Two Federal Appellate Clerkships

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Two Federal Appellate Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:23 pm

I have recently accepted a clerkship position with a circuit judge on a less prestigious circuit (i.e. not DC, 2nd, or 9th) and located in a secondary market for the 2018-2019 term. I am a current 2L. I am currently considering applying for a second CoA clerkship for 2019-2020. I would probably only opt for this second year if it was for a prestigious/"feeder" judge, otherwise I'm not sure it adds much to my CV in terms of employability. My goal after is to go to a top firm and litigate. At this time I have no interest in academia. I am not a T-14, but have excellent grades and other credentials that allowed me to get the first clerkship.

Besides any basic comments/suggestions on that process, I have a few questions:
1) What is the general opinion among CoA judges about taking clerks who have already completed a CoA clerkship?
2) Is this worth my time? (I'm very young for law school, came straight from undergrad, not married/no kids if that helps)
3) Is it standard practice at the big firms to give two years of credit for clerking for two years?
4) What is the practice on bonuses for two years of clerking? Just one bonus at the same level?
5) What is the etiquette in informing my 2018 judge of this process? After an interview is scheduled?

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Re: Two Federal Appellate Clerkships

Postby mjb447 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I have recently accepted a clerkship position with a circuit judge on a less prestigious circuit (i.e. not DC, 2nd, or 9th) and located in a secondary market for the 2018-2019 term. I am a current 2L. I am currently considering applying for a second CoA clerkship for 2019-2020. I would probably only opt for this second year if it was for a prestigious/"feeder" judge, otherwise I'm not sure it adds much to my CV in terms of employability. My goal after is to go to a top firm and litigate. At this time I have no interest in academia. I am not a T-14, but have excellent grades and other credentials that allowed me to get the first clerkship.

Besides any basic comments/suggestions on that process, I have a few questions:
1) What is the general opinion among CoA judges about taking clerks who have already completed a CoA clerkship?
2) Is this worth my time? (I'm very young for law school, came straight from undergrad, not married/no kids if that helps)
3) Is it standard practice at the big firms to give two years of credit for clerking for two years?
4) What is the practice on bonuses for two years of clerking? Just one bonus at the same level?
5) What is the etiquette in informing my 2018 judge of this process? After an interview is scheduled?

What does it mean to go to "a top firm and litigate"? Re (2), I'm not sure there are a ton of firms out there where a second appellate clerkship is going to be a lot more valuable than just starting your career at your "top firm" or one of its peers. I'll admit that I'm not as familiar with top law firms as others here, though, and if you had more specific goals it might be helpful to know that. ETA I agree with the consensus that a dist. ct. clerkship probably makes more sense for you.

Re (1) opinions vary a lot. Some judges, often the more competitive ones you're going for, seem to require it. Others want to spread the wealth of clerking opportunities and don't want people who've clerked already.

Re (5) I think that's about right. Earlier is a little bit speculative, but I think you should present it to your current judge pre-offer so it doesn't seem like a done deal. Obviously, you'll want to make sure that you've got enough flexibility in your start/end dates to make it work, particularly if you'll have to move in between.
Last edited by mjb447 on Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Two Federal Appellate Clerkships

Postby rpupkin » Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:My goal after is to go to a top firm and litigate.

If that's your goal, you would be much better served by a district-court clerkship after you finish your COA clerkship.

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Re: Two Federal Appellate Clerkships

Postby Barrred » Tue Mar 14, 2017 5:47 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:My goal after is to go to a top firm and litigate.

If that's your goal, you would be much better served by a district-court clerkship after you finish your COA clerkship.


Agreed. You should try to land a D.ct. clerkship in a competitive district (one that you want to work in), this would be looked on more favorably by firms, and would actually give you practical litigation experience. The only exception to this advice is if you are dead-set on only ever doing appellate litigation or you have realistic SCOTUS aspirations (if your non-T-14 school is at least T20 and you are legitimately #1-2 in your class with professors who love you).

