A judge likes me but I have a 3.2 gpa. Chances?

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arglenbargle

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A judge likes me but I have a 3.2 gpa. Chances?

Postby arglenbargle » Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:59 pm

Currently a 2L at a T14 school. I'm interning at a district judge's chambers writing draft orders and opinions. Pretty neat gig, but I certainly wasn't thinking about applying for clerkships since my gpa is only around the 50% mark at my school. That all changed this week.

The judge was apparently impressed with a memo I had submitted. He called me in along with my supervising clerk to review the case, and at the end he asked me if I had any interest in clerking. I replied yes, but my grades probably wouldn't make the cut. At which point he told me he "very much hopes" that I apply to his chambers anyway.

I'm a pretty pessimistic guy (you have to be when your grades are so low) but wanted to hear people's thoughts. 3.2 gpa, no journal, no moot court, no special work experience. What are my chances here?

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zot1

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Re: A judge likes me but I have a 3.2 gpa. Chances?

Postby zot1 » Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:01 pm

Your chances are low with anyone else, but if he wants you to apply anyway (assuming he already knows your grades) then just do it. Guessing here whether you should or no won't be as effective as sending an app and getting accepted/rejected.

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rpupkin

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Re: A judge likes me but I have a 3.2 gpa. Chances?

Postby rpupkin » Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:19 pm

arglenbargle wrote:Currently a 2L at a T14 school. I'm interning at a district judge's chambers writing draft orders and opinions. Pretty neat gig, but I certainly wasn't thinking about applying for clerkships since my gpa is only around the 50% mark at my school. That all changed this week.

The judge was apparently impressed with a memo I had submitted. He called me in along with my supervising clerk to review the case, and at the end he asked me if I had any interest in clerking. I replied yes, but my grades probably wouldn't make the cut. At which point he told me he "very much hopes" that I apply to his chambers anyway.

I'm a pretty pessimistic guy (you have to be when your grades are so low) but wanted to hear people's thoughts.

I'm not sure what we can tell you; we're not inside your judge's head. Perhaps he was just being nice. Or perhaps he really hopes you'll apply because he was so impressed by your work product that he will hire you despite your median grades.

In any event, it's obviously worth your time to submit an application. Good luck.

arglenbargle

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Re: A judge likes me but I have a 3.2 gpa. Chances?

Postby arglenbargle » Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:24 pm

He does not. I only suggested that my grades were bad. In any event, you're right I'll probably apply when the judge's 2019 clerkship applications open later this summer.

Let me rephrase the question then: has anyone heard of getting a district court clerkship with a comparably low gpa?

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rpupkin

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Re: A judge likes me but I have a 3.2 gpa. Chances?

Postby rpupkin » Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:39 pm

arglenbargle wrote:He does not. I only suggested that my grades were bad. In any event, you're right I'll probably apply when the judge's 2019 clerkship applications open later this summer.

Let me rephrase the question then: has anyone heard of getting a district court clerkship with a comparably low gpa?

Sure. People with median grades from T14 schools get clerkships.

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KissMyAxe

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Re: A judge likes me but I have a 3.2 gpa. Chances?

Postby KissMyAxe » Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:40 pm

arglenbargle wrote:He does not. I only suggested that my grades were bad. In any event, you're right I'll probably apply when the judge's 2019 clerkship applications open later this summer.

Let me rephrase the question then: has anyone heard of getting a district court clerkship with a comparably low gpa?


Yes, it happens all the time. The only sure way to get a clerkship is to do well in your class, but every year there are people who are median or much worse who are hired by judges (sometimes even feeders) just because they really hit it off.

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mjb447

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Re: A judge likes me but I have a 3.2 gpa. Chances?

Postby mjb447 » Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:16 pm

Yeah, completely possible that he (or someone else) will hire you and also completely possible that he won't. People with much longer odds apply all the time.

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Re: A judge likes me but I have a 3.2 gpa. Chances?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:42 pm

Its going to depend a lot on the judge, and how much of a grade snob he is. YMMV, but this exact circumstance happened when I was clerking. The judge was impressed by one of our extern's work product, but even more importantly, the extern's personality meshed perfectly with the judge's (they had a ton in common), and the extern fit in well with chambers culture. The extern didnt have traditional clerkship qualifications, but the judge told him to apply, and we hired him. I think the extern had a little higher than a 3.2 GPA, but he wasn't coming from a T14.

