Hawaii Federal Clerkship

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KijiStewart

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Hawaii Federal Clerkship

Postby KijiStewart » Mon Jul 03, 2017 3:53 pm

Alright everyone,

It looks like I will transfer to Michigan for 2L.

(1L TT top 8%).

What are the requirements to clerk at the DC Hawaii post-graduation.

Edit: Transferred to CLS
Last edited by KijiStewart on Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Hawaii Federal Clerkship

Postby acr » Mon Jul 03, 2017 3:59 pm

KijiStewart wrote:Alright everyone,

It looks like I will transfer to Michigan for 2L.

(1L TT top 8%).

What are the requirements to clerk at the DC Hawaii post-graduation.


Probably better than top 10% at TT, even with transferring to Michigan. Will probably need some ties to Hawaii (e.g. have family there, went to UG at Hawaii-Manoa, grew up there, summer internships there, etc.). Will need excellent letters of rec, which might be a challenge now that you've hopped ship for Michigan. Very very low odds overall. This will likely require the help of Michigan's CSO, so you should be asking them.

Why do you want to go clerk in Hawaii? Do you have a legitimate reason to be there or is this some kind of utopic vision thing where you see yourself with a sweet fed clerkship on the beach?
Last edited by acr on Mon Jul 03, 2017 4:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Hawaii Federal Clerkship

Postby lolwat » Mon Jul 03, 2017 4:01 pm

acr wrote:
KijiStewart wrote:Alright everyone,

It looks like I will transfer to Michigan for 2L.

(1L TT top 8%).

What are the requirements to clerk at the DC Hawaii post-graduation.


Probably better than top 10% at TT, even with transferring to Michigan. Will probably need some ties to Hawaii (e.g. have family there, went to UG at Hawaii-Manoa, grew up there, summer internships there, etc.). Will need excellent letters of rec, which might be a challenge now that you've hopped ship for Michigan. Very very low odds overall.

Why do you want to go clerk in Hawaii? Do you have a legitimate reason to be there or is this some kind of utopic vision thing where you see yourself with a sweet fed clerkship and at the beach by 6pm every day?


If you look at OP's corresponding post about biglaw in the Legal Employment forum they seem to be trying to shoot for whatever sounds like the most fun / least work / but still "prestigious"

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Re: Hawaii Federal Clerkship

Postby KijiStewart » Mon Jul 03, 2017 5:06 pm

lolwat wrote:
acr wrote:
KijiStewart wrote:Alright everyone,

It looks like I will transfer to Michigan for 2L.

(1L TT top 8%).

What are the requirements to clerk at the DC Hawaii post-graduation.


Probably better than top 10% at TT, even with transferring to Michigan. Will probably need some ties to Hawaii (e.g. have family there, went to UG at Hawaii-Manoa, grew up there, summer internships there, etc.). Will need excellent letters of rec, which might be a challenge now that you've hopped ship for Michigan. Very very low odds overall.

Why do you want to go clerk in Hawaii? Do you have a legitimate reason to be there or is this some kind of utopic vision thing where you see yourself with a sweet fed clerkship and at the beach by 6pm every day?


If you look at OP's corresponding post about biglaw in the Legal Employment forum they seem to be trying to shoot for whatever sounds like the most fun / least work / but still "prestigious"


I'm international so I'm eligible only for Hawaii and Alaska. (Some other districts allow it if I 'volunteer' but that sounds shady).

So you're basically telling me that >80% of the vetting process is my 1L rank and where I did 1L?

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Re: Hawaii Federal Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 03, 2017 5:25 pm

Former D. Haw. clerk here.

It really depends on the judge. Some judges prioritize Hawaii ties strongly -- you won't get an interview unless you're from Hawaii, went to school in Hawaii, or are already moving to Hawaii for a spouse (or some other reason). There's a suspicion that applicants who don't have a strong connection are applying in search of a vacation. But, there were clerks who had no connection to Hawaii. They usually had something else though, like sharing the same law school as the judge. And they had top notch stats.

And yea, as you put it, >80% is where you did 1L and your 1L grades. But that's probably true for all federal clerkships, not just D. Haw. Judges receive hundreds of applications for every clerkship opening, and they're not going to do a substantive review of each and every application. There's simply no time for that. So, instead, they'll filter for local students (e.g., Richardson), top law schools, and/or top grades. It's not a perfect system (I'm sure there are many amazing applicants who get dinged before any substantive review) but it's the most efficient and it still tends to produce quality clerks.

Good luck with your application process.

