Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:25 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:The problem is that those are mostly from aggrieved parties/lawyers appearing before the judge, which doesn't tell you much about what they're like to clerk for.


The focus of this thread is apparently a judge's behavior / interactions with a clerk (e.g., is the judge a screamer or a stapler-thrower?), but clerking for a judge who's an idiot is also terrible. For example, a couple of clerks in my building have confided that their judge doesn't care much for the law, doesn't like to get dirty with the facts, and (as you predicted) doesn't want to exert the effort to even attempt a thoughtful and legally correct order. The judge often rubber-stamps orders. Those confidences weren't surprising because it's pretty well understood throughout the district bar that the judge is awful.

If you clerk for a judge like that, you learn little about the mechanics of litigation, lawyering strategy, or persuasive writing. Also, the time clerking is also miserable because dockets often get out of control and the clerks arn't comfortable (as a frustrated judge might) attempting to get the litigation back on track. Finally, because the judge gets reversed frequently, you get cases back in all sorts of crazy procedural postures.

Robing room doesn't capture "bad" behavior in chambers, but looking at the reviews of the judges in my district, it tracks pretty accurately the quality of a judge's work. If you want to work for someone who produces good work, it could be a valuable resource.

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:57 pm

I definitely agree that working for an idiot judge would be unpleasant, but I just don't trust that robing room is going to provide a lot of info that would help you figure that out. I'm not saying don't look at it because I agree that it's one of the few things out there, just to take it with a huge grain of salt. Looking at the judges I'm familiar with, the majority of comments are from pissed-off parties whose criticisms are basically "the judge doesn't know anything because they ruled against me!" (I'm also shocked - SHOCKED - that the judge I know with the most negative comments, despite being extremely smart and professional, is a Hispanic female.)

It may also vary a lot by district (just depending on which ones get a critical mass of reviews).

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:04 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I definitely agree that working for an idiot judge would be unpleasant, but I just don't trust that robing room is going to provide a lot of info that would help you figure that out. I'm not saying don't look at it because I agree that it's one of the few things out there, just to take it with a huge grain of salt. Looking at the judges I'm familiar with, the majority of comments are from pissed-off parties whose criticisms are basically "the judge doesn't know anything because they ruled against me!" (I'm also shocked - SHOCKED - that the judge I know with the most negative comments, despite being extremely smart and professional, is a Hispanic female.)

It may also vary a lot by district (just depending on which ones get a critical mass of reviews).


I posted the comment to which you responded. Like any other anonymous commenting site, you have to evaluate the credibility of each post. A post from a pro-se litigant ("the judge was biased against me, etc etc") obviously isn't going to help you a whole hell of a lot, but a descriptive post from someone who appears to be a lawyer might. You'll have to decide for yourself whether a criticism is credible.

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:I definitely agree that working for an idiot judge would be unpleasant, but I just don't trust that robing room is going to provide a lot of info that would help you figure that out. I'm not saying don't look at it because I agree that it's one of the few things out there, just to take it with a huge grain of salt. Looking at the judges I'm familiar with, the majority of comments are from pissed-off parties whose criticisms are basically "the judge doesn't know anything because they ruled against me!" (I'm also shocked - SHOCKED - that the judge I know with the most negative comments, despite being extremely smart and professional, is a Hispanic female.)

It may also vary a lot by district (just depending on which ones get a critical mass of reviews).


I posted the comment to which you responded. Like any other anonymous commenting site, you have to evaluate the credibility of each post. A post from a pro-se litigant ("the judge was biased against me, etc etc") obviously isn't going to help you a whole hell of a lot, but a descriptive post from someone who appears to be a lawyer might. You'll have to decide for yourself whether a criticism is credible.


Generally, the only time a lawyer is going to go on a website like that and write a long, angry review is if s/he is really bitter about something that happened before the judge. You need to take absolutely everything on there or anywhere else with a massive grain of salt.

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby grand inquisitor » Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:58 pm

same reason i disregard yelp reviews of apartment buildings

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 28, 2017 10:22 pm

How do people deal with annoying or immature co-clerks? I am having a rough time connecting with my co clerk because he is very panicky and easily excitable. Everything is an "emergency," "very complicated," "taking [him] a long time to complete," and a cause for panic. He is constantly interrupting me throughout the day with these "issues" and every single conversation we have is about him, his work, or his personal life problems. Not to mention, when we interact with the judge or other clerks from other chambers, he is noticeably odd/awkward and I get embarrassed just by the fact that I'm associated with him because people are clearly noticing how weird he is being. The craziest part is that he acknowledges that he has these tendencies but has not desire to try to improve. I tried to play nice but now I find myself ignoring him mostly all day and that's not how I envisioned this experience going at all. How, if at all, can I make this a better experience for me?

