Value of Circuit Clerkship After 2 Year D. Ct?

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Fireworks2016

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Value of Circuit Clerkship After 2 Year D. Ct?

Postby Fireworks2016 » Mon Jan 30, 2017 2:11 pm

Hi all,

I'm trying to get a sense for the relative value of adding a third year of clerking after my 2 year district court clerkship. I have pristine grades (3.99 GPA at a strong midwest public school currently) + LR, although I did not pursue publication.

Ultimately I'm not sure I want to focus on an appellate practice in the future, but I wouldn't say its out of the question either. My loans are fairly minimal (40k) and I'll be clerking in a low-COA area so the relative pay cut as compared to being in a firm for an extra year doesn't really bother me.

I've heard the whole "clerking for more than 2 years is weird" thing often, and I'm curious if that applies to people coming off of 2-year clerkships?

I know this is a broad question, but would love to hear from anyone who was in a similar position and either chose to clerk or chose to enter private practice.

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Re: Value of Circuit Clerkship After 2 Year D. Ct?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 30, 2017 2:30 pm

Also curious about this. Particularly entering a 2-year clerkship coming off a 2-year clerkship. Too much?

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rpupkin

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Re: Value of Circuit Clerkship After 2 Year D. Ct?

Postby rpupkin » Tue Jan 31, 2017 3:44 am

Fireworks2016 wrote:I've heard the whole "clerking for more than 2 years is weird" thing often, and I'm curious if that applies to people coming off of 2-year clerkships?

If you were doing another clerkship at the same level (i.e., another district-court clerkship), I'd be concerned. But because your additional clerkship is a COA clerkship, you should be fine. Be aware that most big law firms will give you no more than two years of credit for your clerkships—you'll likely start as a third-year associate instead of as a fourth-year.

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rpupkin

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Re: Value of Circuit Clerkship After 2 Year D. Ct?

Postby rpupkin » Tue Jan 31, 2017 3:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:Also curious about this. Particularly entering a 2-year clerkship coming off a 2-year clerkship. Too much?

Maybe. Four years is pushing it. And if they're both trial-level clerkships, you're definitely going to have problems.

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Re: Value of Circuit Clerkship After 2 Year D. Ct?

Postby lavarman84 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:04 am

rpupkin wrote:
Fireworks2016 wrote:I've heard the whole "clerking for more than 2 years is weird" thing often, and I'm curious if that applies to people coming off of 2-year clerkships?

If you were doing another clerkship at the same level (i.e., another district-court clerkship), I'd be concerned. But because your additional clerkship is a COA clerkship, you should be fine. Be aware that most big law firms will give you no more than two years of credit for your clerkships—you'll likely start as a third-year associate instead of as a fourth-year.


How about government? Is this something they'd care about?

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rpupkin

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Re: Value of Circuit Clerkship After 2 Year D. Ct?

Postby rpupkin » Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:36 am

lawman84 wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
Fireworks2016 wrote:I've heard the whole "clerking for more than 2 years is weird" thing often, and I'm curious if that applies to people coming off of 2-year clerkships?

If you were doing another clerkship at the same level (i.e., another district-court clerkship), I'd be concerned. But because your additional clerkship is a COA clerkship, you should be fine. Be aware that most big law firms will give you no more than two years of credit for your clerkships—you'll likely start as a third-year associate instead of as a fourth-year.


How about government? Is this something they'd care about?

My sense is that government employers are less sensitive to this kind of thing than private law firms, but I'm not sure. Also, "government" covers so many different types of jobs—it's more varied than big law. Someone with government experience (Nony?) should weigh in.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Value of Circuit Clerkship After 2 Year D. Ct?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:16 am

At least with the feds, I don't think it matters so much because you're not facing a partnership timeline - you're not coming in as a 3rd year vs 4th year, and you're not on a clock where you have x number of years until you either make partner or get booted; I know people who've come into the job off of 1 year at a firm and after 10 years at a firm.

It will more depend what kind of job you're going for in govt and whether the clerkship adds to your application. I don't think doing a COA after DCt is generally going to hurt you, whether the DCt is one year or two (two of the same kind of clerkship may look a little weird but I don't think it would be as bad as for a firm). The issue may be more whether you have other relevant experience that the gov employer wants to see, like trial experience (I know tons of DCt clerks but not many COA clerks, but that may be self-selection of some kind). And of course this is all office/hiring official specific.

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Re: Value of Circuit Clerkship After 2 Year D. Ct?

Postby lavarman84 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 7:12 pm

Gracias, Nony.

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Re: Value of Circuit Clerkship After 2 Year D. Ct?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:19 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:At least with the feds, I don't think it matters so much because you're not facing a partnership timeline - you're not coming in as a 3rd year vs 4th year, and you're not on a clock where you have x number of years until you either make partner or get booted; I know people who've come into the job off of 1 year at a firm and after 10 years at a firm.

It will more depend what kind of job you're going for in govt and whether the clerkship adds to your application. I don't think doing a COA after DCt is generally going to hurt you, whether the DCt is one year or two (two of the same kind of clerkship may look a little weird but I don't think it would be as bad as for a firm). The issue may be more whether you have other relevant experience that the gov employer wants to see, like trial experience (I know tons of DCt clerks but not many COA clerks, but that may be self-selection of some kind). And of course this is all office/hiring official specific.


Isn't it possible that additional experience can hurt in gov't hiring because it makes you more expensive? (i.e., if there's a vacancy and the position is budgeted at $x and you would normally come in at > $x)

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Re: Value of Circuit Clerkship After 2 Year D. Ct?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:52 pm

That makes sense, and I can't say it never happens, but I can only I've never seen that be an issue. Like I said, I know people who went government after 10 years at a firm, or 8-9 years in state government. I'm not the world's best expert on this so I welcome corrections, but my understanding is: Pay is determined by years of relevant experience (generally) and many federal positions are capped. Say a position is capped at GS-14. That means that's the highest pay grade available in that position. If you have the years of experience to get that pay grade when you're hired, great. But if you have enough experience to qualify for GS-15 it's not going to make you too expensive because the job just doesn't go to that grade, and if you want the job you have to be willing to be capped at GS-14. (I'll confess I'm still not clear about steps within grades and I believe you might have some room for movement there).

In part I think there isn't an awful lot of negotiation that goes on. Again, there may be more than I realize and I just don't know about it because I haven't been in that position. But my general sense is that the pay is what the pay is. You may be able to argue about steps within grade. But as with any job, in the end they'll say "this is the salary" and you have to decide if you want to take it. You might decide it's too little for you but you're not going to be too expensive for them, if that makes sense.

(I should clarify that I'm talking about line positions, like a line AUSA or an attorney-advisor or a trial attorney. Supervisory positions are different but I think it's the same basic idea, just a higher cap. And then if you get into political appointment type positions, I have no idea.)



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