Do I have any shot at D.Ct (Illinois, Michigan, Indiana)

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Do I have any shot at D.Ct (Illinois, Michigan, Indiana)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:51 pm

Hey all..

T14, 3.3, secondary journal, 3 years WE at big city DA office.

I know I'm completely shut out of Chicago but what about the other districts in the state and surrounding states?

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Re: Do I have any shot at D.Ct (Illinois, Michigan, Indiana)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:38 am

can I get some love? btw, i'm post grad and in my 3 year of WE in a big city DA office currently.

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Re: Do I have any shot at D.Ct (Illinois, Michigan, Indiana)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:01 pm

First, you should definitely apply, and do so as broadly as you're comfortable. You never know what judges are looking for. Neither do I (outside of the judge I clerked for).

In general, it's hard to see how you'd stand out in the applicant pile. T14 gets you a closer look, but 3.3 GPAs are a dime a dozen. Secondary journal is meh without EdBoard. DA work experience in general is meh, but maybe your office/section has a good rep. That said, flyover states (especially smaller cities) don't always get a ton of apps, and T14 gets you a foot in the door. Make sure your writing sample and LoRs are excellent, see if your profs have any connections to the bench. IMHO, your best bet is to keep an eye out for judges who hire late or who need to fill a last-minute vacancy - one of the benefits of applying post-grad is being able to jump on those opportunities.

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Re: Do I have any shot at D.Ct (Illinois, Michigan, Indiana)

Postby Pure Applesauce » Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:15 pm

Would consider WD and ED of ky too if I were you.

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Re: Do I have any shot at D.Ct (Illinois, Michigan, Indiana)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:29 pm

Pure Applesauce wrote:Would consider WD and ED of ky too if I were you.


New to clerkship process, so sorry if this is a dumb question - are ED/WD KY generally considered less competitive? Would I be in play with ~top 1/4 from MVP and decent ties?

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Re: Do I have any shot at D.Ct (Illinois, Michigan, Indiana)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:47 pm

I'm clerking in one of the above. I don't think you'd get off the stack unless you have strong recommenders and a good reason for being in the specific district. If you do, you'd probably get an interview. My judge routinely trashes T14 applications when he can't figure out why they're applying in the district.

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Re: Do I have any shot at D.Ct (Illinois, Michigan, Indiana)

Postby SpiffySpaceman » Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:00 pm

My understanding of E.D./W.D. Ky. was that Judge Thapar was essentially a feeder judge at the district court level (in E.D. Ky.). He'd routinely send folks to CoA judges (Judge Sutton being a big one, I think), often en route to the Supreme Court (Thapar=>Sutton=>SCotUS was not uncommon, I think). To the extent E.D./W.D. Ky. were "more competitive" than other semi-flyover districts, he was the reason. Now that he's on the Sixth Circuit, though, I can't imagine the Kentucky districts are more competitive than, say, S.D. Ohio, S.D. Iowa, D. Colo., or W.D. Mo., to give a smattering of other semi-flyover spots (i.e., places with cities of varying sizes, decent caseloads, and a spread of district judges, despite being outside the standard big city districts).

As a consequence, top 1/4 at MVP is not disqualifying at all. In fact, the issue will, if anything, likely be area ties. I'm in a district like those listed above, was top 1/4 at DNB (if we're making that a trio now?), and my judge is pretty big on local connections. The judges in my district, as a general rule, will take take folks from the top 1/4 of the local T30 over a person in the top 1/4 at a T14 who doesn't have area connections. As such, if you have connections, make them clear pretty much anywhere and everywhere you can. If you want to practice in Kentucky, say so in the cover letter. If you grew up in Lexington or wherever, mention that. If you have helped coach your high school debate team in Frankfort since graduating, put that in your resume for the application (at the bottom, not as work experience).

