D.Ct. Clerk w/ Underwhelming Grades Taking Q's

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: 324967
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

D.Ct. Clerk w/ Underwhelming Grades Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2016 1:05 pm

Hey all--

I'm a district court clerk, c/o 2015. My grades weren't spectacular. Something around middle of the class at a T14. My application cycle went extremely well--I had interviews with six judges, including two chiefs, in districts around the country. I took the first offer.

Inquire away.

Anonymous User
Posts: 324967
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: D.Ct. Clerk w/ Underwhelming Grades Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2016 1:06 pm

To how many judges did you apply?

Anonymous User
Posts: 324967
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: D.Ct. Clerk w/ Underwhelming Grades Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2016 1:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:To how many judges did you apply?


30-40. I don't remember the exact number.

Anonymous User
Posts: 324967
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: D.Ct. Clerk w/ Underwhelming Grades Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2016 1:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:To how many judges did you apply?


30-40. I don't remember the exact number.


Did you target judges who listed "no preference" w/r/t class standing?

lavarman84

Platinum
Posts: 7700
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: D.Ct. Clerk w/ Underwhelming Grades Taking Q's

Postby lavarman84 » Wed Sep 07, 2016 1:15 pm

Without having top grades, what do you think stood out to judges in your applications? What did you do to boost your application?

Anonymous User
Posts: 324967
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: D.Ct. Clerk w/ Underwhelming Grades Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2016 1:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:To how many judges did you apply?


30-40. I don't remember the exact number.


Did you target judges who listed "no preference" w/r/t class standing?


Not specifically, but I did rule out judges who made it clear that there was a hard line cutoff. For instance, if an opening said "Top 10% required" or "Law Review required," then I wouldn't apply. But I applied to a few that said "Prefer top 25%." I believe one of my interviews was with one of those.

Anonymous User
Posts: 324967
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: D.Ct. Clerk w/ Underwhelming Grades Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2016 1:24 pm

lawman84 wrote:Without having top grades, what do you think stood out to judges in your applications? What did you do to boost your application?


Before and during law school I had lots of the kind of public interest experience that progressives love, and I was on a full ride to my law school. I made clear in my cover letters that I plan to work in the public interest, and I tied the knowledge I'd gain from clerking to being able to provide holistic services to folks--aka that clerking would expose me to a broad array of stuff that would help me help clients in ways that go beyond my role in their particular case.

User avatar
rpupkin

Platinum
Posts: 5658
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:32 pm

Re: D.Ct. Clerk w/ Underwhelming Grades Taking Q's

Postby rpupkin » Wed Sep 07, 2016 1:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Before and during law school I had lots of the kind of public interest experience that progressives love, and I was on a full ride to my law school. I made clear in my cover letters that I plan to work in the public interest, and I tied the knowledge I'd gain from clerking to being able to provide holistic services to folks--aka that clerking would expose me to a broad array of stuff that would help me help clients in ways that go beyond my role in their particular case.

I'm not surprised that you landed a bunch of interviews. A significant number of judges look specifically for a commitment to public interest.

Jchance

Silver
Posts: 721
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2012 2:17 am

Re: D.Ct. Clerk w/ Underwhelming Grades Taking Q's

Postby Jchance » Wed Sep 07, 2016 1:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Before and during law school I had lots of the kind of public interest experience that progressives love, and I was on a full ride to my law school. I made clear in my cover letters that I plan to work in the public interest, and I tied the knowledge I'd gain from clerking to being able to provide holistic services to folks--aka that clerking would expose me to a broad array of stuff that would help me help clients in ways that go beyond my role in their particular case.


Nice sell. This is like capitalizing on judges' altruism, a solid strategy nonetheless, especially to those who look to give back to the community.

Anonymous User
Posts: 324967
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: D.Ct. Clerk w/ Underwhelming Grades Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2016 3:46 pm

Are you in a flyover state? Are you from a flyover state?

Congrats by the way. I have underwhelming grades as well, so I understand where you're coming from. My hope is to get a D.Ct. clerkship and then use that to transition to the government. I've definitely sent out more applications than you did, but only have a couple interviews. Any tip/ advice?

