Federal District Court v State Supreme Court

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Federal District Court v State Supreme Court

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 21, 2018 1:59 pm

Hi all,

2L at a T13 considering applying for some clerkships and almost have all of my materials ready. My grades are pretty good, but not in the top 10%. What is the general consensus on the desirability of state supreme court in relation to a federal district court? Also, I have a SA with a V50 firm, but I was assigned/hired to their transactional department - how should that factor into my decision?

Thanks.

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Re: Federal District Court v State Supreme Court

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:29 pm

Speaking in terms of generic desirability: NY Court of Appeals and California Sup Ct are on par with most district court clerkships outside of very competitive districts (e.g., DDC or SDNY). Most other state supreme court clerkships would rank below your standard Art III district court clerkship. Of course this changes depending on your goals: if you want to work in MN state government or at a small firm in Minnesota, clerking for the Minnesota Supreme Court is likely a better career move than the district of new mexico. But we can’t weigh idiosyncratic preferences without more information.

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Re: Federal District Court v State Supreme Court

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Speaking in terms of generic desirability: NY Court of Appeals and California Sup Ct are on par with most district court clerkships outside of very competitive districts (e.g., DDC or SDNY). Most other state supreme court clerkships would rank below your standard Art III district court clerkship. Of course this changes depending on your goals: if you want to work in MN state government or at a small firm in Minnesota, clerking for the Minnesota Supreme Court is likely a better career move than the district of new mexico. But we can’t weigh idiosyncratic preferences without more information.


Your desirability/preftige tiers are incorrect: a Cal. SSC clerkship (and perhaps NY Ct. App. as well) is considered on-par with 2/9/DC clerkships. Liu, Kruger, and Cuéllar clerks are largely coming from YHS, tend to be on LR, and IME many of their clerks join Cal. SSC before/after a top 2/9/DC clerkship with a skew towards 9th (think Tatel, Berzon, Watford, Fletcher, Reinhardt, and Lohier), or top D.Ct. (e.g., Koh). I had straight H's and LR after my 1L year at YHS, and solid WE, and couldn't get an interview with any.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Federal District Court v State Supreme Court

Postby mcmand » Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:14 pm

I'm sorry, what is the basis for saying that some state supreme court clerkships are better than others? What evidence supports this?

If you point me to which law schools the clerks are coming from I'm going to laugh, because measuring an input that could be explained by endless variables does not seem like the appropriate thing to look at here.
Last edited by mcmand on Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Federal District Court v State Supreme Court

Postby poptart123 » Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:15 pm

Curious how y'all think SCOTex compares

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Re: Federal District Court v State Supreme Court

Postby FascinatedWanderer » Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:32 pm

mcmand wrote:I'm sorry, what is the basis for saying that some state supreme court clerkships are better than others? What evidence supports this?

If you point me to which law schools the clerks are coming from I'm going to laugh, because measuring an input that could be explained by endless variables does not seem like the appropriate thing to look at here.


You're kidding right? It's abundantly clear that the Cal S Ct. clerkships are head and shoulders above most other SSCs. It may, however, have to do with the particular judges.

Along those lines, Lee and Eid are also very tough SSC clerkships to land (though I suppose Eid isn't on the SSC anymore).

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Re: Federal District Court v State Supreme Court

Postby mcmand » Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:53 pm

FascinatedWanderer wrote:It's abundantly clear that the Cal S Ct. clerkships are head and shoulders above most other SSCs. It may, however, have to do with the particular judges.


Stating something is abundantly clear and offering zero evidence makes it about as clear as mud.
Last edited by mcmand on Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Federal District Court v State Supreme Court

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:54 pm

Your desirability/preftige tiers are incorrect: a Cal. SSC clerkship (and perhaps NY Ct. App. as well) is considered on-par with 2/9/DC clerkships. Liu, Kruger, and Cuéllar clerks are largely coming from YHS, tend to be on LR, and IME many of their clerks join Cal. SSC before/after a top 2/9/DC clerkship with a skew towards 9th (think Tatel, Berzon, Watford, Fletcher, Reinhardt, and Lohier), or top D.Ct. (e.g., Koh). I straight H's and LR after my 1L year at YHS, and solid WE, and couldn't get an interview with any.