To the judges in my district, connection/preference to the nearby-but-out-of-district big city is a second-best to connection to the district-state, but still much better than a NY/DC/SF/LA connection. Consequently, Chicago-preference may be enough to count as an "area connection" for a E.D./W.D. Ky. judge, but it's probably a case-by-case thing.

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Re: Do I have any shot at D.Ct (Illinois, Michigan, Indiana)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:38 pm

SpiffySpaceman wrote:My understanding of E.D./W.D. Ky. was that Judge Thapar was essentially a feeder judge at the district court level (in E.D. Ky.). He'd routinely send folks to CoA judges (Judge Sutton being a big one, I think), often en route to the Supreme Court (Thapar=>Sutton=>SCotUS was not uncommon, I think). To the extent E.D./W.D. Ky. were "more competitive" than other semi-flyover districts, he was the reason. Now that he's on the Sixth Circuit, though, I can't imagine the Kentucky districts are more competitive than, say, S.D. Ohio, S.D. Iowa, D. Colo., or W.D. Mo., to give a smattering of other semi-flyover spots (i.e., places with cities of varying sizes, decent caseloads, and a spread of district judges, despite being outside the standard big city districts).

As a consequence, top 1/4 at MVP is not disqualifying at all. In fact, the issue will, if anything, likely be area ties. I'm in a district like those listed above, was top 1/4 at DNB (if we're making that a trio now?), and my judge is pretty big on local connections. The judges in my district, as a general rule, will take take folks from the top 1/4 of the local T30 over a person in the top 1/4 at a T14 who doesn't have area connections. As such, if you have connections, make them clear pretty much anywhere and everywhere you can. If you want to practice in Kentucky, say so in the cover letter. If you grew up in Lexington or wherever, mention that. If you have helped coach your high school debate team in Frankfort since graduating, put that in your resume for the application (at the bottom, not as work experience).

To the judges in my district, connection/preference to the nearby-but-out-of-district big city is a second-best to connection to the district-state, but still much better than a NY/DC/SF/LA connection. Consequently, Chicago-preference may be enough to count as an "area connection" for a E.D./W.D. Ky. judge, but it's probably a case-by-case thing.


MVP anon from above. Thanks for this - will definitely emphasize my ties in applications.

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Re: Do I have any shot at D.Ct (Illinois, Michigan, Indiana)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm clerking in one of the above. I don't think you'd get off the stack unless you have strong recommenders and a good reason for being in the specific district. If you do, you'd probably get an interview. My judge routinely trashes T14 applications when he can't figure out why they're applying in the district.


FWIW, I'm clerking in a district adjacent to one of ED/WD KY and my judge could not care less about ties to this city, district, state, or region.

The lessons here are that you should (1) play up local ties where you have them, but (2) apply broadly because you don't know what each judge is looking for.

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Re: Do I have any shot at D.Ct (Illinois, Michigan, Indiana)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 08, 2018 7:00 pm

OP here:

My DA office is a pretty well known one, and I have some trials under my belt, cool investigations, etc.. Ugh, just hope that w/ lower t14, and horribly mediocre grades (3.3 final gpa), I can land something. Have significant ties.

Thanks for all your help!

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Re: Do I have any shot at D.Ct (Illinois, Michigan, Indiana)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:48 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm clerking in one of the above. I don't think you'd get off the stack unless you have strong recommenders and a good reason for being in the specific district. If you do, you'd probably get an interview. My judge routinely trashes T14 applications when he can't figure out why they're applying in the district.


FWIW, I'm clerking in a district adjacent to one of ED/WD KY and my judge could not care less about ties to this city, district, state, or region.

The lessons here are that you should (1) play up local ties where you have them, but (2) apply broadly because you don't know what each judge is looking for.


Former E.D.Ky. clerk. I know less about the WD, but you very much need to emphasize local connections in E.D.Ky. I don't know any judge in the district who doesn't look for local ties (Thapar was the exception, but he's gone). For my judge, lack of ties was probably disqualifying. When we reviewed clerkship apps, we would scan the cover letter for some reference to KY or the region; if it was just a generic cover letter, the whole app got thrown in the slush pile (even for HYS students with decent grades). That doesn't mean you need to be from KY, though. You just need to have a plausible story that explains your interest in the area (one person we interviewed went to undergrad in a bordering state, another had in-laws in KY, etc.). My guess is that W.D.Ky. is pretty similar.

