2nd/9th Circuit or Bust?

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2nd/9th Circuit or Bust?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:00 am

YLS student who decided to clerk at the district and circuit levels recently. If I had to, I'd be willing to clerk elsewhere for two years but I'd strongly prefer the 2nd/9th circuit (California/New York) for family reasons.

Here are my specific questions:
(1) With straight Hs but secondary journal at Y, am I competitive for most 2nd/9th circuit and district judges except the feeders?
(2) Unfortunately, my professors have no 2nd/9th circuit connections. With a soft limit on calls professors are able to make, should I have them call judges they are connected to in other circuits/districts, or should I have them call 2nd/9th circuit judges who they are not connected to?
(3) My professors have suggested that I should consider applying to judges who they've sent students to in the past (non-2/9). If OSCAR clearly states that the judge is not hiring until next fall, should I even bother?
(4) Can I afford to be 2nd/9th circuit or bust, and if so, how should I go about applying?

Thanks!
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:26 am, edited 2 times in total.

lolwat

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Re: 2nd/9th Circuit or Bust?

Postby lolwat » Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:08 am

You should put up front that you're focusing on 2&9 because of family reasons so people don't think you're prestige whoring while ignoring DC. But I'm still confused because, well, the 9th takes up like 1/4 of the country. Do you really prefer Montana, Alaska, Idaho, Vermont (and other non-NYC 2d Cir), etc. over other places or is it more precisely certain areas in the 2/9 (NYC, Pasadena, SF)?

1) No idea. YLS has a giant fucking advantage in clerkships but 2/9 is competitive so...

2) In general it probably comes down to how much you want to focus on 2/9 versus how much you're willing to clerk elsewhere. Better to use prof calls on judges the prof has a connection to, but not at the expense of giving up your focus on 2/9, I'd say.

3) Depends if you're willing to clerk for that judge for the year for which the judge is hiring.

4) No idea given your stats. In general again probably again comes down to how much you want to focus on 2/9 versus how much you're willing to clerk elsewhere. You could stagger your clerkship applications (i.e., apply to 2/9 first, wait some reasonable amount of time to see if you get any interviews, then apply elsewhere if you haven't), but that carries obvious risks of the other clerkships filling up. I don't think I'd ever suggest to anyone that truly wanted to clerk that they should try to go anything-or-bust. With how clerkship hiring works there's just too much of a chance you end up with nothing.

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KissMyAxe

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Re: 2nd/9th Circuit or Bust?

Postby KissMyAxe » Sun Jan 28, 2018 4:35 am

While its a great resource in 99% of cases, TLS is probably not going to be able to help you. TLS' expertise in clerkship hiring doesn't really apply in this specific situation, since YLS is so different from other schools. Unfortunately, I can't help you without knowing more. I can tell you to trust your professors. Personal connections win out vs. planned hiring timelines. I'm also a little surprised you don't know that OSCAR isn't a very good gauge at anything. I'm happy to help out if you want to PM me.

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Re: 2nd/9th Circuit or Bust?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Unfortunately, my professors have no 2nd/9th circuit connections.


Are you sure you go to Y? I can't think of any profs here who don't have connections in at least one of those circuits.

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Re: 2nd/9th Circuit or Bust?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 28, 2018 4:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Unfortunately, my professors have no 2nd/9th circuit connections.


Are you sure you go to Y? I can't think of any profs here who don't have connections in at least one of those circuits.

Yes. Unfortunately, my recommenders are visiting faculty/newer professors/non-feeders.

Does anyone have some more concrete advice?

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Re: 2nd/9th Circuit or Bust?

Postby hlsperson1111 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 4:16 pm

What about a COA judge somewhere besides NY/SF/Pasadena and a CD Cal/ND Cal/SDNY/EDNY clerkship? I think you should assuredly be competitive for that, even if your professors don't have the right connections. And in your specific shoes, I'd strongly consider a district court clerkship first.

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Re: 2nd/9th Circuit or Bust?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 28, 2018 4:19 pm

What year? Depends on a lot of factors, including how tough your schedule has been. But my gut says that if you're late in law school with straight Hs, you can afford to be picky to those circuits, especially if you're not desperate for one of the more-competitive judges on those circuits. If you just have two semesters of grades, then it's perhaps a little tougher, but you're in a very good position. You should go talk to the clerkship coordinator.