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Re: Hawaii Federal Clerkship

Postby KijiStewart » Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Former D. Haw. clerk here.

It really depends on the judge. Some judges prioritize Hawaii ties strongly -- you won't get an interview unless you're from Hawaii, went to school in Hawaii, or are already moving to Hawaii for a spouse (or some other reason). There's a suspicion that applicants who don't have a strong connection are applying in search of a vacation. But, there were clerks who had no connection to Hawaii. They usually had something else though, like sharing the same law school as the judge. And they had top notch stats.

And yea, as you put it, >80% is where you did 1L and your 1L grades. But that's probably true for all federal clerkships, not just D. Haw. Judges receive hundreds of applications for every clerkship opening, and they're not going to do a substantive review of each and every application. There's simply no time for that. So, instead, they'll filter for local students (e.g., Richardson), top law schools, and/or top grades. It's not a perfect system (I'm sure there are many amazing applicants who get dinged before any substantive review) but it's the most efficient and it still tends to produce quality clerks.

Good luck with your application process.


Would Columbia make a positive difference over Michigan (or even TT). If 1l school/grades is the dominant factor - I assume then no, right?

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Re: Hawaii Federal Clerkship

Postby BasilHallward » Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:26 pm

KijiStewart wrote:Alright everyone,

It looks like I will transfer to Michigan for 2L.

(1L TT top 8%).

What are the requirements to clerk at the DC Hawaii post-graduation.



Not significantly different than the requirements for any other federal district clerkship. If you're targeting just that clerkship, then don't get your hopes up. Candidates from T-14s send hundreds of apps and get dinged nonstop.

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Re: Hawaii Federal Clerkship

Postby mjb447 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:43 pm

BasilHallward wrote:
KijiStewart wrote:Alright everyone,

It looks like I will transfer to Michigan for 2L.

(1L TT top 8%).

What are the requirements to clerk at the DC Hawaii post-graduation.



Not significantly different than the requirements for any other federal district clerkship. If you're targeting just that clerkship, then don't get your hopes up. Candidates from T-14s send hundreds of apps and get dinged nonstop.

+1. I understand that your options are very limited as an international student and you want to put yourself in the best position possible, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone who spent all three years at Columbia or Michigan and did reasonably well still got radio silence after applying to only six or seven judges, regardless of where they were located (at least without a recommender who knows the judges). It's just how it works for most people.

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Re: Hawaii Federal Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:45 pm

So is it extremely hard to get a Hawaii fed clerkship without ties from a T10?

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Re: Hawaii Federal Clerkship

Postby anon sequitur » Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:21 pm

Why wouldn't it be hard to get a clerkship in Honolulu? It's hard to get one in Fresno.

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Re: Hawaii Federal Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So is it extremely hard to get a Hawaii fed clerkship without ties from a T10?


Former D. Haw. clerk who previously posted in this thread.

It's extremely hard to get a federal clerkship in any single targeted district without ties to that district. You could replace "Hawaii" with "Montana" and the answer would still be Yes.

Beyond that though, Hawaii is particularly difficult because there aren't many openings. There are 6 D. Haw. judges who hire clerks (3 active district court judges, 3 senior district court judges; Judge Ezra doesn't count because he permanently sits in Texas for whatever reason) and most of them have a career clerk, meaning they each only hire one term clerk. And while many judges prefer to see ties to their region, it's my impression that federal judges in Hawaii are even more suspicious of applicants with no ties, given that Hawaii is seen as a vacation destination. Now, it's probably easier to get a D. Haw. clerkship for a T10 student than a student at a lower ranked school, assuming neither has ties, but that doesn't exactly help you much.

Honestly though, if you can only apply to Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico, aren't you going to blanket those districts regardless of your chances? Even if I could accurately tell you (I obviously have no way of accurately telling you this) that you have a 1% shot at a clerkship in those districts without ties, aren't you still going to apply? Practically speaking, I'm not sure what you're looking for.

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Re: Hawaii Federal Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:56 pm

KijiStewart wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Former D. Haw. clerk here.

It really depends on the judge. Some judges prioritize Hawaii ties strongly -- you won't get an interview unless you're from Hawaii, went to school in Hawaii, or are already moving to Hawaii for a spouse (or some other reason). There's a suspicion that applicants who don't have a strong connection are applying in search of a vacation. But, there were clerks who had no connection to Hawaii. They usually had something else though, like sharing the same law school as the judge. And they had top notch stats.

