Stats for Competitive Cities (Circuit Clerkship)

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Stats for Competitive Cities (Circuit Clerkship)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 04, 2017 2:55 pm

Howdy folks. After a year and a half of big law, I am thinking about a circuit court clerkship for the 2018-2019 term. I wasn't really competitive for big city circuit clerkships when I applied in law school, but I am hopeful that my chances have improved. What are folks' thoughts on how competitive I will be for a circuit clerkship in cities like San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, DC, New Orleans, Nashville, etc. Stats are as follows: top ten percent from a T10, graduation award winner / other awards associated with school's moot court, district court clerkship, secondary journal, etc. Also - I don't think I am going to ask for a recommendation from my firm, so I will likely only have two recommendations. Any feedback is appreciated!

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Re: Stats for Competitive Cities (Circuit Clerkship)

Postby FascinatedWanderer » Sat Mar 04, 2017 4:16 pm

You should be aware that the vast majority of clerkships in those cities are full for 2018-19.

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Re: Stats for Competitive Cities (Circuit Clerkship)

Postby mjb447 » Sat Mar 04, 2017 4:30 pm

FascinatedWanderer wrote:You should be aware that the vast majority of clerkships in those cities are full for 2018-19.

+1. I think it might be worth putting in applications to some of those cities, especially because applying as an alum is particularly unpredictable (although I don't know if I'd think of, say, DC Circuit judges in the same vein as circuit judges who sit in Nashville) but you'll probably have better luck if you're also open to later terms.

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Re: Stats for Competitive Cities (Circuit Clerkship)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 04, 2017 7:57 pm

Hm... good point. I guess it makes sense to just follow Oscar and look for random postings.

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Re: Stats for Competitive Cities (Circuit Clerkship)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:07 pm

Look for what's open on OSCAR for 18-19 and apply. There's no GPA floor for judges, but at my NU/Georgetown/Duke law school, you can't assume you'll get a clerkship in one of those cities unless you have a 3.9>.

But divining GPA stats for judges is generally silly. Just apply to the judges you want to work for and hope for the best.

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Re: Stats for Competitive Cities (Circuit Clerkship)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:19 pm

Agreed. I am going to send a few apps and see if I get any bites. No harm in trying. Related question - anyone know if the judges listed as available on Oscar for 2018-2019 term are actually full? I remember experiencing that with a few judges last time I applied...

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Re: Stats for Competitive Cities (Circuit Clerkship)

Postby mjb447 » Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Agreed. I am going to send a few apps and see if I get any bites. No harm in trying. Related question - anyone know if the judges listed as available on Oscar for 2018-2019 term are actually full? I remember experiencing that with a few judges last time I applied...

That's a really broad question, and some judges are better about updating OSCAR than others. You might want to try asking about specific judges in one of the "Let's Talk Xth Circuit" threads.

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Re: Stats for Competitive Cities (Circuit Clerkship)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:34 pm

I would recommend looking at judges not on OSCAR. My anecdotal experience is that they move later (at least in the 6th Cir, which are moving right now for 2018).

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Re: Stats for Competitive Cities (Circuit Clerkship)

Postby LurkClerk » Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Howdy folks. After a year and a half of big law, I am thinking about a circuit court clerkship for the 2018-2019 term. I wasn't really competitive for big city circuit clerkships when I applied in law school, but I am hopeful that my chances have improved. What are folks' thoughts on how competitive I will be for a circuit clerkship in cities like San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, DC, New Orleans, Nashville, etc. Stats are as follows: top ten percent from a T10, graduation award winner / other awards associated with school's moot court, district court clerkship, secondary journal, etc. Also - I don't think I am going to ask for a recommendation from my firm, so I will likely only have two recommendations. Any feedback is appreciated!


Nashville has only two COA judges (Daughtrey and Merritt). Merritt typically hires at least one Vandy Law grad. Neither is a feeder though (Merritt might have sent one clerk up many years ago), so the applicant pool isn't any stronger than any other market.