I disagree. I went to HYS and although a number of my classmates went to SSCs (including Cal and NY), they were almost entirely students who were only marginally competitive for dct clerkships. With only a very few exceptions -- there are a handful of highly desirable specific SSC justices (mostly in CA/NY) that are more desirable than all but a handful of the most desirable specific fed dct judges (and more competitive) -- my sense was that Fed COA > Fed Dct > SSC. This, of course, becomes more muddled if you're comparing the most desirable SSCs (like CA or NY) to, like, a random fed district court in Mississippi. But outside of NY and CA and maybe some odd places like AK (which punches above its weight somehow), I don't think it's particularly close in terms of desirability and general prestige.

That said, just as there are often good reasons for students to choose a Federal District Court clerkship over a Fed COA clerkship, there are often good reasons to choose a (less prestigious) SSC clerkship over a (more prestigious) Fed Dct clerkship. For example, for someone who wants to work at an Illinois firm, a clerkship on the Illinois SSC is usually going to be more helpful in getting a good job and in getting good assignments than a (relatively more prestigious) clerkship on the EDVA. In fact, I think that a SSC clerkship in the state in which you practice is probably going to be more professionally helpful (except at the most elite firms) than even Fed COA clerkships in a circuit in which you are not going to practice. So, to a large extent, what sort of clerkship you target should be partially shaped by your career goals: the fact the some clerkships are generally more prestigious/more desirable doesn't mean that they will be better for you.

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Re: Federal District Court v State Supreme Court

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Your desirability/preftige tiers are incorrect: a Cal. SSC clerkship (and perhaps NY Ct. App. as well) is considered on-par with 2/9/DC clerkships. Liu, Kruger, and Cuéllar clerks are largely coming from YHS, tend to be on LR, and IME many of their clerks join Cal. SSC before/after a top 2/9/DC clerkship with a skew towards 9th (think Tatel, Berzon, Watford, Fletcher, Reinhardt, and Lohier), or top D.Ct. (e.g., Koh). I straight H's and LR after my 1L year at YHS, and solid WE, and couldn't get an interview with any.


I disagree. I went to HYS and although a number of my classmates went to SSCs (including Cal and NY), they were almost entirely students who were only marginally competitive for dct clerkships. With only a very few exceptions -- there are a handful of highly desirable specific SSC justices (mostly in CA/NY) that are more desirable than all but a handful of the most desirable specific fed dct judges (and more competitive) -- my sense was that Fed COA > Fed Dct > SSC. This, of course, becomes more muddled if you're comparing the most desirable SSCs (like CA or NY) to, like, a random fed district court in Mississippi. But outside of NY and CA and maybe some odd places like AK (which punches above its weight somehow), I don't think it's particularly close in terms of desirability and general prestige.

That said, just as there are often good reasons for students to choose a Federal District Court clerkship over a Fed COA clerkship, there are often good reasons to choose a (less prestigious) SSC clerkship over a (more prestigious) Fed Dct clerkship. For example, for someone who wants to work at an Illinois firm, a clerkship on the Illinois SSC is usually going to be more helpful in getting a good job and in getting good assignments than a (relatively more prestigious) clerkship on the EDVA. In fact, I think that a SSC clerkship in the state in which you practice is probably going to be more professionally helpful (except at the most elite firms) than even Fed COA clerkships in a circuit in which you are not going to practice. So, to a large extent, what sort of clerkship you target should be partially shaped by your career goals: the fact the some clerkships are generally more prestigious/more desirable doesn't mean that they will be better for you.


