Getting Current Judge to Go to Bat For You

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Getting Current Judge to Go to Bat For You

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:47 am

I'm currently clerking for a district court judge and looking to clerk at the CoA level. I've had little success thus far save for a couple interviews. My judge has been on the bench for a while and has extensive contacts with appellate judges within our circuit. But I'm also willing to travel to other circuits for any CoA gig. Does anyone have experience with diplomatically asking a current judge to communicate directly with a federal appellate judge to help land you a CoA interview? What was your experience like, and how did you go about it? Did you have a specific judge in mind, or did you simply ask the judge to plumb her CoA contacts? Thanks in advance!

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Re: Getting Current Judge to Go to Bat For You

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:13 am

Interested in hearing this as well.

I'm a current D. Court clerk who has applied to a few COA positions. I asked my judge to write a letter of rec for me, and she did. I don't feel comfortable asking her to make a call for me, even though I imagine it would go very far to helping me lock down some positions. Would love to hear how others approached it. I also think you will have a lot of variance because it all depends on your relationship to your judge.


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Re: Getting Current Judge to Go to Bat For You

Postby ignatiusr » Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:24 am

I just recently did this. Of course, it depends on how close you are to your judge; if you guys have a great relationship, it would likely be fine to ask her directly about contacting judges. My approach was not to ask expressly "will you contact X or Y judge," but to say something like, "I'm thinking about applying to X judge or in Y circuit(s); do you have any thoughts about the judge/circuit or other advice about the process?" Another similar question would be, "Do you know of any judges that you think I'd be a good fit for?" Most judges would infer from this line of questioning that you would appreciate the judge's help in reaching out to COA judges. My judge drew that inference and offered to call or email different COA judges that I'd applied to, depending on his relationship with them (he called judges he knew well, and emailed judges he didn't). Others might just write a letter, as the above poster's judge did. My instinct would be to defer to the judge's decision about the best way to contact other judges, especially if he/she knows the other judges well. But again, if you have a close relationship with your judge, it's probably fine to ask directly about calling.

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Re: Getting Current Judge to Go to Bat For You

Postby mjb447 » Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:59 pm

I think how you ask matters a lot less than (1) your relationship with your judge, which others have addressed, but also just (2) what your judge is comfortable with. Some judges will be comfortable making phone calls, others may only be willing to receive them. Some will write letters, others will only permit you to list them as a reference. There are probably a thousand reasonable ways to ask this question (and you're already in trouble if a request this innocuous would set your district judge off), but your judge might not be willing to do very much.

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