current MJ clerk; worth it to do DJ clerkship for gov work not in the same district?

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current MJ clerk; worth it to do DJ clerkship for gov work not in the same district?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 18, 2017 1:09 am

Current federal MJ clerk, thinking about my next step. I have a good chance to step up to a DJ clerkship that would begin right after my current one. I am hoping to eventually transition to government work, as a federal public defender as top choice but I'm definitely open to other government/public interest work that pays well (I consider gs-14 to be good pay). Not really interested in working for a firm.

How much better would my job prospects for federal gov jobs after a DJ clerkship be than with just the MJ clerkship? I had a bottom 1/3 gpa, no journal from a t-14, so I don't think I'll ever do as well as typical DJ clerks. And I'm not sure that the prestige of a DJ clerkship would really help me with government jobs. Is the DJ experience going to be much more highly valued than the MJ experience? I like clerking, but would only do another year if I thought it would be a significant benefit to my career. I've had a good time so far, but I really don't want to live in this state long term. For family reasons, even one extra year is pushing it.

My current clerkship is two years, so I have another 18 months to go; the DJs in my court are beginning to hire soonish for the 2018 openings that I'd be able to take. So I wouldn't be able to test my employment prospects before deciding to do another clerkship.

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Re: current MJ clerk; worth it to do DJ clerkship for gov work not in the same district?

Postby FascinatedWanderer » Sat Mar 18, 2017 11:52 am

Do you have a job offer from your summer firm? If not I might take the DJ. I suspect employment prospects won't be great coming of a 2-year mag clerkship with poor grades, but I could be totally wrong.

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mjb447

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Re: current MJ clerk; worth it to do DJ clerkship for gov work not in the same district?

Postby mjb447 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:50 pm

What do MJs do in your district? If they mostly do endless habeas and prisoner civil rights, I might try for the DJ clerkship if only to have more interesting and relevant litigation experience to talk about.

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Re: current MJ clerk; worth it to do DJ clerkship for gov work not in the same district?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 18, 2017 3:54 pm

mjb447 wrote:What do MJs do in your district? If they mostly do endless habeas and prisoner civil rights, I might try for the DJ clerkship if only to have more interesting and relevant litigation experience to talk about.


Fortunately, it's a big enough district that they have several staff attorneys who do all the habeus and civil rights work. We do discovery and other miscellaneous pre-trial stuff. We also get a good amount of criminal work, all the motions to suppress are done by the MJ's here, via R&R. Occasional consent cases, too. The only major scutwork I have to deal with are screening orders for in forma pauperis claims, but those aren't a big part of the job.

Do you have a job offer from your summer firm?


I didn't have a summer firm, did PI work, not interested in going to a firm.

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Re: current MJ clerk; worth it to do DJ clerkship for gov work not in the same district?

Postby CourCour » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:01 pm

A random thought but I think that transitioning to a district judge in your district would signal that your magistrate judge likes you. I'd see it kind of like as getting promoted.

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Re: current MJ clerk; worth it to do DJ clerkship for gov work not in the same district?

Postby FascinatedWanderer » Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:12 pm

Yeah well no kidding. Everyone knows district clerkships are harder to get. The question is if the third year of clerking will help land a job.

It's a close question, but like I said in OP's position I'd go for it. Another year of a guaranteed job and a mild resume bump. Seems like a good deal to me.

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Re: current MJ clerk; worth it to do DJ clerkship for gov work not in the same district?

Postby clerk1251 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:15 am

A DJ clerkship will definitely help. To start, it's more prestigious and it will give you better exposure to trials. If you want to be a fed public defender, my best advice would be to try and get a district court clerkship in the district you want to work. This will give you the opportunity to network with the FPD office and those that work there, over the course of your clerkship. I imagine your grades are going to be an issue for any DJ clerkship and even for a FPD position, but networking will help you overcome that, as will getting as much experience as you can in the meantime.



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