Advice/Hints before beggining Clerkship

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JDEsq2017

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Advice/Hints before beggining Clerkship

Postby JDEsq2017 » Thu May 11, 2017 2:33 pm

Hello,

In a couple weeks I will begin a year long clerkship at a state court in the Northeast. Frankly, I am shocked I go the job (not on law review). Is there any advice any former clerks could give me to help me and make this new experience easier to adjust to. I am an ok writer but pretty comfortable with my research skills.

Thanks again.

Nosso

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Re: Advice/Hints before beggining Clerkship

Postby Nosso » Thu May 11, 2017 2:48 pm

Focus on doing good work and be nice to everyone from the judge down to the people scrubbing toilets. Develop reputation for being someone that is good to work with. That's honestly better in some cases than cranking out perfect work product. Speaking of work product though, do make sure you really turn in your best work for the first few assignments. Obviously, you want to do a good job every time, but early on, it's good to signal to your judge that you can be trusted with important work.

Forget the law review BS. If you were hired, it means your judge thinks you can do the job. Good luck!

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mjb447

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Re: Advice/Hints before beggining Clerkship

Postby mjb447 » Thu May 11, 2017 3:45 pm

Nosso wrote:Focus on doing good work and be nice to everyone from the judge down to the people scrubbing toilets. Develop reputation for being someone that is good to work with. That's honestly better in some cases than cranking out perfect work product. Speaking of work product though, do make sure you really turn in your best work for the first few assignments. Obviously, you want to do a good job every time, but early on, it's good to signal to your judge that you can be trusted with important work.

Forget the law review BS. If you were hired, it means your judge thinks you can do the job. Good luck!

The first paragraph is what I'd tell basically all incoming clerks. It's vital to get a reputation for being thorough and careful early on because trust is central to the relationship. Judges have experience and (hopefully) good legal instincts, but they don't have the time to go through the record or research the caselaw in depth in every case. Most of the value you add is doing that work, and if your judge thinks you can't be trusted with it, someone else is going to have to pick up the slack and/or the judge is going to be concerned all year that, when you hand something in, there are important details being overlooked or glossed over.

And yeah, chambers is really small, and there's no way to avoid a toxic person, so be as helpful and polite as you can to everyone you work with. At any rate, you won't know anything about anything for a little while; until you're a little bit competent, a pleasant demeanor will be the biggest thing you have going for you.

clerk1251

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Re: Advice/Hints before beggining Clerkship

Postby clerk1251 » Fri May 12, 2017 9:48 am

JDEsq2017 wrote:Hello,

In a couple weeks I will begin a year long clerkship at a state court in the Northeast. Frankly, I am shocked I go the job (not on law review). Is there any advice any former clerks could give me to help me and make this new experience easier to adjust to. I am an ok writer but pretty comfortable with my research skills.

Thanks again.


Not to be a dick, but one of the first things you should get in the habit of doing is proof reading. From your title "Advice/Hints before beggining Clerkship" to your text "I am shocked I go the job" there are errors. It seems minor, but first impressions will be very important. Try to present your best work from day one. Before I gave my judge my first writing assignment, I did about six rounds of edits myself, before asking the career clerk to review it, and then confidently turned it in.

I understand that no one likes to proof read, over and over, but it is a necessary skill. Your writing will certainly improve over the course of your clerkship, but this is an essential step in that process.

JDEsq2017

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Re: Advice/Hints before beggining Clerkship

Postby JDEsq2017 » Fri May 12, 2017 1:50 pm

clerk1251 wrote:
JDEsq2017 wrote:Hello,

In a couple weeks I will begin a year long clerkship at a state court in the Northeast. Frankly, I am shocked I go the job (not on law review). Is there any advice any former clerks could give me to help me and make this new experience easier to adjust to. I am an ok writer but pretty comfortable with my research skills.

Thanks again.


Not to be a dick, but one of the first things you should get in the habit of doing is proof reading. From your title "Advice/Hints before beggining Clerkship" to your text "I am shocked I go the job" there are errors. It seems minor, but first impressions will be very important. Try to present your best work from day one. Before I gave my judge my first writing assignment, I did about six rounds of edits myself, before asking the career clerk to review it, and then confidently turned it in.

I understand that no one likes to proof read, over and over, but it is a necessary skill. Your writing will certainly improve over the course of your clerkship, but this is an essential step in that process.


No offense taken, didn't look it over before I posted, just wanted to get it out there.

Nosso

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Re: Advice/Hints before beggining Clerkship

Postby Nosso » Fri May 12, 2017 2:01 pm

JDEsq2017 wrote:
clerk1251 wrote:
JDEsq2017 wrote:Hello,

In a couple weeks I will begin a year long clerkship at a state court in the Northeast. Frankly, I am shocked I go the job (not on law review). Is there any advice any former clerks could give me to help me and make this new experience easier to adjust to. I am an ok writer but pretty comfortable with my research skills.

Thanks again.