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 28, 2017 11:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:How do people deal with annoying or immature co-clerks? I am having a rough time connecting with my co clerk because he is very panicky and easily excitable. Everything is an "emergency," "very complicated," "taking [him] a long time to complete," and a cause for panic. He is constantly interrupting me throughout the day with these "issues" and every single conversation we have is about him, his work, or his personal life problems. Not to mention, when we interact with the judge or other clerks from other chambers, he is noticeably odd/awkward and I get embarrassed just by the fact that I'm associated with him because people are clearly noticing how weird he is being. The craziest part is that he acknowledges that he has these tendencies but has not desire to try to improve. I tried to play nice but now I find myself ignoring him mostly all day and that's not how I envisioned this experience going at all. How, if at all, can I make this a better experience for me?


Similarly situated. I've been clerking for a while with a co-clerk who's a nice guy but cannot hold a conversation - his only interests are absurdly obscure (think 1920s Argentinian history) and he somehow brings every conversation back to (1920s Argentina). When we're in the elevator, the other clerks get the pleasure of listening to us "discuss" this, and I noticed that others started to associate me with his weirness . I found the best response is not to engage at all. When he talks, Just smile and nod and when there's a pause in conversation (where you would ordinarily respond), just sit silently. It's awkward at first but eventually he'll stop talking as much. And if he acts normally, reward him Pavlov style with a normal conversation.

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby lavarman84 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 11:13 pm

I guess that sucks, but y'all could just be nice to them. Yea, some people are socially awkward. You can write them off, or you can be empathetic.

Obviously, I do understand the frustration if the guy doesn't stop talking when you're trying to work.

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 29, 2017 9:09 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:How do people deal with annoying or immature co-clerks? I am having a rough time connecting with my co clerk because he is very panicky and easily excitable. Everything is an "emergency," "very complicated," "taking [him] a long time to complete," and a cause for panic. He is constantly interrupting me throughout the day with these "issues" and every single conversation we have is about him, his work, or his personal life problems. Not to mention, when we interact with the judge or other clerks from other chambers, he is noticeably odd/awkward and I get embarrassed just by the fact that I'm associated with him because people are clearly noticing how weird he is being. The craziest part is that he acknowledges that he has these tendencies but has not desire to try to improve. I tried to play nice but now I find myself ignoring him mostly all day and that's not how I envisioned this experience going at all. How, if at all, can I make this a better experience for me?


Similarly situated. I've been clerking for a while with a co-clerk who's a nice guy but cannot hold a conversation - his only interests are absurdly obscure (think 1920s Argentinian history) and he somehow brings every conversation back to (1920s Argentina). When we're in the elevator, the other clerks get the pleasure of listening to us "discuss" this, and I noticed that others started to associate me with his weirness . I found the best response is not to engage at all. When he talks, Just smile and nod and when there's a pause in conversation (where you would ordinarily respond), just sit silently. It's awkward at first but eventually he'll stop talking as much. And if he acts normally, reward him Pavlov style with a normal conversation.


Thanks for your response! Truthfully, I am sooo relieved to hear that I'm not the only one feeling this way because I was beginning to think it was just me. People are kind of associating me with the awkwardness and that just can not fly. I have been going the smile and nod route, but we haven't yet reached the normal convo levels. I'll be sure to reward him if that time ever comes.

lavarman84 wrote:I guess that sucks, but y'all could just be nice to them. Yea, some people are socially awkward. You can write them off, or you can be empathetic.

Obviously, I do understand the frustration if the guy doesn't stop talking when you're trying to work.


I hear you. I've totally tried the empathetic route but he acknowledges how weird he can be so I kind of gave up on that because he is choosing to ignore a problem that I've taken the time out to nicely point out to him as the awkwardness was unfolding in real time.

I get that this profession is filled with socially awkward people (especially the top students/lawyers) and, as a result, clerkships are populated with the creme de la creme of awkwardness. I am just really surprised because Judges always speak about how they want to hire personable people since we are all going to be stuck in close quarters for a year or more with the same 8 people. It's been quite the learning experience to say the least.

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Sep 29, 2017 9:20 am

Um, what? A couple of awkward co-clerks doesn't mean that clerkships are populated with the creme de la creme of awkwardness.

I'm assuming you guys started this fall, right? (Maybe not the "clerking for a while" person.) Give it a couple of months. What seems weird to begin with often becomes less so as you get to know each other better, and "weird" turns into "just co-clerk being co-clerk." I just know my impressions of people I clerked with shifted a fair amount over the course of the entire year. Also there's a huge learning curve at the beginning (assuming the person hasn't clerked before) and some people respond better to that than others.

