Stanford Law clerkship chances

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Re: Stanford Law clerkship chances

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 12, 2015 2:12 pm

Do judges care about law review at Stanford? My grades put me in range for feeders going this summer who will hire even before law review results come out. But assuming I don't get something this summer, will judges who hire in the fall/spring care at all?

I REALLY don't want to do the write-on exercise, especially because I have an R-paper to write in June. Not sure how I'd manage to work, write an R-paper, and do the exercise at the same time. I did a journal in the fall and it was a worthless waste of time.

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Re: Stanford Law clerkship chances

Postby rpupkin » Tue May 12, 2015 2:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Do judges care about law review at Stanford? My grades put me in range for feeders going this summer who will hire even before law review results come out. But assuming I don't get something this summer, will judges who hire in the fall/spring care at all?

Some judges care about law review and some don't.

If you get decent grades at SLS, are you still competitive for clerkships without law review? Absolutely. But will joining law review increase your chances with certain judges? Yep.

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bruinfan10
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Re: Stanford Law clerkship chances

Postby bruinfan10 » Thu May 14, 2015 11:29 am

Anonymous User wrote:Do judges care about law review at Stanford? My grades put me in range for feeders going this summer who will hire even before law review results come out. But assuming I don't get something this summer, will judges who hire in the fall/spring care at all?

I REALLY don't want to do the write-on exercise, especially because I have an R-paper to write in June. Not sure how I'd manage to work, write an R-paper, and do the exercise at the same time. I did a journal in the fall and it was a worthless waste of time.

This is the kind of laziness that the law review credential is supposed to help judges weed out (a chimp could learn cite checking--LR is just a proxy for work ethic and maybe basic literacy).

Unfortunately, that kind of signaling breaks down a little for HYS given the (obviously justified) perception that those journals are particularly selective and thus it's unfair to expect all top applicants from those schools to have the shiny LR badge. So your choice not to do write on might not hurt you too badly for run of the mill AIII judges, although feeders/SCOTUS are more likely to penalize you appropriately.

Also, you may want to reconsider working for hardcore judges if you can't handle a paper, a summer job, and a write on attempt at the same time. I did that in addition to publishing a note as a 2L and it was like vacation compared to a crunch week at a real job.

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Re: Stanford Law clerkship chances

Postby Emma. » Thu May 14, 2015 11:46 am

Many/most feeder judges are going to expect LR. They might be hiring so early that they don't know for sure that you're on the journal, but they won't really care because it's just assumed that you'll be doing it.

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Re: Stanford Law clerkship chances

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 15, 2015 11:22 am

It matters for many judges, including mine.


Funny thing is,however, that anyone who actually takes the time to ask this question is probably going to end up doing the writeon anyway

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Re: Stanford Law clerkship chances

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 19, 2015 7:06 pm

Different anon. Though I had begrudgingly decided to do it anyway, I was told by clerkship cmte that I had to do the write-on because if I get a top clerkship there would be a WTF moment in chambers if LR isn't on my resume at the end of the day.

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Re: Stanford Law clerkship chances

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 20, 2015 12:07 am

(SLS student here) I know people from SLS who got interviews with (nonfeeder) circuit judges then were rejected (in part) because no LR.

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Re: Stanford Law clerkship chances

Postby rpupkin » Wed May 20, 2015 4:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:(SLS student here) I know people from SLS who got interviews with (nonfeeder) circuit judges then were rejected (in part) because no LR.

When a judge has a must-have-LR requirement, applicants that don't have LR usually get screened out pre-interview. If you're one of the select few getting invited to interview, you can feel fairly secure that your lack of law review isn't going to be an issue.

Anon poster: how did those rejected know that their lack of LR was a significant factor? My guess is that the people you spoke with assumed that LR was relevant because the successful candidate was on LR. I think it's quite unusual for a judge to tell an applicant why they weren't selected. ("Sorry kid, you were great but I really wanted a clerk who is on law review. My bad for not noticing its absence on your resume.")

I'm not doubting that you heard what you heard. But I do doubt that the people you spoke with actually know why they didn't get their clerkships after they interviewed.

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Re: Stanford Law clerkship chances

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 20, 2015 10:07 pm

Other SLS student in the same boat re SLR. I spoke with some faculty on this issue, and my sense is that it might matter for some of the 'old guard,' hyper-traditional judges, but that (1) if you're in the summer wave, you might be interviewing for clerkships before SLR get announced, so it wouldn't matter and (2) LR served two functions: a proxy for grades, and a proxy for writing ability, both of which are no longer relevant (they can see your transcripts, it's write-on, and they see your writing sample). I ended up deciding not to do it.

