Clerking right out v. waiting a couple years

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Clerking right out v. waiting a couple years

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:10 am

I'm a 2L weighing clerking straight out of school v. applying for 2020 or 2021 (headed to a V15 in DC this summer). Goal is a district court clerkship; I'd prefer NYC or DC but care most about the experience and would go to any major city for the right judge.

I've got a 3.72 or so and LR at MVP. I know I'm not competitive for NY right out the gate.

Id love to hear what I should be thinking about. Thanks!

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Lincoln
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Re: Clerking right out v. waiting a couple years

Postby Lincoln » Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:22 am

Recommendations

BlackAndOrange84
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Re: Clerking right out v. waiting a couple years

Postby BlackAndOrange84 » Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:40 am

No reason not to apply now, especially since you aren't NY/DC or bust.

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mjb447
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Re: Clerking right out v. waiting a couple years

Postby mjb447 » Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:48 am

I’d apply now for positions starting as soon as you’re available. It’ll still be there later if you don’t get anything you’re happy with this time around (NYC is always a crapshoot for almost everyone).

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Re: Clerking right out v. waiting a couple years

Postby JusticeJackson » Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:14 pm

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Last edited by JusticeJackson on Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Clerking right out v. waiting a couple years

Postby drive4showLSAT4dough » Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:39 pm

Plan and prepare for both. If you get a d.ct. clerkship right out of law school, the door for an appellate clerkship remains open after a few years at a firm.

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Re: Clerking right out v. waiting a couple years

Postby Nebby » Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:46 pm

If biglaw, apply to both and do whatever you get. If nonprofit, then only right out.

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Re: Clerking right out v. waiting a couple years

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:43 am

OP Here

Thanks for all the advice. I was thinking that if i did the d.ct after a couple years I could apply for an appellate clerkship to follow. Do we think that might test the firm's patience?

Thanks again!
drive4showLSAT4dough wrote:Plan and prepare for both. If you get a d.ct. clerkship right out of law school, the door for an appellate clerkship remains open after a few years at a firm.

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Re: Clerking right out v. waiting a couple years

Postby ernie » Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:25 am

Nebby wrote:If biglaw, apply to both and do whatever you get. If nonprofit, then only right out.

Why only right out for nonprofit? I've already accepted my clerkships and not backing out now. But still curious if there is a disadvantage, and how much. I'm doing impact at national org, clerking two years, then back (I hope) to impact.

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Re: Clerking right out v. waiting a couple years

Postby Nebby » Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:38 pm

ernie wrote:
Nebby wrote:If biglaw, apply to both and do whatever you get. If nonprofit, then only right out.

Why only right out for nonprofit? I've already accepted my clerkships and not backing out now. But still curious if there is a disadvantage, and how much. I'm doing impact at national org, clerking two years, then back (I hope) to impact.

You get substantive lit experience faster at a nonprofit compared to biglaw. Though you get lit experience in a clerkship, it only involves a narrow set of skills.

Three years of nonprofit lit experience would prepare you to run every facet of a case from start to finish. Comparably, a clerkship hones important litigation skills (research and writing), but after two years you're still no closer to understanding how to run a case than you were when you entered the clerkship.

For someone that wants to do impact lit, I think the opportunity cost of a clerkship (unless right after graduation) is too high because of the disparity in substantive litigation experience is too great, if your ultimate goal is still litigation.

There are other benefits to a clerkship but if your ultimate goal is to do impact litigation, then do impact litigation. Usain Bolt doesn't practice for the Olympics by running marathons.

I also think clerkships are more about chasing prestige than anything else so take my opinions with a grain of salt.

For the record, I practice impact lit.

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Re: Clerking right out v. waiting a couple years

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Dec 14, 2017 1:01 pm

I think that’s too narrow a view of what you get out of clerking (clerking isn’t just an alternate way to get lit experience that you don’t get very quickly in biglaw; running your own cases in impact lit doesn’t show you anything about the judge’s perspective), but then I think Nebby has a chip on his shoulder about clerking, so take my opinions with a grain of salt.

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Re: Clerking right out v. waiting a couple years

Postby mjb447 » Thu Dec 14, 2017 1:08 pm

So much sodium ITT.

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Re: Clerking right out v. waiting a couple years

Postby Nebby » Thu Dec 14, 2017 1:18 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think that’s too narrow a view of what you get out of clerking (clerking isn’t just an alternate way to get lit experience that you don’t get very quickly in biglaw; running your own cases in impact lit doesn’t show you anything about the judge’s perspective), but then I think Nebby has a chip on his shoulder about clerking, so take my opinions with a grain of salt.

True. One benefit of clerking is you gain intimate knowledge of a single judge's perspective. You might not know the difference between a 30b6 deposition and an individual deposition, but you will be able to knock it out of the park on a MSJ if ever given the opportunity to practice in front of that Random D.Ct. Judge in D.Neb!

