Leaving a clerkship early?

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Leaving a clerkship early?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:20 am

When I applied for this clerkship, it was a one year clerkship, but the judge turned it into a two-year clerkship when she called and made me an offer. I tried to call another judge who also interviewed me, but he was still early in his hiring process and so could not make a decision that day. So I accepted the offer and came here.

Fast forward a year, my relationship with the judge is fine, but the extra year is taking a toll on my life and personal relationship. There's a great job opportunity that a friend found for me, but it requires leaving before the year is up. The judge has said she does not want me leaving before this coming October, because she wants someone to stay and train her incoming clerk. However, since I started in August, my car and apartment lease ends in August, and I'm not inclined to tie myself to a new lease for either. (Where I am, there is public transportation.)

This morning I got a call asking if I would be available for an interview from the friend-connection.

How do I re-approach the subject with the judge that I need to leave in August?

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rpupkin

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Re: Leaving a clerkship early?

Postby rpupkin » Mon Jan 09, 2017 7:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:When I applied for this clerkship, it was a one year clerkship, but the judge turned it into a two-year clerkship when she called and made me an offer. I tried to call another judge who also interviewed me, but he was still early in his hiring process and so could not make a decision that day. So I accepted the offer and came here.

Fast forward a year, my relationship with the judge is fine, but the extra year is taking a toll on my life and personal relationship. There's a great job opportunity that a friend found for me, but it requires leaving before the year is up. The judge has said she does not want me leaving before this coming October, because she wants someone to stay and train her incoming clerk. However, since I started in August, my car and apartment lease ends in August, and I'm not inclined to tie myself to a new lease for either. (Where I am, there is public transportation.)

This morning I got a call asking if I would be available for an interview from the friend-connection.

How do I re-approach the subject with the judge that I need to leave in August?

You don't need to leave in August. You want to leave in August.

You're the one who has been working for the judge for one year; I'm not sure why you're asking us how to approach her. You should know her reasonably well at this point. All you can do is explain your situation and ask to leave your clerkship early. If she says no, she says no.

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mjb447

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Re: Leaving a clerkship early?

Postby mjb447 » Mon Jan 09, 2017 8:01 pm

If I understand you correctly, it sounds like you already raised the issue and she said no (for a fairly "normal" reason). She's not going to be able to stop you from showing up if you want to leave, but it might torch the relationship and any shot you have at a decent reference/recommendation/ongoing mentorship.

That's my view of your situation but, like pupkin said, I'm not really sure what kind of advice you're hoping to receive here. I don't know that there's a way to bring this up that will really solve your problem.

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Re: Leaving a clerkship early?

Postby wwwcol » Mon Jan 09, 2017 8:04 pm

Did you begin the clerkship in August 2015 or 2016? If August 2015, then two years will end before October. So is the judge asking you to stay on after the two years?

More likely, it sounds like you began in August 2016. In that case, it's gracious of the judge to let you leave 9 months early -- asking you to stay to re-train your replacement sounds pretty reasonable. If you leave before re-training the replacement, you'll probably burn a bridge with the judge (but you know that already).

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Re: Leaving a clerkship early?

Postby RaceJudicata » Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:08 pm

To be frank, you shouldn't have accepted the clerkship for two years if you didn't want to work for two years. Second, not sure the firm you are interviewing for would be comfortable with your decision to leave quit your clerkship. They also don't want to potentially burn a bridge w/ a district judge.

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Re: Leaving a clerkship early?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:32 pm

Former SSC here. I clerked for two years. Prior to clerking, I also thought that leaving a clerkship early was impossible/unthinkable. Until multiple clerks I worked with did it, despite having contracts for a set time. To be fair, I wasn't terribly pleased with my co-clerk when she left 8 months early (since I was left behind with more work- they did not replace her), but it didn't seem to have a negative effect for her, or for the other 2 who did it- and they all are still in state. YMMV though; I'm pretty sure they all had the blessing of their judge and obviously the places they were leaving for were all fine with it. My point is, I don't think leaving a clerkship early is a cool thing to do, but I doubt it has all the negatives implications that people imagine. On the whole I think a great opportunity that might not be there later, plus the toll on your personal life probably outweighs burning a bridge (if that even happens). It sounds like the new job might be in a different place than your clerkship? Also, not sure how old your judge is, but I know a lot of judges are older, so meh, a bridge is burned for a year before they retire. If the new job isn't bothered by you leaving early and it's somewhere you might stay for awhile, I'd also be less worried about potential recommendations from the judge.

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Re: Leaving a clerkship early?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:32 pm

wwwcol wrote:Did you begin the clerkship in August 2015 or 2016? If August 2015, then two years will end before October. So is the judge asking you to stay on after the two years?