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Re: Stanford Law clerkship chances

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 21, 2015 7:13 pm

Anon from above. Student told me the judge brought it up and gave him a tough time about. Not saying it was the causal factor or that most judges don't screen; but I'm pretty sure it has happened.

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Re: Stanford Law clerkship chances

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 22, 2015 12:18 am

You shouldn't mistake the fact that a judge feels that she needs to hire so early that she can't know whether you are on Law Review for the judge not caring whether or not your are on Law Review. She might well just expect that any plausible candidate will of course wind up on LR. And while I think there's very few if any judges that would rescind your position if they found out you weren't doing the journal, I imagine there's quite a few who would be disappointed. Do you want to risk starting your clerkship with a black mark against you?

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Re: Stanford Law clerkship chances

Postby rpupkin » Fri May 22, 2015 12:31 am

Anonymous User wrote: And while I think there's very few if any judges that would rescind your position if they found out you weren't doing the journal, I imagine there's quite a few who would be disappointed. Do you want to risk starting your clerkship with a black mark against you?

Can you explain why you think this?

For the record, I think that someone interested in a clerkship should gun for law review. Also, I think that law review is not as intrinsically useless as the TLS conventional wisdom suggests; I think you gain useful skills. But I still think some folks overvalue its importance, and this anon post is a good example of that.

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Re: Stanford Law clerkship chances

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 22, 2015 2:59 am

Different anon than the one quoted but I'll reiterate that I was told this by two people on the clerkship committee here

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bruinfan10
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Re: Stanford Law clerkship chances

Postby bruinfan10 » Fri May 22, 2015 2:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Other SLS student in the same boat re SLR. I spoke with some faculty on this issue, and my sense is that it might matter for some of the 'old guard,' hyper-traditional judges, but that (1) if you're in the summer wave, you might be interviewing for clerkships before SLR get announced, so it wouldn't matter and (2) LR served two functions: a proxy for grades, and a proxy for writing ability, both of which are no longer relevant (they can see your transcripts, it's write-on, and they see your writing sample). I ended up deciding not to do it.

Have you landed a clerkship yet? For well known CoA judges and certainly for feeders (in addition to high profile district judges like Thapar, etc), LR can be a first-line screening tool like pupkin mentioned. I wouldn't exactly call up and coming feeders like Watford, Gorsuch, Ikuta, or Colloton old guard or hyper traditional.

As I mentioned earlier, it's wrong to assume LR's signalling function is confined to grades/writing ability (maybe a published note or two can signal writing ability, but that's a lot different than being a basic first year editor). LR is a proxy for work ethic. Write-on, even write-on while you're doing it on top of makework garbage at a summer job, is light years easier than drafting a judicial opinion or summary judgment order.

But hey, at SLS you can waltz into a low profile d.ct gig without LR no problem, and with grades you can still pull off a CoA position. Dipping out of write on will take you out of the running for a lot of serious judges though.

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Re: Stanford Law clerkship chances

Postby polareagle » Sat May 23, 2015 12:31 pm

bruinfan10 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Other SLS student in the same boat re SLR. I spoke with some faculty on this issue, and my sense is that it might matter for some of the 'old guard,' hyper-traditional judges, but that (1) if you're in the summer wave, you might be interviewing for clerkships before SLR get announced, so it wouldn't matter and (2) LR served two functions: a proxy for grades, and a proxy for writing ability, both of which are no longer relevant (they can see your transcripts, it's write-on, and they see your writing sample). I ended up deciding not to do it.

Have you landed a clerkship yet? For well known CoA judges and certainly for feeders (in addition to high profile district judges like Thapar, etc), LR can be a first-line screening tool like pupkin mentioned. I wouldn't exactly call up and coming feeders like Watford, Gorsuch, Ikuta, or Colloton old guard or hyper traditional.

As I mentioned earlier, it's wrong to assume LR's signalling function is confined to grades/writing ability (maybe a published note or two can signal writing ability, but that's a lot different than being a basic first year editor). LR is a proxy for work ethic. Write-on, even write-on while you're doing it on top of makework garbage at a summer job, is light years easier than drafting a judicial opinion or summary judgment order.

But hey, at SLS you can waltz into a low profile d.ct gig without LR no problem, and with grades you can still pull off a CoA position. Dipping out of write on will take you out of the running for a lot of serious judges though.


I have no skin in this game b/c I go to H, but for the record, I know people who got Watford and Gorsuch clerkships without LR here. I can't imagine it would be different at S.

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Re: Stanford Law clerkship chances

Postby ndirish2010 » Sat May 23, 2015 4:53 pm

Is it possibly different because HLR is seen as more competitive, given size of class? Just speculating...

