Trying to do something different Dist. Court applications

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avatarz

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Trying to do something different Dist. Court applications

Postby avatarz » Fri Sep 16, 2016 3:42 pm

I'm trying to do something different (1) increase the amount of judges that pick up my application and (2) get myself hired by one of them. Anything suggestions are welcome.

I'm at a Top 20 school, top 5% of my class, journal (not LR), and recently published. I'm an evening student with a long list of good jobs (Congress & Agencies) and worked for two years in a litigation firm doing serious legal writing and research.

I am applying to district court judges all over the US who are hiring for two years or open to renewal. I have applied to about 150 clerkships. I Interviewed at about 10 - all rejections, the feedback I've gotten is nothing negative just they liked someone better. Worked with career center on my interviewing and they didn't see any problems.

Right now my cover letter is very simple unless they ask for work experience or are a home state judge. I am using the draft of my journal note for a writing sample or an appeals brief I wrote for work.

I know its in large part a numbers game but anything to increase my odds would be helpful and at this point I want to try something different.

Thanks!

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rpupkin

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Re: Trying to do something different Dist. Court applications

Postby rpupkin » Fri Sep 16, 2016 4:01 pm

The fact that you got 10 interviews shows that there's nothing wrong with your application.

That fact that you got zero offers suggests that either (1) poor interviewing skills, or (2) really bad luck. Either way, I don't think you need to change your basic application strategy. Consider hiring professional help to work on your interviewing skills; career services staff are often not sufficiently critical.

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Re: Trying to do something different Dist. Court applications

Postby jrf12886 » Fri Sep 16, 2016 4:18 pm

rpupkin wrote:The fact that you got 10 interviews shows that there's nothing wrong with your application.

That fact that you got zero offers suggests that either (1) poor interviewing skills, or (2) really bad luck. Either way, I don't think you need to change your basic application strategy. Consider hiring professional help to work on your interviewing skills; career services staff are often not sufficiently critical.


Yes, getting 10 interviews means you're doing it right. Just keep trying. I did about 10 interviews before I got my first offer. Try not to be discouraged. Eventually you will interview with a judge who you click with.

Just curious, why are you only applying to judges who do 2-year clerkships or are open to renewal? Many of the most desirable judges only do 1-year clerkships.

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Re: Trying to do something different Dist. Court applications

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Sep 16, 2016 4:28 pm

rpupkin wrote:The fact that you got 10 interviews shows that there's nothing wrong with your application.

That fact that you got zero offers suggests that either (1) poor interviewing skills, or (2) really bad luck. Either way, I don't think you need to change your basic application strategy. Consider hiring professional help to work on your interviewing skills; career services staff are often not sufficiently critical.

Absolutely agree with this.

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Re: Trying to do something different Dist. Court applications

Postby avatarz » Fri Sep 16, 2016 4:33 pm

jrf12886 wrote:
rpupkin wrote:The fact that you got 10 interviews shows that there's nothing wrong with your application.

That fact that you got zero offers suggests that either (1) poor interviewing skills, or (2) really bad luck. Either way, I don't think you need to change your basic application strategy. Consider hiring professional help to work on your interviewing skills; career services staff are often not sufficiently critical.


Yes, getting 10 interviews means you're doing it right. Just keep trying. I did about 10 interviews before I got my first offer. Try not to be discouraged. Eventually you will interview with a judge who you click with.

Just curious, why are you only applying to judges who do 2-year clerkships or are open to renewal? Many of the most desirable judges only do 1-year clerkships.


I am okay with not the most prestigious clerkship - I mainly want to clerk for the experience and then get a nice federal litigating job back in DC. I have a family with kids, and uprooting everyone for one year seems a bit insane. If I can't get anything now, I will probably take the federal job I likely have in the bag and try again in a few years when my wife's situation is more free.

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Re: Trying to do something different Dist. Court applications

Postby avatarz » Fri Sep 16, 2016 4:36 pm

jrf12886 wrote:
rpupkin wrote:The fact that you got 10 interviews shows that there's nothing wrong with your application.

That fact that you got zero offers suggests that either (1) poor interviewing skills, or (2) really bad luck. Either way, I don't think you need to change your basic application strategy. Consider hiring professional help to work on your interviewing skills; career services staff are often not sufficiently critical.


Yes, getting 10 interviews means you're doing it right. Just keep trying. I did about 10 interviews before I got my first offer. Try not to be discouraged. Eventually you will interview with a judge who you click with.

