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CoA Clerkships Without Taking Fed Courts?

Posted: Sat Mar 31, 2018 3:48 pm
by Anonymous User
I'm considering applying for a mid-career federal CoA clerkship, and I'm wondering how much it would hurt me to have not taken Fed Courts in law school. I had great grades (good enough to be competitive for a feeder) from a T6 school, would likely have very strong recommendations, and will have an otherwise strong resume (e.g., top firm, a district court or SSC clerkship from a prestigious judge, etc.).

Is the lack of Fed Courts going to destroy my chances? I'm particularly interested in 2d/9th/DC Cir.

Also, is there anything I can do to mitigate the damage done? For example, would it help to work through a Fed Courts syllabus on my own?

Re: CoA Clerkships Without Taking Fed Courts?

Posted: Sat Mar 31, 2018 4:17 pm
by Anonymous User
I was a 2/9/DC Circuit clerk and I don't think it'd matter much/at all for most judges. The much bigger issue is you applying for a mid-career clerkship. Some judges are more amenable to that than others. That said, given your resume and recs, I think you'd get at least one interview in nine out of ten cycles in which you timed your apps correctly and applied broadly on the 2/9/DC Circuits.

Re: CoA Clerkships Without Taking Fed Courts?

Posted: Sat Mar 31, 2018 5:53 pm
by Anonymous User
2/9/DC clerk. I doubt this matters much/at all for most judges. You would be surprised how many 2/9/DC judges themselves never took Fed Courts.

Re: CoA Clerkships Without Taking Fed Courts?

Posted: Sat Mar 31, 2018 6:06 pm
by Anonymous User
I didn’t clerk for feeders but this is pretty lol to me. Presumably you’ve been working in federal courts for years. The point of the class is to prepare you for doing that. You’ve done it. There may be a handful of judges that have a blanket rule or to ask about it but it would be pretty absurd to not take a clerk in your position without it.

Also I clerked as a mid level and never got asked once about a class.

Re: CoA Clerkships Without Taking Fed Courts?

Posted: Sun Apr 01, 2018 1:38 am
by Anonymous User
Thanks all; this is helpful. I should clarify that by "mid-career," I don't mean *that* many years out of law school; I mean 3-5 years out. Not sure if that changes things.

Re: CoA Clerkships Without Taking Fed Courts?

Posted: Sun Apr 01, 2018 12:41 pm
by Anonymous User
In my more-competitive chambers, it would matter (1) whether you had professors/contacts who know the judge and would bat for you through a phone call, etc., (2) whether you have done serious/interesting/exciting legal work during those 3-5 years, and (3) whether you have something special about your app that would attract the judge (and would have been noticed by the reviewing clerks). Your application seems to be a standard application that would be given a look, but without more information, I'm not sure whether you would be seriously considered.

Re: CoA Clerkships Without Taking Fed Courts?

Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 10:10 am
by Anonymous User
This would have been good to see before taking Fed Courts :/

Re: CoA Clerkships Without Taking Fed Courts?

Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 11:59 am
by jbagelboy
2/9/DC clerk, never took fed courts. No individual class matters.

If your transcript screams “easy bullshit” and you never took any of the challenging upper class material — admin, evidence, corporations, fed courts, antitrust, tax — that will give pause to many federal judges

Re: CoA Clerkships Without Taking Fed Courts?

Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 12:17 pm
by Anonymous User
Of this list, do you think taking 4/6 is likely enough. I would personally offer criminal procedure is applicable here as well.

Re: CoA Clerkships Without Taking Fed Courts?

Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 4:52 pm
by Anonymous User
Anonymous User wrote:Of this list, do you think taking 4/6 is likely enough. I would personally offer criminal procedure is applicable here as well.


Yes. I "only" took 4/6 of those classes, and had a 2/9/DC Cir. judge specifically comment on the rigor of my transcript. I would definitely add crim pro and really any other doctrinal class to that list -- what matters re rigor is not really any specific class or set of classes, but that your transcript appears to be liberally sprinkled with core doctrinal classes.

Re: CoA Clerkships Without Taking Fed Courts?

Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 11:25 pm
by BlackAndOrange84
There are judges for whom Fed Courts matters—some say so in their OSCAR postings and I've heard the same from clerks who worked for judges who felt that way. I've worked in chambers where it isn't a disqualifier, but it's something that would catch the attention of the clerks as a negative. I know it's something that we've used to winnow down the number of applicants to put into the short stack. That said, since you're applying after a few years of practice, any negative impact should be pretty minimal.