2019-20 Clerkship Application Thread

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Re: 2019-20 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:42 am

radio1nowhere wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
radio1nowhere wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
RSN wrote:Not at all too late if you're good with a little lower interest district. SDNY/DDC/N.D. Ill. etc. are pretty full but there are a good number of judges elsewhere that haven't opened yet. Take a look at OSCAR and get your recommenders together before school starts, start getting apps out in September.


Who is full on N.D. Ill.?


As of about a week and a half ago, no judge on N.D. Ill. had hired for 2019–2020. Even Feinerman is still open.

OP, I would say: You're not even close to too late — this is a little on the early side for many/most district judges, actually. According to my school's clerkship office as of a week or two ago, almost a third of district judges haven't even hired for 2018–2019 yet. That being said, the earlier you apply, the better!

FYI on Feinerman - heard from a recommender 3 weeks ago that he had already hired 2/3 and was looking for a specific type of candidate for the 3rd.

Ah gotcha, my statement that no one had "hired" was confusing; I meant that no one had completed all their hiring. Thanks for the Feinerman update!

no worries just wanted to let the world in on the info

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Re: 2019-20 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 14, 2017 1:34 am

Well below median at HLS with marked improvement (all ps -> 2H) spring semester (taking 18 hrs, too). I know it is better to produce results before I ask, but still I am curious: what are the probabilities of Dist clerking upon graduation if I submit after 2L (and I improve markedly, like all Hs)? And CoA?

Is there a thread here that tells rags-to-riches clerkship stories?

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Re: 2019-20 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:03 am

FWIW, my experience was that judges looked at/considered your entire GPA when hiring - they didn't have the artificial focus on 1L only that firms do. (Now, since it's clerking, it varies by judge - I'm sure there are judges out there who went to schools where 2L/3L are much easier and discount those grades, but I didn't run into that personally. Which is good since my law school imposed the same curve all 3 years.)

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Re: 2019-20 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:24 am

Anonymous User wrote:Well below median at HLS with marked improvement (all ps -> 2H) spring semester (taking 18 hrs, too). I know it is better to produce results before I ask, but still I am curious: what are the probabilities of Dist clerking upon graduation if I submit after 2L (and I improve markedly, like all Hs)? And CoA?

Is there a thread here that tells rags-to-riches clerkship stories?


This was pretty much exactly me! I had the same grades at HLS during 1L, then got almost all Hs during 2L. Got D. Ct. and COA, though not in the more competitive districts/circuits. I got D. Ct. without connections, and I think that would be well within reach for you if your grades improve and you apply broadly. I had connections to the COA judge and I got hired pretty quickly after I applied, so I'm not sure how competitive I was for COA more generally. I do think having the D. Ct. clerkship helped me on the COA search.

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Re: 2019-20 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Well below median at HLS with marked improvement (all ps -> 2H) spring semester (taking 18 hrs, too). I know it is better to produce results before I ask, but still I am curious: what are the probabilities of Dist clerking upon graduation if I submit after 2L (and I improve markedly, like all Hs)? And CoA?

Is there a thread here that tells rags-to-riches clerkship stories?


This was pretty much exactly me! I had the same grades at HLS during 1L, then got almost all Hs during 2L. Got D. Ct. and COA, though not in the more competitive districts/circuits. I got D. Ct. without connections, and I think that would be well within reach for you if your grades improve and you apply broadly. I had connections to the COA judge and I got hired pretty quickly after I applied, so I'm not sure how competitive I was for COA more generally. I do think having the D. Ct. clerkship helped me on the COA search.


In my SDNY/DDC/EDNY/NDCA district court chambers, we had at least one HLS grad, and we probably would've tossed your application unless you had several other things going for you and had 2.5-3 years of grades with the last 3-4 semesters of all or virtually all H's or DS's. But that's because my judge was grade conscious relative to many others in the courthouse, and the judge relied on us to be relatively grade-snobby on his/her behalf. You will find other chambers in the SDNY/DDC/EDNY/NDCA range with less stringent grade standards. And you will find chambers without HLS clerks who don't really know how to make heads or tails of the grading system. Still, if you are committed to clerking on a competitive district court straight out of law school, you need to really get those grades up and apply widely.

If you do get a district court clerkship, it becomes much easier to secure a CoA clerkship.