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Re: Two Federal Appellate Clerkships

Postby WheninLaw » Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I have recently accepted a clerkship position with a circuit judge on a less prestigious circuit (i.e. not DC, 2nd, or 9th) and located in a secondary market for the 2018-2019 term. I am a current 2L. I am currently considering applying for a second CoA clerkship for 2019-2020. I would probably only opt for this second year if it was for a prestigious/"feeder" judge, otherwise I'm not sure it adds much to my CV in terms of employability. My goal after is to go to a top firm and litigate. At this time I have no interest in academia. I am not a T-14, but have excellent grades and other credentials that allowed me to get the first clerkship.

Besides any basic comments/suggestions on that process, I have a few questions:
1) What is the general opinion among CoA judges about taking clerks who have already completed a CoA clerkship?
2) Is this worth my time? (I'm very young for law school, came straight from undergrad, not married/no kids if that helps)
3) Is it standard practice at the big firms to give two years of credit for clerking for two years?
4) What is the practice on bonuses for two years of clerking? Just one bonus at the same level?
5) What is the etiquette in informing my 2018 judge of this process? After an interview is scheduled?


There is no reason to do a second CoA clerkship, and I think it makes you substantially less desirable to firms. Reason being is because you'd start out as a third-year (w/the requisite $$ and responsibilities) without many skills. Do not do it.

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Re: Two Federal Appellate Clerkships

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:51 pm

I think the only way doing a second COA would be worth it would be if it was 2d Cir, 9th Cir, DC Cir or one of the major judges in other circuits (ex Posner). Otherwise, I think you'd be better off with prestigious D.Ct. or working that year instead.

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Re: Two Federal Appellate Clerkships

Postby rpupkin » Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:54 pm

Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:I think the only way doing a second COA would be worth it would be if it was 2d Cir, 9th Cir, DC Cir or one of the major judges in other circuits (ex Posner).

Nah. OP's current COA clerkship + district court clerkship in a major market would make him or her more marketable to high-end litigation boutiques than would current COA clerkship + additional COA clerkship in 2nd/9th/DC.

As someone else pointed out, the only way a second COA clerkship makes sense is if it somehow gives OP a chance at SCOTUS. But given OP's credentials and given how most feeder COA judges hire, SCOTUS is highly, highly unlikely.

If OP wants to do a second clerkship, it should be with a district court judge.

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Re: Two Federal Appellate Clerkships

Postby Nebby » Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:50 pm

Do you know what litigation entails?

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Re: Two Federal Appellate Clerkships

Postby wwwcol » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:11 pm

Nebby wrote:Do you know what litigation entails?


Presumably not. A magistrate and district clerkship are the ideal clerkships for someone who wants to litigate.

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Re: Two Federal Appellate Clerkships

Postby rpupkin » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:16 pm

wwwcol wrote:
Nebby wrote:Do you know what litigation entails?


Presumably not. A magistrate and district clerkship are the ideal clerkships for someone who wants to litigate.

To be fair, appellate litigation is litigation. But there just isn't a lot of work in appellate litigation for associates at law firms, and, as everyone is pointing out, the OP already has a COA clerkship.

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Re: Two Federal Appellate Clerkships

Postby Lincoln » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:20 pm

At my firm, you would get two years' credit for purposes of pay and one year's credit for partner-track purposes.

I know someone who did this at my firm and everyone's reaction is always (1) why did you do two, and (2) if you're gonna do two why not district court?

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Re: Two Federal Appellate Clerkships

Postby Pure Applesauce » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:28 pm

What about two dist ct clerkships? Worth it or no

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Re: Two Federal Appellate Clerkships

Postby jrf12886 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:39 pm

I agree with those suggesting a District Court clerkship. A second COA doesn't make sense unless (1) the second is in a market you are trying to break into or you have some family/personal reason for wanting to do it, or (2) the second is a feeder (highly unlikely)

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Re: Two Federal Appellate Clerkships

Postby Nebby » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:47 pm

Pure Applesauce wrote:What about two dist ct clerkships? Worth it or no

No

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Re: Two Federal Appellate Clerkships

Postby BlackAndOrange84 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:13 pm

rpupkin wrote: . . . given how most feeder COA judges hire . . .


