Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

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lavarman84
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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby lavarman84 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 9:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
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!


Yea, be direct about needing to get work done. Don't be mean, though. There's a tactful way of handling it. And be empathetic. The guy's social awkwardness is likely out of his control. If you were in his shoes, how would you feel if your co-workers all shunned you? He's probably a good guy on the inside and is just trying to be a friend.

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jrf12886
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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby jrf12886 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:12 pm

I don't get what it means for your co-clerk's awkwardness to be reflecting poorly on you. I'm pretty sure people judge you based on your own words/actions and not your co-clerk's. If you have any legitimate gripe--and I'm not at all convinced of that--it's that your co-clerk is distracting you too frequently during the work day. There is a simple solution to that problem, which is to explain to your co-clerk that you need to focus on your work in order to meet your deadlines. There is no requirement that you be friends with your co-clerks, but it is expected that you conduct yourself professionally. I tend to agree that bashing them on TLS for being awkward isn't a great start.

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby lavarman84 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:19 pm

jrf12886 wrote:I don't get what it means for your co-clerk's awkwardness to be reflecting poorly on you. I'm pretty sure people judge you based on your own words/actions and not your co-clerk's. If you have any legitimate gripe--and I'm not at all convinced of that--it's that your co-clerk is distracting you too frequently during the work day. There is a simple solution to that problem, which is to explain to your co-clerk that you need to focus on your work in order to meet your deadlines. There is no requirement that you be friends with your co-clerks, but it is expected that you conduct yourself professionally. I tend to agree that bashing them on TLS for being awkward isn't a great start.


Yea, that struck me as weird.

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby hlsperson1111 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:24 pm

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.


+1. This guy may be awkward, but you sound like a bully and a toxic person.

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby Quichelorraine » Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:38 am

The JSP-14 question: will the Weinstein effect will ever reach the third rail of the judiciary?

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 26, 2017 3:40 pm

Quichelorraine wrote:The JSP-14 question: will the Weinstein effect will ever reach the third rail of the judiciary?


No.

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:36 am

I have a pleasantly-surprising perspective for the future and aspiring clerks out there. Currently clerking for an appellate judge who tends to hire the bulk of their clerks from the same law school (the school which I attended). Thanks to that network, I was able to easily connect with 16-17 clerks of the judge's as well as a 15-16 clerk and they were quite candid with me. They all told the same story: the judge is difficult to work with, the job is not enjoyable, you will hate how broadly the judge views the scope of the job, prepare yourself to put in one year of grinding and move on.

I've now been in the job for a decent chunk of time and I can say that none of those worries actually came true. The judge is certainly idiosyncratic, but not difficult to work with if you present your ideas clearly and directly and then accept that, if the judge disagrees, that's the final answer. The "extra duties" complained about seem to be occasionally taking the judge's dog outside when it's brought to chambers. But I'm a dog person, so it's a big plus.

My point is that it is exactly the same job in exactly the same circumstances, but viewed much much differently by the different people who occupy it. I am sure that working for some judges is a universally-negative experience, as some of you have described, but I guess to those who hear these stories about their future judge, know that it may not be the case when you occupy the job.

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:52 am

lavarman84 wrote:
jrf12886 wrote:I don't get what it means for your co-clerk's awkwardness to be reflecting poorly on you. I'm pretty sure people judge you based on your own words/actions and not your co-clerk's. If you have any legitimate gripe--and I'm not at all convinced of that--it's that your co-clerk is distracting you too frequently during the work day. There is a simple solution to that problem, which is to explain to your co-clerk that you need to focus on your work in order to meet your deadlines. There is no requirement that you be friends with your co-clerks, but it is expected that you conduct yourself professionally. I tend to agree that bashing them on TLS for being awkward isn't a great start.


Yea, that struck me as weird.


I tend to agree and side with the crowd here but throw in one piece of personal experience on the other side. One of my three COA colleagues is absolutely batshit in terms of social behavior but thinks he’s a social butterfly and it has caused so many awkward issues. In our first calendar sitting, I had clerks from no less than 4 other chambers ask me, without reservation, what the hell is up with your coclerk. And several judges and JAs from all across the Circuit already knew him by name from random correspondence. It’s hard to really describe but it is somewhat embarrassing and puts us all in awkward positions and conversations. Just thought I’d put that in there.

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby unlicensedpotato » Sat Oct 28, 2017 12:26 pm

To people in this thread -- obviously you're judged (and judge others) by who you work with and who you hang out with. I can't believe someone even has to say that.

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:41 pm

Sure, but being seen with someone you work with at work isn’t really the same as who you choose to associate with socially. No one thinks you get to pick you co-workers’ personalities. (It is awkward being around someone who’s really socially inept, but the only way that reflects on you is how you handle it.)

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:58 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Sure, but being seen with someone you work with at work isn’t really the same as who you choose to associate with socially. No one thinks you get to pick you co-workers’ personalities. (It is awkward being around someone who’s really socially inept, but the only way that reflects on you is how you handle it.)


