State Supreme Court clerkship chances - HYS grad, straight Ps

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nasra234

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State Supreme Court clerkship chances - HYS grad, straight Ps

Postby nasra234 » Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:24 pm

As the title suggests, I'm interested in getting an assessment of my chances of securing a state supreme court clerkship, primarily in Massachusetts. Are my grades too low or do I have a reasonable shot? Getting recommendations aren't a problem, and I'm currently working at an LRAP/LIPP eligible position.

Moderator note: nasra234 outed and warned for anon abuse (using anon to "give advice" to himself/herself - see OP's later posts in this thread). -QContinuum

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Re: State Supreme Court clerkship chances - HYS grad, straight Ps

Postby Pneumonia » Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:As the title suggests, I'm interested in getting an assessment of my chances of securing a state supreme court clerkship, primarily in Massachusetts. Are my grades too low or do I have a reasonable shot? Getting recommendations aren't a problem, and I'm currently working at an LRAP/LIPP eligible position.

Mass SJC is semi-competitive from Harvard, so I'd think you'll have a better shot from Y/S. Obviously HYS puts everything in play, but I would be surprised if you got SJC from H with straight Ps. Definitely still worth applying though, especially if you have good recommendations.

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Re: State Supreme Court clerkship chances - HYS grad, straight Ps

Postby Wild Card » Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:53 am

Pneumonia wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:As the title suggests, I'm interested in getting an assessment of my chances of securing a state supreme court clerkship, primarily in Massachusetts. Are my grades too low or do I have a reasonable shot? Getting recommendations aren't a problem, and I'm currently working at an LRAP/LIPP eligible position.

Mass SJC is semi-competitive from Harvard, so I'd think you'll have a better shot from Y/S. Obviously HYS puts everything in play, but I would be surprised if you got SJC from H with straight Ps. Definitely still worth applying though, especially if you have good recommendations.


This is a remarkably charitable assessment. Isn't P the lowest grade that Harvard gives? So you're saying that someone who may have failed all of his classes is in the running for a clerkship?

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Re: State Supreme Court clerkship chances - HYS grad, straight Ps

Postby nixy » Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:20 am

I thought that was LP.

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Re: State Supreme Court clerkship chances - HYS grad, straight Ps

Postby QContinuum » Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:39 pm

Wild Card wrote:
Pneumonia wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:As the title suggests, I'm interested in getting an assessment of my chances of securing a state supreme court clerkship, primarily in Massachusetts. Are my grades too low or do I have a reasonable shot? Getting recommendations aren't a problem, and I'm currently working at an LRAP/LIPP eligible position.

Mass SJC is semi-competitive from Harvard, so I'd think you'll have a better shot from Y/S. Obviously HYS puts everything in play, but I would be surprised if you got SJC from H with straight Ps. Definitely still worth applying though, especially if you have good recommendations.


This is a remarkably charitable assessment. Isn't P the lowest grade that Harvard gives? So you're saying that someone who may have failed all of his classes is in the running for a clerkship?


The grades on the curve are DS/H/P. But LP/F grades also exist - they just aren't required to be given. I don't think Fs are ever given in practice, but HLS students do get LPs if they do very badly. Certainly if OP had straight LPs, they wouldn't have a realistic shot at a clerkship (and would likely even struggle to land BigLaw). But with straight Ps, and for a state supreme court... worth a shot IMO, depending on whether OP can get professors to work the phones on their behalf.

Ofc, all this is assuming OP's actually at Harvard. If Yale, straight-P students clerk all the time. (I'm not as familiar with Stanford but I think it'd be similar to Yale.)

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Re: State Supreme Court clerkship chances - HYS grad, straight Ps

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:32 pm

Is straight P below median at Harvard? I'm at Chicago and trying to figure out my chances for similar courts. People from here just don't go to them very often so it's tough to figure out a grade range.

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Re: State Supreme Court clerkship chances - HYS grad, straight Ps

Postby abl » Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:40 pm

Is straight P below median at Harvard? I'm at Chicago and trying to figure out my chances for similar courts. People from here just don't go to them very often so it's tough to figure out a grade range.


I think straight Ps is below median at Harvard. But (a) below median at Harvard > below median at Chicago; and (b) Harvard's grading system makes it less clear who exactly falls below median. On this second point, my instinct is that employers are predisposed to look charitably at H transcripts -- and so there is some ambiguity bounce that H candidates get (so even if straight Ps is technically below median, I think that employers may treat a straight P transcript as if it were a median transcript).
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Re: State Supreme Court clerkship chances - HYS grad, straight Ps

Postby nasra234 » Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:35 pm

QContinuum wrote:Ofc, all this is assuming OP's actually at Harvard. If Yale, straight-P students clerk all the time. (I'm not as familiar with Stanford but I think it'd be similar to Yale.)


