How hard is the job hunt after a district court 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."
Anonymous User
Posts: 325891
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

How hard is the job hunt after a district court clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 05, 2016 9:14 am

Would location matter as long as you have the correct bar passage? Ex: Clerkship from North Dakota with an IL bar passage planning to practice in Chicago, or a clerkship in West Virginia with a CA bar passage planning to practice in Los Angeles?

Thank you.

Hutz_and_Goodman

Gold
Posts: 1554
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:42 am

Re: How hard is the job hunt after a district court clerkship?

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Fri Aug 05, 2016 9:49 am

Firms are more interested in federal clerks who are nearby (N.D. Ill.) for Chicago, and often would prefer state appellate clerks in the state (Ex. Court of Appeals of NC for Charlotte) over federal district clerkships that are out of the state (D. Wyoming for Los Angeles).

timmyd

Bronze
Posts: 370
Joined: Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:50 pm

Re: How hard is the job hunt after a district court clerkship?

Postby timmyd » Fri Aug 05, 2016 10:02 am

I would say the above is patently false. In some states, and to some firms, a ssc clerkship might trump a d.c. But it no universe is a state intermediate court going to trump a federal clerkship pretty much anywhere. A quick scan of big firms recruiting pages will confirm this--I have yet to see one asking for applications from state intermediate courts. I mean, I guess its possible some small firm in the middle of nowhere might value it more. But even then I doubt it.

Anonymous User
Posts: 325891
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How hard is the job hunt after a district court clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 05, 2016 11:11 am

timmyd wrote:I would say the above is patently false. In some states, and to some firms, a ssc clerkship might trump a d.c. But it no universe is a state intermediate court going to trump a federal clerkship pretty much anywhere. A quick scan of big firms recruiting pages will confirm this--I have yet to see one asking for applications from state intermediate courts. I mean, I guess its possible some small firm in the middle of nowhere might value it more. But even then I doubt it.


Seconded. Maybe it's just the fact that my experience is with larger firms in major markets, but I have literally never heard that a state intermediate appellate clerkship would be preferred over a federal D. Ct. clerkship...no matter how far-flung the federal clerkship.

Hutz_and_Goodman

Gold
Posts: 1554
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:42 am

Re: How hard is the job hunt after a district court clerkship?

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Fri Aug 05, 2016 11:31 am

I don't think it's controversial that a firm would prefer a federal clerkship in the same state over one from another state (with the exception that obviously any firm in any state would be impressed by S.D.N.Y. or other major districts)

There are a lot of big law firms where in a regional office almost there are no people with federal clerkships out of region, and there are multiple attorneys with state court appellate clerkships. I have never been on a hiring committee but my guess is that for a big law office Chicago if candidate A has a Supreme Court of Illinois clerkship and candidate B has a D. Utah clerkship, with all else being the same my guess is that candidate A would be stronger--but maybe I'm wrong.

Anonymous User
Posts: 325891
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How hard is the job hunt after a district court clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 05, 2016 12:09 pm

Yeah, but that's not the relevant comparison - it's whether the Chicago firm would prefer someone with a D. Utah clerkship or a clerkship from the Illinois Court of Appeals. I work at a Chicago-based biglaw firm and we would value the former much more highly.

For biglaw, I would say that the hierarchy is:

(1) Clerkship in major market where the firm practices;
(2) Clerkship in fancy, prestigious district;
(3) Clerkship in a less prestigious district that is in the same state/circuit (e.g., for a Chicago firm, a district court clerkship in C.D. Ill/S.D. Ill., Wisconsin, or Indiana);
(4) Random district court clerkship;
(5) State court clerkship.

User avatar
Rowinguy2009

Bronze
Posts: 363
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2009 7:37 pm

Re: How hard is the job hunt after a district court clerkship?

