Why is the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the Dist. of Columbia so prestigious?

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ihadadream

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Why is the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the Dist. of Columbia so prestigious?

Postby ihadadream » Mon Dec 14, 2015 1:19 am

Hello. Why is the United States District Court for the District of Columbia arguably considered to be the most prestigious federal district clerkship? Does it have unique jurisdiction? That is, does it have jurisdiction over certain categories of cases that other courts don't? Also, are certain categories of cases (that are considered prestigious) more likely to be brought there? Something else?

Thanks.

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jbagelboy

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Re: Why is the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the Dist. of Columbia so prestigious?

Postby jbagelboy » Mon Dec 14, 2015 2:41 am

Sure, there are some special types of administrative and national security cases that come before the D.D.C. more often, just as there are more maritime, securities/commercial, and foreign cases that come before S.D.N.Y. But really, what makes a court "prestigious" from the student perspective in my experience is: 1) the judges on that court (their reputation and connection to appellate judges/justices) and 2) desirability of location, since all federal trial courts have the same basic subject matter jurisdiction.

Desirability of location and judges impact the sort of candidates that apply and choose to accept clerkships in that district. The more desirable, the more competitive, and thus, the higher quality clerks. This generates a feedback loop where the strongest students are influenced by the students that came before them, and come to view the positions they hold as the most coveted. D.C. is a very desirable legal market, especially for anyone with an interest in politics, policy, and federal government work later in their career, just as New York and San Francisco are very desirable metropolitan locations to live, making clerkships in those cities more competitive and 'prestigious' than elsewhere.

As for the judges themselves, there's maybe also a trickle down emanation from D.C. Circuit, which has several very prominent feeders to the Supreme Court.

ihadadream

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Re: Why is the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the Dist. of Columbia so prestigious?

Postby ihadadream » Mon Dec 14, 2015 3:43 am

Thanks. I see that the Military Commissions Act of 2009 allows certain habeas petitions to be filed there. Are there other laws that similarly create exclusive jurisdiction?

Also, are certain constitional challenges more likely to be brought there because that is where the federal govenment is principally located?

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Br3v

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Re: Why is the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the Dist. of Columbia so prestigious?

Postby Br3v » Mon Dec 14, 2015 10:00 am

ihadadream wrote:Thanks. I see that the Military Commissions Act of 2009 allows certain habeas petitions to be filed there. Are there other laws that similarly create exclusive jurisdiction?

Also, are certain constitional challenges more likely to be brought there because that is where the federal govenment is principally located?

Maybe, but you're missing the point, which was explained above.

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Re: Why is the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the Dist. of Columbia so prestigious?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 14, 2015 2:23 pm

Br3v wrote:
ihadadream wrote:Thanks. I see that the Military Commissions Act of 2009 allows certain habeas petitions to be filed there. Are there other laws that similarly create exclusive jurisdiction?

Also, are certain constitional challenges more likely to be brought there because that is where the federal govenment is principally located?

Maybe, but you're missing the point, which was explained above.


Hello. No, I got the point. I'm just following up on the response.

P.S. I didn't mean to post as anonymous. I just pressed the wrong button.

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Br3v

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Re: Why is the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the Dist. of Columbia so prestigious?

Postby Br3v » Mon Dec 14, 2015 7:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Br3v wrote:
ihadadream wrote:Thanks. I see that the Military Commissions Act of 2009 allows certain habeas petitions to be filed there. Are there other laws that similarly create exclusive jurisdiction?

Also, are certain constitional challenges more likely to be brought there because that is where the federal govenment is principally located?

Maybe, but you're missing the point, which was explained above.


Hello. No, I got the point. I'm just following up on the response.

P.S. I didn't mean to post as anonymous. I just pressed the wrong button.


Sorry if I was too terse. Yes, there are a few odd things about DC like you mention (for example, senators are increasing willing to start litigation which they tend to file in DC though in many cases could have likely been filed in many places) that might add to its "prestige", but the "prestige" in general stems from the fact that it is a desirable place for lawyers to work and thus desirable matters tend to come before it. Just like NY is a desirable place for a lot of securities law and thus a lot of securities law happens to come up in the SDNY.

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Re: Why is the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the Dist. of Columbia so prestigious?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 15, 2015 8:14 pm

Current DDC clerk here. I'll add my two cents based on my observations this past year.

In terms of docket, DC by statute is the venue for many cases filed against foreign governments under 28 USC 1391, so lots of interesting stuff winds up here for that reason. Numerous lawsuits filed against federal agencies end up here because defendants are reg-promulgating agencies located in DC (so also because of 1391). Plus some high profile FOIA cases (think the Hillary emails). And lawsuits against the executive branch itself. All in all, a higher volume of high-profile statutory and constitutional law cases than I think any other district court gets (certainly that's been my experience, and why I applied here).

In terms of clerks, there's also a lot of overlap in DDC and DC Circuit clerks (many going from one to the other), so I think the applicant pool is overlapping. Among the prominent judges on DDC, I'd say most of their clerks have or will clerk for a prominent circuit judge as well. In terms of exit options, for those interested in DOJ honors or DC Big Law, there's something of a pipeline from DDC to those places, which I think is generally pretty appealing.

Finally, in terms of judges, many come from being partners at top DC big law shops, from government (the Hill, White House), or were AUSAs, all of which probably makes them more prestigious than your average district court judge.

So all of the above probably adds to the desirability. I'm clearly biased, and have one data point to speak of, but I think it's a fabulous district in which to clerk.

ihadadream

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Re: Why is the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the Dist. of Columbia so prestigious?

Postby ihadadream » Mon Dec 21, 2015 5:32 pm

Thanks for that detailed reply.

I feel like my question has been thoroughly answered. Thanks so much everyone for responding.



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