Agreed, but (I’m the anonymous two up), it’s super weird to have other chambers not want to schedule a single social thing with you or your co clerks because of one of them, for that to even bleed over into judges, and to almost be foreclosed from asking other chambers what they are doing for dinner or something because they will get so weird. I’m not advocating the toxic behavior elsewhere described, just saying you can’t flippantly disregard it when you are so intimately associated with coworkers on a COA level.

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby rpupkin » Sat Oct 28, 2017 2:21 pm

unlicensedpotato wrote:To people in this thread -- obviously you're judged (and judge others) by who you work with and who you hang out with. I can't believe someone even has to say that.

Would you mind setting your incredulity aside for a moment so that you can explain what you're talking about? I honestly don't know what you mean. I understand the notion that you might be judged by whom you choose to hang out with, but the bolded isn't obvious to me at all.

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby lavarman84 » Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Sure, but being seen with someone you work with at work isn’t really the same as who you choose to associate with socially. No one thinks you get to pick you co-workers’ personalities. (It is awkward being around someone who’s really socially inept, but the only way that reflects on you is how you handle it.)


Agreed, but (I’m the anonymous two up), it’s super weird to have other chambers not want to schedule a single social thing with you or your co clerks because of one of them, for that to even bleed over into judges, and to almost be foreclosed from asking other chambers what they are doing for dinner or something because they will get so weird. I’m not advocating the toxic behavior elsewhere described, just saying you can’t flippantly disregard it when you are so intimately associated with coworkers on a COA level.


Why can they not just invite you and not the weird dude in your chambers? My coclerk is a great guy, but he doesn't get invited to everything I do socially with other clerks. And I don't get invited to everything he does socially with other clerks. We're friends, but we aren't attached at the hip or anything.

unlicensedpotato wrote:To people in this thread -- obviously you're judged (and judge others) by who you work with and who you hang out with. I can't believe someone even has to say that.


I'm only judging you if you are hanging out with a disgusting person and not calling them out on their BS (i.e., an unabashed racist or sexist or homophobe; something like that). If your coworker is very socially awkward and you're treating him or her kindly, I'd think more highly of you as a person. If you're treating that person badly, yea, I'd judge you for that. But that's your doing, not there's.

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:48 pm

While we're at a venting thread, and looking for some solution/sympathetic minds...

I'm progressively finding my clerkship a little unbearable and I'm wondering if this type of behavior is normal (and I'm just stressed) or if my co-clerk is actually just bizarre. My co-clerk is roughly 5 months more senior than I am so he/she has seen a lot more stuff and has obviously had more time to learn things. That alone is not the problem; I like that there is a staggering. But this said co-clerk will nonstop talk about how many opinions he/she turned out over the weekend, how he/she did not sleep at all to get this work done, how our judge messages him/her at all hours of the night about work and non-work related stuff, how he/she is the judge's favorite clerk (initially, I thought he/she was joking. However, this comment has been repeated several times over the last few months so I'm not quite sure if it's really a joke anymore), overanalyzes every interaction he/she has had with judge. Now, I tolerated this behavior as some weird social quirk.

Now, this said clerk is blaming me for being a liability (I meet all my deadlines, and sometimes beat it by a day; no complaints have been made by my judge) because, my relative slowness compared to his/her productivity eventually leads him/her to do my work for me, is what he/she said. I snapped at him/her few times, telling him/her directly that "this is really ineffective communication and I haven't received any complaints from judge. I also don't plan on losing sleep over this clerkship and pushing myself to work like I would in big law." To be clear, there is no expectation to work crazy hours like there is for some clerkship; frankly, no other clerk in this chambers' history has been gunning this hard. This particular clerk allegedly does not sleep to get work done.

My confrontation has led him/her to tone down a bit but this situation is still insufferable (obsession over our judge has not stopped).

I am sick and tired of this said clerk and I dread going into work because of him/her. The other co-clerk also finds him/her "oppressive" and they have in fact had a bit more robust confrontation earlier in the year, which led to the problem clerk to cry, at which point, I consoled. But his/her rant has gotten out of control and I am so looking forward to him/her leaving this clerkship, as horrible as this sounds.

I really don't think talking to this person will solve the problem because it will only make the situation tense I think. What are some mental mantra to adopt to survive this without going crazy. It's also really demotivating.

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby lavarman84 » Wed Nov 22, 2017 11:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:While we're at a venting thread, and looking for some solution/sympathetic minds...

