Post Clerkship Employment

Seek and share information about clerkship applications, clerkship hiring timelines, and post-clerkship employment opportunities.
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Post Clerkship Employment

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 04, 2017 1:28 pm

I am a rising 3L with two clerkships lined up and have a few questions:

1) What's the etiquette for firm offers when clerking? For example, I am currently summering at a V10. I realize now that I may change markets or select a more litigation specific firm. What is the best way to politely decline or keep open an offer?

2) At what point does one consider applying to new firms? Is it between D.Ct. and COA?

3) How does COA hiring work generally? My sense is that I may now have a leg up on some litigation firms that wouldn't have hired me before, but I don't really know how that process unfolds. Are any other employment opportunities worth considering post COA clerkship? Full-disclosure, I'm a T14 student outside of top 10%.

Now that summer is winding down and 3L is starting, I am trying to reasonably consider what next. I think that a boutique firm for a few years for training and loan repayment would be a sensible option, but I'm not sure what opportunities are available or what else I should consider doing apart from keep my grades up. Would a firm like Sussman consider interviewing me in Houston if I'm going to the 5th Cir.? Is this something to maybe speak to my Judge about down the road?

Any advice is welcome. Thanks.

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howmanylits

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Re: Post Clerkship Employment

Postby howmanylits » Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:41 pm

1) You need to ask your judges. Some judges are fine with you accepting an offer, others want you to hold it open (neither accept nor decline), others want you to affirmatively decline. Because it sounds like you might want to change markets/firms, you should look into keeping your offer "open." The downside to this (over formally accepting) is that you have to pay for bar expenses and such upfront. The firm will reimburse when you later work for them. The upside is that, worst case scenario, you go back to work at your V10 post clerkships. For firms, they know they have to be flexible. It's not really an issue on their end at all, I wouldn't worry about it. But if you are worried, just ask recruitment. I'm sure they handle these types of questions fairly often.

2) Firms don't have as set of a schedule for hiring clerks. Generally though, it starts the fall/winter before you'd start at the firm. So if someone was currently a D. Ct. clerk and they were looking to join a firm after a COA clerkship that started in the fall, they'd apply/interview in November '17 - Jan '18. Really rough timeline. There are a ton of threads in this forum where clerks discuss their applications, dings, etc.

3) This is a very broad question. Yea you get prestige points for COA which helps with firms, but not sure there are any major shifts to your employment prospects. You're already at a V10. If the clerkships are back to back and straight out of law school, you might want to consider DOJ Honors.

4) Boutique hiring is highly competitive and difficult to "chance" anyone for, unless they're obviously unqualified. Good thing is that boutique firms don't have large rosters. Check their website and see if people with your stats work at the firm.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Post Clerkship Employment

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Jul 04, 2017 5:39 pm

Just from reading the threads here and people I know, I think 'Nov-Jan is fairly early, and a lot of firms don't start really looking until more like February or so. But I'm sure it depends on the firms.

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Re: Post Clerkship Employment

Postby lolwat » Tue Jul 04, 2017 6:04 pm

Agree with pretty much all the above I think.

Regarding boutiques, I assume you're competitive for any of them (except perhaps the absolute top of them like Kellogg Hansen where you practically have to be a SCOTUS clerk), given that you have two clerkships lined up and a summer at a V10 so in theory, your grades/school/etc. are also competitive enough for boutiques. The problem is they still see a ton of applications like yours, so, who knows. Another problem with boutiques sometimes is that it really just depends on their needs because they're generally not looking to churn associates like biglaw firms do.

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rpupkin

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Re: Post Clerkship Employment

Postby rpupkin » Tue Jul 04, 2017 9:31 pm

lolwat wrote:Agree with pretty much all the above I think.

Regarding boutiques, I assume you're competitive for any of them (except perhaps the absolute top of them like Kellogg Hansen where you practically have to be a SCOTUS clerk)

You don't have to be a SCOTUS clerk to work at Kellogg. Most of their associate hires are clerks from the regional circuits, the federal circuit, and the dc circuit.

And Nony is right about timing. The clerk-hiring season typically gets going in February.

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Re: Post Clerkship Employment

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:54 pm

DJ clerk here. We got lots of recruitment letters at the beginning of the year. A lot of firms seemed to start interviewing in Jan/Feb. I didn't start applying to places until March (for personal reasons) and felt like I was late to the game.

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BulletTooth

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Re: Post Clerkship Employment

Postby BulletTooth » Wed Jul 05, 2017 8:26 pm

Tag

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Re: Post Clerkship Employment

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:33 pm

This may sound absurd, but what's the deal with paying for bar prep if you clerk? Will the firm ask for the 3k back from barbri if you bail two years later? Or do they wait to reimburse you until you arrive at the firm to protect against this?

