Geographic ties/preference on cover letter

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HillandHollow

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Geographic ties/preference on cover letter

Postby HillandHollow » Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:53 pm

I only have geographic "ties" in a few places, but I am not necessarily only interested in going to those places. In fact, I am willing to permanently relocate nearly anywhere. My plan is to stay wherever I get a clerkship, basically.

Is there any way to effectively say this on a cover letter without sounding disingenuous?

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Re: Geographic ties/preference on cover letter

Postby clerk1251 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:13 pm

I don't think you need to state it. If you're applying, it's presumed that you would be willing to go there. Judges understand the value in a clerkship and that people will come from all over for the opportunity. There is no need to suggest that you'd live there forever, just as there is no reason to actually live there forever if you decide you want to move somewhere else after.

If you have ties, establish them. If it is a judge that specifically requests applicants have ties to the area, and you don't, don't apply. Otherwise, you're fine without any mention.

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Re: Geographic ties/preference on cover letter

Postby HillandHollow » Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:19 pm

Great, thank you!

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Re: Geographic ties/preference on cover letter

Postby mjb447 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:39 pm

clerk1251 wrote:I don't think you need to state it. If you're applying, it's presumed that you would be willing to go there. Judges understand the value in a clerkship and that people will come from all over for the opportunity. There is no need to suggest that you'd live there forever, just as there is no reason to actually live there forever if you decide you want to move somewhere else after.

If you have ties, establish them. If it is a judge that specifically requests applicants have ties to the area, and you don't, don't apply. Otherwise, you're fine without any mention.

I agree with this. Mentioning ties you don't yet have but hope to create in the future might also be seen as a little disingenuous.

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Re: Geographic ties/preference on cover letter

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:21 pm

I think it's fair to throw in something like "I am particularly interested in clerking in your district because I intend to practice here long-term." (Worded more elegantly maybe.) It doesn't carry a lot of weight because anyone can say that, but I don't think it's weird/off-putting to include.

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Re: Geographic ties/preference on cover letter

Postby mjb447 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:29 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think it's fair to throw in something like "I am particularly interested in clerking in your district because I intend to practice here long-term." (Worded more elegantly maybe.) It doesn't carry a lot of weight because anyone can say that, but I don't think it's weird/off-putting to include.

Fair point as far as the cover letter goes. I guess I would just ensure that I had a pretty good response about practicing locally (ideally something that conceals that I'd have said that to anyone anywhere) if the cover letter results in an interview.

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Re: Geographic ties/preference on cover letter

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:33 pm

Yeah, this is assuming the OP seriously does want to live wherever this is and can talk convincingly about that in the interview - I was thinking it would be a possible hook for conversation if they got that far. I wouldn't add that unless I genuinely did want to practice there.

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Re: Geographic ties/preference on cover letter

Postby HillandHollow » Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:50 pm

I suppose the reality is that I have some preferred regions where I can also speak directly to some connection or knowledge there. But there are also places that I would *intend* on staying permanently, but to which I have no apparent connection or knowledge.

There are also probably places that I would really not want to stay for any amount of time beyond my clerkship, but I have not had to start applying to those places yet. Will deal with that when it happens. Desperation is still at a manageable level for now, though.

Thanks again for the input.

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Re: Geographic ties/preference on cover letter

Postby clerk1251 » Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:19 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think it's fair to throw in something like "I am particularly interested in clerking in your district because I intend to practice here long-term." (Worded more elegantly maybe.) It doesn't carry a lot of weight because anyone can say that, but I don't think it's weird/off-putting to include.


I get what you're saying here, but I personally disagree. If I was reading a cover letter from an applicant to our chambers, regardless of where my chambers are located, if someone said that they intend to practice here long term without elaborating on why or any ties, I'd find it very fake. I'd actually be a bit off-put by it and likely consider it as a negative reflection on the applicant. Again though, that's just my opinion. But seeing as it's usually the clerks that screen, if there's even the chance that someone might find it strange, I don't see any value in adding it.


HillandHollow wrote:I suppose the reality is that I have some preferred regions where I can also speak directly to some connection or knowledge there. But there are also places that I would *intend* on staying permanently, but to which I have no apparent connection or knowledge.

There are also probably places that I would really not want to stay for any amount of time beyond my clerkship, but I have not had to start applying to those places yet. Will deal with that when it happens. Desperation is still at a manageable level for now, though.

Thanks again for the input.