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 29, 2017 9:46 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Um, what? A couple of awkward co-clerks doesn't mean that clerkships are populated with the creme de la creme of awkwardness.

I'm assuming you guys started this fall, right? (Maybe not the "clerking for a while" person.) Give it a couple of months. What seems weird to begin with often becomes less so as you get to know each other better, and "weird" turns into "just co-clerk being co-clerk." I just know my impressions of people I clerked with shifted a fair amount over the course of the entire year. Also there's a huge learning curve at the beginning (assuming the person hasn't clerked before) and some people respond better to that than others.


I agree with you. I recently started so giving it time may help too. But I'm standing by my statement because, while it might not be true in ever single courthouse, it is my current observation of my circumstances that I'm experiencing right now.

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Sep 29, 2017 9:50 am

Good to know your current circumstances represent all clerkships.

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 29, 2017 10:42 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Good to know your current circumstances represent all clerkships.


Anonymous User wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Um, what? A couple of awkward co-clerks doesn't mean that clerkships are populated with the creme de la creme of awkwardness.

I'm assuming you guys started this fall, right? (Maybe not the "clerking for a while" person.) Give it a couple of months. What seems weird to begin with often becomes less so as you get to know each other better, and "weird" turns into "just co-clerk being co-clerk." I just know my impressions of people I clerked with shifted a fair amount over the course of the entire year. Also there's a huge learning curve at the beginning (assuming the person hasn't clerked before) and some people respond better to that than others.


I agree with you. I recently started so giving it time may help too. But I'm standing by my statement because, while it might not be true in ever single courthouse, it is my current observation of my circumstances that I'm experiencing right now.


*every

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby ernie » Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:40 am

Anonymous User wrote:Not to mention, when we interact with the judge or other clerks from other chambers, he is noticeably odd/awkward and I get embarrassed just by the fact that I'm associated with him because people are clearly noticing how weird he is being.


Anonymous User wrote:I found the best response is not to engage at all. When he talks, Just smile and nod and when there's a pause in conversation (where you would ordinarily respond), just sit silently. It's awkward at first but eventually he'll stop talking as much. And if he acts normally, reward him Pavlov style with a normal conversation.


Anonymous User wrote:People are kind of associating me with the awkwardness and that just can not fly. I have been going the smile and nod route, but we haven't yet reached the normal convo levels. I'll be sure to reward him if that time ever comes.

You sound petty as shit. Thank god I'm not stuck with you as a co-clerk.

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:52 am

Anonymous User wrote:I'm standing by my statement

Original statement:
Anonymous User wrote:I get that this profession is filled with socially awkward people (especially the top students/lawyers) and, as a result, clerkships are populated with the creme de la creme of awkwardness.

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby quiver » Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:58 am

ernie wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Not to mention, when we interact with the judge or other clerks from other chambers, he is noticeably odd/awkward and I get embarrassed just by the fact that I'm associated with him because people are clearly noticing how weird he is being.


Anonymous User wrote:I found the best response is not to engage at all. When he talks, Just smile and nod and when there's a pause in conversation (where you would ordinarily respond), just sit silently. It's awkward at first but eventually he'll stop talking as much. And if he acts normally, reward him Pavlov style with a normal conversation.


Anonymous User wrote:People are kind of associating me with the awkwardness and that just can not fly. I have been going the smile and nod route, but we haven't yet reached the normal convo levels. I'll be sure to reward him if that time ever comes.

You sound petty as shit. Thank god I'm not stuck with you as a co-clerk.
It seems like a pretty natural and reasonable response to me. Neither of these anons are explicitly shunning their co-clerks or being rude; they're genuinely trying to make the best of an awkward/annoying situation.

The part that struck me was:
Anonymous User wrote:He is constantly interrupting me throughout the day with these "issues" and every single conversation we have is about him, his work, or his personal life problems.
I experienced this with a co-clerk while clerking, and it can be extremely grating over the course of a year. There's nothing wrong with going onto an anonymous internet message board to vent/seek advice in this type of frustrating situation.

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:09 pm

I agree that constant interruptions would be completely frustrating. It's worth bringing that up directly, maybe couching it as "I'm really bad about being able to focus after interruptions" or at least on specific occasions, like "I'm really going to try to power through this MSJ this afternoon so forgive me for being anti-social."

(Or feel free to be more direct, it wouldn't be unmerited, I'm just personally really bad at that.)

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:12 pm

quiver wrote:
ernie wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Not to mention, when we interact with the judge or other clerks from other chambers, he is noticeably odd/awkward and I get embarrassed just by the fact that I'm associated with him because people are clearly noticing how weird he is being.