OP, I think this is the real point—the universe of feeder judges is already a small one, and among them, few consider someone with WE more generally or a previous clerkship specifically. Not being at a top school definitely hurts too. There are exceptions, I'm pretty sure Kozinski and Sutton have hired folks fitting the two COA + non-T14 bill, but it's at best highly unusual. I'm not saying it's not worth a shot if that's what you really want, but I'd suggest taking the advice regarding a district court clerkship seriously.

PM me if you get a chance, I've got more to say.

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Re: Two Federal Appellate Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:14 am

I had very similar goals. I got a COA clerkship and wanted a second COA clerkship with a feeder judge. I didn't apply to many judges (~20?), but it turns out that getting a second COA clerkship with a feeder judge is far easier said than done, even with good grades at a T14 school. I think you've gotten some good advice in this thread. It only really makes sense if you have a plausible shot at a SCOTUS clerkship, but most people with a plausible shot at a SCOTUS clerkship could've gotten a feeder clerkship in the first place (or don't need a feeder clerkship). And most feeder judges hire kids without previous COA clerkships. (It may be worth it if you're trying to go to a new market, especially D.C., but that generally shouldn't be necessary and may not be all that helpful.) Even if you do pursue it, you want to make sure that your first judge doesn't feel slighted, so consider checking in before sending any applications.

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Re: Two Federal Appellate Clerkships

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:51 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:I think the only way doing a second COA would be worth it would be if it was 2d Cir, 9th Cir, DC Cir or one of the major judges in other circuits (ex Posner).

Nah. OP's current COA clerkship + district court clerkship in a major market would make him or her more marketable to high-end litigation boutiques than would current COA clerkship + additional COA clerkship in 2nd/9th/DC.

As someone else pointed out, the only way a second COA clerkship makes sense is if it somehow gives OP a chance at SCOTUS. But given OP's credentials and given how most feeder COA judges hire, SCOTUS is highly, highly unlikely.

If OP wants to do a second clerkship, it should be with a district court judge.


Interesting. Think it helped the appointed general counsel to the U.S. Treasury? https://www.sullcrom.com/lawyers/BrentJ-McIntosh

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Re: Two Federal Appellate Clerkships

Postby rpupkin » Thu Mar 16, 2017 11:09 pm

Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:I think the only way doing a second COA would be worth it would be if it was 2d Cir, 9th Cir, DC Cir or one of the major judges in other circuits (ex Posner).

Nah. OP's current COA clerkship + district court clerkship in a major market would make him or her more marketable to high-end litigation boutiques than would current COA clerkship + additional COA clerkship in 2nd/9th/DC.

As someone else pointed out, the only way a second COA clerkship makes sense is if it somehow gives OP a chance at SCOTUS. But given OP's credentials and given how most feeder COA judges hire, SCOTUS is highly, highly unlikely.

If OP wants to do a second clerkship, it should be with a district court judge.


Interesting. Think it helped the appointed general counsel to the U.S. Treasury? https://www.sullcrom.com/lawyers/BrentJ-McIntosh

Note that his second clerkship was with Judge Silberman, who was a huge SCOTUS feeder back then. Sure, if OP could get a second clerkship with the modern equivalent of Silberman on the DC Circuit (someone like Merrick Garland), then I would suggest OP go for it—as would pretty much everyone else who has given advice in this thread. But for the reasons we've discussed, OP is almost surely not competitive for a COA clerkship with a feeder. Unlike the gentleman you linked to, OP is not a YLS grad whose first clerkship was with a Second Circuit judge.

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Re: Two Federal Appellate Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:32 pm

OP here. Thanks for the mostly helpful advice. Yes, I know what litigation entails. Yes, I realize that a district court is more practical, and that's why I'm not ruling it out. And yes, I have an extremely tiny but not non-existent SCOTUS opportunity based on some connections at my law school and also falling into the grade requirements mentioned (#1 or #2 in my class). I will say that it has happened before many years ago via a similar path to the one that I'm taking (i.e. one of my recommenders who loves me orchestrated first COA --> second feeder COA --> SCOTUS). Not ruling it out, but not letting that tiny possibility cloud my judgment either.