All in all, don't give up.

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Re: 2019-20 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Well below median at HLS with marked improvement (all ps -> 2H) spring semester (taking 18 hrs, too). I know it is better to produce results before I ask, but still I am curious: what are the probabilities of Dist clerking upon graduation if I submit after 2L (and I improve markedly, like all Hs)? And CoA?

Is there a thread here that tells rags-to-riches clerkship stories?


This was pretty much exactly me! I had the same grades at HLS during 1L, then got almost all Hs during 2L. Got D. Ct. and COA, though not in the more competitive districts/circuits. I got D. Ct. without connections, and I think that would be well within reach for you if your grades improve and you apply broadly. I had connections to the COA judge and I got hired pretty quickly after I applied, so I'm not sure how competitive I was for COA more generally. I do think having the D. Ct. clerkship helped me on the COA search.

Guess I'll add another data point re: grades improvement. Below median CCN first semester, brought way up second semester and maintained. Got non-feeder SDNY and COA, but it took until I had three years of grades. Before that didn't get much interest.

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Re: 2019-20 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Well below median at HLS with marked improvement (all ps -> 2H) spring semester (taking 18 hrs, too). I know it is better to produce results before I ask, but still I am curious: what are the probabilities of Dist clerking upon graduation if I submit after 2L (and I improve markedly, like all Hs)? And CoA?

Is there a thread here that tells rags-to-riches clerkship stories?


This was pretty much exactly me! I had the same grades at HLS during 1L, then got almost all Hs during 2L. Got D. Ct. and COA, though not in the more competitive districts/circuits. I got D. Ct. without connections, and I think that would be well within reach for you if your grades improve and you apply broadly. I had connections to the COA judge and I got hired pretty quickly after I applied, so I'm not sure how competitive I was for COA more generally. I do think having the D. Ct. clerkship helped me on the COA search.


In my SDNY/DDC/EDNY/NDCA district court chambers, we had at least one HLS grad, and we probably would've tossed your application unless you had several other things going for you and had 2.5-3 years of grades with the last 3-4 semesters of all or virtually all H's or DS's. But that's because my judge was grade conscious relative to many others in the courthouse, and the judge relied on us to be relatively grade-snobby on his/her behalf. You will find other chambers in the SDNY/DDC/EDNY/NDCA range with less stringent grade standards. And you will find chambers without HLS clerks who don't really know how to make heads or tails of the grading system. Still, if you are committed to clerking on a competitive district court straight out of law school, you need to really get those grades up and apply widely.

If you do get a district court clerkship, it becomes much easier to secure a CoA clerkship.

All in all, don't give up.


The general message is right (focus on grades and apply broadly), but the evaluation of OP's chances of clerking only in a competitive district is bizarre. Nothing in OP's post suggests that (s)he will limit the search to ultra-competitive districts. Plenty of judges in less-competitive major markets (e.g., NDTX, SDTX, EDNC, NDGA) will hire an HLS grad with mediocre grades, and that's to say nothing about smaller markets.

Source: HLS grad with similarly mediocre grades who got several interviews in, and clerks in, one of the above districts.

A couple more concrete tips: OP, you should work your connections (professors who know judges, 1L employer connections, etc). Also, cold-email former HLS clerks for "informational interviews" and incorporate their info into your cover letter if possible.

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Re: 2019-20 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Also, cold-email former HLS clerks for "informational interviews" and incorporate their info into your cover letter if possible.

Doing this pre-cover letter seems a little daunting, assuming that OP is going to apply to a lot of judges. But it could definitely be doable if OP's judge list isn't that long or if OP has a smaller group of "preferred" judges on a larger list. Either way (maybe this goes without saying), former-clerk "informational interviews" are SUPER helpful for interview prep -- I'm pretty convinced I got my COA clerkship largely on the strength of info gleaned from a bunch of former clerks and incorporated into my interview.

(Side thought on that last point: I imagine former clerks might be more willing to share helpful info once they know their judge is already interested, e.g., once you already have an interview scheduled. But I assume quoted anon had success with cold-emailing pre-cover letter, so I defer on that one.)

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Re: 2019-20 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Any news on Hurwitz (CA9) movement?

Hurwitz is full for 19-20.