This is OP. When you say "clerk all the time" do you mean at the state level only, or that someone with straight Ps from Y/S would have a reasonable shot at a federal clerkship as well?

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Re: State Supreme Court clerkship chances - HYS grad, straight Ps

Postby QContinuum » Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
QContinuum wrote:Ofc, all this is assuming OP's actually at Harvard. If Yale, straight-P students clerk all the time. (I'm not as familiar with Stanford but I think it'd be similar to Yale.)


This is OP. When you say "clerk all the time" do you mean at the state level only, or that someone with straight Ps from Y/S would have a reasonable shot at a federal clerkship as well?


Speaking re: Yale (again, I'm less familiar with Stanford so don't want to give inaccurate advice), I think reasonable shot at a federal district court clerkship if willing to apply broadly. This is assuming the student was on a journal and has professors willing to go to bat for them (usually not tough to get at Y).

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Re: State Supreme Court clerkship chances - HYS grad, straight Ps

Postby koval » Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:34 am

Getting a federal clerkship when you're below median at Harvard still seems like an uphill battle, even in noncompetitive districts. I'm not saying that it's impossible by any means, but, from my limited experience, judges are very adverse to hiring anyone who wasn't at least median at their law school. Yale might be the exception.

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Re: State Supreme Court clerkship chances - HYS grad, straight Ps

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 15, 2018 3:57 pm

Idk about H, but the above statement is definitely not true at S. If you are geographically flexible, a decent interviewer and have some other stuff going on, below median can definitely get district clerkships no question. This might be in part because at S you have so many grades that it is really is hard to see who is at median and who is not (especially under the new hiring plan where people will have like 26 grades)

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Re: State Supreme Court clerkship chances - HYS grad, straight Ps

Postby nasra234 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Idk about H, but the above statement is definitely not true at S. If you are geographically flexible, a decent interviewer and have some other stuff going on, below median can definitely get district clerkships no question. This might be in part because at S you have so many grades that it is really is hard to see who is at median and who is not (especially under the new hiring plan where people will have like 26 grades)


Wouldn't it look especially bad, though, for someone to come out of S with straight Ps or only 1 or 2 Hs, given how many grades the average student graduates with?

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Re: State Supreme Court clerkship chances - HYS grad, straight Ps

Postby QContinuum » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Idk about H, but the above statement is definitely not true at S. If you are geographically flexible, a decent interviewer and have some other stuff going on, below median can definitely get district clerkships no question. This might be in part because at S you have so many grades that it is really is hard to see who is at median and who is not (especially under the new hiring plan where people will have like 26 grades)


Wouldn't it look especially bad, though, for someone to come out of S with straight Ps or only 1 or 2 Hs, given how many grades the average student graduates with?


Judges/employers just don't care as much about grades at Y/S, for better or worse. (Might be worse in some situations - we had a thread on here a while back from some poster alleging that lack of "real" grades hurts high-achieving URMs coming out of Y/S.)

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Re: State Supreme Court clerkship chances - HYS grad, straight Ps

Postby Pneumonia » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:41 pm

Wild Card wrote:
Pneumonia wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:As the title suggests, I'm interested in getting an assessment of my chances of securing a state supreme court clerkship, primarily in Massachusetts. Are my grades too low or do I have a reasonable shot? Getting recommendations aren't a problem, and I'm currently working at an LRAP/LIPP eligible position.

Mass SJC is semi-competitive from Harvard, so I'd think you'll have a better shot from Y/S. Obviously HYS puts everything in play, but I would be surprised if you got SJC from H with straight Ps. Definitely still worth applying though, especially if you have good recommendations.


This is a remarkably charitable assessment. Isn't P the lowest grade that Harvard gives? So you're saying that someone who may have failed all of his classes is in the running for a clerkship?

I don't see how " I would be surprised if you got SJC from H with straight Ps" is remarkably charitable. And no, LP is the lowest grade Harvard gives. Also "failed" isn't the right word. Also it seems like you don't know what you're talking about.

ETA -- wanted to emphasize that straight Ps from Y/S will put you in a remarkably better position than from H. Not only because judges care about grades less in general from Y/S, but because the SJC in particular is typically inundated with apps from H students (though not necessarily grads) who failed to secure a federal clerkship.

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Re: State Supreme Court clerkship chances - HYS grad, straight Ps

Postby hlsperson1111 » Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:39 am

I can't speak to Yale or Stanford, but straight Ps at HLS are affirmatively poor grades (I would guess bottom 10-15% of the class) and I would be shocked if someone got an SJC clerkship with them.

