District Ct clerkship chances and strategy

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District Ct clerkship chances and strategy

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:39 am

Hey all, looking for unedited advice given my situation.

About me:
-class of 2019
-slightly below median at M/V/P but also unfortunately one B- in a doctrinal class
-secondary journal
-comment/note getting published
-moot court board
-typical 1L summer public interest/government and 2L SA with offer (Los Angeles)
-non-URM

I'm pretty aware that COA is really out of the question, as are competitive districts. So really just shooting for other districts. My clerkship advisor says to apply basically everywhere, and I wouldn't mind living in a random place for a year. Chances in that scenario for getting anything?

Alternatively, I'd also be open to magistrate judges with an eye that maybe it could be a stepping stone to a district court clerkship. Chances for MJ clerkship in CDCA? Or other competitive districts (e.g., NDCA, SDNY, DDC, etc.)?

Thanks!

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Re: District Ct clerkship chances and strategy

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:17 am

if you want a district court clerkship, totally feel free to apply now because you certainly could get something. but that's more of a possibility, not a plausibility, and i would probably work primarily on killing 3L year and then working at big law for a year or two. those credentials are not stellar and, for many chambers, will need to be outweighed by work experience or some other factor. i know some SDNY/EDNY magistrate judge clerks with similar credentials to you, so i assume you'd be fine applying for those competitive magistrate judge clerkships now. but i think the work is just much more interesting on the district court, and certain firms more highly value district court clerkships than magistrate clerkships.

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Re: District Ct clerkship chances and strategy

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:26 am

Similar question, different situation

- 2L
- top 35-40% at M/V/P
- Law Review
- RA for professor
- typical 1L public interest/government and 2L SA secured at V10 in major market

I know SDNY/EDNY out of the question and COA are pretty bleak odds as well. But in terms of D. Ct. clerkships in less major markets, what am I looking at? Anyone been in a similar position?

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Re: District Ct clerkship chances and strategy

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:34 am

I got a district court clerkship in March/April of 3L without perfect stats. I was top 1/3 at a T20, secondary journal ed board, published note, RA, 1L/2L SAs with offers, DJ internship, involved in other stuff at the school but nothing 'prestigious.'

I sent out a ton of applications between the spring of 2L year and actually getting my clerkship. I applied broadly and worked my network to get interviews. I kept in contact with my clerkship office adviser. I checked OSCAR frequently and applied quickly to anything located in a city I would move to. I looked up judges that weren't on OSCAR, called their chambers to see if they were accepting applications, and mailed in apps (I did this particularly for senior judges or others with minimal public hiring information, with a focus on alumni judges and regions where my school had a good reach/I had ties). I found contacts for nominees that had been approved by the committee and sent them my application materials (again, with a focus on alumni nominees and regions where I had ties).

Some of these things worked, others didn't; I ultimately got my clerkship from a standard OSCAR application. If you don't have connections or the stats to jump out of most piles, it really can be a numbers/timing game. Sometimes unique hiring situations arise (people leave mid-term, funding opens up, etc.); sometimes you just manage to catch a clerk/judge's attention. As time goes on, the pool of people applying to late-posted positions (especially in smaller towns) dries up and you're suddenly an attractive candidate--I think that's what happened to me, and to several people in my class that got clerkships near/after graduation. That said, I don't think the numbers y'all have posted puts anyone out of the running, but it might be a long road like it was for me and several other clerks I know.

hlsperson1111

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Re: District Ct clerkship chances and strategy

Postby hlsperson1111 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 1:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Similar question, different situation

- 2L
- top 35-40% at M/V/P
- Law Review
- RA for professor
- typical 1L public interest/government and 2L SA secured at V10 in major market

I know SDNY/EDNY out of the question and COA are pretty bleak odds as well. But in terms of D. Ct. clerkships in less major markets, what am I looking at? Anyone been in a similar position?


You (unlike OP) are a pretty competitive candidate for many district court clerkships in major markets (i.e., not EDNY/SDNY/DDC/NDCA) and are not out of the question for SDNY/EDNY or less competitive COA clerkships (particularly if you are willing to wait a year or two). If you could get your grades up to the top quarter or so before the end of the year you would have an even better chance.