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Re: Stats for Competitive Cities (Circuit Clerkship)

Postby FascinatedWanderer » Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:45 pm

I also think those stats are unlikely to get you interest on the D.C. Circuit or CA9 judges in SF.

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Re: Stats for Competitive Cities (Circuit Clerkship)

Postby rpupkin » Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:41 pm

FascinatedWanderer wrote:I also think those stats are unlikely to get you interest on the D.C. Circuit or CA9 judges in SF.

Or the CA9 judges in Portland and Seattle. Or the CA7 judges in Chicago.

OP needs to either (1) find a strong recommender who knows the targeted CADC/CA9/CA7 judges and who will call those judges on OP's behalf; or (2) significantly expand the scope of his or her clerkship search.

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Re: Stats for Competitive Cities (Circuit Clerkship)

Postby mjb447 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:big city circuit clerkships . . . cities like San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, DC, New Orleans, Nashville, etc.

Since there's been some additional activity here, I'm kind of curious (1) why you want to limit yourself to "big city circuit clerkships" and (2) how you're defining "big city" given this list.

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Re: Stats for Competitive Cities (Circuit Clerkship)

Postby LurkClerk » Mon Mar 06, 2017 6:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Howdy folks. After a year and a half of big law, I am thinking about a circuit court clerkship for the 2018-2019 term. I wasn't really competitive for big city circuit clerkships when I applied in law school, but I am hopeful that my chances have improved. What are folks' thoughts on how competitive I will be for a circuit clerkship in cities like San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, DC, New Orleans, Nashville, etc. Stats are as follows: top ten percent from a T10, graduation award winner / other awards associated with school's moot court, district court clerkship, secondary journal, etc. Also - I don't think I am going to ask for a recommendation from my firm, so I will likely only have two recommendations. Any feedback is appreciated!


You would have a shot at a CTA6 clerkship with those stats (not with Sutton, Kethledge, or any of the other more competitive judges, but certainly with the mine-run judges). As always, your law school recommenders can help you a lot by making phone calls to those judges with whom they have a relationship.

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Re: Stats for Competitive Cities (Circuit Clerkship)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:42 pm

Nashville has only two COA judges (Daughtrey and Merritt). Merritt typically hires at least one Vandy Law grad. Neither is a feeder though (Merritt might have sent one clerk up many years ago), so the applicant pool isn't any stronger than any other market.


Also Stranch, the only active judge in Nashville.

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Re: Stats for Competitive Cities (Circuit Clerkship)

Postby LurkClerk » Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:55 pm

Forgot all about JBS. She's a gem. By all accounts a great boss.

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Re: Stats for Competitive Cities (Circuit Clerkship)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 07, 2017 12:14 am

I recently took a 2018 position for a judge that fits these criteria--think Portland or Nashville, not DC--and interviewed with another in the past couple of months. And I have relatively similar stats and background. With a district court clerkship and some biglaw, you'll be attractive to judges who value work experience but my advice is to apply now if you're looking to make a move anytime soon. To the extent that 2018 positions are still open, my impression is that they're filling up fast...

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Re: Stats for Competitive Cities (Circuit Clerkship)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:39 am

Thanks all. And I wasn't really thinking when using the term "big city" - I am basically looking for a clerkship in any city that I haven't previously lived in (medium or large)... And I would like a "bigger" city because chances are there is more culture/things to do for someone that is single. I also want to experience living in a new place.

And I agree... I am probably not competitive for a lot of 9th/2nd/DC circuit clerkships... I will have to touch base with my judge and previous recommenders to get their thoughts.

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Re: Stats for Competitive Cities (Circuit Clerkship)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:24 am

LurkClerk wrote:Forgot all about JBS. She's a gem. By all accounts a great boss.


Anyone have info on Donald, as a boss (I know, she's in Memphis, not Nashville)

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Re: Stats for Competitive Cities (Circuit Clerkship)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 15, 2017 7:12 pm

Donald is a fine boss. All of her former clerks love her, including from her District Court years. She does travel quite a bit, so your contact with her may sometimes be limited. Her clerks also occasionally have to rotate through JA-like duties, although that may have changed.



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