I'm the anon you replied to. I'm replying (1) to note that not once did I claim that the general principle that Fed COA > Fed Dct > SSC is false and your implication that I did suggests you misread my commentary which speaks specifically to Cal. SSC, and (2) to strongly dispute your claim that Cal. SSC clerks are "only marginally competitive for dct clerkships," since each of the circuit judges I named earlier refer to recent/future clerks with whom I am personally familiar.

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Re: Federal District Court v State Supreme Court

Postby Nebby » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hi all,

2L at a T13 considering applying for some clerkships and almost have all of my materials ready. My grades are pretty good, but not in the top 10%. What is the general consensus on the desirability of state supreme court in relation to a federal district court? Also, I have a SA with a V50 firm, but I was assigned/hired to their transactional department - how should that factor into my decision?

Thanks.

Do you want to do litigation or transactional? If you don't want to do litigation, then there's no reason to do a clerkship.

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Re: Federal District Court v State Supreme Court

Postby Nebby » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:That said, just as there are often good reasons for students to choose a Federal District Court clerkship over a Fed COA clerkship, there are often good reasons to choose a (less prestigious) SSC clerkship over a (more prestigious) Fed Dct clerkship. For example, for someone who wants to work at an Illinois firm, a clerkship on the Illinois SSC is usually going to be more helpful in getting a good job and in getting good assignments than a (relatively more prestigious) clerkship on the EDVA. In fact, I think that a SSC clerkship in the state in which you practice is probably going to be more professionally helpful (except at the most elite firms) than even Fed COA clerkships in a circuit in which you are not going to practice. So, to a large extent, what sort of clerkship you target should be partially shaped by your career goals: the fact the some clerkships are generally more prestigious/more desirable doesn't mean that they will be better for you.

I agree with this.

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Re: Federal District Court v State Supreme Court

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:59 pm

Nebby wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Hi all,

2L at a T13 considering applying for some clerkships and almost have all of my materials ready. My grades are pretty good, but not in the top 10%. What is the general consensus on the desirability of state supreme court in relation to a federal district court? Also, I have a SA with a V50 firm, but I was assigned/hired to their transactional department - how should that factor into my decision?

Thanks.

Do you want to do litigation or transactional? If you don't want to do litigation, then there's no reason to do a clerkship.


Original OP here:

Thanks feedback! I could see myself doing either transactional or lit. Honestly, during OCI I interviewed for both (meaning some firms I aimed for lit, some I aimed for transactional) and the best offers I got were on the transactional end of things - I know I want to be in a corporate practice, and if I did lit, I would likely want to work in securities regulation...

The markets I want to work in are either Bay Area or Seattle so the SSCs I am thinking of are in Washington or CA.

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Re: Federal District Court v State Supreme Court

Postby lolwat » Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:17 pm

One of the anons already stated this above, but the problem with comparing SSCs against federal clerkships, I think, is generally that SSCs could carry FAR more weight if you plan on working in that state, but also FAR less weight outside of that state. For CA, I see CASCT as generally being the top clerkship (except for SCOTUS, obviously)--or at the very least, very comparable with 9th Circuit clerkships (especially ones in SF, Pasadena, and SD). But I'd imagine a 9th Circuit clerkship will get you infinitely farther than a CASCT clerkship would in practically any market outside of CA.

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Re: Federal District Court v State Supreme Court

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:31 pm

lolwat wrote:One of the anons already stated this above, but the problem with comparing SSCs against federal clerkships, I think, is generally that SSCs could carry FAR more weight if you plan on working in that state, but also FAR less weight outside of that state. For CA, I see CASCT as generally being the top clerkship (except for SCOTUS, obviously)--or at the very least, very comparable with 9th Circuit clerkships (especially ones in SF, Pasadena, and SD). But I'd imagine a 9th Circuit clerkship will get you infinitely farther than a CASCT clerkship would in practically any market outside of CA.


OP here:

Is top 20% at a lower T13 even competitive enough for a circuit? I have basically been assuming no chance at those and a limited chance at a fed district court...

