the current clerks well, and while they work hard, they are happy. I feel that I would be a better lawyer for having done the clerkship. My concern is that I would be in my fourth year at that point. It feels a bit late to be clerking, though I recognize it is increasingly common.

I have an offer to return to my V5 and likely will. They wouldn't be thrilled if I left again after a year, but there is precedent for it among current associates and ultimately, I think they would support me. Career goal is to make it to USAO/DOJ main.

Any and all thoughts are welcome. I have to decide by Monday whether to submit my app.

EDIT to add that I recognize it would be far from a sure thing that I would get an offer. I just want to make sure, given the relationship with my current judge, that I would be willing to accept the clerkship if I did get an offer.
I am literally in the same position: T10 grad-->1 year at a V5-->currently in district court clerkship in a comparable district. I also have the same goal (USAO/Main Justice) and I have also pondered whether a 2016 COA clerkship would be worth it.

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I'd probably apply, but I can't give you a good reason why you should/should not - it's just what I think I'd enjoy more, and I think you could apply to USAO/DOJ out of the circuit clerkship. I don't think having an appellate clerkship is going to hurt you at USAO/DOJ at all.
As Nony points out, I don't think there is a wrong answer here; just personal preference. I ultimately decided (similar to your situation) to pursue several 2016 COA options through some connections. My rationale was as follows.

I saw 3 major downsides to a 2016 COA clerkship: (1) I'd miss the experience of being a 4th year associate, which is usually when you start getting real experience (in terms of running small cases, taking deps, etc.), (2) if I could somehow secure a USAO/Main Justice position after another year at a firm--i.e., starting in 2016--then the COA would basically just a year "wasted" (in terms of not getting me closer to my goal, since, in this scenario, I would've reached my goal without the COA clerkship), and (3) less money compared to working at a firm.

With respect to (1), I have mitigated this concern because I'll likely be heading to a litigation boutique instead of returning to my V5, so I'll be able to get the experience of a 4th year (or higher) directly after my current clerkship. And if I end up not getting a COA clerkship for 2016, I'd rather be stuck in a boutique than biglaw for a few years anyway.

With respect to (2), I simply didn't feel that I was competitive enough after 3 years to make this a realistic concern.

With respect to (3), although I have loans, I value experience much more than money, so this didn't really enter my thinking at all.

In essence, I've always wanted to do a COA clerkship and, although 2016 is obviously later than I would have liked, I still believe it would be very enjoyable and a solid credential. My biggest concern was losing out on the experience as a 4th year associate and, as I mentioned, I've mitigated this by aiming for lit boutiques after my current clerkship. It would probably be a closer call if I was going back to biglaw, but I wasn't really a fan of biglaw anyway, so the loss of 4th year experience would be worth it to get out of that environment again. That's just my personal preference.

User avatar
rpupkin
Posts: 3864
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:32 pm

Re: Should I do 2016 clerkship if offered?

Postby rpupkin » Sun Mar 01, 2015 6:47 pm

OP,

As others have suggested, I don't think there's a wrong or right answer to your question. But there is a downside to clerking in 2016 that I'm not sure has been raised. In particular, I'm thinking about this comment:

Anonymous User wrote:With respect to (1), I have mitigated this concern because I'll likely be heading to a litigation boutique instead of returning to my V5, so I'll be able to get the experience of a 4th year (or higher) directly after my current clerkship.

I understand the logic, but I'm not sure it works in practice. Yes, junior and mid-level associates typically get more substantive experience at a litigation boutique. But, based on my what I've observed, those associates who are leaving for another clerkship in a few months or a year are less likely to get that experience. The firm doesn't want you running cases if you're going to be leaving in the middle of the case. You still get tasks—and those tasks may be more substantive than a junior associate would get in a big law environment—but you're going to be distanced from your work in a way that wouldn't happen if you had an open-ended commitment to your firm. I think it makes a real difference in the experience you get.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273382
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Should I do 2016 clerkship if offered?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 01, 2015 11:01 pm

rpupkin wrote:OP,

As others have suggested, I don't think there's a wrong or right answer to your question. But there is a downside to clerking in 2016 that I'm not sure has been raised. In particular, I'm thinking about this comment:

Anonymous User wrote:With respect to (1), I have mitigated this concern because I'll likely be heading to a litigation boutique instead of returning to my V5, so I'll be able to get the experience of a 4th year (or higher) directly after my current clerkship.

I understand the logic, but I'm not sure it works in practice. Yes, junior and mid-level associates typically get more substantive experience at a litigation boutique. But, based on my what I've observed, those associates who are leaving for another clerkship in a few months or a year are less likely to get that experience. The firm doesn't want you running cases if you're going to be leaving in the middle of the case. You still get tasks—and those tasks may be more substantive than a junior associate would get in a big law environment—but you're going to be distanced from your work in a way that wouldn't happen if you had an open-ended commitment to your firm. I think it makes a real difference in the experience you get.


This is the quoted anon, not OP.

It's an interesting point. But, from my observations, even an imminently leaving associate at a lit boutique will get better experience than a biglaw associate of the same class year. It's fair that the firm wouldn't want you to run cases if you have to leave right in the middle of it, but the lean staffing at most boutiques makes it a necessity to give substantive assignments to new associates even if they're leaving in a year. I think you're right that you'd get better experience if you stayed for longer, but I'd still lean toward a lit boutique given the choice. (Obviously reasonable people could differ, however.)

Anonymous User
Posts: 273382
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Should I do 2016 clerkship if offered?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 02, 2015 12:21 am

OP here. Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts and insight.

a Circuit clerkship in your situation would be purely for prestige, which is mitigated by your district clerkship.


If that is the case (and I think it is, especially because it is my district judge, not the potential circuit judge, who has the DOJ connections), even though I think I would enjoy clerking again more than I would enjoy being a 4th year at my firm, I am not sure I can justify the $100K+ I would give up that year or the opportunity to get to USAO/DOJ sooner.

I will very likely not submit the app.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273382
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Should I do 2016 clerkship if offered?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 02, 2015 8:31 am

Dont know if youve made a decision already OP, but fwiw I was always interested in appellate clerkships in school having enjoyed my appellate writing classes. However, now that Im actually in an appellate clerkship I find the position a little too academic for my tastes. Its almost like school to me--you spend a lot of time on one particular issue (and generally write fewer opinion drafts)

Sure it looks good on your resume, (although you sound like you have a great resume) but I would have much rather pursued a clerkship at the trial level (although I got an offer where I wanted to go, so it ended up being good haha) So just another thought.




Return to “Judicial Clerkships”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.