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Re: 2nd/9th Circuit or Bust?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 28, 2018 4:23 pm

1. Don't trust OSCAR. Many judges will have hired before they update their pages.
2. Don't trust OCS.
3. There are definitely 9th Cir. judges that seem to hire w/o faculty calls or connections. I believe Susan Graber was contacting applicants recently who had applied via. OSCAR. So it's worth sending in applications to judges who don't have YLS faculty connections, because some will hire off of papers.
4. Are you a 2L with all Hs? If so, you should be competitive across much of the 2nd/9th Cir. Not having YLJ doesn't seem to make much of a difference, outside of tippy feeders.
5. Are you applying for 2019 or 2020? There are certainly judges who haven't hired for 2019 (Thomas and Fisher both, I believe), but 2020 is going to be much easier.
6. If you have great grades and are set on 2nd/9th, why not RA for Chua or Gerken?
6b. If you don't want to RA, email Chua. She will sometimes just help people make connections if there appears to be a good fit.
7. Don't email folks currently in Chambers if you have already applied or will shortly, but try emailing 3Ls who are clerking for judges that interest you, or alums who have clerked for that judge recently or will in the near future. Many will be happy to talk about the process.

Good luck!

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Re: 2nd/9th Circuit or Bust?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 28, 2018 4:24 pm

hlsperson1111 wrote:What about a COA judge somewhere besides NY/SF/Pasadena and a CD Cal/ND Cal/SDNY/EDNY clerkship? I think you should assuredly be competitive for that, even if your professors don't have the right connections. And in your specific shoes, I'd strongly consider a district court clerkship first.

I'm set on clerking at the district and circuit level, so if I strike out on 2/9, I'll clerk on like the 10th circuit or something for a year.

As of now, I plan on applying to all 2/9 judges who are hiring to see how it goes. My dilemma is (1) how I should allocate the phone calls and (2) whether I can afford to not apply to any non-2/9 judges.

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Re: 2nd/9th Circuit or Bust?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 28, 2018 4:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What year? Depends on a lot of factors, including how tough your schedule has been. But my gut says that if you're late in law school with straight Hs, you can afford to be picky to those circuits, especially if you're not desperate for one of the more-competitive judges on those circuits. If you just have two semesters of grades, then it's perhaps a little tougher, but you're in a very good position. You should go talk to the clerkship coordinator.

I'm a 2L. My schedule has been paper intensive (with a few black letters) because I'm looking to publish. The clerkship coordinator hasn't been helpful.

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Re: 2nd/9th Circuit or Bust?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 28, 2018 4:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:1. Don't trust OSCAR. Many judges will have hired before they update their pages.
2. Don't trust OCS.
3. There are definitely 9th Cir. judges that seem to hire w/o faculty calls or connections. I believe Susan Graber was contacting applicants recently who had applied via. OSCAR. So it's worth sending in applications to judges who don't have YLS faculty connections, because some will hire off of papers.
4. Are you a 2L with all Hs? If so, you should be competitive across much of the 2nd/9th Cir. Not having YLJ doesn't seem to make much of a difference, outside of tippy feeders.
5. Are you applying for 2019 or 2020? There are certainly judges who haven't hired for 2019 (Thomas and Fisher both, I believe), but 2020 is going to be much easier.
6. If you have great grades and are set on 2nd/9th, why not RA for Chua or Gerken?
6b. If you don't want to RA, email Chua. She will sometimes just help people make connections if there appears to be a good fit.
7. Don't email folks currently in Chambers if you have already applied or will shortly, but try emailing 3Ls who are clerking for judges that interest you, or alums who have clerked for that judge recently or will in the near future. Many will be happy to talk about the process.

Good luck!

Thanks for the advice. I'm flexible with the timing. If I can get 2/9, I'm willing to clerk up to 2-3 years out since I'll be working in the area anyway. Because of family/SO, I'm hesitant about moving back and forth.

I've applied to RA for both Chua and Gerken but have not heard back.

