Question about Feeder Judge Clerkships

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Question about Feeder Judge Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 26, 2016 1:54 pm

Just curious, what students are typically competitive to acquire feeder judge clerkships? Does having worked at a district court clerkship help or affect your chances at all?

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Re: Question about Feeder Judge Clerkships

Postby ph14 » Sun Jun 26, 2016 3:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Just curious, what students are typically competitive to acquire feeder judge clerkships? Does having worked at a district court clerkship help or affect your chances at all?


Well, it depends how you define "feeder judge." But if you want to say it is the 10 judges that clerks most frequently to the Supreme Court, then as a very rough approximation you can imagine the top 40 law students or so in the country. As far as a district court clerkship, I don't think it matters for most feeders but obviously this is judge specific. Judge Katzmann and Judge Tatel, feeders by any definition of the term, seem to strongly prefer those with a district court clerkship lined up (or hire in tandem with a district court judge, in the case of Judge Katzmann).

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Re: Question about Feeder Judge Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 26, 2016 3:55 pm

So by top 40 law students, what does that necessarily entail? Would a top student at MVB be within that? Or more like the top students at HYS?

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Re: Question about Feeder Judge Clerkships

Postby ph14 » Sun Jun 26, 2016 3:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So by top 40 law students, what does that necessarily entail? Would a top student at MVB be within that? Or more like the top students at HYS?


Go browse law firms' associate biographies. Top MVBP students, along with top HYS students (among others) get clerkships with feeder judges.

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Re: Question about Feeder Judge Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 26, 2016 4:08 pm

Top 10% at HYS with LR and top 5% at the rest of the T14 with LR and top 2-3 people with LR or LR EICs at tier one schools are competitive for feeder clerkships. Competitive is far from a guarantee, though--it just means you'll be seriously considered by at least several feeder judges. There are probably a handful of people with exceptional backgrounds without those stats who are also competitive. I'd say probably 1/3 of competitive applicants who apply in the consideration window and target feeder judges hard will ultimately get an interview with at least one feeder judge.

To have a good chance (>50/50) you probably need to be in the top 5% at HYS and the top couple people at the rest of the T14 and have some interesting hook.

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Re: Question about Feeder Judge Clerkships

Postby lavarman84 » Sun Jun 26, 2016 4:22 pm

ph14 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Just curious, what students are typically competitive to acquire feeder judge clerkships? Does having worked at a district court clerkship help or affect your chances at all?


Well, it depends how you define "feeder judge." But if you want to say it is the 10 judges that clerks most frequently to the Supreme Court, then as a very rough approximation you can imagine the top 40 law students or so in the country. As far as a district court clerkship, I don't think it matters for most feeders but obviously this is judge specific. Judge Katzmann and Judge Tatel, feeders by any definition of the term, seem to strongly prefer those with a district court clerkship lined up (or hire in tandem with a district court judge, in the case of Judge Katzmann).


I've always wondered how the Rakoff/Katzmann clerkship works? Do the clerks split their time?

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Re: Question about Feeder Judge Clerkships

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Jun 26, 2016 4:26 pm

Isn't it just sequential - first they do the district court, then the COA?

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Re: Question about Feeder Judge Clerkships

Postby lavarman84 » Sun Jun 26, 2016 4:30 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Isn't it just sequential - first they do the district court, then the COA?


So they're signing up for 2 years of clerkships?

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Re: Question about Feeder Judge Clerkships

Postby ph14 » Sun Jun 26, 2016 4:38 pm

lawman84 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Isn't it just sequential - first they do the district court, then the COA?


So they're signing up for 2 years of clerkships?


Yeah, it's sequential. Yeah, they're signing up for 2 years of clerkships.

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Re: Question about Feeder Judge Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 26, 2016 6:49 pm

I found that the district court clerkship made me more competitive overall. First, the experience is considered valuable. Also, it shows that you've been accepted to the club/ on a quick scan of your app its a reason to pull it aside. And finally, for the feeder judge especially, it gives you time to burnish your credentials through 2L: get published, do an RA, build better extras, write a better writing sample, develop better reccs, prove yourself in more difficult 2L classes like federal jurisdiction, etc.

All that being said, I wouldn't have gotten a feeder clerkship without the personal attributes that made me stand out. But without the extras, I probably would have gotten a clerkship although not a feeder clerkship.

As for my feeder judge, it seemed like the clerks cared more about the district court clerkship then the Judge did. The Judge was focused on fit and from comments the Judge made during the interview, I don't think he even noticed I had a district court clerkship lined up.