User avatar
rpupkin

Platinum
Posts: 5658
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:32 pm

Re: D.Ct. Clerk w/ Underwhelming Grades Taking Q's

Postby rpupkin » Wed Sep 07, 2016 3:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Any tip/ advice?

Although the OP has a nice story, he or she buried the lead. The initial post doesn't contain the primary reason for OP's success: sustained commitment to public interest work. If you're not a public interest person, I'm not sure the OP's experience is going to be instructive.

Anonymous User
Posts: 324967
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: D.Ct. Clerk w/ Underwhelming Grades Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2016 5:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Are you in a flyover state? Are you from a flyover state?

Congrats by the way. I have underwhelming grades as well, so I understand where you're coming from. My hope is to get a D.Ct. clerkship and then use that to transition to the government. I've definitely sent out more applications than you did, but only have a couple interviews. Any tip/ advice?


Not in or from a flyover state. My only tip for the interviews is not to stress and to be your true self. If you made it to the interview stage it's because the judge already likes you on paper and wants to see whether or not they want to spend a year or two with you/invest in the time it takes to shape you into a functional clerk/attorney. Your first 3-6 months you won't be very efficient. The act of taking clerks straight out of law school instead of clerks with significant experience is one that indicates a judge's commitment to the role of mentor and to the betterment of the legal profession. IMO it's best to go into it with an eye on genuineness. I don't know how all judges are, but all of my interviews were just shooting the sh!#--no substantive questions. It was clear the purpose was for the judge to decide if (s)he liked me, thought I was the kind of person who could dogsit, could rely on me to be open/honest/ask questions when I don't know what's going on. Coming off as rigid would probably be the biggest fail. The only substantive question I got was actually from the judge who hired me. I was asked about a Rule 29 motion. I said I didn't know what that was. I got hired.

Don't stress. Congrats on getting those interviews!

Anonymous User
Posts: 324967
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: D.Ct. Clerk w/ Underwhelming Grades Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2016 5:35 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Any tip/ advice?

Although the OP has a nice story, he or she buried the lead. The initial post doesn't contain the primary reason for OP's success: sustained commitment to public interest work. If you're not a public interest person, I'm not sure the OP's experience is going to be instructive.


(1) there are plenty of people on these boards w/ public interest experience.
(2) there are plenty of people on these boards with patent/tech experience, thus making them a sell for judges doing PPP.
(3) there are plenty of people on these boards with myriad life experiences that can make them appealing to certain judges.

Point being--do ALJ searches on westlaw to learn more about the judges to whom you're applying (I did this for every one), and google google google. If you find/feel a personality/moral/convictions/experience fit, play it up. Not all judges graduated cum laude or were on law review, but I imagine very few feel unqualified to be judges. Every human is unique--tap into your true self, release your light, and direct it toward similar wavelengths.

Or you can listen to this dude tell you that you can't do it. Your choice. My advisors were the same. They were of no help to me. They gave me spreadsheets with grades of the last five years of students who clerked, clearly to discourage me from wasting their time. Turns out they wasted mine.

If you want it, go for it and give it your all.

User avatar
rpupkin

Platinum
Posts: 5658
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:32 pm

Re: D.Ct. Clerk w/ Underwhelming Grades Taking Q's

Postby rpupkin » Wed Sep 07, 2016 5:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Or you can listen to this dude tell you that you can't do it.

You're completely misunderstanding me. I'm not saying that anyone "can't do it."

I'm sorry your advisers were so horrible. At my law school, the clerkship adviser (and the faculty) were well aware of which judges valued public interest experience, and encouraged students with PI backgrounds/aspirations to apply to those judges, regardless of grades.

Anonymous User
Posts: 324967
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: D.Ct. Clerk w/ Underwhelming Grades Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Any tip/ advice?

Although the OP has a nice story, he or she buried the lead. The initial post doesn't contain the primary reason for OP's success: sustained commitment to public interest work. If you're not a public interest person, I'm not sure the OP's experience is going to be instructive.