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Re: Post Clerkship Employment

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:This may sound absurd, but what's the deal with paying for bar prep if you clerk? Will the firm ask for the 3k back from barbri if you bail two years later? Or do they wait to reimburse you until you arrive at the firm to protect against this?

My 2L SA firm only reimburses bar prep and costs associated. I, along with most other clerks I knew, just rep'd for Barbri, Themis, or Kaplan. Some just paid for the course out of pocket.

I did have one friend who, as a 3L, received permission from both of his judges to accept an offer from the firm where he spent his 2L summer. The firm then paid for all of his bar prep material.

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rpupkin

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Re: Post Clerkship Employment

Postby rpupkin » Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:This may sound absurd, but what's the deal with paying for bar prep if you clerk? Will the firm ask for the 3k back from barbri if you bail two years later? Or do they wait to reimburse you until you arrive at the firm to protect against this?

Practices vary by firm, but, yes, you will almost surely have to reimburse the firm for any paid bar expenses if you don't go there post-clerkship. But it's not uncommon for the firm that does hire you to reimburse your expenses, so you can break even.

Also, be aware that you may have to pay back your firm for bar expenses before you start your clerkship. Even if the firm doesn't insist that you pay back your barbri expenses, your judge might insist that you do so.

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Re: Post Clerkship Employment

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:46 am

It's like rpup says. My firm gave me like $18k for bar prep even though they knew I was clerking for a year. When I decided to switch to DOJ honors during my clerkship, my firm was supportive but you had better believe they asked for that $18k back. That hurt a lot.

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Re: Post Clerkship Employment

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:56 pm

OP here. So I just read the 32 tabs of 2016-2017 post clerkship hiring thread. I am not especially thrilled by the prospect of reapplying to firms as a clerk down the road, and I am tempted to accept my offer with my current v10 in NYC. What happens if I accept an offer and apply to firms during my COA clerkship anyway? I realize the v10 firm would likely not like this (and maybe this is simply not an option), but would prospective firms that I am applying to (particularly if they are out of market) know/care?

To provide more color on this, I'm not in the top 10% of my T14 school and am nervous that turning down my summer firm's offer could leave me worse off down the road. Ideally, I'd like to apply to the top litigation boutiques and perhaps some more litigation specific firms like Quinn or Boies down the road. Can someone help me make sense of this? Thanks.

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rpupkin

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Re: Post Clerkship Employment

Postby rpupkin » Wed Jul 12, 2017 1:02 am

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. So I just read the 32 tabs of 2016-2017 post clerkship hiring thread. I am not especially thrilled by the prospect of reapplying to firms as a clerk down the road, and I am tempted to accept my offer with my current v10 in NYC. What happens if I accept an offer and apply to firms during my COA clerkship anyway? I realize the v10 firm would likely not like this (and maybe this is simply not an option), but would prospective firms that I am applying to (particularly if they are out of market) know/care?

I think it's unusual for a firm to make a formal offer before you start a clerkship. Usually, the offer will take the form of something like "we'd love to have you return." If you're talking about that kind of "offer," I think it's fine for you to apply to other firms during your clerkship even if you indicated to the first firm that you'd like to return post-clerkship.

But if you accept a formal offer from your first firm before your clerkship (and if your judge permits that offer/acceptance to stand), then I wouldn't apply to other firms during your clerkship. It's just bad form. I mean, when you accepted an offer to work as an SA, did you keep applying to—and accept offers from—other firms?

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Re: Post Clerkship Employment

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:25 am

Thanks for this.

Does anyone know the standard timeline if you do get an "open offer" from your SA firm when you need to commit during the clerkship? I imagine this could get tricky when you're applying and waiting for other firms.

Also, I get the sense that applying to firms post COA is by no means a guarantee for employment. It certainly seems far removed from post 1L firm recruitment. Is there anything one can do before applying after law school to strengthen your chances down the road? How hard is it to make time for firms during a COA clerkship? Does NALP show the number of post-clerkship hires at firms? Where/What markets are the best for post-COA hires, or is all this unpredictable?

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rpupkin

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Re: Post Clerkship Employment

Postby rpupkin » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for this.

Does anyone know the standard timeline if you do get an "open offer" from your SA firm when you need to commit during the clerkship? I imagine this could get tricky when you're applying and waiting for other firms.

Depends on the firm. There's no standard timeline. Some firms will demand an answer by March. Others will let you float along until mid-summer. And even for a given firm, the flexibility will vary based on the firm's hiring needs. If the firm needs bodies, they're more likely to tolerate you dragging things out for awhile.

And, no, it's generally not challenging to find the time to apply to firms during your clerkship. Most judges are understanding and supportive when it comes to their clerks looking for jobs. But this is something you should feel out with your judge at the start of your clerkship.

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Re: Post Clerkship Employment

Postby MrT » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Does NALP show the number of post-clerkship hires at firms?

NALP does show the number of post-clerkship hires for the past two years and the expected number for the current year.



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