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Re: District Ct clerkship chances and strategy

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:12 pm

Since we are listing stats of people still looking for AIII. Here are mine. Any thoughts?

Lower T10 (transfer and was top 5% 1L)
Top 1/3
Secondary Journal
1L = Federal Judicial Externship
2L = V100 Firm

lavarman84

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Re: District Ct clerkship chances and strategy

Postby lavarman84 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hey all, looking for unedited advice given my situation.

About me:
-class of 2019
-slightly below median at M/V/P but also unfortunately one B- in a doctrinal class
-secondary journal
-comment/note getting published
-moot court board
-typical 1L summer public interest/government and 2L SA with offer (Los Angeles)
-non-URM

I'm pretty aware that COA is really out of the question, as are competitive districts. So really just shooting for other districts. My clerkship advisor says to apply basically everywhere, and I wouldn't mind living in a random place for a year. Chances in that scenario for getting anything?

Alternatively, I'd also be open to magistrate judges with an eye that maybe it could be a stepping stone to a district court clerkship. Chances for MJ clerkship in CDCA? Or other competitive districts (e.g., NDCA, SDNY, DDC, etc.)?

Thanks!


You have a chance. It really is going to depend on the idiosyncrasies of the judge. Having gone through the hiring process for my D. Ct. judge, I can tell you that we considered people with stats like yours for an interview. However, it was because they had certain things on their resume that I knew were appealing to my judge. On the other hand, applications from people at HYS or other t13 schools with much stronger grades weren't even considered because they had no ties and nothing on their resume that stood out as things that would appeal to my judge.

A couple tips:
1. Have an interests section on your resume. It gives me some insight into your personality and gives you a bump if I know the judge has interests in common.

2. Put some effort into your cover letter. Have at least a couple paragraphs and try to mention a couple details about the judge. You want to score points any way you can. I didn't care much about the cover letter unless the person mentioned that they had ties or told me something about their background that impressed me and wasn't on the resume (ex. first in family to go to college). However, our career clerk liked for applicants to mention a detail or two about why they wanted to clerk for the judge (such as the judge's work experience before going on the bench). If you did so, you scored points with her/him.

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Re: District Ct clerkship chances and strategy

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:26 am

To continue the trend of thread hijacking, can anyone comment on my chances/possible strategy?


About me:
- Class of 2020
- T10, non-URM
-Top 10%, no LR, secondary journal
- Biglaw both summers, secondary market


My plan is to apply for any district in my secondary market this year, hopefully get one, and then apply for 2021 COA spots at the end of 2L. Good plan? Bad plan?

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: District Ct clerkship chances and strategy

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:To continue the trend of thread hijacking, can anyone comment on my chances/possible strategy?


About me:
- Class of 2020
- T10, non-URM
-Top 10%, no LR, secondary journal
- Biglaw both summers, secondary market


My plan is to apply for any district in my secondary market this year, hopefully get one, and then apply for 2021 COA spots at the end of 2L. Good plan? Bad plan?


Good plan. Those are good, competitive stats for most districts outside of the hugely competitive ones listed upthread. With a district court clerkship and/or work experience, you’ll be competitive for many COA judges too. Three other things that can help you: a publication, strong rec letters from professors who’ve gotten to know you well, and pushing your class rank higher during 2L and 3L (I was able to do the latter just by maintaining my GPA. You’ll be surprised how many people check out after they get a biglaw offer 2L fall.).

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: District Ct clerkship chances and strategy

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:07 am

Would love an opinion on my chances as well

Stats:
Class of 2020
Lower T-14 - DNC
Top 20% - 35% (Well above median but my school doesn't rank so this is a guess)
Judicial internship first summer, 2L SA position secured at top DC firm
Law review & moot court

Targeting DC suburbs for clerkships. Open to clerking in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Philly potentially but would prefer to be in daily driving distance of DC. I know EDVA is competitive and I know D.Md. isn't far behind in competitiveness. DDC seems out of the question but someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

I would assume my letters of rec are very average. I did extremely well in half my classes then median in the other half so my options were limited. Didn't speak to any of my professors outside of class and don't have a particularly interesting or compelling story. I've realized this was dumb and have been getting to know my 2L professors very well.

Main question is should I apply now with two average recs (and a reference from my judge who doesn't hire her past interns) or should I wait until I have better letters after this semester?



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