Not to be a dick, but one of the first things you should get in the habit of doing is proof reading. From your title "Advice/Hints before beggining Clerkship" to your text "I am shocked I go the job" there are errors. It seems minor, but first impressions will be very important. Try to present your best work from day one. Before I gave my judge my first writing assignment, I did about six rounds of edits myself, before asking the career clerk to review it, and then confidently turned it in.

I understand that no one likes to proof read, over and over, but it is a necessary skill. Your writing will certainly improve over the course of your clerkship, but this is an essential step in that process.


No offense taken, didn't look it over before I posted, just wanted to get it out there.


Obviously your judge will be combing through all of your casual forum posts to make sure that grammar/style is perfect. Ignore that user. That's overly dumb/snarky advice. My forum posts are riddled with typos. Doesn't mean that I don't proofread my bench memos.

clerk1251

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Re: Advice/Hints before beggining Clerkship

Postby clerk1251 » Fri May 12, 2017 2:14 pm

Nosso wrote:
JDEsq2017 wrote:
clerk1251 wrote:
JDEsq2017 wrote:Hello,

In a couple weeks I will begin a year long clerkship at a state court in the Northeast. Frankly, I am shocked I go the job (not on law review). Is there any advice any former clerks could give me to help me and make this new experience easier to adjust to. I am an ok writer but pretty comfortable with my research skills.

Thanks again.


Not to be a dick, but one of the first things you should get in the habit of doing is proof reading. From your title "Advice/Hints before beggining Clerkship" to your text "I am shocked I go the job" there are errors. It seems minor, but first impressions will be very important. Try to present your best work from day one. Before I gave my judge my first writing assignment, I did about six rounds of edits myself, before asking the career clerk to review it, and then confidently turned it in.

I understand that no one likes to proof read, over and over, but it is a necessary skill. Your writing will certainly improve over the course of your clerkship, but this is an essential step in that process.


No offense taken, didn't look it over before I posted, just wanted to get it out there.


Obviously your judge will be combing through all of your casual forum posts to make sure that grammar/style is perfect. Ignore that user. That's overly dumb/snarky advice. My forum posts are riddled with typos. Doesn't mean that I don't proofread my bench memos.


Now that's just a silly comment. OP asked for useful tips or advice as s/he prepares for a clerkship. I am currently doing my second clerkship. I pay much more attention to detail when I write anything now. It's both a gift and a curse, but it is something I didn't do much of before clerking. Getting in the habit early will help to ensure a strong first impression.

lolwat

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Re: Advice/Hints before beggining Clerkship

Postby lolwat » Fri May 12, 2017 2:24 pm

clerk1251 wrote:
Nosso wrote:Obviously your judge will be combing through all of your casual forum posts to make sure that grammar/style is perfect. Ignore that user. That's overly dumb/snarky advice. My forum posts are riddled with typos. Doesn't mean that I don't proofread my bench memos.


Now that's just a silly comment. OP asked for useful tips or advice as s/he prepares for a clerkship. I am currently doing my second clerkship. I pay much more attention to detail when I write anything now. It's both a gift and a curse, but it is something I didn't do much of before clerking. Getting in the habit early will help to ensure a strong first impression.


I agree with clerk1251. Yes, you don't have to proofread your casual forum posts, facebook posts, tweets, and text messages. But is it useful to do so? Yes. The more you get into the habit of proofreading, the more it becomes second nature rather than something you go out of your way to do. It helps a lot during a clerkship and later in practice when people want you to do something very quickly (because they didn't bother to assign it until 3 days before it's due) and you turn around with a first draft 48 hours later practically already error-free.

Nosso

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Re: Advice/Hints before beggining Clerkship

Postby Nosso » Fri May 12, 2017 3:54 pm

To each their own. I stand by my comment that assuming that someone with typos in their TLS posts needs to focus on being a better proofreader had a touch of condescension. I know everyone is here to help OP, so it's all good.

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Re: Advice/Hints before beggining Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 12, 2017 4:53 pm

DJ clerk here. Here's my advice, generally in order of importance.

1. Be good to work with--to everyone, in and out of chambers.
2. Research thoroughly. Make 100% sure everything you are citing is good, appropriate law. To do this, I suggest you read every case entirely if you're going to cite it beyond using it for standards, rule statements, etc. The biggest flaw I see from lawyers/interns/clerks is misrepresenting what a case stands for.
3. Edit edit edit edit. If you have the luxury of doing so, sleep on everything before you turn it in. Looking over something the next morning is sometimes very shocking.
4. Edit more.
5. Be honest and forthright with the judge at all times. If you disagree, say so. This is your job. (If you work for one of the rare judges who are rumored to want Trumpian loyalty, I don't know what to tell you.) If you are not 100% certain about something, say so. Make sure the judge knows there are different ways to look at something, different issues that may need to be addressed, and so on. If you think you screwed up (for instance, if you get a compelling motion for reconsideration), do not hide the ball. Fess up and explain yourself.
6. Try to cultivate a good relationship with the judge. He/she will most likely be a lifelong reference. For instance, I was just emailing with a judge I interned for 6 years ago.
7. Try to cultivate a good relationship with other clerks, for personal and professional reasons. I have made lifelong friends from interning/clerking. There is definitely a bond between (some) clerks.



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