How bad of an idea is it to quit biglaw and clerk for 2-3 years?

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: 273193
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

How bad of an idea is it to quit biglaw and clerk for 2-3 years?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 13, 2015 12:25 pm

I was in IP lit. Assume I would be leaving at the beginning of my 3rd year and clerking for a district judge with a heavy patent docket for 2 years and then clerking on the CAFC for 1 year. Good idea? Meh idea? Bad idea? My goal would be to come back to a firm eventually (for the money) but then to bail for something more chill (in house or govt).

I just need an extended break and think that clerking would be less stressful and a lot more fun/interesting.

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

Re: How bad of an idea is it to quit biglaw and clerk for 2-3 years?

Postby rpupkin » Mon Jun 15, 2015 10:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I was in IP lit. Assume I would be leaving at the beginning of my 3rd year and clerking for a district judge with a heavy patent docket for 2 years and then clerking on the CAFC for 1 year. Good idea? Meh idea? Bad idea? My goal would be to come back to a firm eventually (for the money) but then to bail for something more chill (in house or govt).

You'll be fine so long as patent litigation doesn't fall off a cliff (which it might).

As you may have already figured out, it'll be tough to find a firm that will give you three years of credit for your clerkships. Most firms will likely want you to start as a fourth or fifth year associate. In other words, this little sojourn will cost you literally hundreds of thousands of dollars between lost income while clerking and lost class-year credit. But, yeah, the break would be nice.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273193
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How bad of an idea is it to quit biglaw and clerk for 2-3 years?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 16, 2015 2:30 am

I'm in my 3rd year of clerking and I can't say enough good things about it. I always look forward to work, I'm never bored, I'm rarely stressed, and almost everything I work on is fun and interesting. There is drudgery with every job, and clerking is no exception. There is A LOT of administrative work to do in chambers. That is my only complaint, and it's a minor one.

Frankly, the only real downside I can think of is the salary is not fantastic, though it's pretty good for the number of hours you work. My first year of clerking I was barely scraping by as a JSP-12 in a high COL city.

But don't assume every clerkship is going to be a 9-5, low stress job. Some judges really, really grind their clerks. You can easily work big law-like hours, depending on the judge and the docket you get during your clerkship.

User avatar
bruinfan10
Posts: 510
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2011 12:25 am

Re: How bad of an idea is it to quit biglaw and clerk for 2-3 years?

Postby bruinfan10 » Tue Jun 16, 2015 11:05 am

Anonymous User wrote:I'm in my 3rd year of clerking and I can't say enough good things about it. I always look forward to work, I'm never bored, I'm rarely stressed, and almost everything I work on is fun and interesting. There is drudgery with every job, and clerking is no exception. There is A LOT of administrative work to do in chambers. That is my only complaint, and it's a minor one.

Frankly, the only real downside I can think of is the salary is not fantastic, though it's pretty good for the number of hours you work. My first year of clerking I was barely scraping by as a JSP-12 in a high COL city.

But don't assume every clerkship is going to be a 9-5, low stress job. Some judges really, really grind their clerks. You can easily work big law-like hours, depending on the judge and the docket you get during your clerkship.

Clerking is awesome for sure, but I think OP was asking about how a third year of clerking would affect his desirability to long term employers when he reenters the "permanent" job market. Any thoughts on that? I'd also like to hear what you think about your post-3rd clerkship job prospects.

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

Re: How bad of an idea is it to quit biglaw and clerk for 2-3 years?

Postby rpupkin » Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:10 pm

bruinfan10 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm in my 3rd year of clerking and I can't say enough good things about it. I always look forward to work, I'm never bored, I'm rarely stressed, and almost everything I work on is fun and interesting. There is drudgery with every job, and clerking is no exception. There is A LOT of administrative work to do in chambers. That is my only complaint, and it's a minor one.

Frankly, the only real downside I can think of is the salary is not fantastic, though it's pretty good for the number of hours you work. My first year of clerking I was barely scraping by as a JSP-12 in a high COL city.

But don't assume every clerkship is going to be a 9-5, low stress job. Some judges really, really grind their clerks. You can easily work big law-like hours, depending on the judge and the docket you get during your clerkship.

Clerking is awesome for sure, but I think OP was asking about how a third year of clerking would affect his desirability to long term employers when he reenters the "permanent" job market. Any thoughts on that? I'd also like to hear what you think about your post-3rd clerkship job prospects.

I know your question isn't directed at me, but I wanted to clarify something about my "you'll be fine" comment: If you're a patent litigator, and if at least one of your three years is spent at the Federal Circuit, you're fine. (Both things are true in the OP's case.) But I would be less sanguine about a general litigator taking three years off to clerk. That could be trouble.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273193
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How bad of an idea is it to quit biglaw and clerk for 2-3 years?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 17, 2015 8:13 pm

Thanks, all. I have heard from others IRL that a Fed. Cir. clerkship is valuable enough to make it worth my while. Here's to hoping that's the case.




Return to “Judicial Clerkships”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.