Are local ties important?

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surrealfx

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Are local ties important?

Postby surrealfx » Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:12 pm

I am a third-year associate at Vault 10 firm in Los Angeles, where I have lived my whole life, including college and law school. I'd like to try living somewhere else, and I thought a clerkship would be a good way to do that. I'm curious if not having any ties to the places where I'm applying will hurt my application. I'll apply in any event but wanted to hear some information.

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rpupkin

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Re: Are local ties important?

Postby rpupkin » Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:53 pm

surrealfx wrote:I am a third-year associate at Vault 10 firm in Los Angeles, where I have lived my whole life, including college and law school. I'd like to try living somewhere else, and I thought a clerkship would be a good way to do that. I'm curious if not having any ties to the places where I'm applying will hurt my application.

You don't need "ties" necessarily, but you need a reason to move beyond "I just felt like moving somewhere else." If you don't have some kind of convincing story to tell potential employers, then, yes, your chances of getting hired in a given market will be hurt.

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mjb447

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Re: Are local ties important?

Postby mjb447 » Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:56 pm

It will hurt your application with non-LA judges who care about ties, but not all do. It's very idiosyncratic. You might talk to former clerks or look at their bios to try to get a sense of whether a particular judge tends to hire people with ties.

(And yeah, if you get an interview a judge is likely to ask "why my chambers?," and wanting to try living somewhere else shouldn't be the whole story.)

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rhododactylos

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Re: Are local ties important?

Postby rhododactylos » Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:50 pm

It totally depends on the judge. I'm a lifelong northeasterner clerking on the 9th circuit and my lack of ties to the west never came up. I assume it's the same for all but the most parochial COA judges, and the majority of district judges (especially in larger cities) as well. Judges tend to understand that AII clerkships are valued experiences, and that applicants are willing to move anyway to have that experience.

That being said, ties are a huge plus for many judges. Many COA judges will make an effort to hire at least one clerk per term from their area. Think of it more as a plus-factor than a prerequisite.

lolwat

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Re: Are local ties important?

Postby lolwat » Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:46 pm

You'll probably just get auto rejected by the judges who care more about ties, and then at interviews I think you have a higher likelihood of being asked why you want to clerk for that judge, in that district/circuit, etc., than most people who are just coming from law school. But as long as you have a reasonable explanation for that I think you're fine.

You don't need "ties" necessarily, but you need a reason to move beyond "I just felt like moving somewhere else." If you don't have some kind of convincing story to tell potential employers, then, yes, your chances of getting hired in a given market will be hurt.


I think OP might be able to give as part of their answer that they wanted to experience life outside of Los Angeles where they've lived all their 30-whatever years on this earth. But I'd agree that there has to be more than that. Tie it into the city. What does that city have that seems interesting and worthwhile to live in and experience. Whatever.

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Re: Are local ties important?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:54 pm

As a general word of advice, if you don't have local ties to a place and the judge seems to value local ties or take pride in their city, it can be very helpful to spend a day in the city BEFORE doing the interview. The judge will ask about your interest in the city, and even if they don't raise the issue directly, it is great to be able to discuss specific things about the city, places you visited, things you'd like to learn more about in the city, etc. At the interview stage, this--your enthusiasm for the location and effort to learn about it--may be the only thing that separates you from other candidates. I'm not saying make up some elaborate, disingenuous story or visit every local attraction, but a little bit of (perceived) genuine interest can go a long way, all else being equal.

Of course, this advice is slightly less applicable if the judge doesn't care at all about the city/local ties or if you're in a major city like NYC, LA, SF. This was just my experience based on successfully interviewing with a COA judge in a mid-size city who seemed to take a lot of pride in the city and having never previously visited that city/part of the country.

In any event, I would highly recommend speaking with former clerks or people who have interviewed with a judge to get a sense for how the judge relate to his/her city.

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Re: Are local ties important?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 20, 2017 5:01 pm

In my interviews, I have been asked if I have any ties to the area (which I never did), and my response probably factored in at least a bit to not receiving an offer. But on the other hand, the judge I ended up clerking with said one of the reasons he selected me was because I was willing to move somewhere I've never been before.

So unfortunately it varies from judge to judge. As a general rule, however, the more rural the district, the more important ties become



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