Just curious, why are you only applying to judges who do 2-year clerkships or are open to renewal? Many of the most desirable judges only do 1-year clerkships.


I appreciate the feedback and hearing about your experience.

The main thing I was thinking about changing was adding a line or two about my public service commitment and passion for litigation that I developed while working as a litigation clerk (for a firm not a judge) for two years. My cover letter is bare bones right now and this would be a minor addition.

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Re: Trying to do something different Dist. Court applications

Postby jrf12886 » Fri Sep 16, 2016 5:23 pm

avatarz wrote:
jrf12886 wrote:
rpupkin wrote:The fact that you got 10 interviews shows that there's nothing wrong with your application.

That fact that you got zero offers suggests that either (1) poor interviewing skills, or (2) really bad luck. Either way, I don't think you need to change your basic application strategy. Consider hiring professional help to work on your interviewing skills; career services staff are often not sufficiently critical.


Yes, getting 10 interviews means you're doing it right. Just keep trying. I did about 10 interviews before I got my first offer. Try not to be discouraged. Eventually you will interview with a judge who you click with.

Just curious, why are you only applying to judges who do 2-year clerkships or are open to renewal? Many of the most desirable judges only do 1-year clerkships.


I appreciate the feedback and hearing about your experience.

The main thing I was thinking about changing was adding a line or two about my public service commitment and passion for litigation that I developed while working as a litigation clerk (for a firm not a judge) for two years. My cover letter is bare bones right now and this would be a minor addition.


I personally think its a good idea to put something substantive in your cover letter to make you stand out. Judges get so many applications, and its often the clerks who screen them. If you can put something in the first few sentences that catches the reader's attention, I think that can help you get noticed. Granted, this goes against the conventional wisdom that most school OCSs tout, but it worked for me.

The key here is that it shouldn't be generic. It should be interesting like "I spent a summer working in the X district attorneys office where I drafted 5 motions for whatever" or "I spent two years teaching History in rural wherever" or "before law school I served in the army" etc. Something that makes them want to meet you and learn more.

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Re: Trying to do something different Dist. Court applications

Postby nothingtosee » Fri Sep 16, 2016 6:14 pm

jrf12886 wrote:
avatarz wrote:
jrf12886 wrote:
rpupkin wrote:The fact that you got 10 interviews shows that there's nothing wrong with your application.

That fact that you got zero offers suggests that either (1) poor interviewing skills, or (2) really bad luck. Either way, I don't think you need to change your basic application strategy. Consider hiring professional help to work on your interviewing skills; career services staff are often not sufficiently critical.


Yes, getting 10 interviews means you're doing it right. Just keep trying. I did about 10 interviews before I got my first offer. Try not to be discouraged. Eventually you will interview with a judge who you click with.

Just curious, why are you only applying to judges who do 2-year clerkships or are open to renewal? Many of the most desirable judges only do 1-year clerkships.


I appreciate the feedback and hearing about your experience.

The main thing I was thinking about changing was adding a line or two about my public service commitment and passion for litigation that I developed while working as a litigation clerk (for a firm not a judge) for two years. My cover letter is bare bones right now and this would be a minor addition.


I personally think its a good idea to put something substantive in your cover letter to make you stand out. Judges get so many applications, and its often the clerks who screen them. If you can put something in the first few sentences that catches the reader's attention, I think that can help you get noticed. Granted, this goes against the conventional wisdom that most school OCSs tout, but it worked for me.

The key here is that it shouldn't be generic. It should be interesting like "I spent a summer working in the X district attorneys office where I drafted 5 motions for whatever" or "I spent two years teaching History in rural wherever" or "before law school I served in the army" etc. Something that makes them want to meet you and learn more.



This person has gotten ten judge interviews. I don't think he needs to make judges want to meet him.

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Re: Trying to do something different Dist. Court applications

Postby bk1 » Fri Sep 16, 2016 6:15 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
rpupkin wrote:The fact that you got 10 interviews shows that there's nothing wrong with your application.

That fact that you got zero offers suggests that either (1) poor interviewing skills, or (2) really bad luck. Either way, I don't think you need to change your basic application strategy. Consider hiring professional help to work on your interviewing skills; career services staff are often not sufficiently critical.

Absolutely agree with this.

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Re: Trying to do something different Dist. Court applications

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 16, 2016 7:33 pm

avatarz wrote:
jrf12886 wrote:
rpupkin wrote:The fact that you got 10 interviews shows that there's nothing wrong with your application.

