Why Clerk (seriously)?

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FascinatedWanderer
Posts: 234
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Re: Why Clerk (seriously)?

Postby FascinatedWanderer » Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:21 pm

I get that shitty briefing helps hone my own lawyering skills, and I do get a kick out of dismissing entire pleadings for various reasons, but on tough legal issues it really would be nice to get helpful briefs (or at least ones that are written at above a third grade level).

Honestly, I feel like I was a better writer than most of these lawyers when I was a freshman in high school.

Anyway, on topic: by the time my friends start as 1Ls in biglaw in October/November, I definitely feel as though I'll already have learned wayy more than they'll learn their entire first (and maybe) second years.

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quiver
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Re: Why Clerk (seriously)?

Postby quiver » Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:19 pm

FascinatedWanderer wrote:Anyway, on topic: by the time my friends start as 1Ls in biglaw in October/November, I definitely feel as though I'll already have learned wayy more than they'll learn their entire first (and maybe) second years.
This is not really true. You'll just learn more about different stuff. Assuming we're talking about DCt and COA clerkships, and assuming your judge did not get deeply involved in discovery disputes, the work you do as a clerk and as a junior associate basically only overlaps at MTD and SJ. Being a DCt clerk, for example, will not teach you how to negotiate a search protocol, deal with document vendors, prep a deposition (offensive or defensive), draft talking points for a M&C, deal with a client, create a priv log, do an errata, etc., etc. And if you're doing internal investigations in biglaw, there is almost no overlap in actual skill sets at all.

As others have pointed out, clerking is great experience and valuable in other ways. But clerks who have not worked in biglaw sometimes get the idea that they're coming out way ahead of usual 1st/2nd year associates. They're not. At least not in the practical sense of teaching you how to be an associate in biglaw.

jd20132013
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Re: Why Clerk (seriously)?

Postby jd20132013 » Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:25 pm

quiver wrote:
FascinatedWanderer wrote:Anyway, on topic: by the time my friends start as 1Ls in biglaw in October/November, I definitely feel as though I'll already have learned wayy more than they'll learn their entire first (and maybe) second years.
This is not really true. You'll just learn more about different stuff. Assuming we're talking about DCt and COA clerkships, and assuming your judge did not get deeply involved in discovery disputes, the work you do as a clerk and as a junior associate basically only overlaps at MTD and SJ. Being a DCt clerk, for example, will not teach you how to negotiate a search protocol, deal with document vendors, prep a deposition (offensive or defensive), draft talking points for a M&C, deal with a client, create a priv log, do an errata, etc., etc. And if you're doing internal investigations in biglaw, there is almost no overlap in actual skill sets at all.

As others have pointed out, clerking is great experience and valuable in other ways. But clerks who have not worked in biglaw sometimes get the idea that they're coming out way ahead of usual 1st/2nd year associates. They're not. At least not in the practical sense of teaching you how to be an associate in biglaw.



this is correct.

drive4showLSAT4dough
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Re: Why Clerk (seriously)?

Postby drive4showLSAT4dough » Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Everyone says clerking is a great job, gives you invaluable perspective, and helps you establish a relationship with a judge.


Those are the main reasons to clerk. The main downside is that you take a short term financial hit. In the vast majority of cases, the benefits you listed outweigh the costs.

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Wild Card
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Re: Why Clerk (seriously)?

Postby Wild Card » Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:54 pm

I'm under the impression that there's a 99 percent chance that you'll be shitcanned by your firm within 2 to 4 years; and that a clerkship is a powerful signal of social status that'll help you stay employed in the long-term.

Perhaps IP litigators are such a scarce and valuable commodity that they never have to worry about finding work, but you can never be too careful.

lolwat
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Re: Why Clerk (seriously)?

Postby lolwat » Tue Sep 05, 2017 1:45 pm

FascinatedWanderer wrote:I get that shitty briefing helps hone my own lawyering skills, and I do get a kick out of dismissing entire pleadings for various reasons, but on tough legal issues it really would be nice to get helpful briefs (or at least ones that are written at above a third grade level).


This is true but it's also helpful in practice to have to analyze tough legal issues yourself without much help. You're not going to have a full set of briefs already in front of you in practice; you're basically going to have a set of facts and be told to draft a brief seeking x relief based on those facts. It's up to you to come up with the right arguments to make. Even when you're opposing a motion it's typically unwise to allow yourself to be limited to the opposing party's arguments / how they've framed the issues.

As others have pointed out, clerking is great experience and valuable in other ways. But clerks who have not worked in biglaw sometimes get the idea that they're coming out way ahead of usual 1st/2nd year associates. They're not. At least not in the practical sense of teaching you how to be an associate in biglaw.


In a sense, this is true insofar as it relates to the discovery stuff first/second years go through. But every associate is still going to learn and do all the bullshit discovery work even if they clerked, and the firm isn't really going to care if a post-clerk associate is technically a year behind learning discovery. But when a partner needs a MSJ drafted, and they've got an otherwise equivalent choice between an associate whose has done nothing but discovery and an associate who has clerked for a year ... I dunno, I know which one I'd have write that motion.

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quiver
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Re: Why Clerk (seriously)?

Postby quiver » Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:06 pm

lolwat wrote:
As others have pointed out, clerking is great experience and valuable in other ways. But clerks who have not worked in biglaw sometimes get the idea that they're coming out way ahead of usual 1st/2nd year associates. They're not. At least not in the practical sense of teaching you how to be an associate in biglaw.


In a sense, this is true insofar as it relates to the discovery stuff first/second years go through. But every associate is still going to learn and do all the bullshit discovery work even if they clerked, and the firm isn't really going to care if a post-clerk associate is technically a year behind learning discovery. But when a partner needs a MSJ drafted, and they've got an otherwise equivalent choice between an associate whose has done nothing but discovery and an associate who has clerked for a year ... I dunno, I know which one I'd have write that motion.
Just a couple things on this.

First, the whole point is that (1) you'll be behind on discovery stuff, and (2) that's what the vast majority of biglaw litigation is. Depending on the firm and practice group, MTD and SJ comprise only a small fraction of what lit associates generally do. Will the firm understand that you're behind on discovery stuff? Of course. But clerks shouldn't make the mistake of thinking they're coming out "way ahead" of non-clerk lit associates, which is the comment to which I was responding.

Second, research and writing is not rocket science, and it's actually the only stuff law school moderately prepares you to do. Are clerks generally better writers? Probably, but most senior associates/partners are going to edit the shit out of your writing anyway (whether it actually needs to be edited or not). So, at least in my firms, there has been almost no gap between clerk and non-clerk lit associates. With only certain exceptions, a clerk second-year associate has been treated as a non-clerk first-year associate for most purposes.

Again, clerkships are very valuable and provide great experience, but clerks shouldn't swagger into their biglaw firms thinking (a) they're way ahead of non-clerk lit associates, or (b) they're inherently better than non-clerk lit associates in any practical sense.




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