I guess my main reason for not being convinced re district court is I don't know if its more useful or more prestigious than simply going straight to a V5 firm or a fancy boutique. Someone mentioned that a second COA might help for appellate litigation or a boutique, but I don't have my heart set on that. Not opposed to it either.

I like the idea of giving two years credit for pay and one year credit for partnership. I know of at least one big DC firm that does that. Mostly I have the luxury of having very little student loan debt and no family reasons for staying in any one place. I'm also really young for law school (went straight through and still young in that crowd) so I'm not worried about rushing into partnership (if that happens to be what I decide I want to do/am capable of doing).

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Re: Two Federal Appellate Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Thanks for the mostly helpful advice. Yes, I know what litigation entails. Yes, I realize that a district court is more practical, and that's why I'm not ruling it out. And yes, I have an extremely tiny but not non-existent SCOTUS opportunity based on some connections at my law school and also falling into the grade requirements mentioned (#1 or #2 in my class). I will say that it has happened before many years ago via a similar path to the one that I'm taking (i.e. one of my recommenders who loves me orchestrated first COA --> second feeder COA --> SCOTUS). Not ruling it out, but not letting that tiny possibility cloud my judgment either.

I guess my main reason for not being convinced re district court is I don't know if its more useful or more prestigious than simply going straight to a V5 firm or a fancy boutique. Someone mentioned that a second COA might help for appellate litigation or a boutique, but I don't have my heart set on that. Not opposed to it either.

I like the idea of giving two years credit for pay and one year credit for partnership. I know of at least one big DC firm that does that. Mostly I have the luxury of having very little student loan debt and no family reasons for staying in any one place. I'm also really young for law school (went straight through and still young in that crowd) so I'm not worried about rushing into partnership (if that happens to be what I decide I want to do/am capable of doing).


Me again. How competitive are ND of IL clerkships? Who are the most prestigious judges there? Same questions for DDC?

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Re: Two Federal Appellate Clerkships

Postby rpupkin » Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Thanks for the mostly helpful advice. Yes, I know what litigation entails. Yes, I realize that a district court is more practical, and that's why I'm not ruling it out. And yes, I have an extremely tiny but not non-existent SCOTUS opportunity based on some connections at my law school and also falling into the grade requirements mentioned (#1 or #2 in my class). I will say that it has happened before many years ago via a similar path to the one that I'm taking (i.e. one of my recommenders who loves me orchestrated first COA --> second feeder COA --> SCOTUS). Not ruling it out, but not letting that tiny possibility cloud my judgment either.

I guess my main reason for not being convinced re district court is I don't know if its more useful or more prestigious than simply going straight to a V5 firm or a fancy boutique.

I think you might be missing the point a bit. You're going to be a grad of a non-T14 school with a circuit clerkship. For many fancy lit boutiques, that's not enough. A district court clerkship in a major city (particularly a city where a given boutique is located) will give you a better chance of being hired.

If you just want to go to a V5, then a second clerkship probably doesn't matter. Getting hired at a "V5" office somewhere will be easy. I can't for the life of me understand why an aspiring litigator would target the V5, but that's a different issue.

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Re: Two Federal Appellate Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 17, 2017 4:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Thanks for the mostly helpful advice. Yes, I know what litigation entails. Yes, I realize that a district court is more practical, and that's why I'm not ruling it out. And yes, I have an extremely tiny but not non-existent SCOTUS opportunity based on some connections at my law school and also falling into the grade requirements mentioned (#1 or #2 in my class). I will say that it has happened before many years ago via a similar path to the one that I'm taking (i.e. one of my recommenders who loves me orchestrated first COA --> second feeder COA --> SCOTUS). Not ruling it out, but not letting that tiny possibility cloud my judgment either.

I guess my main reason for not being convinced re district court is I don't know if its more useful or more prestigious than simply going straight to a V5 firm or a fancy boutique. Someone mentioned that a second COA might help for appellate litigation or a boutique, but I don't have my heart set on that. Not opposed to it either.

I like the idea of giving two years credit for pay and one year credit for partnership. I know of at least one big DC firm that does that. Mostly I have the luxury of having very little student loan debt and no family reasons for staying in any one place. I'm also really young for law school (went straight through and still young in that crowd) so I'm not worried about rushing into partnership (if that happens to be what I decide I want to do/am capable of doing).