That fact that you got zero offers suggests that either (1) poor interviewing skills, or (2) really bad luck. Either way, I don't think you need to change your basic application strategy. Consider hiring professional help to work on your interviewing skills; career services staff are often not sufficiently critical.


Yes, getting 10 interviews means you're doing it right. Just keep trying. I did about 10 interviews before I got my first offer. Try not to be discouraged. Eventually you will interview with a judge who you click with.

Just curious, why are you only applying to judges who do 2-year clerkships or are open to renewal? Many of the most desirable judges only do 1-year clerkships.


I appreciate the feedback and hearing about your experience.

The main thing I was thinking about changing was adding a line or two about my public service commitment and passion for litigation that I developed while working as a litigation clerk (for a firm not a judge) for two years. My cover letter is bare bones right now and this would be a minor addition.

There's nothing wrong with the change you're suggesting, but the fact that you're thinking about making it when (as others have noted) you're actually doing pretty well with the application -> interview portion of the process suggests that you may be focused on the wrong thing.

FWIW, I did completely fine with a generic cover letter and, having been on the hiring side a little, my experience was that it was generally things on a resume rather than a cover letter that made an application stand out (in a positive way; something weird or tone-deaf in a cover letter was often the quickest route to standing out in a negative way).

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Re: Trying to do something different Dist. Court applications

Postby hdivschool » Fri Sep 16, 2016 10:05 pm

rpupkin wrote:The fact that you got 10 interviews shows that there's nothing wrong with your application.

That fact that you got zero offers suggests that either (1) poor interviewing skills, or (2) really bad luck. Either way, I don't think you need to change your basic application strategy. Consider hiring professional help to work on your interviewing skills; career services staff are often not sufficiently critical.

Agreed.

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Re: Trying to do something different Dist. Court applications

Postby avatarz » Fri Oct 07, 2016 10:38 am

Thanks for the feedback

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Re: Trying to do something different Dist. Court applications

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 07, 2016 11:08 am

rpupkin wrote:The fact that you got 10 interviews shows that there's nothing wrong with your application.

That fact that you got zero offers suggests that either (1) poor interviewing skills, or (2) really bad luck. Either way, I don't think you need to change your basic application strategy. Consider hiring professional help to work on your interviewing skills; career services staff are often not sufficiently critical.


Any advice/recommendations on interview consultants?

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Re: Trying to do something different Dist. Court applications

Postby clerk1251 » Fri Oct 07, 2016 11:16 am

nothingtosee wrote:
jrf12886 wrote:
avatarz wrote:
jrf12886 wrote:
rpupkin wrote:The fact that you got 10 interviews shows that there's nothing wrong with your application.

That fact that you got zero offers suggests that either (1) poor interviewing skills, or (2) really bad luck. Either way, I don't think you need to change your basic application strategy. Consider hiring professional help to work on your interviewing skills; career services staff are often not sufficiently critical.


Yes, getting 10 interviews means you're doing it right. Just keep trying. I did about 10 interviews before I got my first offer. Try not to be discouraged. Eventually you will interview with a judge who you click with.

Just curious, why are you only applying to judges who do 2-year clerkships or are open to renewal? Many of the most desirable judges only do 1-year clerkships.


I appreciate the feedback and hearing about your experience.

The main thing I was thinking about changing was adding a line or two about my public service commitment and passion for litigation that I developed while working as a litigation clerk (for a firm not a judge) for two years. My cover letter is bare bones right now and this would be a minor addition.


I personally think its a good idea to put something substantive in your cover letter to make you stand out. Judges get so many applications, and its often the clerks who screen them. If you can put something in the first few sentences that catches the reader's attention, I think that can help you get noticed. Granted, this goes against the conventional wisdom that most school OCSs tout, but it worked for me.

The key here is that it shouldn't be generic. It should be interesting like "I spent a summer working in the X district attorneys office where I drafted 5 motions for whatever" or "I spent two years teaching History in rural wherever" or "before law school I served in the army" etc. Something that makes them want to meet you and learn more.



This person has gotten ten judge interviews. I don't think he needs to make judges want to meet him.


I've got to agree with everyone here. You've had 10 interviews, clearly your cover letter is good, as are your qualifications. Don't change a thing. Moreover, changing something could possibly hurt you. It might rub someone the wrong way, that you are saying you are committed to public service, meanwhile you've been at a private practice for awhile.