Definitely apply, and soon. They may not interview you until your internship is over, but you should get the application in the clerks' hands while the judge's recommendation that you apply is still fresh in their minds. If you have a good relationship with one of the clerks, you might ask him when the best time to apply would be.

Good luck.

Nosso

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Re: A judge likes me but I have a 3.2 gpa. Chances?

Postby Nosso » Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:54 pm

Are you seriously not thinking of applying or just sounding off on TLS (which is fine)?

Grades are a way to gauge how candidates can reason through complex legal issues (it's obviously an imperfect measure). A writing sample is obviously a gauge of work product. Your judge has seen and likes the way you do both of those things and explicitly told you to apply. Getting a resume in front of a judge is 75% of the battle in clerkship applications.

Your GPA is likely too low for a D.Ct. clerkship anywhere else. What do you have to lose?

lolwat

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Re: A judge likes me but I have a 3.2 gpa. Chances?

Postby lolwat » Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:56 pm

If a judge who has reviewed your work product asks you if you're interested in clerking and tells you he "very much hopes" you apply to his chambers, how is that not a good sign? It obviously doesn't guarantee you anything, but I'd imagine your chances just suddenly shot up from zero to competitive.

Talk to the clerks about when to apply to the judge. Is this an OSCAR only judge? Does he take paper applications? You said his 2019 applications open "later this summer" - is that a hard set schedule? Basically you need to make sure your application gets to the judge in a manner in which he can connect it with you rather than just be one of 1000 faceless applications in OSCAR that won't make the GPA cut (and will never even be looked at) when they sort the apps.

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zhenders

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Re: A judge likes me but I have a 3.2 gpa. Chances?

Postby zhenders » Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:25 pm

Absolutely apply if you're interested. The judge told you he liked your work product, and basically asked you to apply. In truth, you'd be incredibly foolish to not apply, and even more foolish if you neither apply nor give him a good reason why not.

Don't make of the mistake of thinking, like most law students do, that judges only care about grades or prestige. It's a job. They want to hire good employees who will do great work. The judge thinks you qualify. At this point, your grades are secondary or tertiary, if they matter at all.

arglenbargle

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Re: A judge likes me but I have a 3.2 gpa. Chances?

Postby arglenbargle » Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:00 pm

Thanks for all the help folks. I honestly knew nothing about clerkships until recently so it's been very eye-opening browsing through TLS the past couple days. I also picked up my school's Clerkship Handbook.

I did ask one of the current clerks what the judge's clerk hiring schedule looks like. Apparently, clerkships were filled until 2018. That said, I don't exactly know what the judge's application requirements are. He last updated his OSCAR page in mid 2016- there are no open applications listed as of right now. I assume that I can't apply until the application goes live on OSCAR. Is that correct?
Last edited by arglenbargle on Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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rpupkin

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Re: A judge likes me but I have a 3.2 gpa. Chances?

Postby rpupkin » Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:04 pm

arglenbargle wrote:I did ask one of the current clerks what the judge's clerk hiring schedule looks like. Apparently, clerkships were filled until 2018. That said, I don't exactly know what the judge's method of hiring is. He last updated his OSCAR page in mid 2016- there are no open applications listed as of right now. I assume that I can't apply until the application goes live on OSCAR. Is that correct?

Since you obviously know and talk to the judge's clerks, why not ask them what the judge's hiring practices are? Many judges post on OSCAR and yet also solicit/accept applications through other channels.

Barrred

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Re: A judge likes me but I have a 3.2 gpa. Chances?

Postby Barrred » Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:16 pm

arglenbargle wrote: He last updated his OSCAR page in mid 2016- there are no open applications listed as of right now. I assume that I can't apply until the application goes live on OSCAR. Is that correct?


Absolutely not. Some judges don't really use OSCAR, or only use it as a last resort if they are unable to fill spots through other channels. Ask the clerks how the judge generally hires, and ask if/when you should submit a paper application.

arglenbargle

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Re: A judge likes me but I have a 3.2 gpa. Chances?

Postby arglenbargle » Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:20 pm

Oh jeez. Okay. I'll definitely ask next week. Thanks everyone.



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