Bizarre Clerking Interview

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rpupkin

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Re: Bizarre Clerking Interview

Postby rpupkin » Wed Jun 28, 2017 1:15 pm

lolwat wrote:I agree it's a red flag.

To me, much depends on your other options. It seems like you originally would have been fine withdrawing or declining the offer, so in that case I might suggest doing so. But I would suggest you use your best judgment.

To just offer a different view, though, I think 2 is a small sample size and it's not necessarily true that all blame falls on the judge. Some people genuinely are bad employees/clerks/associates.

First, I disagree that two is a small sample size in this context. Second, I think we're talking about four different clerks here: the two clerks--the judge's most recent clerks--that the judge insulted during OP's interview, and the two clerks with whom the OP spoke.

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Re: Bizarre Clerking Interview

Postby Barrred » Wed Jun 28, 2017 1:25 pm

To play the devil's advocate, quoting Ilya Somin in a Volokh Conspiracy article linked in the article rpupkin posted: "Applicants should [not] automatically forego clerkships with judges who treat their staff badly. Sometimes, the educational and career benefits of clerking for a nasty judge will outweigh the pain and suffering involved. Some mean judges are also outstanding and highly respected jurists whom clerks can learn a lot from. Others are major figures in the legal profession who can do a lot for a clerk's career prospects. Applicants will have to decide for themselves whether the benefits of clerking for a particular judge are worth the costs." (http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2007_07_08-2007_07_14.shtml#1184304202)

I doubt TLS has the complete picture here, and as stated above, OP will ultimately have to balance the (potential) pros and (numerous) cons before deciding for herself.

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Re: Bizarre Clerking Interview

Postby lolwat » Wed Jun 28, 2017 1:26 pm

rpupkin wrote:
lolwat wrote:I agree it's a red flag.

To me, much depends on your other options. It seems like you originally would have been fine withdrawing or declining the offer, so in that case I might suggest doing so. But I would suggest you use your best judgment.

To just offer a different view, though, I think 2 is a small sample size and it's not necessarily true that all blame falls on the judge. Some people genuinely are bad employees/clerks/associates.

First, I disagree that two is a small sample size in this context. Second, I think we're talking about four different clerks here: the two clerks--the judge's most recent clerks--that the judge insulted during OP's interview, and the two clerks with whom the OP spoke.


I thought she contacted the two that the judge spoke poorly of, but it could've been four different clerks.
If it's four, then I'd definitely avoid. If it's two, eh. I know how you all feel about it in this context, but how well people get along with each other is often a two-way street. (E.g., it wouldn't be the judge's fault if the clerks just did bad work or had a bad attitude, hence the question about whether OP might feel some work is beneath her. It also wouldn't necessarily be anyone's fault if there were just personality clashes for some reason.) But, yes, sometimes the judge is just fucking terrible and you end up with all those horror stories, and that's something OP will definitely want to avoid. Not disputing that one. :)

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rpupkin

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Re: Bizarre Clerking Interview

Postby rpupkin » Wed Jun 28, 2017 2:05 pm

Barrred wrote:To play the devil's advocate, quoting Ilya Somin in a Volokh Conspiracy article linked in the article rpupkin posted: "Applicants should [not] automatically forego clerkships with judges who treat their staff badly. Sometimes, the educational and career benefits of clerking for a nasty judge will outweigh the pain and suffering involved. Some mean judges are also outstanding and highly respected jurists whom clerks can learn a lot from. Others are major figures in the legal profession who can do a lot for a clerk's career prospects. Applicants will have to decide for themselves whether the benefits of clerking for a particular judge are worth the costs."

Given the circles in which Somin travels, I'm pretty sure he was thinking of judges like Kozinski and O'Scannlain, who have reputations as being difficult to work for but where the upside of clerking for them is substantial: their clerks go on to be SCOTUS clerks, law professors, etc. I doubt that a clerkship for the OP's judge provides comparable benefits.

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TheJanitor6203

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Re: Bizarre Clerking Interview

Postby TheJanitor6203 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:43 pm

Rhiannon17 wrote:I did reach out to 2 pervious clerks. One was extremely vague. The other did not feel comfortable discussing with me. My senses are buzzing about that. :?:


This thread got juicy quick. Interested to hear the final decision assuming you got the offer.