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Re: 2019-20 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:40 pm

Pretty discouraged over here.... not a peep from anyone. 2 years BL and D.Ct. clerkship, would think someone would bite. Applied to all circuits.

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Re: 2019-20 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby SomeElleWoodsJoke » Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
radio1nowhere wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
RSN wrote:Not at all too late if you're good with a little lower interest district. SDNY/DDC/N.D. Ill. etc. are pretty full but there are a good number of judges elsewhere that haven't opened yet. Take a look at OSCAR and get your recommenders together before school starts, start getting apps out in September.


Who is full on N.D. Ill.?


As of about a week and a half ago, no judge on N.D. Ill. had hired for 2019–2020. Even Feinerman is still open.

OP, I would say: You're not even close to too late — this is a little on the early side for many/most district judges, actually. According to my school's clerkship office as of a week or two ago, almost a third of district judges haven't even hired for 2018–2019 yet. That being said, the earlier you apply, the better!

FYI on Feinerman - heard from a recommender 3 weeks ago that he had already hired 2/3 and was looking for a specific type of candidate for the 3rd.



Can we get any hints on what type this is? Diversity, work experience, clerk experience?

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Re: 2019-20 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:38 pm

SomeElleWoodsJoke wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
radio1nowhere wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
RSN wrote:Not at all too late if you're good with a little lower interest district. SDNY/DDC/N.D. Ill. etc. are pretty full but there are a good number of judges elsewhere that haven't opened yet. Take a look at OSCAR and get your recommenders together before school starts, start getting apps out in September.


Who is full on N.D. Ill.?


As of about a week and a half ago, no judge on N.D. Ill. had hired for 2019–2020. Even Feinerman is still open.

OP, I would say: You're not even close to too late — this is a little on the early side for many/most district judges, actually. According to my school's clerkship office as of a week or two ago, almost a third of district judges haven't even hired for 2018–2019 yet. That being said, the earlier you apply, the better!

FYI on Feinerman - heard from a recommender 3 weeks ago that he had already hired 2/3 and was looking for a specific type of candidate for the 3rd.



Can we get any hints on what type this is? Diversity, work experience, clerk experience?


Not sure what this anon means, but I can guess, since I interviewed with him (did not get an offer). He told me that he likes one of his clerks to have work or clerkship experience. I'm guessing that means feeder circuit clerkship experience, based on his recent hires.

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Re: 2019-20 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby SomeElleWoodsJoke » Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
SomeElleWoodsJoke wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
radio1nowhere wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
RSN wrote:Not at all too late if you're good with a little lower interest district. SDNY/DDC/N.D. Ill. etc. are pretty full but there are a good number of judges elsewhere that haven't opened yet. Take a look at OSCAR and get your recommenders together before school starts, start getting apps out in September.


Who is full on N.D. Ill.?


As of about a week and a half ago, no judge on N.D. Ill. had hired for 2019–2020. Even Feinerman is still open.

OP, I would say: You're not even close to too late — this is a little on the early side for many/most district judges, actually. According to my school's clerkship office as of a week or two ago, almost a third of district judges haven't even hired for 2018–2019 yet. That being said, the earlier you apply, the better!

FYI on Feinerman - heard from a recommender 3 weeks ago that he had already hired 2/3 and was looking for a specific type of candidate for the 3rd.



Can we get any hints on what type this is? Diversity, work experience, clerk experience?


Not sure what this anon means, but I can guess, since I interviewed with him (did not get an offer). He told me that he likes one of his clerks to have work or clerkship experience. I'm guessing that means feeder circuit clerkship experience, based on his recent hires.


Thanks, makes sense.

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Re: 2019-20 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:32 pm

SomeElleWoodsJoke wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
SomeElleWoodsJoke wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
radio1nowhere wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
RSN wrote:Not at all too late if you're good with a little lower interest district. SDNY/DDC/N.D. Ill. etc. are pretty full but there are a good number of judges elsewhere that haven't opened yet. Take a look at OSCAR and get your recommenders together before school starts, start getting apps out in September.


Who is full on N.D. Ill.?


As of about a week and a half ago, no judge on N.D. Ill. had hired for 2019–2020. Even Feinerman is still open.

OP, I would say: You're not even close to too late — this is a little on the early side for many/most district judges, actually. According to my school's clerkship office as of a week or two ago, almost a third of district judges haven't even hired for 2018–2019 yet. That being said, the earlier you apply, the better!