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Re: Stanford Law clerkship chances

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat May 23, 2015 7:26 pm

I think again it goes to the idiosyncracy of clerkship hiring - it's so personal. Some judges will rule out people without LR, but I'll bet that if someone has the connections and qualifications to get a Gorsuch-type clerkship, they're pretty impressive candidates with or without LR. If a Gorsuch buddy is calling him up saying, "look at the application from my awesome student, X," I'm not sure how much Gorsuch is going to care whether X has LR on their resume - they probably have lots of other amazing qualifications.

(Not that I know squat about hiring out of HYS personally, but extrapolating from general experience.)

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Re: Stanford Law clerkship chances

Postby hlsperson1111 » Sun May 24, 2015 8:14 pm

bruinfan10 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Other SLS student in the same boat re SLR. I spoke with some faculty on this issue, and my sense is that it might matter for some of the 'old guard,' hyper-traditional judges, but that (1) if you're in the summer wave, you might be interviewing for clerkships before SLR get announced, so it wouldn't matter and (2) LR served two functions: a proxy for grades, and a proxy for writing ability, both of which are no longer relevant (they can see your transcripts, it's write-on, and they see your writing sample). I ended up deciding not to do it.

Have you landed a clerkship yet? For well known CoA judges and certainly for feeders (in addition to high profile district judges like Thapar, etc), LR can be a first-line screening tool like pupkin mentioned. I wouldn't exactly call up and coming feeders like Watford, Gorsuch, Ikuta, or Colloton old guard or hyper traditional.


Ironically, all four of the CoA judges you named have hired HLS students without LR. I also know Watford hired a friend of mine from SLS without LR.

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Re: Stanford Law clerkship chances

Postby bruinfan10 » Thu Jun 04, 2015 2:37 pm

hlsperson1111 wrote:
bruinfan10 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Other SLS student in the same boat re SLR. I spoke with some faculty on this issue, and my sense is that it might matter for some of the 'old guard,' hyper-traditional judges, but that (1) if you're in the summer wave, you might be interviewing for clerkships before SLR get announced, so it wouldn't matter and (2) LR served two functions: a proxy for grades, and a proxy for writing ability, both of which are no longer relevant (they can see your transcripts, it's write-on, and they see your writing sample). I ended up deciding not to do it.

Have you landed a clerkship yet? For well known CoA judges and certainly for feeders (in addition to high profile district judges like Thapar, etc), LR can be a first-line screening tool like pupkin mentioned. I wouldn't exactly call up and coming feeders like Watford, Gorsuch, Ikuta, or Colloton old guard or hyper traditional.


Ironically, all four of the CoA judges you named have hired HLS students without LR. I also know Watford hired a friend of mine from SLS without LR.

I believe you. If you book Minow's fed courts or at SLS if you destroy one of Pam Karlan's classes and get her to make some phone calls for you, you sure as sh!t are gonna land a clerkship. but if you don't think any feeders beyond "old line hyper traditional ones" give a serious bump for law review in the ordinary case, i think you're crazy. Basically what Nony said.

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Re: Stanford Law clerkship chances

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 04, 2015 2:57 pm

I know an SLS Watford clerk who didn't do SLR.

Edit: but having gone through this process twice myself several years ago, I do think that SLR can be pretty helpful. I know it was strongly preferred by my non-feeder 2/9/DC judge and my well-regarded major-city dct judge.

My sense is that judges care about law review for two reasons: (1) it's a signal for high grades; and (2) it's a signal for ability/willingness to work hard and attention to detail. Obviously the grades part of LR aren't a factor at SLS. The second prong, however, is equally as true at Stanford as it is elsewhere. In fact, my sense is that judges care somewhat more about hardworking signals for candidates from HYS than they do elsewhere: I think judges generally assume that students with top grades also are hard workers, but at SLS (and HYS and YLS), the relatively murky grading system and judges' willingness to dip further into the class undermines this assumption. Incidentally, neither of my clerkships were relatively nose-to-the-grindstone, so don't assume that the only judges who care about hard work and attention to detail are the ones that work their clerks to death.

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Re: Stanford Law clerkship chances

Postby bruinfan10 » Thu Jun 04, 2015 5:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I know an SLS Watford clerk who didn't do SLR.

Edit: but having gone through this process twice myself several years ago, I do think that SLR can be pretty helpful. I know it was strongly preferred by my non-feeder 2/9/DC judge and my well-regarded major-city dct judge.