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Re: Clerking right out v. waiting a couple years

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Dec 14, 2017 1:19 pm

Nebby wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think that’s too narrow a view of what you get out of clerking (clerking isn’t just an alternate way to get lit experience that you don’t get very quickly in biglaw; running your own cases in impact lit doesn’t show you anything about the judge’s perspective), but then I think Nebby has a chip on his shoulder about clerking, so take my opinions with a grain of salt.

True. One benefit of clerking is you gain intimate knowledge of a single judge's perspective. You might not know the difference between a 30b6 deposition and an individual deposition, but you will be able to knock it out of the park on a MSJ if ever given the opportunity to practice in front of that Random D.Ct. Judge in D.Neb

LOL no, non-clerk.

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Re: Clerking right out v. waiting a couple years

Postby Nebby » Thu Dec 14, 2017 1:25 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Nebby wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think that’s too narrow a view of what you get out of clerking (clerking isn’t just an alternate way to get lit experience that you don’t get very quickly in biglaw; running your own cases in impact lit doesn’t show you anything about the judge’s perspective), but then I think Nebby has a chip on his shoulder about clerking, so take my opinions with a grain of salt.

True. One benefit of clerking is you gain intimate knowledge of a single judge's perspective. You might not know the difference between a 30b6 deposition and an individual deposition, but you will be able to knock it out of the park on a MSJ if ever given the opportunity to practice in front of that Random D.Ct. Judge in D.Neb

LOL no, non-clerk.

Did you practice out of law school and then clerk or did you clerk right out? I think clerking has some value, but in the particular situation of whether or not to clerk a couple of years out of law school is the subject of this thread and the issue I'm addressing.

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Re: Clerking right out v. waiting a couple years

Postby Nebby » Thu Dec 14, 2017 1:25 pm

Why am I arguing about opportunity cost with someone that got a Ph.D? :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

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Re: Clerking right out v. waiting a couple years

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Dec 14, 2017 1:36 pm

I clerked out of law school, but I know plenty of people who’ve done it both ways.

And yes, I get the point of the thread. My point is that the reasons you gave for not clerking a few years out don’t accurately reflect the benefits of clerking. Clerking isn’t a substitute for practice experience in lit; it has independent value. Writing from the perspective of the court - any court - is really different from being an advocate, it’s a useful perspective, and you don’t get it from running your own cases as a litigator. Looking at advocacy in a particular conflict when you’re not part of either side is really enlightening as to what is effective advocacy. Frankly, I think I’d have got *more* out of clerking if I’d practiced first.

Now, that doesn’t mean that clerking is the be-all and end-all and that everyone HAS to do it. I admit I’m in a field where pretty much everyone has to have a clerkship to get hired, so that probably colors my advice. And if you say no one in your particular sliver of the impact lit world ever clerks a couple years out and therefore it would look weird/would disrupt the standard career trajectory, that would make complete sense and I would defer to you on that. But when you say clerking after a couple of years doesn't make sense based on what I think is an inaccurate understanding of clerking, I’m going to disagree.

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Re: Clerking right out v. waiting a couple years

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Dec 14, 2017 1:37 pm

[Deleted because mean.]

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Re: Clerking right out v. waiting a couple years

Postby Nebby » Thu Dec 14, 2017 1:54 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I clerked out of law school, but I know plenty of people who’ve done it both ways.

And yes, I get the point of the thread. My point is that the reasons you gave for not clerking a few years out don’t accurately reflect the benefits of clerking. Clerking isn’t a substitute for practice experience in lit; it has independent value. Writing from the perspective of the court - any court - is really different from being an advocate, it’s a useful perspective, and you don’t get it from running your own cases as a litigator. Looking at advocacy in a particular conflict when you’re not part of either side is really enlightening as to what is effective advocacy. Frankly, I think I’d have got *more* out of clerking if I’d practiced first.

Now, that doesn’t mean that clerking is the be-all and end-all and that everyone HAS to do it. I admit I’m in a field where pretty much everyone has to have a clerkship to get hired, so that probably colors my advice. And if you say no one in your particular sliver of the impact lit world ever clerks a couple years out and therefore it would look weird/would disrupt the standard career trajectory, that would make complete sense and I would defer to you on that. But when you say clerking after a couple of years doesn't make sense based on what I think is an inaccurate understanding of clerking, I’m going to disagree.

My impact lit experience is environmental and reproductive rights. In both those fields, here are the most common routes to employment (in order of most common to least):
(1) law school -> nonprofit
(2) law school -> biglaw -> nonprofit
(3) law school -> clerkship -> nonprofit
(4) law school -> biglaw -> clerkship -> nonprofit
(5) law school -> nonprofit -> clerkship -> nonprofit.