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Re: Federal District Court v State Supreme Court

Postby mcmand » Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:42 pm

WA supreme court is very good and attractive to employers in Seattle. Not so sure about transactional side but if you want to do lit, plenty of Seattle firms will be interested.
Last edited by mcmand on Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Federal District Court v State Supreme Court

Postby sui_juris » Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:52 pm

Unless you are prestige-or-bust, I would also think about what type of work you want to do during your clerkship. The type of work at a state supreme court and federal district court (or any appellate vs. trial court) are going to be quite different. A SSC will involve more thinking, researching, and writing. You will be deciding a lofty legal questions that have been honed as they weave through the courts, usually with (relatively) decent briefing. At the federal district court level, you are usually the first line of defense for weeding out frivolous cases, so you aren't going to have as many purely legal or interesting issues. Although this is partially judge-dependent, the federal district court clerkship will be more work, and the work will need to be done more quickly. It is often very fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants. You will also do more in-court work at the federal district court. Basically, there is a lot more grunt work at the fed dist ct level, but some people find the pace and access to court more interesting.

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Re: Federal District Court v State Supreme Court

Postby lolwat » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:09 am

OP here:

Is top 20% at a lower T13 even competitive enough for a circuit? I have basically been assuming no chance at those and a limited chance at a fed district court...


I'd probably say it's on the low end of competitive, and a lot will depend on luck and connections. Outside of the most competitive judges/circuits there are plenty of judges who start looking at other things--preference for specific law schools, ties to places, stuff like that. Also, I know you're going into the transactional practice at your V50 so that complicates things but, e.g., maybe if you could try to grab lunches with lit associates/partners and target the ones that are former clerks...that could be another foot in the door somewhere.

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Re: Federal District Court v State Supreme Court

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Your desirability/preftige tiers are incorrect: a Cal. SSC clerkship (and perhaps NY Ct. App. as well) is considered on-par with 2/9/DC clerkships. Liu, Kruger, and Cuéllar clerks are largely coming from YHS, tend to be on LR, and IME many of their clerks join Cal. SSC before/after a top 2/9/DC clerkship with a skew towards 9th (think Tatel, Berzon, Watford, Fletcher, Reinhardt, and Lohier), or top D.Ct. (e.g., Koh). I straight H's and LR after my 1L year at YHS, and solid WE, and couldn't get an interview with any.


I disagree. I went to HYS and although a number of my classmates went to SSCs (including Cal and NY), they were almost entirely students who were only marginally competitive for dct clerkships. With only a very few exceptions -- there are a handful of highly desirable specific SSC justices (mostly in CA/NY) that are more desirable than all but a handful of the most desirable specific fed dct judges (and more competitive) -- my sense was that Fed COA > Fed Dct > SSC. This, of course, becomes more muddled if you're comparing the most desirable SSCs (like CA or NY) to, like, a random fed district court in Mississippi. But outside of NY and CA and maybe some odd places like AK (which punches above its weight somehow), I don't think it's particularly close in terms of desirability and general prestige.

That said, just as there are often good reasons for students to choose a Federal District Court clerkship over a Fed COA clerkship, there are often good reasons to choose a (less prestigious) SSC clerkship over a (more prestigious) Fed Dct clerkship. For example, for someone who wants to work at an Illinois firm, a clerkship on the Illinois SSC is usually going to be more helpful in getting a good job and in getting good assignments than a (relatively more prestigious) clerkship on the EDVA. In fact, I think that a SSC clerkship in the state in which you practice is probably going to be more professionally helpful (except at the most elite firms) than even Fed COA clerkships in a circuit in which you are not going to practice. So, to a large extent, what sort of clerkship you target should be partially shaped by your career goals: the fact the some clerkships are generally more prestigious/more desirable doesn't mean that they will be better for you.


Which NY judges would you say are typically the most desirable? I hear so much at my school about CA, but not much about NY.