And yea, as you put it, >80% is where you did 1L and your 1L grades. But that's probably true for all federal clerkships, not just D. Haw. Judges receive hundreds of applications for every clerkship opening, and they're not going to do a substantive review of each and every application. There's simply no time for that. So, instead, they'll filter for local students (e.g., Richardson), top law schools, and/or top grades. It's not a perfect system (I'm sure there are many amazing applicants who get dinged before any substantive review) but it's the most efficient and it still tends to produce quality clerks.

Good luck with your application process.


Would Columbia make a positive difference over Michigan (or even TT). If 1l school/grades is the dominant factor - I assume then no, right?


Quoted anon.

I don't want to speak for every judge, but I doubt it. I don't think that's limited to D. Haw. though; it'd be the same for any district. The only two reasons I can see a judge caring about Columbia vs. Michigan, assuming you're a transfer student and don't have grades at either, are: 1. the judge sits in NY or MI, so going to school there gives you ties to the region; or 2. the judge graduated from one of the schools, and likes hiring alum.

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Re: Hawaii Federal Clerkship

Postby mjb447 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So is it extremely hard to get a Hawaii fed clerkship without ties from a T10?


Former D. Haw. clerk who previously posted in this thread.

It's extremely hard to get a federal clerkship in any single targeted district without ties to that district. You could replace "Hawaii" with "Montana" and the answer would still be Yes.

Beyond that though, Hawaii is particularly difficult because there aren't many openings. There are 6 D. Haw. judges who hire clerks (3 active district court judges, 3 senior district court judges; Judge Ezra doesn't count because he permanently sits in Texas for whatever reason) and most of them have a career clerk, meaning they each only hire one term clerk. And while many judges prefer to see ties to their region, it's my impression that federal judges in Hawaii are even more suspicious of applicants with no ties, given that Hawaii is seen as a vacation destination. Now, it's probably easier to get a D. Haw. clerkship for a T10 student than a student at a lower ranked school, assuming neither has ties, but that doesn't exactly help you much.

Honestly though, if you can only apply to Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico, aren't you going to blanket those districts regardless of your chances? Even if I could accurately tell you (I obviously have no way of accurately telling you this) that you have a 1% shot at a clerkship in those districts without ties, aren't you still going to apply? Practically speaking, I'm not sure what you're looking for.


Just curious: do you think judges' suspicions were justified? It makes intuitive sense to me that someplace like D. Hawaii or S.D. Fla. would punch above its weight simply because people would want to live there for a year rather than other places, but I wonder if that's borne out in practice.

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Re: Hawaii Federal Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 11, 2017 8:08 pm

mjb447 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So is it extremely hard to get a Hawaii fed clerkship without ties from a T10?


Former D. Haw. clerk who previously posted in this thread.

. . . .


Just curious: do you think judges' suspicions were justified? It makes intuitive sense to me that someplace like D. Hawaii or S.D. Fla. would punch above its weight simply because people would want to live there for a year rather than other places, but I wonder if that's borne out in practice.


I'm not sure. The suspicion only matters to the extent that a prospective clerk would treat the clerkship as a vacation and not produce good work product. I only knew one clerk who didn't have a connection to Hawaii, and I have no idea what her work product was like.

I also don't know if the district really "punches above its weight." I'd say we probably received more applications than other secondary cities (most likely because it's more attractive to clerk in Honolulu than, say, Phoenix or Milwaukee), so we possibly had a more competitive pool to choose from, but my judge (and from knowing other clerks, other judges) often chose clerks due to soft factors rather than differences in GPA or school. So the valedictorian at Richardson (UH Law), the magna cum laude student at Michigan who's from Hawaii, and the summa student at T30 who married a service member stationed on Oahu -- they all would have a better shot than a magna cum laude student at HYS who didn't have ties, in my experience. So while the district might "punch above its weight" in regard to options, the actual clerks there don't have much better stats than clerks in Phoenix, Milwaukee, etc. I'm totally guessing off of my experience, but that's my guess.

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Re: Hawaii Federal Clerkship

Postby mjb447 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 8:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm not sure. The suspicion only matters to the extent that a prospective clerk would treat the clerkship as a vacation and not produce good work product. I only knew one clerk who didn't have a connection to Hawaii, and I have no idea what her work product was like.

I also don't know if the district really "punches above its weight." I'd say we probably received more applications than other secondary cities (most likely because it's more attractive to clerk in Honolulu than, say, Phoenix or Milwaukee), so we possibly had a more competitive pool to choose from, but my judge (and from knowing other clerks, other judges) often chose clerks due to soft factors rather than differences in GPA or school. So the valedictorian at Richardson (UH Law), the magna cum laude student at Michigan who's from Hawaii, and the summa student at T30 who married a service member stationed on Oahu -- they all would have a better shot than a magna cum laude student at HYS who didn't have ties, in my experience. So while the district might "punch above its weight" in regard to options, the actual clerks there don't have much better stats than clerks in Phoenix, Milwaukee, etc. I'm totally guessing off of my experience, but that's my guess.