More likely, it sounds like you began in August 2016. In that case, it's gracious of the judge to let you leave 9 months early -- asking you to stay to re-train your replacement sounds pretty reasonable. If you leave before re-training the replacement, you'll probably burn a bridge with the judge (but you know that already).


No, I started in August of 2015. The judge tied me down for more than two years, though at the time I didn't really have an option. I can give her the 2 yrs, but its the extra months that would cut into my lease.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Leaving a clerkship early?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:35 pm

RaceJudicata wrote:To be frank, you shouldn't have accepted the clerkship for two years if you didn't want to work for two years. Second, not sure the firm you are interviewing for would be comfortable with your decision to leave quit your clerkship. They also don't want to potentially burn a bridge w/ a district judge.


1. my old firm is fine with it.
2. the job interview is with the government, not a firm. we all know those aren't available year-round

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ArtistOfManliness

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Re: Leaving a clerkship early?

Postby ArtistOfManliness » Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
wwwcol wrote:Did you begin the clerkship in August 2015 or 2016? If August 2015, then two years will end before October. So is the judge asking you to stay on after the two years?

More likely, it sounds like you began in August 2016. In that case, it's gracious of the judge to let you leave 9 months early -- asking you to stay to re-train your replacement sounds pretty reasonable. If you leave before re-training the replacement, you'll probably burn a bridge with the judge (but you know that already).


No, I started in August of 2015. The judge tied me down for more than two years, though at the time I didn't really have an option. I can give her the 2 yrs, but its the extra months that would cut into my lease.


If you agreed to 2.0 years, it's totally reasonable to say you planned on 2.0 years and you have to stick with that. If you agreed to 2.2 years, then you're gonna piss off your judge.

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mjb447

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Re: Leaving a clerkship early?

Postby mjb447 » Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:50 pm

This is definitely a YMMV situation; I don't think commenters are just imagining potentially negative consequences arising from doing this (I know I'm not), but some judges would be completely fine with it. The fact that the judge has already addressed an end date and provided a reason that she'd prefer an October end date makes me believe that this might be a "negative consequences" situation, although maybe it'll be different now that you have something more definite lined up.

Also, I think commenters focused on the risk and fallout with your judge because that's what your post seemed most concerned with. If this job is a "dream job" or something and you plan to be there a while, it may still be worth making her angry.

Also also, I agree with ArtistOfManliness about the additional two months, although even if your judge is being totally unreasonable you still have to consider whether it's worth making her angry.

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Re: Leaving a clerkship early?

Postby wwwcol » Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:28 am

Anonymous User wrote:
wwwcol wrote:Did you begin the clerkship in August 2015 or 2016? If August 2015, then two years will end before October. So is the judge asking you to stay on after the two years?

More likely, it sounds like you began in August 2016. In that case, it's gracious of the judge to let you leave 9 months early -- asking you to stay to re-train your replacement sounds pretty reasonable. If you leave before re-training the replacement, you'll probably burn a bridge with the judge (but you know that already).


No, I started in August of 2015. The judge tied me down for more than two years, though at the time I didn't really have an option. I can give her the 2 yrs, but its the extra months that would cut into my lease.


If you originally agreed to two years, then it's reasonable to leave after the two years ends. Seems fair to say you thought further about extending through October and decided against it. Have you asked the judge whether she can have someone start in late July/early Aug instead? What was her response?

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BVest

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Re: Leaving a clerkship early?

Postby BVest » Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:20 pm

When does next clerk start?
Last edited by BVest on Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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anon sequitur

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Re: Leaving a clerkship early?

Postby anon sequitur » Tue Jan 10, 2017 4:45 pm

the judge isn't going to like it, nothing you can do to make the judge like it, the judge can't stop you, you just gotta weigh the consequences. I think the consequences of your judge not liking you anymore are significant, but largely overrated. Especially if it means giving up on a career-track job. The whole point of being a clerk is to get that kind of job, and once you get it and a few years experience, not having your judge's recommendation won't mean much.

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Re: Leaving a clerkship early?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 24, 2017 2:43 am

You have to talk to the judge.

My former co-clerk left her 2-year clerkship 8 months early. We're in flyover country and she was miserable. She bluntly explained the situation to the judge. Judge didn't care. She found a job in a couple of months and her replacement started a couple weeks after she left.

Conversely, another judge in our courthouse has a very strict policy that all clerks have to stay for the full 2 years. He makes it very clear in interviews that it's non-negotiable.

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TheJanitor6203

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Re: Leaving a clerkship early?

Postby TheJanitor6203 » Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:51 pm

When I first read the post, I thought OP was trying to leave after just one year and I would've said that's a bad decision. But if your two years will be complete and she's asking you to stay for an additional two months that wasn't agreed upon before and it's going to cause you financial, relationship, and career problems, I think leaving in August (as originally planned) is totally reasonable.

As others have pointed out, you're running the risk of burning a bridge but it sounds like that may be worth it in your situation. Good luck.



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