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Re: Clerking right out v. waiting a couple years

Postby lolwat » Thu Dec 14, 2017 1:57 pm

Random thoughts from thread

If your goal is to know how to run a case from start to finish, then obviously yeah, clerking isn't going to teach you that. You probably will barely even see that many cases from start to finish because most cases take longer than a year to resolve (unless it's settled, in which case you still won't get the full experience of a case). But you don't clerk as a substitute for litigation experience as an advocate. You clerk so you can understand what people look for when they're reading your motions and deciding your shit. What works, and what doesn't.

My personal decision would probably come down to goals and disruption/pay cut. For me, it'd be easier to go from, e.g., school -> $70k salary in NYC -> $180k in DC, rather than school. -> $180k salary in DC -> $80k salary in NYC -> $200k back in DC. Professionally, I would probably prefer to clerk right out of school because the judge will know you came straight from school, the firm will know you came straight from a clerkship, and no one will expect you to know a whole lot. One of the comments above about hiring is also good. Most firms have spots open for post-clerkship candidates (meaning, generally, candidates who clerked right out of law school) but candidates who clerked after getting some experience are looked upon more as a lateral hire which can be more difficult to slot in.

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Re: Clerking right out v. waiting a couple years

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:05 pm

Yeah, again, I can see reasons why people don’t want to clerk later. I don’t think opportunity cost as Nebby described it is one of them (barring other issues in getting jobs like firm openings). That said, I think it’s also becoming much more common for people to clerk after a couple of years than it used to be.

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Re: Clerking right out v. waiting a couple years

Postby lolwat » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:45 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Yeah, again, I can see reasons why people don’t want to clerk later. I don’t think opportunity cost as Nebby described it is one of them (barring other issues in getting jobs like firm openings). That said, I think it’s also becoming much more common for people to clerk after a couple of years than it used to be.


I think it is, too. I probably also disagreed with Nebby and might have just been trying to point out some other non-Nebby factors that someone should probably think about when considering clerking after a few years. I used to see it more as a transition thing (going from firm to clerkship to govt or something) and it can still make sense as such, but if, for example, OP thinks he'd like to stay at his DC v15 then I think even a better case to be made for clerking up front and then sticking around at the firm.

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Re: Clerking right out v. waiting a couple years

Postby Nebby » Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:07 pm

lolwat wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Yeah, again, I can see reasons why people don’t want to clerk later. I don’t think opportunity cost as Nebby described it is one of them (barring other issues in getting jobs like firm openings). That said, I think it’s also becoming much more common for people to clerk after a couple of years than it used to be.


I think it is, too. I probably also disagreed with Nebby and might have just been trying to point out some other non-Nebby factors that someone should probably think about when considering clerking after a few years. I used to see it more as a transition thing (going from firm to clerkship to govt or something) and it can still make sense as such, but if, for example, OP thinks he'd like to stay at his DC v15 then I think even a better case to be made for clerking up front and then sticking around at the firm.

Nony and I were talking specifically about law school -> nonprofit -> clerkship -> nonprofit (or at least I was).

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Re: Clerking right out v. waiting a couple years

Postby FascinatedWanderer » Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:20 pm

Nebby wrote:
ernie wrote:
Nebby wrote:If biglaw, apply to both and do whatever you get. If nonprofit, then only right out.

Why only right out for nonprofit? I've already accepted my clerkships and not backing out now. But still curious if there is a disadvantage, and how much. I'm doing impact at national org, clerking two years, then back (I hope) to impact.

You get substantive lit experience faster at a nonprofit compared to biglaw. Though you get lit experience in a clerkship, it only involves a narrow set of skills.

Three years of nonprofit lit experience would prepare you to run every facet of a case from start to finish. Comparably, a clerkship hones important litigation skills (research and writing), but after two years you're still no closer to understanding how to run a case than you were when you entered the clerkship.

For someone that wants to do impact lit, I think the opportunity cost of a clerkship (unless right after graduation) is too high because of the disparity in substantive litigation experience is too great, if your ultimate goal is still litigation.

There are other benefits to a clerkship but if your ultimate goal is to do impact litigation, then do impact litigation. Usain Bolt doesn't practice for the Olympics by running marathons.

I also think clerkships are more about chasing prestige than anything else so take my opinions with a grain of salt.

For the record, I practice impact lit.


So what you're saying is you have no effect on the law or the world whatsoever, and you're a bit bitter that you never got a chance to have a real impact in chambers?

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Re: Clerking right out v. waiting a couple years

Postby Nebby » Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:41 pm

FascinatedWanderer wrote:
Nebby wrote:For the record, I practice impact lit.


So what you're saying is you have no effect on the law or the world whatsoever, and you're a bit bitter that you never got a chance to have a real impact in chambers?

Yup, you got me!!!!!!




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