Fair enough. And yeah, was wondering mostly about the options the court has to choose from - since it doesn't sound like OP has ties, I was wondering whether, even if a D. Hawaii judge were willing to consider someone without ties, the competition would still be stiffer than elsewhere because it's a desirable location.

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Re: Hawaii Federal Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:23 pm

mjb447 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So is it extremely hard to get a Hawaii fed clerkship without ties from a T10?


Former D. Haw. clerk who previously posted in this thread.

It's extremely hard to get a federal clerkship in any single targeted district without ties to that district. You could replace "Hawaii" with "Montana" and the answer would still be Yes.

Beyond that though, Hawaii is particularly difficult because there aren't many openings. There are 6 D. Haw. judges who hire clerks (3 active district court judges, 3 senior district court judges; Judge Ezra doesn't count because he permanently sits in Texas for whatever reason) and most of them have a career clerk, meaning they each only hire one term clerk. And while many judges prefer to see ties to their region, it's my impression that federal judges in Hawaii are even more suspicious of applicants with no ties, given that Hawaii is seen as a vacation destination. Now, it's probably easier to get a D. Haw. clerkship for a T10 student than a student at a lower ranked school, assuming neither has ties, but that doesn't exactly help you much.

Honestly though, if you can only apply to Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico, aren't you going to blanket those districts regardless of your chances? Even if I could accurately tell you (I obviously have no way of accurately telling you this) that you have a 1% shot at a clerkship in those districts without ties, aren't you still going to apply? Practically speaking, I'm not sure what you're looking for.


Just curious: do you think judges' suspicions were justified? It makes intuitive sense to me that someplace like D. Hawaii or S.D. Fla. would punch above its weight simply because people would want to live there for a year rather than other places, but I wonder if that's borne out in practice.


S.D. Fla. is kind of a different animal because Miami is closer to a "major market" for federal litigation than Honolulu, and it doesn't have the status as one of only three Article III district courts that international students can apply to. You'll still get apps from top students without ties who want to clerk by the beach, but there's a much larger highly qualified pool of Florida natives and people planning to practice in Miami long-term than there is for D. Haw. But at the same time, it's a much larger court in terms of the number of positions available each year, and Miami isn't insular and parochial the way Hawaii is.

Not sure how these factors balance out but the overall calculus is quite different. D. Alaska might be a better comparison for D. Haw., despite the vast difference in climate. S.D. Fla. is probably more comparable to S.D. Cal.

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Re: Hawaii Federal Clerkship

Postby mjb447 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
mjb447 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So is it extremely hard to get a Hawaii fed clerkship without ties from a T10?


Former D. Haw. clerk who previously posted in this thread.

It's extremely hard to get a federal clerkship in any single targeted district without ties to that district. You could replace "Hawaii" with "Montana" and the answer would still be Yes.

Beyond that though, Hawaii is particularly difficult because there aren't many openings. There are 6 D. Haw. judges who hire clerks (3 active district court judges, 3 senior district court judges; Judge Ezra doesn't count because he permanently sits in Texas for whatever reason) and most of them have a career clerk, meaning they each only hire one term clerk. And while many judges prefer to see ties to their region, it's my impression that federal judges in Hawaii are even more suspicious of applicants with no ties, given that Hawaii is seen as a vacation destination. Now, it's probably easier to get a D. Haw. clerkship for a T10 student than a student at a lower ranked school, assuming neither has ties, but that doesn't exactly help you much.

Honestly though, if you can only apply to Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico, aren't you going to blanket those districts regardless of your chances? Even if I could accurately tell you (I obviously have no way of accurately telling you this) that you have a 1% shot at a clerkship in those districts without ties, aren't you still going to apply? Practically speaking, I'm not sure what you're looking for.


Just curious: do you think judges' suspicions were justified? It makes intuitive sense to me that someplace like D. Hawaii or S.D. Fla. would punch above its weight simply because people would want to live there for a year rather than other places, but I wonder if that's borne out in practice.


S.D. Fla. is kind of a different animal because Miami is closer to a "major market" for federal litigation than Honolulu, and it doesn't have the status as one of only three Article III district courts that international students can apply to. You'll still get apps from top students without ties who want to clerk by the beach, but there's a much larger highly qualified pool of Florida natives and people planning to practice in Miami long-term than there is for D. Haw. But at the same time, it's a much larger court in terms of the number of positions available each year, and Miami isn't insular and parochial the way Hawaii is.

