What are some good answers to the "how do you handle disagreeing with your judge" question during clerkship interviews?

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What are some good answers to the "how do you handle disagreeing with your judge" question during clerkship interviews?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:28 pm

I've read through all the "interview" topics here and couldn't find an answer to this one, specifically for district clerkships (if that makes a difference.)

FascinatedWanderer

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Re: What are some good answers to the "how do you handle disagreeing with your judge" question during clerkship intervie

Postby FascinatedWanderer » Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:30 pm

There's really just the one right answer. You make your views known assertively and respectfully, but when the rubber hits the road, you're not the judge, you know that and have no problem going with the judge's view.

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rpupkin

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Re: What are some good answers to the "how do you handle disagreeing with your judge" question during clerkship intervie

Postby rpupkin » Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:42 pm

FascinatedWanderer wrote:There's really just the one right answer. You make your views known assertively and respectfully, but when the rubber hits the road, you're not the judge, you know that and have no problem going with the judge's view.

Agreed. Most judges want clerks who will: (1) state their views when they disagree with the judge, and will (2) implement their judge's views once the judge has decided what to do.

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Re: What are some good answers to the "how do you handle disagreeing with your judge" question during clerkship intervie

Postby lolwat » Thu Sep 21, 2017 5:12 pm

rpupkin wrote:
FascinatedWanderer wrote:There's really just the one right answer. You make your views known assertively and respectfully, but when the rubber hits the road, you're not the judge, you know that and have no problem going with the judge's view.

Agreed. Most judges want clerks who will: (1) state their views when they disagree with the judge, and will (2) implement their judge's views once the judge has decided what to do.


Yep. Judges will ask this question in a variety of different ways, ranging from simply a disagreement to, basically, "What would you do if I tell you to draft an order/opinion that's TOTALLY FUCKED UP IN EVERY WAY POSSIBLE?!" The right answer is basically the same.


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grand inquisitor

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Re: What are some good answers to the "how do you handle disagreeing with your judge" question during clerkship intervie

Postby grand inquisitor » Thu Sep 21, 2017 5:33 pm

i usually say something about "ultimately it's the judge's name on the opinion and once you have given all the advice the judge cares to hear, it's time to shut up and color."

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Re: What are some good answers to the "how do you handle disagreeing with your judge" question during clerkship intervie

Postby jd20132013 » Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:07 am

I don't even know what alternative answer one could conceive of. Leaking to the press that you disagree ?

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Re: What are some good answers to the "how do you handle disagreeing with your judge" question during clerkship intervie

Postby ggocat » Fri Sep 22, 2017 11:52 am

jd20132013 wrote:I don't even know what alternative answer one could conceive of. Leaking to the press that you disagree ?

I had one judge in an interview add the caveat that it would be possible for the other clerk and me to swap a case. I think it was a trap suggestion, and I stuck to my guns with same answer as others have given above. No offer, though.

ETA: the question wasn't just about disagreeing with the judge on the outcome of a case for a legal reason, but it was about disagreeing about the outcome for a moral/social/personal-belief reason.

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Re: What are some good answers to the "how do you handle disagreeing with your judge" question during clerkship intervie

Postby lolwat » Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:03 pm

ggocat wrote:
jd20132013 wrote:I don't even know what alternative answer one could conceive of. Leaking to the press that you disagree ?

I had one judge in an interview add the caveat that it would be possible for the other clerk and me to swap a case. I think it was a trap suggestion, and I stuck to my guns with same answer as others have given above. No offer, though.

ETA: the question wasn't just about disagreeing with the judge on the outcome of a case for a legal reason, but it was about disagreeing about the outcome for a moral/social/personal-belief reason.


I suppose the idea there is that your work product might not be as good if you disagree with the result. It's inherently more difficult to write something you disagree with. If it were on the fly and I didn't have time to think about it, I might add a statement (to what has already been said above about the right answer) to the effect that "and while I think my work product would be just as strong despite any disagreements I might have with the result, if there is any doubt, maybe we could consider that case swapping suggestion."

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Re: What are some good answers to the "how do you handle disagreeing with your judge" question during clerkship intervie

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:39 pm

I was asked about the moral/religious thing in the context of death penalty cases. In this instance, I think the judge was trying to give me the opportunity to raise any concerns I might have and talked about a former clerk whose Catholicism led her to be anti-DP. I don't even remember what I said, but it wasn't presented as a trap to see if I could give the right answer - it was simply a "will this job work out for you" thing.

(I'm kind of bemused that I can't remember what I said. I think I said no, because it was couched in terms of religious belief and that's not my situation, but thankfully it didn't come up in practice.)



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