My 2 cents- Everything you said up to this point didn't raise any flags for me other than that checking with his past clerks was a good idea. (It's a good idea to do that for any judge you're going to work for.) But this is a huge red flag! I've talked to probably 20 people who have clerked for or appeared before my judge and I've literally never heard a single bad thing about him and no one ever shied away from talking to me about him. You should run.

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Re: Bizarre Clerking Interview

Postby Rhiannon17 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 8:56 pm

I ended up taking the offer on this clerkship. 4 months in and I have mixed feelings about it, but I would say they are overall positive.

Positives:
-Judge is predictable in his rulings
-He is very black-letter-law
-He truly wants NO outside influences on his decision whatsoever
-He's very serious about ethics and does not want to appear improper in any way
-Treats all attorneys the same
-I am learning how to pay the utmost attention to detail in writing for him
-My legal analysis skills are strengthening immensely
-I am learning the procedure in my state (and locality) very well
-Is very understanding with sick time or bereavement

Negatives:
-While he treats everyone the same, he is a pretty pompous, standoffish person, and treats everyone like one of his peasants, pretty much
-Hard to get to know and have a typical conversation with
-Has no ability to do ANYTHING outside of law (cannot change oil in his car, does not know how to operate any form of technology, cannot even handle his own email account, depends on his wife for all household things, will have his wife call us [his staff] about anything slightly job-related, cannot change the time on a clock)
-Cannot handle being wrong and turns it around on the other person, even if he is CLEARLY wrong
-Constantly corrects everything anyone says (I.e., One day, he was heading to lunch, I said "Have fun!" to which he responded, "You should say, "Have a fun time!" in all seriousness)
-Openly acknowledges that he doesn't particularly like any of the attorneys who frequently practice in his court

Needless to say, I am glad this position is something I will only be at 1-2 years. Apparently, he's had more clerks than I realized, and 2 of them only stayed for less than 6 months before abandoning ship. I am grateful for what I am learning under him, but this is definitely a "baby lawyer" type of job. I acknowledge that I'm a fresh new attorney and know very little, but working for him has certainly made me miss a previous judge I interned for who was equally as intelligent but a much more down-to-earth person

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rpupkin

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Re: Bizarre Clerking Interview

Postby rpupkin » Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:03 pm

I don't have anything to add; I just want to thank OP for providing a substantive update. It's rare for a poster to follow up with a "here's how it actually turned out" post in a thread like this. Thanks Rhiannon.

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Re: Bizarre Clerking Interview

Postby WheninLaw » Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:12 pm

Great (and interesting) update - best of luck as you finish the clerkship.

lolwat

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Re: Bizarre Clerking Interview

Postby lolwat » Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:02 pm

Agreed, thanks for the update and I'm glad it's an overall positive experience so far. :)

Rhiannon17

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Re: Bizarre Clerking Interview

Postby Rhiannon17 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:11 pm

Overall, I've learn how to work for someone who isn't exactly an easy personality, although it can be extremely frustrating some days.

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TheJanitor6203

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Re: Bizarre Clerking Interview

Postby TheJanitor6203 » Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:01 am

rpupkin wrote:I don't have anything to add; I just want to thank OP for providing a substantive update. It's rare for a poster to follow up with a "here's how it actually turned out" post in a thread like this. Thanks Rhiannon.


x2

Sounds like you’re turning a situation that could be negative into a good experience. I’m sure it helps that you went into it knowing what to expect.

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mjb447

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Re: Bizarre Clerking Interview

Postby mjb447 » Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:16 am

Rhiannon17 wrote:Overall, I've learn how to work for someone who isn't exactly an easy personality, although it can be extremely frustrating some days.


If it's not to the point where it makes your year or two absolutely miserable, this is a great thing to get out of clerking, even if it's not the ZOMG BEST YEAR OF YOUR LIFE experience that clerking is marketed as. Also gives you added insight into what kind of manager you want to be when you start supervising people.

(And +1 to the people thanking you for the update. Glad it's going better than it could have!)

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ggocat

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Re: Bizarre Clerking Interview

Postby ggocat » Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:48 pm

Rhiannon17 wrote:Overall, I've learn how to work for someone who isn't exactly an easy personality, although it can be extremely frustrating some days.

This is a valuable life skill. Thanks for the update.



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