I am in my second d. court clerkship. I have been through the ropes, and it took awhile to get the right opportunity. Focus on getting additional interviews, and really selling yourself well in person. That's when you can sell your public interest passion and desire to switch gears. Also, I don't know if you do anything post interview, but it is VERY helpful if you have any of your recommendors call the Judge, further recommneding you, after you have interviewed. The quicker they do this, following your interview, the more helpful it is.

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Re: Trying to do something different Dist. Court applications

Postby downing » Fri Oct 07, 2016 11:26 am

Anonymous User wrote:
avatarz wrote:
jrf12886 wrote:
rpupkin wrote:The fact that you got 10 interviews shows that there's nothing wrong with your application.

That fact that you got zero offers suggests that either (1) poor interviewing skills, or (2) really bad luck. Either way, I don't think you need to change your basic application strategy. Consider hiring professional help to work on your interviewing skills; career services staff are often not sufficiently critical.


Yes, getting 10 interviews means you're doing it right. Just keep trying. I did about 10 interviews before I got my first offer. Try not to be discouraged. Eventually you will interview with a judge who you click with.

Just curious, why are you only applying to judges who do 2-year clerkships or are open to renewal? Many of the most desirable judges only do 1-year clerkships.


I appreciate the feedback and hearing about your experience.

The main thing I was thinking about changing was adding a line or two about my public service commitment and passion for litigation that I developed while working as a litigation clerk (for a firm not a judge) for two years. My cover letter is bare bones right now and this would be a minor addition.

There's nothing wrong with the change you're suggesting, but the fact that you're thinking about making it when (as others have noted) you're actually doing pretty well with the application -> interview portion of the process suggests that you may be focused on the wrong thing.

FWIW, I did completely fine with a generic cover letter and, having been on the hiring side a little, my experience was that it was generally things on a resume rather than a cover letter that made an application stand out (in a positive way; something weird or tone-deaf in a cover letter was often the quickest route to standing out in a negative way).



Can you elaborate on what on a resume makes a candidate stand out in a positive way (aside from the obvious T14 + top grades + law review)?

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Re: Trying to do something different Dist. Court applications

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 07, 2016 11:38 am

I think school and grades >> law review. Granted, I've never gone through the hiring process from the other side, but I got some decent interviews (including DC Circuit) without law review.

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Re: Trying to do something different Dist. Court applications

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 11, 2016 9:25 pm

Are there interests on your resume? I found that having a interest section made the interviews go way easier because clerks mostly but also the judge brought up the interests they connected with. I recommend a format where you say something generalish then add specifics so: Traveling (Bhutan, Vietnam, Italy); Cooking (e.g. Lasagna, Puerto Rican Cuisine); Reading Sci Fi/Fantasy (J.K. Rowling, "Man in the High Castle" by Philip K. Dick). I thought from the feedback I got and my interviewing experience it not only helped me get the interviews but also really, really helped with the interviews.

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Re: Trying to do something different Dist. Court applications

Postby rpupkin » Wed Oct 12, 2016 2:35 am

Anonymous User wrote:Are there interests on your resume? I found that having a interest section made the interviews go way easier because clerks mostly but also the judge brought up the interests they connected with. I recommend a format where you say something generalish then add specifics so: Traveling (Bhutan, Vietnam, Italy); Cooking (e.g. Lasagna, Puerto Rican Cuisine); Reading Sci Fi/Fantasy (J.K. Rowling, "Man in the High Castle" by Philip K. Dick). I thought from the feedback I got and my interviewing experience it not only helped me get the interviews but also really, really helped with the interviews.

Just to back this up, I think that the importance of the "Interests" section is generally underrated by clerkship applicants. I could make an argument that it's the fourth most important thing in your application after law school, grades, and recommendations. If you told me that my resume had to include either (a) interesting, unusual interests or (b) law review, I might pick the former. Not flame.

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Re: Trying to do something different Dist. Court applications

Postby lavarman84 » Wed Oct 12, 2016 5:36 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Are there interests on your resume? I found that having a interest section made the interviews go way easier because clerks mostly but also the judge brought up the interests they connected with. I recommend a format where you say something generalish then add specifics so: Traveling (Bhutan, Vietnam, Italy); Cooking (e.g. Lasagna, Puerto Rican Cuisine); Reading Sci Fi/Fantasy (J.K. Rowling, "Man in the High Castle" by Philip K. Dick). I thought from the feedback I got and my interviewing experience it not only helped me get the interviews but also really, really helped with the interviews.