I'm progressively finding my clerkship a little unbearable and I'm wondering if this type of behavior is normal (and I'm just stressed) or if my co-clerk is actually just bizarre. My co-clerk is roughly 5 months more senior than I am so he/she has seen a lot more stuff and has obviously had more time to learn things. That alone is not the problem; I like that there is a staggering. But this said co-clerk will nonstop talk about how many opinions he/she turned out over the weekend, how he/she did not sleep at all to get this work done, how our judge messages him/her at all hours of the night about work and non-work related stuff, how he/she is the judge's favorite clerk (initially, I thought he/she was joking. However, this comment has been repeated several times over the last few months so I'm not quite sure if it's really a joke anymore), overanalyzes every interaction he/she has had with judge. Now, I tolerated this behavior as some weird social quirk.

Now, this said clerk is blaming me for being a liability (I meet all my deadlines, and sometimes beat it by a day; no complaints have been made by my judge) because, my relative slowness compared to his/her productivity eventually leads him/her to do my work for me, is what he/she said. I snapped at him/her few times, telling him/her directly that "this is really ineffective communication and I haven't received any complaints from judge. I also don't plan on losing sleep over this clerkship and pushing myself to work like I would in big law." To be clear, there is no expectation to work crazy hours like there is for some clerkship; frankly, no other clerk in this chambers' history has been gunning this hard. This particular clerk allegedly does not sleep to get work done.

My confrontation has led him/her to tone down a bit but this situation is still insufferable (obsession over our judge has not stopped).

I am sick and tired of this said clerk and I dread going into work because of him/her. The other co-clerk also finds him/her "oppressive" and they have in fact had a bit more robust confrontation earlier in the year, which led to the problem clerk to cry, at which point, I consoled. But his/her rant has gotten out of control and I am so looking forward to him/her leaving this clerkship, as horrible as this sounds.

I really don't think talking to this person will solve the problem because it will only make the situation tense I think. What are some mental mantra to adopt to survive this without going crazy. It's also really demotivating.


Your co-clerk is just bizarre, and this is not normal. I think your options are pretty limited. You can ignore this person or fight with him/her. Nothing you can do to fix a personality like that. These are the type of people that interviews are supposed to weed out. :wink:

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby Quichelorraine » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:31 pm

Quichelorraine wrote:The JSP-14 question: will the Weinstein effect will ever reach the third rail of the judiciary?



Happened sooner than I thought...

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:09 pm

mjb447 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:My judge is respectful and isn't necessarily unreasonable, though she is really hands-off and expects clerks to pretty much get drafts to her that are ready to go out the door, with minimal input from her on how to rule or what to do if possible. In other words, the problem, however difficult, should be solved before it goes to her, for every single motion hearing, court trial, other type of issue (scheduling, admin, irrational atty request, etc.) Maybe most judges are like that, I just don't know. [. . .]

Anyway, my biggest problem is the volume of cases I have paired with the really shoddy work of some (actually a lot) of the attorneys working on my cases. I'd say about a third or more of the time, the briefs I get are crap and don't get at the actual issue in the case at all. I resent having to do all the research myself with no help even identifying what the hell is going on from the attorneys.

I think both of these are more common elements of the clerkship experience than people realize (certainly not universal, though).


I can echo that my experience is almost identical to this. The Judge expects drafts before every hearing, and the drafts are expected to be near finished products. The Judge will make suggestions after the hearing about things that can be cut/added, and then the decision is docketed. Judge does very little independent analysis of the issues, other than suggesting things that need to be researched (e.g., go find that state supreme court case that says X and cite it here, put in a section saying this). And the briefing is almost always shit...

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby jd20132013 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:43 pm

baffles me why even be a judge in that case
Guess it's just a sinecure to them

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:25 pm

jd20132013 wrote:baffles me why even be a judge in that case
Guess it's just a sinecure to them


Anon from above. Sinecure is [not] the right word. The Judge is extremely engaging in motions hearings and is substantially involved in sentencing. It's just the actual "drafting" of the orders that falls heavily on the clerk--the Judge isn't going to pull up Westlaw to make sure that the cases cited by the parties say what they say. Also, while the clerks do most of the drafting, the Judge does review all of the parties' briefings before hearings.

edited typo
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:41 pm

jd20132013 wrote:baffles me why even be a judge in that case
Guess it's just a sinecure to them


Speaking on behalf of my judge who does many of the same things (he trusts us clerks to handle the civil docket), he handles the entire criminal docket, which is much larger where we are than the civil docket. He also has hearings and sentencing most days. On top of that, while we're responsible for doing the research and drafting the civil orders, he reads everything we give him before signing off on it. It's certainly not a job where he doesn't work hard. And if we have a trial, he ends up working quite hard.

Frankly, he just trusts his clerks to do their jobs. If we ever have a question, we know we can go to him and ask him. But he doesn't feel the need to micromanage us. I'm glad he doesn't. He's got enough work. I don't want to gush about my judge in this thread. I'll just say that I am quite happy with the arrangement, and he's a great guy.

Why does a D. Ct. Judge need to be intimately involved in the process when the clerks are researching and drafting opinions? On the vast majority of opinions, you're just following precedent. And on the handful where you've got to make a call, I know my judge would be quite happy to discuss the issue before we decide what call to make.




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