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Re: Do I have any shot at D.Ct (Illinois, Michigan, Indiana)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm clerking in one of the above. I don't think you'd get off the stack unless you have strong recommenders and a good reason for being in the specific district. If you do, you'd probably get an interview. My judge routinely trashes T14 applications when he can't figure out why they're applying in the district.


FWIW, I'm clerking in a district adjacent to one of ED/WD KY and my judge could not care less about ties to this city, district, state, or region.

The lessons here are that you should (1) play up local ties where you have them, but (2) apply broadly because you don't know what each judge is looking for.


Former E.D.Ky. clerk. I know less about the WD, but you very much need to emphasize local connections in E.D.Ky. I don't know any judge in the district who doesn't look for local ties (Thapar was the exception, but he's gone). For my judge, lack of ties was probably disqualifying. When we reviewed clerkship apps, we would scan the cover letter for some reference to KY or the region; if it was just a generic cover letter, the whole app got thrown in the slush pile (even for HYS students with decent grades). That doesn't mean you need to be from KY, though. You just need to have a plausible story that explains your interest in the area (one person we interviewed went to undergrad in a bordering state, another had in-laws in KY, etc.). My guess is that W.D.Ky. is pretty similar.


OP here. Can you speak to whether or not the application would get a look if there are ties (low t14, 3.3., 3 years at big-city DA office, secondary journal)?

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Re: Do I have any shot at D.Ct (Illinois, Michigan, Indiana)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm clerking in one of the above. I don't think you'd get off the stack unless you have strong recommenders and a good reason for being in the specific district. If you do, you'd probably get an interview. My judge routinely trashes T14 applications when he can't figure out why they're applying in the district.


FWIW, I'm clerking in a district adjacent to one of ED/WD KY and my judge could not care less about ties to this city, district, state, or region.

The lessons here are that you should (1) play up local ties where you have them, but (2) apply broadly because you don't know what each judge is looking for.


Former E.D.Ky. clerk. I know less about the WD, but you very much need to emphasize local connections in E.D.Ky. I don't know any judge in the district who doesn't look for local ties (Thapar was the exception, but he's gone). For my judge, lack of ties was probably disqualifying. When we reviewed clerkship apps, we would scan the cover letter for some reference to KY or the region; if it was just a generic cover letter, the whole app got thrown in the slush pile (even for HYS students with decent grades). That doesn't mean you need to be from KY, though. You just need to have a plausible story that explains your interest in the area (one person we interviewed went to undergrad in a bordering state, another had in-laws in KY, etc.). My guess is that W.D.Ky. is pretty similar.


OP here. Can you speak to whether or not the application would get a look if there are ties (low t14, 3.3., 3 years at big-city DA office, secondary journal)?


You have a chance of getting an interview with those stats. It will depend in part on the strength of your ties (generally, the closer the ties, the lesser the GPA expectation). A great number of the clerks in E.D.Ky. had an inside track during the application process -- often, they're UK grads who got professors to make phone calls. Apart from the slots typically allocated to UK grads, the remaining positions tend to get filled by people somewhere in the T14, ranked roughly according to ties and credentials. I think your credentials would probably place you in the middle of that pack, so I would really try to personalize your cover letters and emphasize your interest in the area/commitment to working in that part of the country.

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Re: Do I have any shot at D.Ct (Illinois, Michigan, Indiana)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:55 am

I was able to secure a d. ct. clerkship coming from a T25 (didn't go to a law school in the region), 3.3 GPA, 2 years at a v50 in NYC, and ties to the midwest (grew up there). Its possible, just have to be okay living in a smaller midwestern town for a year or two.



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