Just to back this up, I think that the importance of the "Interests" section is generally underrated by clerkship applicants. I could make an argument that it's the fourth most important thing in your application after law school, grades, and recommendations. If you told me that my resume had to include either (a) interesting, unusual interests or (b) law review, I might pick the former. Not flame.


Makes me wish I had some interesting, unique interest. :lol:

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Re: Trying to do something different Dist. Court applications

Postby avatarz » Wed Nov 02, 2016 3:16 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Are there interests on your resume? I found that having a interest section made the interviews go way easier because clerks mostly but also the judge brought up the interests they connected with. I recommend a format where you say something generalish then add specifics so: Traveling (Bhutan, Vietnam, Italy); Cooking (e.g. Lasagna, Puerto Rican Cuisine); Reading Sci Fi/Fantasy (J.K. Rowling, "Man in the High Castle" by Philip K. Dick). I thought from the feedback I got and my interviewing experience it not only helped me get the interviews but also really, really helped with the interviews.

Just to back this up, I think that the importance of the "Interests" section is generally underrated by clerkship applicants. I could make an argument that it's the fourth most important thing in your application after law school, grades, and recommendations. If you told me that my resume had to include either (a) interesting, unusual interests or (b) law review, I might pick the former. Not flame.


Are you speaking from the perspective of a hiring clerk? I have about 9 years of work experience, volunteer work, languages, etc... so that takes up most of the room. My interests would be basically hiking and board games, not sure that's going to light any fires.

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Re: Trying to do something different Dist. Court applications

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 02, 2016 3:19 pm

I tried adding an interests section, but it didn't seem to help. I can't tell if it's because it's later in the season or if it's because the interests section isn't, well... interesting

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Re: Trying to do something different Dist. Court applications

Postby lavarman84 » Wed Nov 02, 2016 3:38 pm

Honestly, anon, 10 interviews on 150 applications is a good number.(assuming you're the OP; if you aren't, my bad) I tried changing my cover letter to see if it resulted in more interviews (going from something very simple to something a bit more personalized for each judge), and it resulted in about the same number of interviews per application. I got 4 interviews on around 100 applications.

I will say that things listed in my interests section on my resume were discussed in every interview. I don't have special interests. It's just something that makes things easier for you and your interviewer. You get to talk about something you're passionate about, and they get to talk about something outside of academics and work experience.

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Re: Trying to do something different Dist. Court applications

Postby BlackAndOrange84 » Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:49 pm

avatarz wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Are there interests on your resume? I found that having a interest section made the interviews go way easier because clerks mostly but also the judge brought up the interests they connected with. I recommend a format where you say something generalish then add specifics so: Traveling (Bhutan, Vietnam, Italy); Cooking (e.g. Lasagna, Puerto Rican Cuisine); Reading Sci Fi/Fantasy (J.K. Rowling, "Man in the High Castle" by Philip K. Dick). I thought from the feedback I got and my interviewing experience it not only helped me get the interviews but also really, really helped with the interviews.

Just to back this up, I think that the importance of the "Interests" section is generally underrated by clerkship applicants. I could make an argument that it's the fourth most important thing in your application after law school, grades, and recommendations. If you told me that my resume had to include either (a) interesting, unusual interests or (b) law review, I might pick the former. Not flame.


Are you speaking from the perspective of a hiring clerk? I have about 9 years of work experience, volunteer work, languages, etc... so that takes up most of the room. My interests would be basically hiking and board games, not sure that's going to light any fires.


Not rpupkin, but my take would be that it's more important for a KJD without all those experiences. Also, I think languages receive the same kind of treatment, at least that's been my observation.

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Re: Trying to do something different Dist. Court applications

Postby emkay625 » Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:54 pm

If you could provide us more detail about your interviews, we could maybe be of more help. Try to think about your last 2-3 and try to remember the questions you got, and what your answers were, and give us a recap. Your app is clearly good, I doubt interests/that cover letter sentence made a difference one way or the other.

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Re: Trying to do something different Dist. Court applications

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 06, 2016 6:58 pm

Original anon that suggested interests section. I'm not a KJD and still made it way easier to interview. I outperformed my stats on clerkship hiring and underperformed on offer rate at OCI. The main difference was that I had an interests section (didn't have for OCI) and so a lot of my interviews revolved around my interests. It just makes it easier to connect on a personal level. And since I put interests I was actually interested in, it was natural to talk about them.



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