My friends (and CDO) suggest going with the judges that my recommenders have to offer. At this point, I'm not sure how I feel about clerking at a random place.

ETA: Regarding not trusting OSCAR, are you saying that if my professors are connected with a certain judge, even if OSCAR clearly says they're not hiring until a future date/NOT considering applications that I should apply anyway?
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sun Jan 28, 2018 4:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 2nd/9th Circuit or Bust?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 28, 2018 4:36 pm

My sense is that some of the previous replies are too pessimistic. 2/9 clerkships are of course competitive, but you have straight Hs at Y. Doesn't get much better than that. I'd go for 2/9 exclusively if that's where you want to be.

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Re: 2nd/9th Circuit or Bust?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 28, 2018 4:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:My sense is that some of the previous replies are too pessimistic. 2/9 clerkships are of course competitive, but you have straight Hs at Y. Doesn't get much better than that. I'd go for 2/9 exclusively if that's where you want to be.

So are you suggesting not applying to judges my professors are connected with and having them call my top choice 2/9 judges? If so, I'd target and have them call district court judges first to make myself more competitive for a circuit court (assuming I get the district court).

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Re: 2nd/9th Circuit or Bust?

Postby Connoisseur » Sun Jan 28, 2018 4:49 pm

PM me.

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Re: 2nd/9th Circuit or Bust?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 28, 2018 5:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:My sense is that some of the previous replies are too pessimistic. 2/9 clerkships are of course competitive, but you have straight Hs at Y. Doesn't get much better than that. I'd go for 2/9 exclusively if that's where you want to be.

So are you suggesting not applying to judges my professors are connected with and having them call my top choice 2/9 judges? If so, I'd target and have them call district court judges first to make myself more competitive for a circuit court (assuming I get the district court).


Yes. This sounds like a solid plan IMHO

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Re: 2nd/9th Circuit or Bust?

Postby jbagelboy » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:02 pm

Pm me too

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Re: 2nd/9th Circuit or Bust?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:03 pm

YLS recent grad clerking on one of these two circuits. I broadly agree with the YLS poster above (with the numbered list). You are more competitive for most judges on these circuits than you think. Some advice:

1. Don't trust OSCAR (or CDO) and just get your recommenders to reach out to judges. No harm even if the judges aren't hiring right now. OSCAR is often wrong, and judges often hire on idiosyncratic timelines depending on when recommenders reach out to them. You would also be surprised how many excellent judges on these circuits randomly have openings well past the usual hiring season. Also track the updated hiring lists that CDO puts up on the Inside Site, these usually have info that OSCAR does not have. (CDO calls chambers regularly for updates.) This is about the one thing CDO is good for.

2. Just getting a prof to call/email, period, will help you, even if the prof has no connections to the judge. This is less true for some judges (you aren't getting Katzmann or Reinhardt without the right "feeder professors"), but for most judges—including some semi-feeders—professor connections matter less than you think. And remember, it's usually better to be the favorite student of a less-known professor than to be the 12th person that a feeder professor is recommending. Be strategic, but don't be afraid to have your profs reach out to judges whom they aren't connected to.

3. I disagree with the other YLS poster on reaching out to current clerks in chambers. I would not reach out to a clerk you don't already know, but if you know a YLS alum in one of these chambers, I generally think it's ok to reach out to them even if you are applying now or in the near future. Some people will not be comfortable with this, but I know of multiple YLS students who got their apps read this way. Reaching out to future clerks (i.e., 3Ls) or past clerks is certainly ok. Use the lists that CDO puts up on the Inside Site.

4. You probably won't be able to RA for Gerken unless you have a pre-existing "in" with her. Less sure about Chua. Regardless, get in contact with Chua and try to set up a meeting. If she's still head of the clerkship committee (I think she is?) she will probably be helpful for you regardless of whether she knows you. A lot of people with worse grades than you and without aggressive recommenders have gotten their apps read because Chua helped them.

5. There are plenty of professors who aren't Chua/Gerken/Resnik/Eskridge but who either (a) are better connected in these two circuits than most students know, or (b) are willing to go to bat aggressively for students even if they don't have connections to the judge. Scour the Google Sheets Clerkship Info thing to get some ideas. If it's possible, pick up a paper class or RA gig with one of these profs this semester.