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Re: Question about Feeder Judge Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 04, 2016 3:21 pm

Top few people at lower T14 or top 5% at HYS usually. (Top 10% at Harvard won't cut it no matter how much LR you do probably -- you can't get beat out by 40 students in just your class and still get a feeder judge).

Professor connections matter a ton also. For example at Yale all the grades are candyland grades so nobody really knows who is the top person. Judges thus rely on references from known professors to tell them who to hire.

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Re: Question about Feeder Judge Clerkships

Postby lawlorbust » Mon Jul 04, 2016 3:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Top few people at lower T14 or top 5% at HYS usually. (Top 10% at Harvard won't cut it no matter how much LR you do probably -- you can't get beat out by 40 students in just your class and still get a feeder judge).

Professor connections matter a ton also. For example at Yale all the grades are candyland grades so nobody really knows who is the top person. Judges thus rely on references from known professors to tell them who to hire.


I'm not sure whether you go to H, but say you apply after 1L; the difference between "top 10%" and "top 5%" is 1H, maybe 2H tops.

It's crazy and probably flat-out false to suggest that the judge reviewing your application (or really his clerks) is going to toss an application that is just "top 10%," i.e. on the basis of being a H short of "top 5%", especially when you go to a school where that are many, many possible non-grade feathers in a cap, e.g.,: 1) law review, 2) strong prof connection, 3) ideological signaling, 4) exceptional work experience, etc.

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Re: Question about Feeder Judge Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 04, 2016 8:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Just curious, what students are typically competitive to acquire feeder judge clerkships? Does having worked at a district court clerkship help or affect your chances at all?


In my experience, for normal people at HYS, you need top 5% PLUS professor connections. Either/or won't cut it. Law Review doesn't seem to matter since most feeders hire before LR results come out anyways. For the conservative feeders, at least, strong signaling of one's ideological preferences also helps a ton.

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Re: Question about Feeder Judge Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 05, 2016 11:50 am

lawlorbust wrote:I'm not sure whether you go to H, but say you apply after 1L; the difference between "top 10%" and "top 5%" is 1H, maybe 2H tops.

It's crazy and probably flat-out false to suggest that the judge reviewing your application (or really his clerks) is going to toss an application that is just "top 10%," i.e. on the basis of being a H short of "top 5%", especially when you go to a school where that are many, many possible non-grade feathers in a cap, e.g.,: 1) law review, 2) strong prof connection, 3) ideological signaling, 4) exceptional work experience, etc.


This is wrong with respect to my judge. The judge has a hard cutoff for the number of Ps on a transcript. Any more than that number and the application does get tossed.

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Re: Question about Feeder Judge Clerkships

Postby rpupkin » Wed Jul 06, 2016 1:46 am

lawlorbust wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Top few people at lower T14 or top 5% at HYS usually. (Top 10% at Harvard won't cut it no matter how much LR you do probably -- you can't get beat out by 40 students in just your class and still get a feeder judge).

Professor connections matter a ton also. For example at Yale all the grades are candyland grades so nobody really knows who is the top person. Judges thus rely on references from known professors to tell them who to hire.


I'm not sure whether you go to H, but say you apply after 1L; the difference between "top 10%" and "top 5%" is 1H, maybe 2H tops.

It's crazy and probably flat-out false to suggest that the judge reviewing your application (or really his clerks) is going to toss an application that is just "top 10%," i.e. on the basis of being a H short of "top 5%"

LOL. This is precisely what the majority of feeders do. tbf, some of those feeders strike me as actually crazy, so maybe that explains your confusion.

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Re: Question about Feeder Judge Clerkships

Postby lawlorbust » Wed Jul 13, 2016 11:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
lawlorbust wrote:I'm not sure whether you go to H, but say you apply after 1L; the difference between "top 10%" and "top 5%" is 1H, maybe 2H tops.

It's crazy and probably flat-out false to suggest that the judge reviewing your application (or really his clerks) is going to toss an application that is just "top 10%," i.e. on the basis of being a H short of "top 5%", especially when you go to a school where that are many, many possible non-grade feathers in a cap, e.g.,: 1) law review, 2) strong prof connection, 3) ideological signaling, 4) exceptional work experience, etc.


This is wrong with respect to my judge. The judge has a hard cutoff for the number of Ps on a transcript. Any more than that number and the application does get tossed.


Top 10% at HLS after 1L is what, conservatively 8Hs? Unless your judge's "cutoff" is 1 (and tbf I'm sure that is the case for some judges), I don't see how your statement contradicts mine.



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