Postby Rowinguy2009 » Fri Aug 05, 2016 12:27 pm

I think the above hierarchy is spot on, but I also think that other factors (how well you interview, law school, other ties to market, law school awards/activities, etc.) are usually more important than this hierarchy.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse

Diamond
Posts: 29312
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: How hard is the job hunt after a district court clerkship?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Aug 05, 2016 1:16 pm

I think the relative value of a random (for lack of a better word) federal clerkship over a local state clerkship depends somewhat on the nature of the firm - it's going to sound simplistic, but if most of the firm's work is in federal court they'll value federal wherever over any state. If their work is primarily in state courts that might differ a little. (Not sure the latter would count as a biglaw firm, but as someone most familiar with small markets with little biglaw I thought I'd throw it out there.) But I think having a lot of state clerks but no federal clerks is more about who's applying to that firm, rather than that the firm is preferring state clerks.

As to the original question - it will depend on what you want to do and what your qualifications are. There are anecdotes here of people who got "miracle" clerkships who had a hard time finding post-clerkship jobs - they didn't have the standard qualifications for biglaw before the clerkship and the clerkship didn't magically transform them into a great biglaw candidate. Other people have an easy time finding a job. If you want certain kinds of government jobs (like AUSA) a clerkship is becoming almost expected. Some judges are more proactive than others in helping their clerks find jobs.

Personally I think clerking is worth it and it helped me get my current job, and I don't think anyone is worse off doing a clerkship (except maybe someone going into hardcore transactional work who is never ever setting foot in a courtroom; people here debate this one). It may not be a magic bullet to cure all your job ills.

Anonymous User
Posts: 325891
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How hard is the job hunt after a district court clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 05, 2016 1:49 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think the relative value of a random (for lack of a better word) federal clerkship over a local state clerkship depends somewhat on the nature of the firm - it's going to sound simplistic, but if most of the firm's work is in federal court they'll value federal wherever over any state. If their work is primarily in state courts that might differ a little. (Not sure the latter would count as a biglaw firm, but as someone most familiar with small markets with little biglaw I thought I'd throw it out there.) But I think having a lot of state clerks but no federal clerks is more about who's applying to that firm, rather than that the firm is preferring state clerks.

As to the original question - it will depend on what you want to do and what your qualifications are. There are anecdotes here of people who got "miracle" clerkships who had a hard time finding post-clerkship jobs - they didn't have the standard qualifications for biglaw before the clerkship and the clerkship didn't magically transform them into a great biglaw candidate. Other people have an easy time finding a job. If you want certain kinds of government jobs (like AUSA) a clerkship is becoming almost expected. Some judges are more proactive than others in helping their clerks find jobs.

Personally I think clerking is worth it and it helped me get my current job, and I don't think anyone is worse off doing a clerkship (except maybe someone going into hardcore transactional work who is never ever setting foot in a courtroom; people here debate this one). It may not be a magic bullet to cure all your job ills.


OP here. I'm coming from biglaw, though clerkships in my market are hard to come by. I have a better chance in a nearby state, but I wonder if that would hurt my chances later on in my career.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse

Diamond
Posts: 29312
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: How hard is the job hunt after a district court clerkship?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Aug 05, 2016 1:58 pm

Doing a clerkship the next state over rather than in your current state isn't going to hurt you, no.

Anonymous User
Posts: 325891
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How hard is the job hunt after a district court clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 05, 2016 7:04 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote: As to the original question - it will depend on what you want to do and what your qualifications are. There are anecdotes here of people who got "miracle" clerkships who had a hard time finding post-clerkship jobs - they didn't have the standard qualifications for biglaw before the clerkship and the clerkship didn't magically transform them into a great biglaw candidate.


I'll throw in my two cents and qualify this - I think these scenarios are more limited to those who went directly from law school to a fed. clerkship or from clerking at the state->fed. level and didn't have the standard big law qualifications (top grades, law review and/or moot court, etc.) to jump into biglaw otherwise. Yes, the absolute top firms might still not give you an interview/offer, but there are other competitive firms that will esp. if you have a year or two of work (even small law) mingled with the clerkship(s). The more experience you generate, the relatively less a mediocre/poor law school performance might matter since you have proven bench markers that show you most likely will be able to handle the work (passed the bar, worked for one or multiple judges who more often than not are just as, if not more, demanding than partners, worked with other attorneys practicing real law) and deal with the workplace dynamics.



Return to “Judicial Clerkships�

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.