When to tell firm about clerkship interviews?

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When to tell firm about clerkship interviews?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:22 am

I am a first year at a small firm with a couple interviews for Fed. Clerkships beginning in 2019. I was just offered the interviews and want to know when the appropriate time is to tell my firm about them? Before interviewing? Once offered a position? After acceptance?

Assuming I am offered a position, would it be bad form to wait until the term gets a little closer? I am mildly worried about alienating myself with some of the folks at my firm and/or being passed over for any perks that might arise in the interim.


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Re: When to tell firm about clerkship interviews?

Postby minnbills » Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:44 am

It really depends on what kind of relationship you have with your current firm.

Getting an interview for a federal clerkship is really cool and kind of a big deal on its own. I don't think there's any harm in letting your current firm know you're interested in these opportunities (and that they're only 1 or 2 year gigs). Because, let's face it, you'd be hard pressed to find an associate who wouldn't leave a firm for one of these jobs. Especially if you would consider coming back to the firm post-clerkship, then you should be up front with them.

That said, if you get the impression the firm wouldn't be pleased about this, then don't tell them. You're certainly not under any obligation.

I would also just add that if you have any cases in front of these judges, you should definitely let your firm know right away for conflict purposes.

I hope that helps. Good luck with the interviews

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Re: When to tell firm about clerkship interviews?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:24 pm

So I was in this exact situation - started getting interviews in February during my first year at a firm for clerkships that would have been about 18 months out.

I took the approach of telling the firm as soon as I got my first interview, in the interest of being as candid as possible. I was motivated in large part by the prospect of someone somehow finding out without me telling them, in which case the cat would have been out of the bag, yet not on my terms (I still don't know if there was actually any real likelihood of this, but since I applied to all of the fed clerkships in the states where the firm was, I figured it was possible). I then followed up almost right away when I got a clerkship offer. Most people were very cool and understood it was a great potential opportunity. There was a small contingent of 2-3 partners (one of whom had been a pretty good source of work for me prior to the interviews) who were pretty openly peeved. This partner stopped using me almost right away, which meant my workload decreased right after I got the offer. I was eventually able to get in with a few different partners supplement losing her and wound up (barely) making my hours for my first full year. In the months immediately before I left, things got very slow because people had stopped assigning me to new cases many months before, so once those original cases ended I was largely twiddling my thumbs with a handful of projects here and there.

The clerkship has now come and gone and I am working in a new city at a new job, although the firm tried a couple different times to get me to come back and my very last review was glowing. I'm now glad I did things as I did, but being so open certainly resulted in some stress during those days when I had almost no work and knew that a few partners were talking negatively about me behind my back.

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