FYI on Feinerman - heard from a recommender 3 weeks ago that he had already hired 2/3 and was looking for a specific type of candidate for the 3rd.



Can we get any hints on what type this is? Diversity, work experience, clerk experience?


Not sure what this anon means, but I can guess, since I interviewed with him (did not get an offer). He told me that he likes one of his clerks to have work or clerkship experience. I'm guessing that means feeder circuit clerkship experience, based on his recent hires.


Thanks, makes sense.

IDK if I can say, don't want to out my recommender, but it was not work experience. Diversity is closer.

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Re: 2019-20 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby OutoftheWoods » Wed Aug 23, 2017 5:01 pm

Applying to District clerkships in the 9th circuit and 2nd circuit areas.. when is a good time to send out apps to all judges I'd consider clerking for? My school is pushing me to mail the apps all at once, even if there's not an open position on oscar (obviously not the full ones though). I really intended on sending them out in waves in line with oscar as to make my app not get lost but... they are paying and it would be insanely expensive/time consuming to mail them out on my own.

They are willing to send them out in waves as I want, but they "need" to merge it all at once so the dates will remain the same. So unless it's not weird to have a cover letter be dated potentially from months ago, I don't see that as a viable option.

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Re: 2019-20 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:53 pm

Dumb question: when a judge specifies that in the cover letter you should address why you want to work for him specifically, how is this done? (Maybe this is a common thing, but I've only sent out maybe 15 -20 apps and this is the first judge I've seen to make this request)

I just added a couple of lines to my existing template letter expressing admiration for his many years of public service and support of the less powerful in a district that tends to favor corporate interests. Too little? Too much? Should I go into detail? Not sure how to toe the line between proper deference and outright fawning.

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Re: 2019-20 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby radio1nowhere » Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Dumb question: when a judge specifies that in the cover letter you should address why you want to work for him specifically, how is this done? (Maybe this is a common thing, but I've only sent out maybe 15 -20 apps and this is the first judge I've seen to make this request)

I just added a couple of lines to my existing template letter expressing admiration for his many years of public service and support of the less powerful in a district that tends to favor corporate interests. Too little? Too much? Should I go into detail? Not sure how to toe the line between proper deference and outright fawning.

No easy answer here I think. The public service thing sounds like it could apply to a lot of judges, so maybe not specific enough? The "little guy" thing is fine as long as you think the judge would agree that the district "tends to favor corporate interests" instead of taking it as a slight against the district. Geographic connections would be helpful to highlight, if you have any. Even if you don't have geographic connections, you could talk about how you'd like to practice in the region the judge sits in (only if this is true, of course).

I would consider reaching out to any of the judge's former clerks from your school to see if they have time for a quick chat. If you ask them about what it's like clerking for the judge, what the judge's interests are, etc., you might be able to glean some things to put in the cover letter. Normally this is something that you'd do for interview prep, not cover letters, but if you don't know what to write maybe it's worth a shot.

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Re: 2019-20 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby lolwat » Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:50 pm

radio1nowhere wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Dumb question: when a judge specifies that in the cover letter you should address why you want to work for him specifically, how is this done? (Maybe this is a common thing, but I've only sent out maybe 15 -20 apps and this is the first judge I've seen to make this request)

I just added a couple of lines to my existing template letter expressing admiration for his many years of public service and support of the less powerful in a district that tends to favor corporate interests. Too little? Too much? Should I go into detail? Not sure how to toe the line between proper deference and outright fawning.

No easy answer here I think. The public service thing sounds like it could apply to a lot of judges, so maybe not specific enough? The "little guy" thing is fine as long as you think the judge would agree that the district "tends to favor corporate interests" instead of taking it as a slight against the district. Geographic connections would be helpful to highlight, if you have any. Even if you don't have geographic connections, you could talk about how you'd like to practice in the region the judge sits in (only if this is true, of course).

I would consider reaching out to any of the judge's former clerks from your school to see if they have time for a quick chat. If you ask them about what it's like clerking for the judge, what the judge's interests are, etc., you might be able to glean some things to put in the cover letter. Normally this is something that you'd do for interview prep, not cover letters, but if you don't know what to write maybe it's worth a shot.