(1) there are plenty of people on these boards w/ public interest experience.
(2) there are plenty of people on these boards with patent/tech experience, thus making them a sell for judges doing PPP.
(3) there are plenty of people on these boards with myriad life experiences that can make them appealing to certain judges.

Point being--do ALJ searches on westlaw to learn more about the judges to whom you're applying (I did this for every one), and google google google. If you find/feel a personality/moral/convictions/experience fit, play it up. Not all judges graduated cum laude or were on law review, but I imagine very few feel unqualified to be judges. Every human is unique--tap into your true self, release your light, and direct it toward similar wavelengths.

Or you can listen to this dude tell you that you can't do it. Your choice. My advisors were the same. They were of no help to me. They gave me spreadsheets with grades of the last five years of students who clerked, clearly to discourage me from wasting their time. Turns out they wasted mine.

If you want it, go for it and give it your all.


Thanks for articulating essentially the same experience I had except I was coming from a T2 years ago. Disowned by my school's clerkship committee and otherwise told to go play in traffic about my search for a clerkship. I went through the process completely on my own and made it work through nothing but my own persistence - no professor phone calls, insider connections, not a URM, etc.- until the stars aligned. Nice to see someone else buck the school reputation/law review/GPA prestige obsession that consumes these clerkship boards.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse

Diamond
Posts: 29316
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: D.Ct. Clerk w/ Underwhelming Grades Taking Q's

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Sep 07, 2016 7:04 pm

I think it only consumes these boards because it also consumes a large part of the judiciary.

Anonymous User
Posts: 324967
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: D.Ct. Clerk w/ Underwhelming Grades Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2016 7:24 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think it only consumes these boards because it also consumes a large part of the judiciary.


You're right. I should have acknowledged that there is definite prestige fixation with federal judges to continue to hire their clerks using that criteria (it's disappointing that that is the way it is, and I'm biased obviously, but I think it's a loss for the judiciary). Perhaps I should have said these forums amplify that fixation.

pie4ever

New
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2015 10:02 pm

Re: D.Ct. Clerk w/ Underwhelming Grades Taking Q's

Postby pie4ever » Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
lawman84 wrote:Without having top grades, what do you think stood out to judges in your applications? What did you do to boost your application?


Before and during law school I had lots of the kind of public interest experience that progressives love, and I was on a full ride to my law school. I made clear in my cover letters that I plan to work in the public interest, and I tied the knowledge I'd gain from clerking to being able to provide holistic services to folks--aka that clerking would expose me to a broad array of stuff that would help me help clients in ways that go beyond my role in their particular case.


OP, did you include your public interest commitment in your cover letter?

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse

Diamond
Posts: 29316
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: D.Ct. Clerk w/ Underwhelming Grades Taking Q's

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Before and during law school I had lots of the kind of public interest experience that progressives love, and I was on a full ride to my law school. I made clear in my cover letters that I plan to work in the public interest, and I tied the knowledge I'd gain from clerking to being able to provide holistic services to folks--aka that clerking would expose me to a broad array of stuff that would help me help clients in ways that go beyond my role in their particular case.

pie4ever

New
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2015 10:02 pm

Re: D.Ct. Clerk w/ Underwhelming Grades Taking Q's

Postby pie4ever » Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:11 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Before and during law school I had lots of the kind of public interest experience that progressives love, and I was on a full ride to my law school. I made clear in my cover letters that I plan to work in the public interest, and I tied the knowledge I'd gain from clerking to being able to provide holistic services to folks--aka that clerking would expose me to a broad array of stuff that would help me help clients in ways that go beyond my role in their particular case.


Ha, thank you. Sorry for not reading more carefully and clogging the feed. My career office discouraged me from mentioning any PI background in my cover letters, so good to know that others did things differently and were successful.

User avatar
rpupkin

Platinum
Posts: 5658
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:32 pm

Re: D.Ct. Clerk w/ Underwhelming Grades Taking Q's

Postby rpupkin » Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:15 pm

pie4ever wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Before and during law school I had lots of the kind of public interest experience that progressives love, and I was on a full ride to my law school. I made clear in my cover letters that I plan to work in the public interest, and I tied the knowledge I'd gain from clerking to being able to provide holistic services to folks--aka that clerking would expose me to a broad array of stuff that would help me help clients in ways that go beyond my role in their particular case.


