Lower t14 top 10% - DC area clerkship?

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Lower t14 top 10% - DC area clerkship?

Postby Capitol_Idea » Mon Mar 16, 2015 4:39 pm

OK Team Awesome, idle conjecture time!

2L at GULC. Very good grades, decent connections with faculty, and significant work experience beforehand. I am going into Biglaw in DC right out of grad (assuming I don't somehow blow my SA summer or the bar, etc.). I'll have 2-3 publications before graduation and tentatively plan to have several more early in my legal career, unless somehow being a full-time lawyer is actually a lot of work (Perish the thought!)

One option I've been entertaining is applying for clerkships after working in Biglaw, assuming I don't love it enough to stay. I'm kinda tied to the general DC area (so think DC/4th Circuit). I'd want to do a federal clerkship because A. I think it would help me become a better litigator and/or understand the judiciary side of law, B. it might help open the door to future legal academic positions not currently available given that I didn't go to Yale/Harvard, and C. it might serve as a good transition out of BigLaw into something else (different private practice firm, government, etc.).

So TLS: Could I realistically get a DC federal clerkship and would it ever make sense to do that after several years in Biglaw (or are my thoughts above crazy/ill-informed)?

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Re: Lower t14 top 10% - DC area clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:50 pm

Depends on circuit or district.

For DC Circuit, I would say you don't have a chance, because I would say that to almost everyone. I'm at a T14 that does very well for clerkships, and it is an absolute dog fight getting people into the DC Circuit. If by very good you mean top 5 in your class, than it's possible. At that point you will need recommenders that know judges on the DC Circuit/clerks that work there when you apply. It is by far the most competitive circuit in the country, they are flooded with applications, and they have their pick of the best law students/lawyers in the country.

District is another story. There are judges that are very competitive (mostly because they send people up to the DC Circuit) and judges that someone at a T14 with good grades could reasonably get. And many of the DC District judges like work experience.

It's hard to say more, as clerkship hiring is very idiosyncratic. It isn't like firms or law schools, where you are your numbers. I know people with absolutely fantastic grades who lose out on clerkships to people with less fantastic grades, based on a huge variety of things not related to class rank.

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