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Re: State Supreme Court clerkship chances - HYS grad, straight Ps

Postby nasra234 » Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:19 am

hlsperson1111 wrote:I can't speak to Yale or Stanford, but straight Ps at HLS are affirmatively poor grades (I would guess bottom 10-15% of the class) and I would be shocked if someone got an SJC clerkship with them.


since you seem to know, would you mind sharing the grades HLS students ordinarily need to get SJC clerkships?

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Re: State Supreme Court clerkship chances - HYS grad, straight Ps

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:04 am

At least at Y, enough classes (including a few black letters) give 99% Hs that it would be impossible to get all Ps.

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Re: State Supreme Court clerkship chances - HYS grad, straight Ps

Postby hlsperson1111 » Tue Oct 16, 2018 3:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
hlsperson1111 wrote:I can't speak to Yale or Stanford, but straight Ps at HLS are affirmatively poor grades (I would guess bottom 10-15% of the class) and I would be shocked if someone got an SJC clerkship with them.


since you seem to know, would you mind sharing the grades HLS students ordinarily need to get SJC clerkships?


I don't claim to know exactly what grades are required. For whatever it's worth, I clerked on a federal district court in CA (but not NDCA) and we typically wanted to see at least 50/50 H's to P's from HLS, and ideally more. I can't imagine the SJC is any less competitive.

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Re: State Supreme Court clerkship chances - HYS grad, straight Ps

Postby nasra234 » Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:41 pm

hlsperson1111 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
hlsperson1111 wrote:I can't speak to Yale or Stanford, but straight Ps at HLS are affirmatively poor grades (I would guess bottom 10-15% of the class) and I would be shocked if someone got an SJC clerkship with them.


since you seem to know, would you mind sharing the grades HLS students ordinarily need to get SJC clerkships?


I don't claim to know exactly what grades are required. For whatever it's worth, I clerked on a federal district court in CA (but not NDCA) and we typically wanted to see at least 50/50 H's to P's from HLS, and ideally more. I can't imagine the SJC is any less competitive.


I can confirm from personal experience that SJC clerkships are nowhere near as competitive as you're presently claiming.

To OP, straight Ps from H may be a little too low, but it doesn't put SJC out of reach. And if you're coming from Y or S, you've got a pretty good shot so long as you got decent recs.

Moderator note: nasra234 outed and warned for anon abuse. Don't use anon to give advice to OP when you're actually OP! -QContinuum

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Re: State Supreme Court clerkship chances - HYS grad, straight Ps

Postby PrayFor170 » Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:09 pm

I'm surprised how hostile this thread is. Straight Ps from Harvard isn't nearly as tragic as you guys make it. Sure, it's not desirable, it will close many doors, etc., but someone with straight Ps from H is in a significant better position than most below median students in mid or lower T-14. Of course, I'm speaking with the assumption that you have at least decent interview skills, amicable personality, presentable looks and good work ethics.

To OP: State Supreme Court really varies by state, and it depends on multiple factors other than your grades. More importantly, it boils down to how flexible you are with locations and judges. The highest state courts in NY and DC are definitely more competitive than Montana/Louisiana/North Dakota Supreme Court. The latter gets far fewer applications from H. If you don't have any specific judges you desperately want to clerk for, and you're open to those flyover states, I suggest that you cast your net wide and at the same time work hard on things you can manage - find your own selling points, find someone who could strongly recommend you, tailor & polish each cover letter and network with past law clerks. If there's a state you have strong ties in, and if that state supreme court has a judge who happens to graduate from H, you definitely have a decent shot.
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Re: State Supreme Court clerkship chances - HYS grad, straight Ps

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:23 pm

Kinda unrelated, but I'm a first year and they told me at UVA ASW that they placed as many people into Art. III clerkships below median as above the previous year. Was that just an outright lie? Now I'm at HLS but I have to assume it's significantly easier to land a clerkship here right? I know someone who clerked for a non-flyover, moderately well-known COA judge with unremarkable grades (admittedly the judge looks keenly to HLS grads that are from the same city and share his/her ethnicity). I have no idea what my grades are going to look like, but is something like N.D.TX or S.D.F.L. possible at median? Is COA possible with average/slightly-above grades but a D.Ct. clerkship under your belt?
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: State Supreme Court clerkship chances - HYS grad, straight Ps

Postby hlsperson1111 » Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
hlsperson1111 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
hlsperson1111 wrote:I can't speak to Yale or Stanford, but straight Ps at HLS are affirmatively poor grades (I would guess bottom 10-15% of the class) and I would be shocked if someone got an SJC clerkship with them.


since you seem to know, would you mind sharing the grades HLS students ordinarily need to get SJC clerkships?


