FascinatedWanderer wrote:Really? You think it's better to clerk for CDCal judges who should be impeached over clerking for Thapar? Surely in the case of Real/Anderson their personal reputations are so poor that outweighs the fact that they're CDCA judges.
My example came from the general perception of people at my law school. And what I have been saying over the last few posts is that the average lawyer (read: not TLS people who know more than the average lawyer) likely does not either know/pay too much attention to the reputations of specific judges (except perhaps in courts they regularly practice before), and therefore are generally inclined to give more "prestige" weight to any clerkship at the Central District of California as compared to a clerkship at the Eastern District of Kentucky, even if it was for Judge Thapar, simply because of the court/location.
That does not mean that it is objectively true that it is better to clerk for Judges Real/Anderson/whomever else has a bad reputation in a competitive district. That is just how it is very often viewed.
I practice in CDCal. Everyone knows who Real is (and what his reputation is), and I don't know of anyone who would think of clerking for him as much of a positive, though I'm sure it would make for an interesting conversation piece. (Real's rep is not just limited to those who clerked on the Ninth or in CDCal; it is pretty universal. Anderson is less well known but similarly poorly regarded.)
It is true that for most CA firms, clerking on the Ninth generally will be a big boost. Clerking for a feeder or well-known judge will help at the margins with at least some very elite lit boutiques, but we're really talking at the margins, and you'll be a strong candidate at all of those firms with HYS+Ninth Circuit non-feeder under your belt.
Outside of that, judge rep matters more than location. Hurwitz in Phoenix or Thomas in Billings will be regarded more highly than a less well-known judge in SF or Pasadena. SF and Pasadena/LA judges are probably on average "better," and they're certainly more likely to have former clerks at firms in these cities, but I don't know of anyone doing hiring around here who thinks location alone is significant. And again, we're really talking about the margins here.
To the original post: bottom half of HLS is competitive for many districts (including some CDCal, I think) and some less competitive COA judges in the Ninth (though that's more of a stretch and will depend a lot on recommender connections). Bottom half of YLS and (to a slightly lesser extent) SLS is competitive everywhere except for feeder clerkships, but it sounds like you're at HLS.