Anonymous User wrote:I found the best response is not to engage at all. When he talks, Just smile and nod and when there's a pause in conversation (where you would ordinarily respond), just sit silently. It's awkward at first but eventually he'll stop talking as much. And if he acts normally, reward him Pavlov style with a normal conversation.


Anonymous User wrote:People are kind of associating me with the awkwardness and that just can not fly. I have been going the smile and nod route, but we haven't yet reached the normal convo levels. I'll be sure to reward him if that time ever comes.

You sound petty as shit. Thank god I'm not stuck with you as a co-clerk.
It seems like a pretty natural and reasonable response to me. Neither of these anons are explicitly shunning their co-clerks or being rude; they're genuinely trying to make the best of an awkward/annoying situation.

The part that struck me was:
Anonymous User wrote:He is constantly interrupting me throughout the day with these "issues" and every single conversation we have is about him, his work, or his personal life problems.
I experienced this with a co-clerk while clerking, and it can be extremely grating over the course of a year. There's nothing wrong with going onto an anonymous internet message board to vent/seek advice in this type of frustrating situation.


Thanks for responding and understanding, quiver. You make a good point about having a place to come vent, but sometimes I forget how people on this website can be so ready to attack everything.

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I agree that constant interruptions would be completely frustrating. It's worth bringing that up directly, maybe couching it as "I'm really bad about being able to focus after interruptions" or at least on specific occasions, like "I'm really going to try to power through this MSJ this afternoon so forgive me for being anti-social."

(Or feel free to be more direct, it wouldn't be unmerited, I'm just personally really bad at that.)


This is good advice, thanks.

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby ernie » Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:28 pm

Anon, you do realize it's possible to both have a legitimate concern and be petty/mean about it, right? Not saying you can't vent, it's just ironic you're complaining that other people lack self awareness.

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby ernie » Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Not to mention, when we interact with the judge or other clerks from other chambers, he is noticeably odd/awkward and I get embarrassed just by the fact that I'm associated with him because people are clearly noticing how weird he is being.


Anonymous User wrote:I found the best response is not to engage at all. When he talks, Just smile and nod and when there's a pause in conversation (where you would ordinarily respond), just sit silently. It's awkward at first but eventually he'll stop talking as much. And if he acts normally, reward him Pavlov style with a normal conversation.


Anonymous User wrote:People are kind of associating me with the awkwardness and that just can not fly. I have been going the smile and nod route, but we haven't yet reached the normal convo levels. I'll be sure to reward him if that time ever comes.

Like all this is really weird. Have you never interacted with an awkward person before or something

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:06 pm

ernie wrote:Anon, you do realize it's possible to both have a legitimate concern and be petty/mean about it, right? Not saying you can't vent, it's just ironic you're complaining that other people lack self awareness.


I'm not sure where I was being petty or mean about it, but I see you really wanted to make that "ironic" connection so you got it buddy.

ernie wrote:Like all this is really weird. Have you never interacted with an awkward person before or something


I've never had to interact with awkward people on an everyday/all day basis before, no. If I had, I would probably have experience in this area and wouldn't need to come to this board to ask for advice. Thanks for being helpful.

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby star fox » Fri Sep 29, 2017 4:13 pm

It takes two to make a situation awkward. Anon, you seem pretty immature and are likely fairly awkward yourself.

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby mjb447 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:36 pm

Yeah, I'm also wondering if you've been direct enough about the components that are actually impacting your work. Co-clerk might realize that he's socially awkward without realizing how much it's affecting your ability to get stuff done. (Re: the situation as a whole - you may not be able to develop the relationship much past ignoring him as much as you can. Some clerks have difficult judges [see the rest of the thread] and some people have difficult co-clerks. It's just how it goes sometimes.)

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby rpupkin » Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for responding and understanding, quiver. You make a good point about having a place to come vent, but sometimes I forget how people on this website can be so ready to attack everything.

Sorry for piling on, but you do come off as immature and a little mean-spirited in your posts. I would be open to the possibility that you're a significant part of the problem here.

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 29, 2017 9:09 pm

mjb447 wrote:Yeah, I'm also wondering if you've been direct enough about the components that are actually impacting your work. Co-clerk might realize that he's socially awkward without realizing how much it's affecting your ability to get stuff done. (Re: the situation as a whole - you may not be able to develop the relationship much past ignoring him as much as you can. Some clerks have difficult judges [see the rest of the thread] and some people have difficult co-clerks. It's just how it goes sometimes.)


That's a good point, actually. I could try the direct approach next time. Thanks!




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