Not sure how these factors balance out but the overall calculus is quite different. D. Alaska might be a better comparison for D. Haw., despite the vast difference in climate. S.D. Fla. is probably more comparable to S.D. Cal.

Yeah, I didn't think the districts were very similar across the board - just curious about whether and the extent to which a district gets an extra bump in applications for being a ""vacation spot" (in addition to anything else it might have going for it). Thanks for the info!

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Re: Hawaii Federal Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:13 pm

.

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Re: Hawaii Federal Clerkship

Postby topgun400 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:17 pm

There's probably some way to spin your international status to at least gives you a reason for wanting Hawaii other than because it is a vacation spot. Perhaps one of your recommenders could address it. That could help a little.

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Re: Hawaii Federal Clerkship

Postby KijiStewart » Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:37 pm

My 1L stats were posted above, ... don't wanna post my 2L fall CLS GPA, but what GPA would make fed clerkship apps not a waste of time.

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Re: Hawaii Federal Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:30 pm

I was slightly better than top 5% at a T6 and I got no interest from Hawaii judges, which makes me think ties (or some reason for being in Hawaii) are mandatory, at the very least to distinguish you from people with similar stats.

Depending on the judge the 2L grades are going to be very important. In my chambers your 1L grades would probably be a dealbreaker based on your school, but if you rocked the 4.0 at your new school you'd probably have a shot.

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Re: Hawaii Federal Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:11 pm

KijiStewart wrote:
lolwat wrote:
acr wrote:
KijiStewart wrote:Alright everyone,

It looks like I will transfer to Michigan for 2L.

(1L TT top 8%).

What are the requirements to clerk at the DC Hawaii post-graduation.


Probably better than top 10% at TT, even with transferring to Michigan. Will probably need some ties to Hawaii (e.g. have family there, went to UG at Hawaii-Manoa, grew up there, summer internships there, etc.). Will need excellent letters of rec, which might be a challenge now that you've hopped ship for Michigan. Very very low odds overall.

Why do you want to go clerk in Hawaii? Do you have a legitimate reason to be there or is this some kind of utopic vision thing where you see yourself with a sweet fed clerkship and at the beach by 6pm every day?


If you look at OP's corresponding post about biglaw in the Legal Employment forum they seem to be trying to shoot for whatever sounds like the most fun / least work / but still "prestigious"


I'm international so I'm eligible only for Hawaii and Alaska. (Some other districts allow it if I 'volunteer' but that sounds shady).

So you're basically telling me that >80% of the vetting process is my 1L rank and where I did 1L?


I know that someone else mentioned Puerto Rico, but wanted to make sure that OP saw that. There's 6 active district court judges there , two senior district judges, and a First Circuit Judge.

In addition, you should consider the federal territorial district courts: District Court of Guam, District Court of the Northern Mariana Islands, and District Court of the Virgin Islands. Those courts occupy the role of a federal district court for their respective territories with diversity and federal question jurisdiction (there is a separate local territorial court system). That's another 4 judges (one in Guam, one in the Northern Marianas, and two in the Virgin Islands). My understanding is that those clerkships are treated similarly to AIII federal district court clerkships (judges of the territorial district courts are appointed by the President, but don't have life tenure so are not AIII), including for BigLaw bonus purposes.

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Re: Hawaii Federal Clerkship

Postby KijiStewart » Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I was slightly better than top 5% at a T6 and I got no interest from Hawaii judges, which makes me think ties (or some reason for being in Hawaii) are mandatory, at the very least to distinguish you from people with similar stats.

Depending on the judge the 2L grades are going to be very important. In my chambers your 1L grades would probably be a dealbreaker based on your school, but if you rocked the 4.0 at your new school you'd probably have a shot.


I didn't...

Do I have anything to lose by applying now (for the 2019-2010 cycle) or is waiting for a full-year of grades a better option. I'm also considering Delaware, NJ, and maybe California state courts.

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Re: Hawaii Federal Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 29, 2018 5:14 pm

You don't have anything to lose by applying now, but I'm doubtful you'll get any interest from the major districts in the country. What was your GPA at CLS?

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Re: Hawaii Federal Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:52 pm

Former D. Haw then Clifton clerk here. The advice in this thread has been very good, namely, that without strong ties, you're unlikely to get a second look by the D. Ct. judges. Of course, it's worth a shot, just don't have high expectations.




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