Just to reiterate what I said earlier, you honestly don't need to practice where you clerk. There are very few judges that require regional ties. It's widely recognized that people would be willing to go to literally the middle of nowhere for an opportunity to clerk for an Art III Judge. If you have ties and preferences, apply there and indicate them. Otherwise, I'd say to just apply broadly and hope for the best.

Feel free to look at any biglaw firm in a major market. Look at the bio's of their associates that have clerked. You'll notice clerkships from all over the country.

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Re: Geographic ties/preference on cover letter

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:43 am

Saying something like that is definitely much more convincing/helpful if you can talk about ties or something about the region. For me it would really depend on how the cover letter was written. But yeah, if there are differing opinions it's usually safest to leave it out.

And I agree that you don't have to have ties/be local/any of that. There are definitely judges who prefer local candidates, but judges have so many different (often conflicting) preferences that there is no way to be the ideal candidate to all judges.

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Re: Geographic ties/preference on cover letter

Postby mjb447 » Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:49 pm

Just to echo and provide some anecdata - I've clerked way too many times (3-4 depending on how you count) and I had geographical ties to one of them (ties to state, no ties to city). Didn't try to claim any connections that weren't there - I mentioned during some of my interviews that I liked the opportunity to live for a year in somewhere I probably wouldn't visit otherwise - and it wasn't a problem. Some judges care, but most don't.

ETA: Obv I said it more tactfully than that during the interview, but the sentiment was there.

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Re: Geographic ties/preference on cover letter

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:34 pm

clerk1251 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think it's fair to throw in something like "I am particularly interested in clerking in your district because I intend to practice here long-term." (Worded more elegantly maybe.) It doesn't carry a lot of weight because anyone can say that, but I don't think it's weird/off-putting to include.


I get what you're saying here, but I personally disagree. If I was reading a cover letter from an applicant to our chambers, regardless of where my chambers are located, if someone said that they intend to practice here long term without elaborating on why or any ties, I'd find it very fake. I'd actually be a bit off-put by it and likely consider it as a negative reflection on the applicant. Again though, that's just my opinion. But seeing as it's usually the clerks that screen, if there's even the chance that someone might find it strange, I don't see any value in adding it.


HillandHollow wrote:I suppose the reality is that I have some preferred regions where I can also speak directly to some connection or knowledge there. But there are also places that I would *intend* on staying permanently, but to which I have no apparent connection or knowledge.

There are also probably places that I would really not want to stay for any amount of time beyond my clerkship, but I have not had to start applying to those places yet. Will deal with that when it happens. Desperation is still at a manageable level for now, though.

Thanks again for the input.


Just to reiterate what I said earlier, you honestly don't need to practice where you clerk. There are very few judges that require regional ties. It's widely recognized that people would be willing to go to literally the middle of nowhere for an opportunity to clerk for an Art III Judge. If you have ties and preferences, apply there and indicate them. Otherwise, I'd say to just apply broadly and hope for the best.

Feel free to look at any biglaw firm in a major market. Look at the bio's of their associates that have clerked. You'll notice clerkships from all over the country.


I get that it probably varies from person to person, but I'm wondering what you think about this -- I'm currently practicing in a major market, but am applying for clerkships in my home state. My resume/bar admissions/firms/law school internships all scream the major market I'm working in -- do you think it would still come off disingenuous if I simply say (as I've been doing) that I am from X state and intend to return?

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Re: Geographic ties/preference on cover letter

Postby mjb447 » Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
clerk1251 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think it's fair to throw in something like "I am particularly interested in clerking in your district because I intend to practice here long-term." (Worded more elegantly maybe.) It doesn't carry a lot of weight because anyone can say that, but I don't think it's weird/off-putting to include.


I get what you're saying here, but I personally disagree. If I was reading a cover letter from an applicant to our chambers, regardless of where my chambers are located, if someone said that they intend to practice here long term without elaborating on why or any ties, I'd find it very fake. I'd actually be a bit off-put by it and likely consider it as a negative reflection on the applicant. Again though, that's just my opinion. But seeing as it's usually the clerks that screen, if there's even the chance that someone might find it strange, I don't see any value in adding it.


HillandHollow wrote:I suppose the reality is that I have some preferred regions where I can also speak directly to some connection or knowledge there. But there are also places that I would *intend* on staying permanently, but to which I have no apparent connection or knowledge.

