Move clerkship term?

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Move clerkship term?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:15 pm

I accepted a clerkship with a judge I very much want to work for for 17-18. However, a (former) feeder contacted me for an interview for 17-18 as well. I have an 18-19 clerkship already. Would it be completely out of line to ask my judge if I could clerk for him for 19-20 instead?

AdamDeMamp

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Re: Move clerkship term?

Postby AdamDeMamp » Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:22 pm

Maybe if it was for just a normal federal judge it'd be a problem, but I'm sure if you explain to the judge you already accepted with that a former feeder offered you an interview for the same term that'd be fine

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Re: Move clerkship term?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:58 pm

I don't think my question merited a sarcastic response. I've heard of people requesting different terms before, I just wanted to get a sense of if it's inappropriate here even if I'm 100% committed to working for my Judge (just possibly a different term).

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Move clerkship term?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Sep 06, 2016 4:04 pm

I think it would make more sense to ask the former feeder if you could clerk for them in 19-20 (also why did you still have applications out if you accepted a clerkship for that term?).

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mjb447

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Re: Move clerkship term?

Postby mjb447 » Tue Sep 06, 2016 4:05 pm

Maybe not "completely out of line," but risky. A lot of the best available talent for 2017-18 is already spoken for; if you ask to move your term now, you'll be making life a little more difficult for a judge that you very much want to work for and who has already bet on you, so to speak. You'll also be leaving a first (near-first?) impression that you're not very reliable.

Some judges might be completely okay with this, but I think more would view it negatively, and some might rescind your offer. (If there's anyone from your school or in your circle who knows the judge and could talk to you candidly about which camp the judge is likely to be in, that might be helpful.)

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rpupkin

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Re: Move clerkship term?

Postby rpupkin » Tue Sep 06, 2016 4:06 pm

To answer your question: given the norms of judicial hiring, yes, it would generally be considered out of line to ask your judge to shift you to another term after hiring for that term is complete. However, some judges wouldn't mind the request. Consider checking with a former clerk or two about how your judge might react. And definitely make sure to work this out before you accept an interview with the "former feeder" judge.

One more bit of unsolicited advice: think hard before you do three clerkships. Unless one of the clerkships is a SCOTUS clerkship, it's generally not a great idea to do more than two clerkships.

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Re: Move clerkship term?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 06, 2016 4:07 pm

It was a hard copy application that I sent out more than 2 months ago so there was no easy way to withdraw it and given the radio silence for so long I had just assumed the judge wasn't interested.

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Re: Move clerkship term?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:08 pm

Do former feeder in 19-20 and go for the brass ring!

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Re: Move clerkship term?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:14 pm

I tried. He wasn't willing to consider me for a later term. His assistant said I would have to reapply next year.

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hdivschool

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Re: Move clerkship term?

Postby hdivschool » Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:23 pm

I agree that it would be generally 'out of line'. If you propose this to the judge, you risk looking unreliable and like you're not interested in clerking for the judge. Even if the judge agrees to move the term, it's not a good impression to make. Some judges may not care and it could be worthwhile to backchannel some former clerks, but I suspect that is a minority of judges (you would be lucky if the judge was that chill). At best, it is an inconvenience for the judge and at worst it is an insult.

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Re: Move clerkship term?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:48 pm

I'm clerking for a judge who's very laid back and fabulous to work for, but I'd guarantee that he'd be really annoyed if a future clerk made this request. He's not the type to pull an offer, but the future clerk definitely would be starting off on the wrong foot.

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Re: Move clerkship term?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:14 am

+1 to the above poster. My judge would probably consider such a request but still perceive it quite negatively.

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Re: Move clerkship term?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:00 pm

I would be annoyed if someone reached out to me to test the waters on such a request candidly. I think both of my judges are pretty damn awesome, and I think they can find people who would love to clerk for them without trying to push them off to clerk for a former (not even current! :roll:) feeder
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Move clerkship term?

Postby lavarman84 » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I would be annoyed if someone reached out to me to test the waters on such a request candidly. I think both of my judges are pretty damn awesome, and I think they can find people who would love to clerk for them without trying to push them off to clerk for a former (not even current! :eyeroll:) feeder


Yea, it does come off as entitled.

OP, just reapply for a later term. You're going to have two clerkships under your belt. You might even be able to get a current feeder.

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Re: Move clerkship term?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:29 pm

I decided not to ask my judge even though some of my (SCOTUS clerk) profs take a much less dim view of asking than you guys. Thanks for the advice though.