I don't claim to know exactly what grades are required. For whatever it's worth, I clerked on a federal district court in CA (but not NDCA) and we typically wanted to see at least 50/50 H's to P's from HLS, and ideally more. I can't imagine the SJC is any less competitive.


I can confirm from personal experience that SJC clerkships are nowhere near as competitive as you're presently claiming.

To OP, straight Ps from H may be a little too low, but it doesn't put SJC out of reach. And if you're coming from Y or S, you've got a pretty good shot so long as you got decent recs.


I just can't fathom a world in which you realistically need to graduate cum laude (if not higher) to get a federal clerkship in Boston but can get a state supreme court clerkship in the same city with straight Ps.

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Re: State Supreme Court clerkship chances - HYS grad, straight Ps

Postby nasra234 » Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:45 pm

hlsperson1111 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
hlsperson1111 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
hlsperson1111 wrote:I can't speak to Yale or Stanford, but straight Ps at HLS are affirmatively poor grades (I would guess bottom 10-15% of the class) and I would be shocked if someone got an SJC clerkship with them.


since you seem to know, would you mind sharing the grades HLS students ordinarily need to get SJC clerkships?


I don't claim to know exactly what grades are required. For whatever it's worth, I clerked on a federal district court in CA (but not NDCA) and we typically wanted to see at least 50/50 H's to P's from HLS, and ideally more. I can't imagine the SJC is any less competitive.


I can confirm from personal experience that SJC clerkships are nowhere near as competitive as you're presently claiming.

To OP, straight Ps from H may be a little too low, but it doesn't put SJC out of reach. And if you're coming from Y or S, you've got a pretty good shot so long as you got decent recs.


I just can't fathom a world in which you realistically need to graduate cum laude (if not higher) to get a federal clerkship in Boston but can get a state supreme court clerkship in the same city with straight Ps.


Go back and read what you wrote. You indicated that half Hs from Harvard is a basic minimum to get SJC clerkships, which is absurd. I get that SJC is relatively competitive compared to other state supreme courts, but dont exaggerate. Getting it with straight Ps might not be easy but it is definitely attainable for someone with straight Ps.

Moderator note: nasra234 outed and warned for anon abuse. Don't use anon to give advice to OP when you're actually OP! -QContinuum

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Re: State Supreme Court clerkship chances - HYS grad, straight Ps

Postby hlsperson1111 » Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:05 pm

nasra234 wrote:
hlsperson1111 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
hlsperson1111 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
hlsperson1111 wrote:I can't speak to Yale or Stanford, but straight Ps at HLS are affirmatively poor grades (I would guess bottom 10-15% of the class) and I would be shocked if someone got an SJC clerkship with them.


since you seem to know, would you mind sharing the grades HLS students ordinarily need to get SJC clerkships?


I don't claim to know exactly what grades are required. For whatever it's worth, I clerked on a federal district court in CA (but not NDCA) and we typically wanted to see at least 50/50 H's to P's from HLS, and ideally more. I can't imagine the SJC is any less competitive.


I can confirm from personal experience that SJC clerkships are nowhere near as competitive as you're presently claiming.

To OP, straight Ps from H may be a little too low, but it doesn't put SJC out of reach. And if you're coming from Y or S, you've got a pretty good shot so long as you got decent recs.


I just can't fathom a world in which you realistically need to graduate cum laude (if not higher) to get a federal clerkship in Boston but can get a state supreme court clerkship in the same city with straight Ps.


Go back and read what you wrote. You indicated that half Hs from Harvard is a basic minimum to get SJC clerkships, which is absurd. I get that SJC is relatively competitive compared to other state supreme courts, but dont exaggerate. Getting it with straight Ps might not be easy but it is definitely attainable for someone with straight Ps.

Moderator note: nasra234 outed and warned for anon abuse. Don't use anon to give advice to OP when you're actually OP! -QContinuum


I don't know why I am arguing with a sock puppet, but 50% H's at HLS is not an absurd benchmark. 4 out of 10 HLS students graduate with those grades.

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Re: State Supreme Court clerkship chances - HYS grad, straight Ps

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 19, 2018 12:47 pm

This might not be a helpful piece of information, but I am a past/current/future SJC clerk, and my HLS grades were/are significantly better than half Hs. I don't think my application was particularly impressive otherwise, although I have significant MA ties.

I have no information regarding the grades of other past/current/future SJC clerks.



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