There are also probably places that I would really not want to stay for any amount of time beyond my clerkship, but I have not had to start applying to those places yet. Will deal with that when it happens. Desperation is still at a manageable level for now, though.

Thanks again for the input.


Just to reiterate what I said earlier, you honestly don't need to practice where you clerk. There are very few judges that require regional ties. It's widely recognized that people would be willing to go to literally the middle of nowhere for an opportunity to clerk for an Art III Judge. If you have ties and preferences, apply there and indicate them. Otherwise, I'd say to just apply broadly and hope for the best.

Feel free to look at any biglaw firm in a major market. Look at the bio's of their associates that have clerked. You'll notice clerkships from all over the country.


I get that it probably varies from person to person, but I'm wondering what you think about this -- I'm currently practicing in a major market, but am applying for clerkships in my home state. My resume/bar admissions/firms/law school internships all scream the major market I'm working in -- do you think it would still come off disingenuous if I simply say (as I've been doing) that I am from X state and intend to return?

Nope. It's pretty normal for people looking to make a career transition to clerk during the transition. That's also exactly the kind of connection that your resume wouldn't state that the judge should nevertheless know, so it's good cover letter material. If you get an interview, I assume you'll have a nice story or set of reasons about why you want to return to your home state so it doesn't seem like you're leaning on a connection that you don't actually care about or intend to cultivate.

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Re: Geographic ties/preference on cover letter

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:04 pm

Yeah, I agree with the above. And just to be clear, I only think it's worth talking about wanting to settle in a region if you honestly do, not to try to manufacture ties in the hopes of getting further in the process (and as noted, can see why it's not worth bringing up for the reasons others have said).

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Re: Geographic ties/preference on cover letter

Postby clerk1251 » Thu Jan 12, 2017 3:08 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Yeah, I agree with the above. And just to be clear, I only think it's worth talking about wanting to settle in a region if you honestly do, not to try to manufacture ties in the hopes of getting further in the process (and as noted, can see why it's not worth bringing up for the reasons others have said).


I agree with this. I'd have no problem with someone indicating that they are from this state and/or they have family in this state and would like to return there for the year or transition to practicing here. Just make sure it sounds genuine. Feel free to paste the exact phrasing from your cover letter if you'd like more feedback.

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Re: Geographic ties/preference on cover letter

Postby HillandHollow » Mon Jan 30, 2017 3:46 pm

clerk1251 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Yeah, I agree with the above. And just to be clear, I only think it's worth talking about wanting to settle in a region if you honestly do, not to try to manufacture ties in the hopes of getting further in the process (and as noted, can see why it's not worth bringing up for the reasons others have said).


I agree with this. I'd have no problem with someone indicating that they are from this state and/or they have family in this state and would like to return there for the year or transition to practicing here. Just make sure it sounds genuine. Feel free to paste the exact phrasing from your cover letter if you'd like more feedback.



Thanks for the response, sorry for the late reply (didn't notice it).
I think that for the places where I have demonstrable ties, it is fairly easy to say that. My prob is for the states where I just have a friend or two, and have only visited a couple times at best, but would really relocate there.
Let's say that I had a line substantially similar to the following:

"I am a 3L at Law School, and I am applying for a 2017-2018 clerkship. I intend to permanently relocate to State X, and use the skills I will learn as a clerk to begin my career in civil rights litigation."

How to improve?

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Re: Geographic ties/preference on cover letter

Postby clerk1251 » Mon Jan 30, 2017 4:02 pm

HillandHollow wrote:
clerk1251 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Yeah, I agree with the above. And just to be clear, I only think it's worth talking about wanting to settle in a region if you honestly do, not to try to manufacture ties in the hopes of getting further in the process (and as noted, can see why it's not worth bringing up for the reasons others have said).


I agree with this. I'd have no problem with someone indicating that they are from this state and/or they have family in this state and would like to return there for the year or transition to practicing here. Just make sure it sounds genuine. Feel free to paste the exact phrasing from your cover letter if you'd like more feedback.



Thanks for the response, sorry for the late reply (didn't notice it).
I think that for the places where I have demonstrable ties, it is fairly easy to say that. My prob is for the states where I just have a friend or two, and have only visited a couple times at best, but would really relocate there.
Let's say that I had a line substantially similar to the following:

"I am a 3L at Law School, and I am applying for a 2017-2018 clerkship. I intend to permanently relocate to State X, and use the skills I will learn as a clerk to begin my career in civil rights litigation."