6. I have never met a judge on my circuit who cared about YLJ. Pretty much any judge who knows how YLS works knows that YLJ membership is a meaningless credential (unless you're EIC).

7. If you're willing to clerk outside of NYC/SF/LA, you have many more options. There are excellent judges on both circuits who regularly take YLS students and who sit outside of the major metros. On the Second Circuit, think Cabranes, Carney, Walker, in New Haven (and Guido, obviously). On the Ninth Circuit, think Clifton (Honolulu), Owens (San Diego), Thomas (Billings), Hurwitz (Phoenix).

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Re: 2nd/9th Circuit or Bust?

Postby hlsperson1111 » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:51 am

Anonymous User wrote:YLS recent grad clerking on one of these two circuits. I broadly agree with the YLS poster above (with the numbered list). You are more competitive for most judges on these circuits than you think. Some advice:

1. Don't trust OSCAR (or CDO) and just get your recommenders to reach out to judges. No harm even if the judges aren't hiring right now. OSCAR is often wrong, and judges often hire on idiosyncratic timelines depending on when recommenders reach out to them. You would also be surprised how many excellent judges on these circuits randomly have openings well past the usual hiring season. Also track the updated hiring lists that CDO puts up on the Inside Site, these usually have info that OSCAR does not have. (CDO calls chambers regularly for updates.) This is about the one thing CDO is good for.

2. Just getting a prof to call/email, period, will help you, even if the prof has no connections to the judge. This is less true for some judges (you aren't getting Katzmann or Reinhardt without the right "feeder professors"), but for most judges—including some semi-feeders—professor connections matter less than you think. And remember, it's usually better to be the favorite student of a less-known professor than to be the 12th person that a feeder professor is recommending. Be strategic, but don't be afraid to have your profs reach out to judges whom they aren't connected to.

3. I disagree with the other YLS poster on reaching out to current clerks in chambers. I would not reach out to a clerk you don't already know, but if you know a YLS alum in one of these chambers, I generally think it's ok to reach out to them even if you are applying now or in the near future. Some people will not be comfortable with this, but I know of multiple YLS students who got their apps read this way. Reaching out to future clerks (i.e., 3Ls) or past clerks is certainly ok. Use the lists that CDO puts up on the Inside Site.

4. You probably won't be able to RA for Gerken unless you have a pre-existing "in" with her. Less sure about Chua. Regardless, get in contact with Chua and try to set up a meeting. If she's still head of the clerkship committee (I think she is?) she will probably be helpful for you regardless of whether she knows you. A lot of people with worse grades than you and without aggressive recommenders have gotten their apps read because Chua helped them.

5. There are plenty of professors who aren't Chua/Gerken/Resnik/Eskridge but who either (a) are better connected in these two circuits than most students know, or (b) are willing to go to bat aggressively for students even if they don't have connections to the judge. Scour the Google Sheets Clerkship Info thing to get some ideas. If it's possible, pick up a paper class or RA gig with one of these profs this semester.

6. I have never met a judge on my circuit who cared about YLJ. Pretty much any judge who knows how YLS works knows that YLJ membership is a meaningless credential (unless you're EIC).

7. If you're willing to clerk outside of NYC/SF/LA, you have many more options. There are excellent judges on both circuits who regularly take YLS students and who sit outside of the major metros. On the Second Circuit, think Cabranes, Carney, Walker, in New Haven (and Guido, obviously). On the Ninth Circuit, think Clifton (Honolulu), Owens (San Diego), Thomas (Billings), Hurwitz (Phoenix).


Other less-well-known people to consider on the Ninth, depending on your political orientation, include McKeown (San Diego), Gould (Seattle), Tallman (Seattle), Christen (Anchorage), and Graber (Portland). They are well-regarded judges and the people I know who have clerked for them have been very positive about their experiences.

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Re: 2nd/9th Circuit or Bust?

Postby Quichelorraine » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:58 am

If you prefer 2/9/DC "for family reasons," you really shouldn't overlook CA3, which is immediately adjacent to CA2. You have the entire Newark courthouse to consider.



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