Questions about Recommenders and Interviewing

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Questions about Recommenders and Interviewing

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:56 pm

I have an interview next month and would greatly appreciate any and all insight on the following questions:

1) All 3 of my recommenders have agreed to call the judge I'm interviewing with. Should I plan to have them all call after I interview, or would this be overkill?
2) What are some thoughtful questions that I could ask the judge during my interview? What about the clerks?
3) What is a good way of articulating "I'm interested in clerking because I want to be a litigator"?

Thanks for the help! :D

lolwat

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Re: Questions about Recommenders and Interviewing

Postby lolwat » Wed Nov 22, 2017 5:28 pm

There's no point in having your recommenders call now, IMO. The point to having recs call is to get your application pulled from the pile so that you get the interview. Now that you have the interview, it doesn't matter nearly as much anymore how great your recs are, it matters how much the judge likes you. If your judge is interested in talking to your recommenders, he/she'll call them.

I'd probably ask the clerks how case assignments are handled, what their responsibilities are, what they find interesting about the job, and if it's a district court clerkship maybe whether the clerks handle any of the criminal caseload or the judge/a career clerk/someone else does that instead. No idea what to ask the judge.

No idea re 3, although keep in mind most people who clerk (especially at district court level) tends to want to go into litigation, so...

Good luck with the interview though. Hope you get the clerkship.

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Re: Questions about Recommenders and Interviewing

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 23, 2017 3:02 am

Thanks! Anyone else?

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Re: Questions about Recommenders and Interviewing

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 23, 2017 1:49 pm

It all really depends on the chambers and circumstances. I'll speak from my experience, which includes hearing my judge talk in some detail about his/her calls with professors. In my chambers, three recommenders calling for a single candidate would be overkill and likely would annoy my judge, unless all the recommenders personally know the judge. I think post-interview calls generally would be ineffective in my chambers; the judge, my co-clerks and I have already formed our opinions of you and likely will not change our views (unless, for instance, the judge had a reservation about some aspect of your application/interview, or a clerk notified the judge of a reservation, and in a moment of serendipity a post-interview recommender discusses that particular issue and, without knowing it, assuages the judge's fears). The most effective recommender call, from my experience, would be someone who knows the judge, calls the morning of or day before the interview, and gushes about the person in particularly vivid detail and with an emphasis on his/her clerk-related skills. That kind of call primes the judge and clerks to receive a candidate warmly; we've certainly hired people whose professors did just that. The worst calls are from those who don't know the judge, says basically the same thing he/she said in his/her letter, and by running his/her mouth actually says something off-putting (this does happen). Some professors also can be quite rude on the phone (perhaps without knowing it) and do some collateral damage to the candidate's application. The problem for you is that, from the perspective of a student, it is incredibly difficult to know what kind of caller the professor will be. So I would be careful about how you dispatch the professors to make calls.

I would use lolwat's questions to the clerks. I would ask whether they also had done any legal work before clerking, and how the experience helped. If you're a law student still, you might want to ask about how best to approach your 2L/3L year. I would also ask about what the clerks' favorite aspect about working with the judge.

I would research the judge, figure out his/her professional history, and ask questions about it. I would ask him/her about he/she approaches mentoring clerks after they leave.

Yeah, I don't know what you would say re: 3. My chambers would tend to ask about why you want to clerk for the particular judge or in the particular city/courthouse, not why you want to clerk in general.

Good luck!

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mjb447

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Re: Questions about Recommenders and Interviewing

Postby mjb447 » Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:19 pm

Agree generally re answers provided to first two questions. I'd actually try to be more specific than "I want to litigate" - like others have said, that's not going to differentiate you much. Might be better to work it into a more specific discussion of your five-year plan or something

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Questions about Recommenders and Interviewing

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Nov 23, 2017 9:11 pm

I often asked a judge what they found most challenging and most rewarding about being a judge. I think the above questions for clerks are good. I've never really had anyone ask why I want to be a clerk - what I want to do in the future, sure, or maybe "in this city" or "for this judge," but not just generally (I think it's pretty well understood).

I also agree that calls after the interview aren't especially helpful - let the judge reach out if they have questions.

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Re: Questions about Recommenders and Interviewing

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 25, 2017 5:30 pm

This is super helpful -- thanks everyone!



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