Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

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."
Quichelorraine

New
Posts: 50
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:54 am

Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby Quichelorraine » Fri Sep 28, 2018 3:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I have. They basically just said they had the same and suffered through it.


And, of course, did not deign to tell you until after you had started.

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this. There's a school of thought that would say, "Get through the year; the benefits of survival outweigh the possible damage to your career of leaving early" (this assumes that the prestige of your current position carries some kind of bonus). But a year isn't nothing, and if the pressure never lets up, it can do actual damage to you. Our profession sometimes treats tyrannical, nasty bosses as if they are inevitable, or even as if they are character-building in some way--which is why, even before the sexual allegations came out, people treated Kozinski clerks as if they had demonstrated nerves of steel, as opposed to simply being willing to take a year of psychological abuse for a chance at a Kennedy clerkship.

Are you the sole clerk in chambers? Is it a big courthouse with other people around who can be a source of support (and who can back you up if things get too intense)? Have people quit before? If things don't change, do you think that it might lead to harm? These are all questions worth asking.

And fuck those prior clerks for not warning you. That's cold.

Anonymous User
Posts: 326583
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 28, 2018 4:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hey,

I found this thread because I'm looking for someone else going through my experience. My judge is completely abusive, I'm only a few weeks in, but he's been dumping more work on me than any human being can possibly do, he criticizes everything I do, often when the issues were his own mistakes. I've been staying up nights to get things done, I haven't seen my family since I started this job, and he knows this. I've done good work for him, I've never had my work put down before, and taking abuse all day without sleep or even a lunch break is impossible.

I've actually had some court staff come over to me and, of their own volition ask me how it's going and tell me that my judge can be gruff and demanding. Why the hell didn't the former clerks tell me this when I spoke them? Why the hell are these people allowed to do this and be considered a successful judge? I don't see how I can survive the year like this...


Had a similar situation. From what I've heard, prior law clerks had it easier, so I was never warned. I ended up quitting and really have no regrets.

It's just a balance of whether of if you need the job and the safety of it makes you happy versus if you'd be happier quitting.

Also, being a good manager/leader has entirely different skill sets than that of a Judge. I would guess most Judges would make terrible managers or corporate execs where they have to manage people.

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 755
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby QContinuum » Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hey,

I found this thread because I'm looking for someone else going through my experience. My judge is completely abusive, I'm only a few weeks in, but he's been dumping more work on me than any human being can possibly do, he criticizes everything I do, often when the issues were his own mistakes. I've been staying up nights to get things done, I haven't seen my family since I started this job, and he knows this. I've done good work for him, I've never had my work put down before, and taking abuse all day without sleep or even a lunch break is impossible.

I've actually had some court staff come over to me and, of their own volition ask me how it's going and tell me that my judge can be gruff and demanding. Why the hell didn't the former clerks tell me this when I spoke them? Why the hell are these people allowed to do this and be considered a successful judge? I don't see how I can survive the year like this...


I'm so sorry.

I'd recommend setting some boundaries. Gently, of course, but firmly. You need sleep to function. So for anything that isn't on an actual ("hard") deadline, if it's 2 AM or whatnot, just tell him you're going to hit the hay and that you'll be back at it first thing in the morning. You need to eat. So eat. Just be matter-of-fact about it - "Judge, I'm going to scarf down some food. I'll be quick!" Don't be rude, but don't frame it as asking for permission.

This is often an issue in the firm context as well. It's important to set boundaries for yourself; few seniors are going to proactively check in to make sure you're getting enough food/sleep to function. It's a skill.

Best wishes.

Anonymous User
Posts: 326583
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 06, 2018 2:33 pm

My judge is really nice and supportive, but there’s so much more work than was advertised it’s unbelievable. I set it up so I had an hour commute to save some money and I can barely get 6 hours of sleep a night with all the work I’m doing plus travel time. I’m more mad at the clerks that interviewed me than the judge because they totally lied. Ugh

User avatar
anon sequitur

Silver
Posts: 663
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:14 am

Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby anon sequitur » Sat Oct 06, 2018 10:38 pm

How far into it are you? I could manage my caseload in forty hours easily at the end of my clerkship, but first couple of months was more like 50-55. You will get a lot more efficient after awhile.

Anonymous User
Posts: 326583
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 06, 2018 11:49 pm

anon sequitur wrote:How far into it are you? I could manage my caseload in forty hours easily at the end of my clerkship, but first couple of months was more like 50-55. You will get a lot more efficient after awhile.


I hope that’s the issue. I’m about a month in.

Anonymous User
Posts: 326583
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 07, 2018 9:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
anon sequitur wrote:How far into it are you? I could manage my caseload in forty hours easily at the end of my clerkship, but first couple of months was more like 50-55. You will get a lot more efficient after awhile.


I hope that’s the issue. I’m about a month in.


Keep in mind that your chambers' docket might have also picked up right as you arrived. Some judges/career clerks really button up when this happens especially if they aren't used to trying to keep up and everyone reacts differently and poorly to the added stress and pressure. You'll see the same dynamic at a firm when things pick up after a lull.

User avatar
anon sequitur

Silver
Posts: 663
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:14 am

Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby anon sequitur » Sun Oct 07, 2018 10:58 pm

Oh, another thing I forgot, when is the CJRA deadline? End of October? Can't remember anymore, but this is a big deal in some chambers (and in others, not at all). It's only twice a year and may get easier after that deadline.

lavarman84

Platinum
Posts: 7719
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby lavarman84 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:01 am

anon sequitur wrote:Oh, another thing I forgot, when is the CJRA deadline? End of October? Can't remember anymore, but this is a big deal in some chambers (and in others, not at all). It's only twice a year and may get easier after that deadline.


End of September

Quichelorraine

New
Posts: 50
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:54 am

Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby Quichelorraine » Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:04 pm

The CJRA list can act as a hazing process for incoming law clerks, so there's a decent chance the workload will substantially decrease now that the list is behind you.


(And/or your judge may like beating the list, in which case: hunker down.)

User avatar
BulletTooth

Bronze
Posts: 145
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2017 1:24 pm

Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby BulletTooth » Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:13 pm

lavarman84 wrote:
anon sequitur wrote:Oh, another thing I forgot, when is the CJRA deadline? End of October? Can't remember anymore, but this is a big deal in some chambers (and in others, not at all). It's only twice a year and may get easier after that deadline.


End of September


End of September and end of March, so the Sept. deadline just passed. My judge cared about his/her report. Others judges in the courthouse had double digit motions and cases, so I got the sense that they didn't care much, if at all, about the CJRA.

Anonymous User
Posts: 326583
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Does anyone just *hate* their clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:38 am

In my SDNY chambers, the week or two before the CJRA reporting deadline was always crazy. But after all those motions were in, the pressure was off for a bit.



Return to “Judicial Clerkships?

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.