Basic First Day Etiquette

Seek and share information about clerkship applications, clerkship hiring timelines, and post-clerkship employment opportunities.
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are sharing sensitive information about clerkship applications and clerkship hiring. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned."
Anonymous User
Posts: 299709
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Basic First Day Etiquette

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:55 pm

Many of us (myself included!) are starting in the next couple days/weeks. I've got a couple of embarrassingly simple etiquette questions and suspect others might also have some.

Do you address your judge as "Judge", "Judge XYZ" or "Your Honor" (or something else entirely?)? How about the other judges at the courthouse? For that matter, are there any other surprise titles of other folks in the courthouse one ought to be aware of?

Should you expect to get lunch with the judge or the other clerks or should you pack something? If the judge takes you to lunch the first day, do you offer to pay?

Anonymous User
Posts: 299709
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Basic First Day Etiquette

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:51 am

Anonymous User wrote:Many of us (myself included!) are starting in the next couple days/weeks. I've got a couple of embarrassingly simple etiquette questions and suspect others might also have some.

Do you address your judge as "Judge", "Judge XYZ" or "Your Honor" (or something else entirely?)? How about the other judges at the courthouse? For that matter, are there any other surprise titles of other folks in the courthouse one ought to be aware of?

Should you expect to get lunch with the judge or the other clerks or should you pack something? If the judge takes you to lunch the first day, do you offer to pay?


I call both my judge and all of the other judges in the circuit "Judge." I think that's pretty common. You can also pay attention to what the judicial assistant and any permanent clerks do -- they're likely to have a much less formal relationship with the judge than you will at first, but you can still get an idea from their interactions about how much formality your judge wants. (My judge would actually prefer for us to use his first name, but I just can't do it.)

I'd advise being flexible about lunch -- pack something to eat so you're not awkwardly and hungrily waiting around for a lunch invitation all day, but don't be surprised if you go out to eat instead. Be ready to pay for your own meal, but if the judge says s/he'll pay, accept graciously. Don't offer to pay for the judge's meal, if that's what you were asking. I think that would be weird. Your judge makes four times as much money as you do, and probably doesn't have any outstanding student debt. If you have the bad fortune of working for a nightmare judge who does expect you to pay for his food for him, I imagine he'll make that clear, but I haven't heard of any judges who do that. If we go out to eat in my chambers, we split the check and pay for our own meals unless the judge is treating us to a birthday lunch or we're treating him for the same. I would expect that to be the norm.

Also, I'm a permanent clerk, and I think sometimes my co-clerks are afraid to ask me questions during their first few days because they don't want to seem stupid. But it's really better to ask up front than to bumble around not knowing what's going on. The JAs are also a really good resource to ask questions about standard operating procedures and so forth. Don't be afraid to ask (unless you're getting some serious negative vibes, but all of the JAs in my circuit are super nice and helpful, so it wouldn't be a problem here).

LurkerTurnedMember
Posts: 225
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 2:31 am

Re: Basic First Day Etiquette

Postby LurkerTurnedMember » Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:53 am

Judge or Judge [Last name] for all judges at the courthouse is fine. You won't get to a point ever really where you address a judge by first name unless they're your personal friend who became a judge or something. The rest varies by chambers.

You should bring your own lunch the first day. Your judge is likely going to take you to lunch out with the chambers the first day. Expect to pay for yourself but if the judge takes you out the judge will likely pay for it. If your judge doesn't take you out for lunch, your second most likely option is probably lunch with your co clerk. The third likeliest option is you show up, they don't care at all about you and there's no lunch with anyone there, and you eat the lunch you brought at your desk while you work. lol

The remaining lunches (throughout the year) depends on your chambers. If the judge is ok with you going out and eating lunch, you can do that. If your judge is conservative and wants to see you work a lot, you should eat lunch at your desk.

Everyone else is just a regular person like you. You can call them all by their first names, including your co-clerk, courtroom deputy, and the judicial assistant.

Also the general rule is: arrive before your judge and leave after your judge, until a few months in and then you can be a bit more relaxed about it.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 28105
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Basic First Day Etiquette

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Aug 05, 2017 8:40 am

Agree with all the above.

For the record, I've always been told that it's "judge" outside the courtroom, and "your honor" in the courtroom (as in when you're appearing in court, I mean).

User avatar
ggocat
Posts: 1765
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 1:51 pm

Re: Basic First Day Etiquette

Postby ggocat » Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:51 pm

I would not pack a lunch the first day. I'd expect to eat out whether it's with the judge/staff or by yourself. Packing a lunch may lead to awkwardness when your judge or staff suggests that y'all go out to lunch. Maybe pack something that can survive at the bottom of your purse or in your car if you are really worried about not finding a lunch spot? Obviously, it's not a big deal, though. So what if the judge tells you they were planning to take you out but they'll reschedule since you brought a ham sandwich instead.

Yeah offer to pay your own meal unless the judge preemptively makes it clear he/she is paying for you.

I think "judge" is the norm.

User avatar
grand inquisitor
Posts: 3720
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:21 am

Re: Basic First Day Etiquette

Postby grand inquisitor » Wed Aug 16, 2017 3:41 pm

have fun with it and try calling your judge "your grace" or "your holiness." report back with reaction.

User avatar
lavarman84
#MAGA
Posts: 6954
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Basic First Day Etiquette

Postby lavarman84 » Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:23 am

FWIW, you might get your answer to the bringing lunch question if you ask the clerk you've been in contact with throughout the process. I know doing that resolved any questions I had.




Return to “Judicial Clerkships”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.