How to improve?


As was already said, you don't need to have ties. If a judge requires ties, and you don't have any, apply to a different judge. Don't manifest any.

"I am a 3L at Law School, and I am applying for a 2017-2018 clerkship. I intend to permanently relocate to State X, and use the skills I will learn as a clerk to begin my career in civil rights litigation."

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Re: Geographic ties/preference on cover letter

Postby HillandHollow » Mon Jan 30, 2017 4:13 pm

clerk1251 wrote:
HillandHollow wrote:
clerk1251 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Yeah, I agree with the above. And just to be clear, I only think it's worth talking about wanting to settle in a region if you honestly do, not to try to manufacture ties in the hopes of getting further in the process (and as noted, can see why it's not worth bringing up for the reasons others have said).


I agree with this. I'd have no problem with someone indicating that they are from this state and/or they have family in this state and would like to return there for the year or transition to practicing here. Just make sure it sounds genuine. Feel free to paste the exact phrasing from your cover letter if you'd like more feedback.



Thanks for the response, sorry for the late reply (didn't notice it).
I think that for the places where I have demonstrable ties, it is fairly easy to say that. My prob is for the states where I just have a friend or two, and have only visited a couple times at best, but would really relocate there.
Let's say that I had a line substantially similar to the following:

"I am a 3L at Law School, and I am applying for a 2017-2018 clerkship. I intend to permanently relocate to State X, and use the skills I will learn as a clerk to begin my career in civil rights litigation."

How to improve?


As was already said, you don't need to have ties. If a judge requires ties, and you don't have any, apply to a different judge. Don't manifest any.

"I am a 3L at Law School, and I am applying for a 2017-2018 clerkship. I intend to permanently relocate to State X, and use the skills I will learn as a clerk to begin my career in civil rights litigation."



Great, thanks!

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Re: Geographic ties/preference on cover letter

Postby Moonraker » Thu Feb 09, 2017 8:17 pm

It could be helpful to include ties for some areas that are particularly remote. Also, definitely include if judge asks for ties. Never make up that you have ties.

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Re: Geographic ties/preference on cover letter

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:06 pm

Perhaps it's because I clerked in more "mid-size" cities (think Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Newark, etc.), but the judges I worked for certainly sought out clerks with ties to the city they live in (and often love). I also would venture the same holds for judges in DC, NYC, etc., but perhaps to a somewhat lesser extent. It's more of a "tie-breaking" mechanism more than anything if that makes sense? Obviously, if your work experience clarifies you will work in that city, then no need to put it in the cover letter. But, say you're from city X, but have been in UG and Law School elsewhere, plan to start your career in NYC or DC and return to the city later, that is highly relevant. Also, statements like "I grew up in city X and..." or "I have family in city X and would welcome an opportunity to spend a year there," help. At worst, it never hurts an applicant. As has been said here, don't make stuff up obviously -- that's just dumb.

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Re: Geographic ties/preference on cover letter

Postby Moonraker » Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Perhaps it's because I clerked in more "mid-size" cities (think Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Newark, etc.), but the judges I worked for certainly sought out clerks with ties to the city they live in (and often love). I also would venture the same holds for judges in DC, NYC, etc., but perhaps to a somewhat lesser extent. It's more of a "tie-breaking" mechanism more than anything if that makes sense? Obviously, if your work experience clarifies you will work in that city, then no need to put it in the cover letter. But, say you're from city X, but have been in UG and Law School elsewhere, plan to start your career in NYC or DC and return to the city later, that is highly relevant. Also, statements like "I grew up in city X and..." or "I have family in city X and would welcome an opportunity to spend a year there," help. At worst, it never hurts an applicant. As has been said here, don't make stuff up obviously -- that's just dumb.


For large cities, it could be a slight plus if the judge is from the city (say a DC judge who grew up in DC), but I think for NY/DC especially, ties are relatively unimportant for large metro areas where a large % of people want to start practice. I say this as someone with strong ties to a large metro area and where it never came up.

The caveat could be if you have strong LA ties and want to practice in NY or vice-versa, some situation where you have strong ties to one metro but want to practice in a completely different one, but this is venturing quite away from clerkships and more towards BigLaw.

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Re: Geographic ties/preference on cover letter

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:48 pm

You won't get an interview with my judge if you don't state a geographic tie, or happen to have gone to his or his children's law school or undergrad. Fed D. Ct., secondary market.



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