Me again. How competitive are ND of IL clerkships? Who are the most prestigious judges there? Same questions for DDC?

NDIL and DDC clerkships are just as hard to obtain, if not harder, as non 2d/9th/DC Cir clerkships. Probably Actually harder, in most cases.

EDIT: runinthefront

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Re: Two Federal Appellate Clerkships

Postby hlsperson1111 » Fri Mar 17, 2017 4:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Thanks for the mostly helpful advice. Yes, I know what litigation entails. Yes, I realize that a district court is more practical, and that's why I'm not ruling it out. And yes, I have an extremely tiny but not non-existent SCOTUS opportunity based on some connections at my law school and also falling into the grade requirements mentioned (#1 or #2 in my class). I will say that it has happened before many years ago via a similar path to the one that I'm taking (i.e. one of my recommenders who loves me orchestrated first COA --> second feeder COA --> SCOTUS). Not ruling it out, but not letting that tiny possibility cloud my judgment either.

I guess my main reason for not being convinced re district court is I don't know if its more useful or more prestigious than simply going straight to a V5 firm or a fancy boutique. Someone mentioned that a second COA might help for appellate litigation or a boutique, but I don't have my heart set on that. Not opposed to it either.

I like the idea of giving two years credit for pay and one year credit for partnership. I know of at least one big DC firm that does that. Mostly I have the luxury of having very little student loan debt and no family reasons for staying in any one place. I'm also really young for law school (went straight through and still young in that crowd) so I'm not worried about rushing into partnership (if that happens to be what I decide I want to do/am capable of doing).


Me again. How competitive are ND of IL clerkships? Who are the most prestigious judges there? Same questions for DDC?


N.D. Ill. is fairly prestigious and competitive; I would say it's less competitive than S.D.N.Y. or N.D. Cal., and probably comparable to D. Mass./E.D.N.Y./C.D. Cal. Feinerman is the most "prestigious" in N.D. Ill. No idea about DDC.

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Re: Two Federal Appellate Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:05 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Thanks for the mostly helpful advice. Yes, I know what litigation entails. Yes, I realize that a district court is more practical, and that's why I'm not ruling it out. And yes, I have an extremely tiny but not non-existent SCOTUS opportunity based on some connections at my law school and also falling into the grade requirements mentioned (#1 or #2 in my class). I will say that it has happened before many years ago via a similar path to the one that I'm taking (i.e. one of my recommenders who loves me orchestrated first COA --> second feeder COA --> SCOTUS). Not ruling it out, but not letting that tiny possibility cloud my judgment either.

I guess my main reason for not being convinced re district court is I don't know if its more useful or more prestigious than simply going straight to a V5 firm or a fancy boutique.

I think you might be missing the point a bit. You're going to be a grad of a non-T14 school with a circuit clerkship. For many fancy lit boutiques, that's not enough. A district court clerkship in a major city (particularly a city where a given boutique is located) will give you a better chance of being hired.

If you just want to go to a V5, then a second clerkship probably doesn't matter. Getting hired at a "V5" office somewhere will be easy. I can't for the life of me understand why an aspiring litigator would target the V5, but that's a different issue.


OP. Well, I go to a law school from which very few people go to law firms with more than 200 lawyers; there is maybe one person with a federal circuit clerkship every year, rarely two, and often times none. I only started reading these forums when I started applying for federal appellate clerkships because I started realizing that I had no idea what kind of an undertaking it was. I only mention all of this to say that I genuinely don't know a lot about all the big firms or litigation boutiques. I'm still figuring out the best route is post-clerkship. Hence my post. So, yes, I get the point.

So consensus seems to be: if I want a litigation boutique, I should try to get a good district court clerkship after my appellate clerkship; try to get another appellate clerkship if its a feeder, but otherwise, probably not worth it. Got it.

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Re: Two Federal Appellate Clerkships

Postby JusticeJackson » Sat Mar 18, 2017 4:26 pm

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Last edited by JusticeJackson on Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:19 am, edited 1 time in total.



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