Also didn't expect to generate so much controversy with the former feeder designation. The judge is DC Cir. so pretty fucking special even if he/she isn't sending upstairs as frequently now...

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Re: Move clerkship term?

Postby wwwcol » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I decided not to ask my judge even though some of my (SCOTUS clerk) profs take a much less dim view of asking than you guys. Thanks for the advice though.

Also didn't expect to generate so much controversy with the former feeder designation. The judge is DC Cir. so pretty fucking special even if he/she isn't sending upstairs as frequently now...


Changing terms would also annoy the hell of my judge, though he is very chill. I'm not surprised that your law profs don't understand the magnitude of that ask -- hard to think of a group more out of touch with reality than SCOTUS clerk -> law profs

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Re: Move clerkship term?

Postby rpupkin » Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I decided not to ask my judge even though some of my (SCOTUS clerk) profs take a much less dim view of asking than you guys. Thanks for the advice though.

Also didn't expect to generate so much controversy with the former feeder designation. The judge is DC Cir. so pretty fucking special even if he/she isn't sending upstairs as frequently now...

If you're already doing a district court/COA combo, clerking for a senior-status DC Cir judge isn't all that special. Do it if you'd like—I think the experience will be enjoyable for its own sake—but it's unlikely to make much difference for your career. In fact, to the extent some firms are wary of folks who seem like they'd rather clerk than practice law, (and some firms are definitely wary of that), doing a third clerkship could even limit your options a bit.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Move clerkship term?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Also didn't expect to generate so much controversy with the former feeder designation. The judge is DC Cir. so pretty fucking special even if he/she isn't sending upstairs as frequently now...

It's probably not so much the designation as the idea that the judge being a former feeder really matters for how you should treat the judge you've already accepted with.

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los blancos

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Re: Move clerkship term?

Postby los blancos » Mon Sep 12, 2016 1:10 pm

rpupkin wrote: folks who seem like they'd rather clerk than practice law


Isn't this like 99% of the people at firms?

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rpupkin

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Re: Move clerkship term?

Postby rpupkin » Mon Sep 12, 2016 2:58 pm

los blancos wrote:
rpupkin wrote: folks who seem like they'd rather clerk than practice law


Isn't this like 99% of the people at firms?

I don't think so. I loved my clerkship but I wouldn't want to do it as a career. Obviously, there are some who do want that, but those folks would be particularly unhappy at law firms--which is why several years of clerking with three different judges is a red flag for law firms.

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Re: Move clerkship term?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 12, 2016 3:22 pm

It's absolutely not a red flag for firms if the judges are at separate levels or one clerkship offered something that the prior one did not. The clerk will probably not get credited for all those years so financially it might not make sense. However, if District Judge A only allowed clerks to work on criminal matters and District Judge B offered criminal and civil matters with a healthy dose of the latter, it makes complete sense for a clerk to do the latter clerkship. The rule of don't do several/three clerkships holds if it's the exact same clerkship in different locales.

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rpupkin

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Re: Move clerkship term?

Postby rpupkin » Mon Sep 12, 2016 3:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:It's absolutely not a red flag for firms if the judges are at separate levels or one clerkship offered something that the prior one did not.

As I suggested upthread, three clerkships is ok in some circumstances. But I think your statement is too cavalier. If, for example, you did one district court clerkship and two separate circuit court clerkships at the same level, you may not get the chance to explain why one of the circuit court clerkships "offered something that the prior one did not." Some firms--not all firms, but some--are wary of seeing a bunch of clerkships on your resume because, based on past experience, they've noticed that those candidates tend to leave quickly.

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Re: Move clerkship term?

Postby RaceJudicata » Mon Sep 12, 2016 4:21 pm

Not a clerk, so take it FWIW, but isn't there a massive risk of lining up 3 clerkships and then deciding after 6 months into clerkship one that you freakin hate the job?

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Move clerkship term?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Sep 12, 2016 4:30 pm

There is, but different judges and different level courts make the experiences very different. So you could very possibly hate one but enjoy the next, even if you don't like the work much.

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rpupkin

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Re: Move clerkship term?

Postby rpupkin » Mon Sep 12, 2016 4:34 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:There is, but different judges and different level courts make the experiences very different. So you could very possibly hate one but enjoy the next, even if you don't like the work much.

Agreed. Also, I think there is a decent correlation between "liking law school" and "liking clerking." If you enjoyed law school, you'll probably enjoy clerking. (If you replace "clerking" with "working at a law firm," the previous sentence doesn't work. )



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