Ha, thank you. Sorry for not reading more carefully and clogging the feed. My career office discouraged me from mentioning any PI background in my cover letters, so good to know that others did things differently and were successful.

Seriously? I can kinda see the value of that advice in the context of applying to firms (though even there I wouldn't categorically discourage applicants from mentioning past PI work), but it's ridiculous to discourage clerkship applicants from mentioning PI background or a sincere PI interest.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse

Diamond
Posts: 29316
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: D.Ct. Clerk w/ Underwhelming Grades Taking Q's

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:23 pm

pie4ever wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Before and during law school I had lots of the kind of public interest experience that progressives love, and I was on a full ride to my law school. I made clear in my cover letters that I plan to work in the public interest, and I tied the knowledge I'd gain from clerking to being able to provide holistic services to folks--aka that clerking would expose me to a broad array of stuff that would help me help clients in ways that go beyond my role in their particular case.


Ha, thank you. Sorry for not reading more carefully and clogging the feed. My career office discouraged me from mentioning any PI background in my cover letters, so good to know that others did things differently and were successful.

no worries. :D it does suck that career offices are so bad at giving appropriate clerkship application advice. (Though my law school's current clerkship director, although a smart and lovely person, has never clerked, so...)

Anonymous User
Posts: 324967
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: D.Ct. Clerk w/ Underwhelming Grades Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 08, 2016 11:34 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Are you in a flyover state? Are you from a flyover state?

Congrats by the way. I have underwhelming grades as well, so I understand where you're coming from. My hope is to get a D.Ct. clerkship and then use that to transition to the government. I've definitely sent out more applications than you did, but only have a couple interviews. Any tip/ advice?


Not in or from a flyover state. My only tip for the interviews is not to stress and to be your true self. If you made it to the interview stage it's because the judge already likes you on paper and wants to see whether or not they want to spend a year or two with you/invest in the time it takes to shape you into a functional clerk/attorney. Your first 3-6 months you won't be very efficient. The act of taking clerks straight out of law school instead of clerks with significant experience is one that indicates a judge's commitment to the role of mentor and to the betterment of the legal profession. IMO it's best to go into it with an eye on genuineness. I don't know how all judges are, but all of my interviews were just shooting the sh!#--no substantive questions. It was clear the purpose was for the judge to decide if (s)he liked me, thought I was the kind of person who could dogsit, could rely on me to be open/honest/ask questions when I don't know what's going on. Coming off as rigid would probably be the biggest fail. The only substantive question I got was actually from the judge who hired me. I was asked about a Rule 29 motion. I said I didn't know what that was. I got hired.

Don't stress. Congrats on getting those interviews!


Thanks! I'm pretty sure I only have interviews because I'm biglaw aspiring to be an ADA; most judges interviewing me were biglaw -> ADA's before becoming judge. And you're right that judges love mentoring kind-hearted people (I mean that sincerely). One post-interview rejection I got was a call telling me "the judge likes you, but she wants someone with more of a public interest focus, so she decided to hire [one of the other guys]"
(In all honestly, I'm not too upset. That guy is probably planning to do some good.)

Anonymous User
Posts: 324967
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: D.Ct. Clerk w/ Underwhelming Grades Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 10, 2016 3:21 pm

OP - first-bump from a fellow middle-of-my-T14 d. ct. clerk (I had experience + connections + PI commitment).

Waterfront_79

New
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2016 8:57 pm

Re: D.Ct. Clerk w/ Underwhelming Grades Taking Q's

Postby Waterfront_79 » Sun Sep 11, 2016 9:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP - first-bump from a fellow middle-of-my-T14 d. ct. clerk (I had experience + connections + PI commitment).


Can you elaborate on your experience? Externship? Real-life, paid work at a firm/gov't agency/state office?



Return to “Judicial Clerkships�

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.