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Re: Federal District Court v State Supreme Court

Postby FascinatedWanderer » Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Your desirability/preftige tiers are incorrect: a Cal. SSC clerkship (and perhaps NY Ct. App. as well) is considered on-par with 2/9/DC clerkships. Liu, Kruger, and Cuéllar clerks are largely coming from YHS, tend to be on LR, and IME many of their clerks join Cal. SSC before/after a top 2/9/DC clerkship with a skew towards 9th (think Tatel, Berzon, Watford, Fletcher, Reinhardt, and Lohier), or top D.Ct. (e.g., Koh). I straight H's and LR after my 1L year at YHS, and solid WE, and couldn't get an interview with any.


I disagree. I went to HYS and although a number of my classmates went to SSCs (including Cal and NY), they were almost entirely students who were only marginally competitive for dct clerkships. With only a very few exceptions -- there are a handful of highly desirable specific SSC justices (mostly in CA/NY) that are more desirable than all but a handful of the most desirable specific fed dct judges (and more competitive) -- my sense was that Fed COA > Fed Dct > SSC. This, of course, becomes more muddled if you're comparing the most desirable SSCs (like CA or NY) to, like, a random fed district court in Mississippi. But outside of NY and CA and maybe some odd places like AK (which punches above its weight somehow), I don't think it's particularly close in terms of desirability and general prestige.

That said, just as there are often good reasons for students to choose a Federal District Court clerkship over a Fed COA clerkship, there are often good reasons to choose a (less prestigious) SSC clerkship over a (more prestigious) Fed Dct clerkship. For example, for someone who wants to work at an Illinois firm, a clerkship on the Illinois SSC is usually going to be more helpful in getting a good job and in getting good assignments than a (relatively more prestigious) clerkship on the EDVA. In fact, I think that a SSC clerkship in the state in which you practice is probably going to be more professionally helpful (except at the most elite firms) than even Fed COA clerkships in a circuit in which you are not going to practice. So, to a large extent, what sort of clerkship you target should be partially shaped by your career goals: the fact the some clerkships are generally more prestigious/more desirable doesn't mean that they will be better for you.


Which NY judges would you say are typically the most desirable? I hear so much at my school about CA, but not much about NY.


It should be pretty evident if you just read the bios of NY CoA judges. It becomes very apparent very quickly that most are just political hacks with ties to Cuomo. A couple will stand out, and those are the ones you should clerk for.

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Re: Federal District Court v State Supreme Court

Postby PeanutsNJam » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:38 pm

mcmand wrote:I'm sorry, what is the basis for saying that some state supreme court clerkships are better than others? What evidence supports this?

If you point me to which law schools the clerks are coming from I'm going to laugh, because measuring an input that could be explained by endless variables does not seem like the appropriate thing to look at here.


1.) Certain State Supreme Court clerkships are substantially more competitive than others, as demonstrated by the background of the clerks (not just school, but grades, journal, etc.). If you want hard evidence aside from what has been posted ITT, feel free to google their bios yourself.

2.) Regarding California's SSC, taken from Wikipedia:

As the Wall Street Journal said in 1972:

The state's high court over the past 20 years has won a reputation as perhaps the most innovative of the state judiciaries, setting precedents in areas of criminal justice, civil liberties, racial integration, and consumer protection that heavily influence other states and the federal bench.

Statistical analyses conducted by LexisNexis personnel at the Court's request indicate that the decisions of the Supreme Court of California are by far the most followed of any state supreme court in the United States. Between 1940 and 2005, 1,260 decisions of the Court were expressly followed by out-of-state courts (meaning that those courts expressly found the Court's reasoning persuasive and applied it to the cases before them).


3.) The state courts in California and New York have jurisdiction over (a) more people, and (b) larger, more influential industries. This is why the Bankruptcy court in DE is considered to be "better" than the bankruptcy court in Arizona--more corporations are incorporated in Delaware, and thus DE bankruptcy court has far more complex, influential, and important cases.