I agree. Some connection to the judge is great, but just knowing something about the judge/what they've done before/etc. would probably be just as helpful. I have no evidence (which is why contacting former clerks is so helpful), but tend to think judges who ask for this often do because they don't want to just be another mail-merge judge you applied to, but want to see that you put in some effort in your application to them specifically.

I mean, hell, if you happen to really connect with a former clerk, maybe you could even ask if you could/if it would help/whatever to put a line saying you've spoken with former clerk xxx blah blah. Things you normally wouldn't do but who knows.

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Re: 2019-20 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby mjb447 » Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:35 pm

lolwat wrote:I have no evidence (which is why contacting former clerks is so helpful), but tend to think judges who ask for this often do because they don't want to just be another mail-merge judge you applied to, but want to see that you put in some effort in your application to them specifically.

This is almost certainly true. Judges know that, for a lot of applicants, this is a numbers game where you apply to dozens or hundreds of positions, and lots of them don't like that idea (or at least welcome the chance to be able to differentiate the applicants who have a special reason for applying).

OP, you can try to mentioning some of the things radio1 mentioned - geographic connections are particularly useful to highlight if they exist, particularly if they're not obvious from your resume. I agree that "public service" is pretty broad and you may want to pick out something more specific in their background, and "support of the less powerful" could risk reading as either "other judges in the district are biased" or "you are biased, although I approve." (Not judge specific, but if the jurisdiction does a lot of a certain kind of case in an area that you're interested in you may want to note that as a reason for applying.)

All that said, you're asking for advice about a topic that is inherently supposed to be specific and personal, so you're not likely to get a huge amount of help from internet strangers.

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Re: 2019-20 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:33 pm

Thanks for the replies! Agree that the first part of my comment was too broad, and the second was a bit of a minefield. I'll see if I can find any former clerks to interrogate. Wish I was better at this. I'm a bit under his suggested GPA cutoff, so any mistakes I can avoid will certainly help.

(Actually just found that one of his current clerks is a recent grad from my school, so it's an even better suggestion than I originally thought!)

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Re: 2019-20 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby radio1nowhere » Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:22 am

Anonymous User wrote:(Actually just found that one of his current clerks is a recent grad from my school, so it's an even better suggestion than I originally thought!)

Not sure if you intended this to mean that you're thinking about reaching out to the current clerk, but just in case — in my experience, reaching out to past clerks about the job is kosher, but reaching out to current clerks is viewed as unprofessional since they're usually involved in the hiring process. They don't want to give some applicants inside info about the job to the disadvantage of others, and you don't want to be perceived as trying to score inside info from the very people who are going to be evaluating you. I would only contact past clerks.

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Re: 2019-20 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby GoneSouth » Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:56 pm

OutoftheWoods wrote:Applying to District clerkships in the 9th circuit and 2nd circuit areas.. when is a good time to send out apps to all judges I'd consider clerking for? My school is pushing me to mail the apps all at once, even if there's not an open position on oscar (obviously not the full ones though). I really intended on sending them out in waves in line with oscar as to make my app not get lost but... they are paying and it would be insanely expensive/time consuming to mail them out on my own.

They are willing to send them out in waves as I want, but they "need" to merge it all at once so the dates will remain the same. So unless it's not weird to have a cover letter be dated potentially from months ago, I don't see that as a viable option.


Two separate issues here:

1. Waiting for OSCAR isn't a great idea. The COA judge who hired me had hired 3/4 clerks before the OSCAR post went up (and my application was sent in before it too). That said, if you somehow have actual information on when specific judges are/are not hiring, waiting until they're hiring could be a good idea.

2. Can you offer to just do the merging yourself and send your clerkship office the cover letters with the appropriate dates when you want them to be sent? Doing a mail merge is not that hard.

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Re: 2019-20 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:41 pm

Is it necessary to list references on your clerkship resume? Because we already have recommenders, I am thinking it would just eat up space.

Thanks!!!

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Re: 2019-20 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:30 pm

Current 2L here. I haven't applied yet; is it too late if I wanted '19-20?

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Re: 2019-20 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby mjb447 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Is it necessary to list references on your clerkship resume? Because we already have recommenders, I am thinking it would just eat up space.

Thanks!!!

You can generally omit references unless asked for (in addition to letters). For judges who ask for them, you can put them on a separate page if you're concerned about space.




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