My sense is that judges care about law review for two reasons: (1) it's a signal for high grades; and (2) it's a signal for ability/willingness to work hard and attention to detail. Obviously the grades part of LR aren't a factor at SLS. The second prong, however, is equally as true at Stanford as it is elsewhere. In fact, my sense is that judges care somewhat more about hardworking signals for candidates from HYS than they do elsewhere: I think judges generally assume that students with top grades also are hard workers, but at SLS (and HYS and YLS), the relatively murky grading system and judges' willingness to dip further into the class undermines this assumption. Incidentally, neither of my clerkships were relatively nose-to-the-grindstone, so don't assume that the only judges who care about hard work and attention to detail are the ones that work their clerks to death.

this is more in response to the random anecdotes people have been throwing around, rather than directly in response to your post, but i know a michigan kid who works for the chief justice. happy? obviously there are exceptions to all the rules in this weird hiring process, but you can bet (and I know firsthand re both feeder and non feeder chambers) that even non-feeder judges get a LOT of HYS apps, and LR makes you look a whole lot better than your classmates.

re: reasons why you might get hired by a feeder absent LR, i addressed that in my post just above yours, but the bottom line is that LR isn't solely important to old guard hyper traditional judges, and that generally applies to judges hiring SLS kids too.

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Re: Stanford Law clerkship chances

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 05, 2015 2:40 pm

Here's the thing: Yes, Law Review will help you but no, it is not necessary in order to get a clerkship from SLS.

I didn't do LR and I have a CA 9/2/DC clerkship. There are a fair number of other people in my class ('14) who did the same.

Of course there are some judges who wouldn't look at me because of it. But I really didn't want to spend my time on LR stuff when there were so many other awesome things I could spend my time on (clinics, lots of pro bono, externships, mentoring, etcetera).

I guess the calculation is totally personal and depends on how badly you want a fancy clerkship as opposed to any random federal judge -- and how much you mind spending your time bluebooking or whatever instead of, say, drinking and having fun, or providing legal services to those in need, or training for a marathon, or doing any of the million other things you can do with that time.

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Re: Stanford Law clerkship chances

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jun 05, 2015 4:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Here's the thing: Yes, Law Review will help you but no, it is not necessary in order to get a clerkship from SLS.

I didn't do LR and I have a CA 9/2/DC clerkship. There are a fair number of other people in my class ('14) who did the same.

Of course there are some judges who wouldn't look at me because of it. But I really didn't want to spend my time on LR stuff when there were so many other awesome things I could spend my time on (clinics, lots of pro bono, externships, mentoring, etcetera).

I guess the calculation is totally personal and depends on how badly you want a fancy clerkship as opposed to any random federal judge -- and how much you mind spending your time bluebooking or whatever instead of, say, drinking and having fun, or providing legal services to those in need, or training for a marathon, or doing any of the million other things you can do with that time.

This isn't at all meant as a criticism of your choices, but I think the above actually demonstrates exactly why the judges who care about LR do care about it - because they want to see if a candidate is willing to spend their time on something tedious that they don't care about (bluebooking) over things they actually like/enjoy, like drinking/training for a marathon/whatever. (Again, obviously plenty of judges don't care, and it isn't necessary. And I suspect Stanford people have more leeway to only appeal to judges who don't care, than people who have to maximize their chances more.)

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Re: Stanford Law clerkship chances

Postby bruinfan10 » Fri Jun 05, 2015 5:01 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Here's the thing: Yes, Law Review will help you but no, it is not necessary in order to get a clerkship from SLS.

I didn't do LR and I have a CA 9/2/DC clerkship. There are a fair number of other people in my class ('14) who did the same.

Of course there are some judges who wouldn't look at me because of it. But I really didn't want to spend my time on LR stuff when there were so many other awesome things I could spend my time on (clinics, lots of pro bono, externships, mentoring, etcetera).

I guess the calculation is totally personal and depends on how badly you want a fancy clerkship as opposed to any random federal judge -- and how much you mind spending your time bluebooking or whatever instead of, say, drinking and having fun, or providing legal services to those in need, or training for a marathon, or doing any of the million other things you can do with that time.

This isn't at all meant as a criticism of your choices, but I think the above actually demonstrates exactly why the judges who care about LR do care about it - because they want to see if a candidate is willing to spend their time on something tedious that they don't care about (bluebooking) over things they actually like/enjoy, like drinking/training for a marathon/whatever. (Again, obviously plenty of judges don't care, and it isn't necessary. And I suspect Stanford people have more leeway to only appeal to judges who don't care, than people who have to maximize their chances more.)

+1

My solution was to just put a treadmill in my room during law school facing my window. Combine that with drinking copius amounts of vodka alone in the bathroom and you've got the best of all worlds! :wink:




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