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Re: Federal District Court v State Supreme Court

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:20 pm

FascinatedWanderer wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Your desirability/preftige tiers are incorrect: a Cal. SSC clerkship (and perhaps NY Ct. App. as well) is considered on-par with 2/9/DC clerkships. Liu, Kruger, and Cuéllar clerks are largely coming from YHS, tend to be on LR, and IME many of their clerks join Cal. SSC before/after a top 2/9/DC clerkship with a skew towards 9th (think Tatel, Berzon, Watford, Fletcher, Reinhardt, and Lohier), or top D.Ct. (e.g., Koh). I straight H's and LR after my 1L year at YHS, and solid WE, and couldn't get an interview with any.


I disagree. I went to HYS and although a number of my classmates went to SSCs (including Cal and NY), they were almost entirely students who were only marginally competitive for dct clerkships. With only a very few exceptions -- there are a handful of highly desirable specific SSC justices (mostly in CA/NY) that are more desirable than all but a handful of the most desirable specific fed dct judges (and more competitive) -- my sense was that Fed COA > Fed Dct > SSC. This, of course, becomes more muddled if you're comparing the most desirable SSCs (like CA or NY) to, like, a random fed district court in Mississippi. But outside of NY and CA and maybe some odd places like AK (which punches above its weight somehow), I don't think it's particularly close in terms of desirability and general prestige.

That said, just as there are often good reasons for students to choose a Federal District Court clerkship over a Fed COA clerkship, there are often good reasons to choose a (less prestigious) SSC clerkship over a (more prestigious) Fed Dct clerkship. For example, for someone who wants to work at an Illinois firm, a clerkship on the Illinois SSC is usually going to be more helpful in getting a good job and in getting good assignments than a (relatively more prestigious) clerkship on the EDVA. In fact, I think that a SSC clerkship in the state in which you practice is probably going to be more professionally helpful (except at the most elite firms) than even Fed COA clerkships in a circuit in which you are not going to practice. So, to a large extent, what sort of clerkship you target should be partially shaped by your career goals: the fact the some clerkships are generally more prestigious/more desirable doesn't mean that they will be better for you.


Which NY judges would you say are typically the most desirable? I hear so much at my school about CA, but not much about NY.


It should be pretty evident if you just read the bios of NY CoA judges. It becomes very apparent very quickly that most are just political hacks with ties to Cuomo. A couple will stand out, and those are the ones you should clerk for.



Who are some of the judges at the NY CoA that are worth clerking for? Cuomo appointed the entire current bench. If anyone with personal or anecdotal experience can speak on this, especially a current or former law clerk at the NY CoA, that would be great information to know.

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Re: Federal District Court v State Supreme Court

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:27 pm

Basically only Garcia is worth it. Maybe also the dude who was a Cravath partner.

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Re: Federal District Court v State Supreme Court

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Basically only Garcia is worth it. Maybe also the dude who was a Cravath partner.


Any idea how competitive it is to get a clerkship with Wilson (the Cravath partner) and/or Garcia?

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Re: Federal District Court v State Supreme Court

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Basically only Garcia is worth it. Maybe also the dude who was a Cravath partner.


Any idea how competitive it is to get a clerkship with Wilson (the Cravath partner) and/or Garcia?


Only person I know going to either of them is doing a circuit clerkship first.

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Re: Federal District Court v State Supreme Court

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 30, 2018 6:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Is top 20% at a lower T13 even competitive enough for a circuit? I have basically been assuming no chance at those and a limited chance at a fed district court...


Current (non 2/9/DC) circuit clerk here. Was around top 20% at a lower T13 (or 14 back in my day) when I was hired as a 2L. My judge has a strong preference for clerks from my law school and basically uses grades as a threshold to just get an interview, but once you're in, they're irrelevant and he's looking for fit.

So my advice is shoot your shot, especially with judges who may prefer/have ties to your school (or your undergrad - another judge on my circuit likes clerks from a certain strong-but-not-wildly-prestigious university that he went to).




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