LOR Advice

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: 273234
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

LOR Advice

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 23, 2015 10:41 am

Currently a first year litigation associate at a mid-size firm. Looking to clerk 2016/2017 but my firm does not encourage it. Need to figure out who at the firm to ask for a letter of recommendation. Everyone here loves me but I am afraid they won't take me seriously anymore or will fire me if I tell them I am going to be applying for clerkships. The head of my department has amazing credentials and would probably be the best recommender but he has mentioned in passing that the firm does not encourage clerkships. Spoke with a senior associate about what to do and he advised that it's worth the risk to ask.

Any advice on how to navigate this would be appreciated.

User avatar
BVest
Posts: 5691
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:51 pm

Re: LOR Advice

Postby BVest » Thu Apr 23, 2015 11:16 am

I've not been in your shoes, so take my advice with a lot of salt, but hopefully there's a partner there you've worked with and like who themselves did a clerkship. If so, I'd approach them first by asking about doing a clerkship, their experience, the value, etc., basically taking their temperature on the matter. If they are encouraging, you can come back around to the LOR question either there (if they bring it up) or a week or so later (e.g. after one would have had time for reflection and more research into whether to do a clerkship).

I mean, you're going to have to ask one of the partners for a LOR if you want to clerk. This is how I would likely go about it.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273234
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: LOR Advice

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:06 pm

BVest wrote:I mean, you're going to have to ask one of the partners for a LOR if you want to clerk.


What makes you say this?

I'm in a similar position as OP--1st-year lit associate at a mid-sized firm in a tertiary market, firm doesn't encourage clerking mid-stream because they hire very small classes and that credential wouldn't really add anything to their bottom line. So I applied for 2016-17 with only academic recommenders and just snagged a COA clerkship. The judge totally understood why I wouldn't want to talk to the firm about it.

User avatar
BVest
Posts: 5691
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:51 pm

Re: LOR Advice

Postby BVest » Thu Apr 23, 2015 7:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
BVest wrote:I mean, you're going to have to ask one of the partners for a LOR if you want to clerk.


What makes you say this?

I'm in a similar position as OP--1st-year lit associate at a mid-sized firm in a tertiary market, firm doesn't encourage clerking mid-stream because they hire very small classes and that credential wouldn't really add anything to their bottom line. So I applied for 2016-17 with only academic recommenders and just snagged a COA clerkship. The judge totally understood why I wouldn't want to talk to the firm about it.


I'd just be concerned about being able to get the interview without a work LOR (and wouldn't want to use an SA LOR if I'm actually an associate). Glad to hear you landed a clerkship without one.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: LOR Advice

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Apr 23, 2015 7:57 pm

OP: Seek an academic LOR or risk being let go from your firm. Real world.

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

Re: LOR Advice

Postby rpupkin » Sun Apr 26, 2015 9:17 pm

BVest wrote:I'd just be concerned about being able to get the interview without a work LOR (and wouldn't want to use an SA LOR if I'm actually an associate). Glad to hear you landed a clerkship without one.

I don't think this will be a concern for most judges. My judge would not have cared.

OP: If there's someone at your firm who knows you, likes you, and would be supportive of your clerkship, then ask for a LOR. Otherwise, there's no sense in trying to get one. I would give you this advice even if your firm was generally supportive of associates seeking clerkships. Generic, lukewarm LORs from partners are brutal. You'd be better off with no letter at all.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273234
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: LOR Advice

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 27, 2015 10:57 am

rpupkin wrote:I don't think this will be a concern for most judges. My judge would not have cared.


+1

We got several applications from individuals who were a year or two into firm work. Some had work recs, others only had academic recs. It didn't make a difference for my judge one way or the other.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273234
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: LOR Advice

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:39 pm

rpupkin wrote:
BVest wrote:I'd just be concerned about being able to get the interview without a work LOR (and wouldn't want to use an SA LOR if I'm actually an associate). Glad to hear you landed a clerkship without one.

I don't think this will be a concern for most judges. My judge would not have cared.



My judge would all but require a current/most recent LOR.

Hell, I had to get an up-to-date writing sample because mine was over a year old.

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

Re: LOR Advice

Postby rpupkin » Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
BVest wrote:I'd just be concerned about being able to get the interview without a work LOR (and wouldn't want to use an SA LOR if I'm actually an associate). Glad to hear you landed a clerkship without one.

I don't think this will be a concern for most judges. My judge would not have cared.

My judge would all but require a current/most recent LOR.

Hell, I had to get an up-to-date writing sample because mine was over a year old.

What does "current/most recent LOR" mean? My judge--and I think most judges--appreciate fresh LORs. But that generally means that the LOR is recently written and has been tailored towards the applicant's current experience and clerkship goals. If that's all you mean by "current" LOR, then I'm with you.

But are you saying that your judge requires a LOR from someone the applicant has only recently met? If so, that's an odd requirement.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273234
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: LOR Advice

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 29, 2015 12:44 am

rpupkin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
BVest wrote:I'd just be concerned about being able to get the interview without a work LOR (and wouldn't want to use an SA LOR if I'm actually an associate). Glad to hear you landed a clerkship without one.

I don't think this will be a concern for most judges. My judge would not have cared.

My judge would all but require a current/most recent LOR.

Hell, I had to get an up-to-date writing sample because mine was over a year old.

What does "current/most recent LOR" mean? My judge--and I think most judges--appreciate fresh LORs. But that generally means that the LOR is recently written and has been tailored towards the applicant's current experience and clerkship goals. If that's all you mean by "current" LOR, then I'm with you.

But are you saying that your judge requires a LOR from someone the applicant has only recently met? If so, that's an odd requirement.


I meant that the judge would want someone from the applicant's most recent employer. For instance, if a 2nd associate were applying, using exclusively LORs from profs would not fly. Judge would want a LOR from someone at the firm.

marcotomas
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2014 12:29 pm

Re: LOR Advice

Postby marcotomas » Wed Apr 29, 2015 12:53 am

LORs matter. But what matters most is what is in them, not necessarily who writes them. My co-clerk from my previous state appellate court clerkship wrote a glowing, persuasive rec letter than ended up mattering more than the one from the appellate court justice. Try not to look for someone who is going to "discourage" you from a clerkship and instead look for someone who you know will write a convincing letter that speaks to your specific skills and personality.




Return to “Judicial Clerkships”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.