Is it worth it to do a CoA clerkship after a district clerkship?

Seek and share information about clerkship applications, clerkship hiring timelines, and post-clerkship employment opportunities.
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are sharing sensitive information about clerkship applications and clerkship hiring. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned."
Anonymous User
Posts: 327223
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Is it worth it to do a CoA clerkship after a district clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:07 pm

I'm currently a 3L at a T14/on LR and have accepted an offer with a "Biglaw" firm in a major market for after graduation. I accepted a clerkship with a district court for the 2020-2021 term (I would miss my second year at the firm, although I may have the option to clerk in 2019 instead). I think I have a very solid shot with a certain CoA judge, but I want to make sure I'm fully committed before applying.

As far as various considerations/interests—I'm not really gunning for appellate work (although I do want to litigate), I have around $200k in debt (though my school's public interest program would pay my loans while I clerk), I would be interested in becoming an AUSA in the future if the opportunity ever presented itself, and I believe the firm I am joining post-graduation is not super ecstatic about me leaving for one (or two) clerkship(s) after only a year.

So would clerking at the appellate level be worth it? I think I would enjoy clerking a second year with an awesome appellate judge, but the associated costs are giving me some doubts.

Also, please don't quote (in case I decide to delete later, especially since I'm probably somewhat identifiable here).

objctnyrhnr

Moderator
Posts: 520
Joined: Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:44 am

Re: Is it worth it to do a CoA clerkship after a district clerkship?

Postby objctnyrhnr » Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:46 pm

TCR to these questions is always yes to a one year and a one year. TCR is usually even yes to a two year d court clerkship then a 1 year COA. careers are long and federal clerkships are worth their weight in gold. I get the concern, but if you have coa and d court under your belt and have only invested two years to get that epic credential, you’re far from a spot where returns start diminishing.

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 862
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: Is it worth it to do a CoA clerkship after a district clerkship?

Postby QContinuum » Mon Dec 03, 2018 6:36 pm

If you want to litigate, you should absolutely do a CoA clerkship if at all possible. A D.Ct. clerkship is almost the minimum expected of a successful litigator; a CoA clerkship will actually confer a tangible boost (and an even bigger boost if you clerk for a "feeder" CoA judge). This is a no-brainer.

Congrats on your strong law school performance!

lavarman84

Platinum
Posts: 7726
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Is it worth it to do a CoA clerkship after a district clerkship?

Postby lavarman84 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:57 pm

I'll go in the other direction. If you don't want to do appellate work, I'd pass. If you think you might want to do appellate work, do it. If you have a shot at a feeder and any possible shot at SCOTUS, do it.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327223
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Is it worth it to do a CoA clerkship after a district clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:20 pm

I didn’t do a COA despite having the credentials and I regret it (mildly), though I’m still too early in my career to say whether it will matter. (But also late enough that I can’t realistically do it now without pissing off my firm, where I’m very happy.)

It just seems that it makes a meaningful difference for things like SDNY/EDNY/EDVA USAOs, the competitive sections of Main Justice, committee counsel on the hill, etc. It also will matter for the true elite litigation firms, even if I don’t really care about that. If those are things that appeal to you (or even *might* appeal to you), I think you owe it to yourself to do a COA unless it’s going to majorly affect your personal life in a negative way. (Being happy is always the most important thing.)

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 862
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: Is it worth it to do a CoA clerkship after a district clerkship?

Postby QContinuum » Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:56 pm

lavarman84 wrote:I'll go in the other direction. If you don't want to do appellate work, I'd pass. If you think you might want to do appellate work, do it. If you have a shot at a feeder and any possible shot at SCOTUS, do it.

Disagree with the above. "Appellate" requires more than a run-of-the-mill CoA clerkship; it requires 2/9/DC, or the circuit where your office is located (and recall most appellate practices are based in DC/NYC/CA, again taking us back to 2/9/DC). The "average" CoA clerkship, say, out on the 11th Circuit will likely not be enough to get someone an appellate position, but will help greatly with DoJ, prestigious USAOs, and elite lit practices, as the above anon notes.

Moderator note: Edited own post to revise advice. -QContinuum

Anonymous User
Posts: 327223
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Is it worth it to do a CoA clerkship after a district clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:41 pm

QContinuum wrote:
lavarman84 wrote:I'll go in the other direction. If you don't want to do appellate work, I'd pass. If you think you might want to do appellate work, do it. If you have a shot at a feeder and any possible shot at SCOTUS, do it.

Disagree with the above. "Appellate" requires more than a run-of-the-mill CoA clerkship; it requires a "feeder" CoA position on 2/9/DC at minimum, and preferably SCOTUS. The "average" CoA clerkship, say, out on the 11th Circuit will likely not be enough to get someone an appellate position, but will help greatly with DoJ, prestigious USAOs, and elite lit practices, as the above anon notes.

Anon from above. It’s definitely not true that you need to have a feeder clerkship/SCOTUS to work in an appellate group at a big firm. I know multiple people that work in such groups and dont meet those criteria. Not saying it’s easy by any means but it’s not as crazily difficult to get as that makes it seem.

Barrred

Bronze
Posts: 169
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2016 6:49 pm

Re: Is it worth it to do a CoA clerkship after a district clerkship?

Postby Barrred » Tue Dec 04, 2018 9:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Anon from above. It’s definitely not true that you need to have a feeder clerkship/SCOTUS to work in an appellate group at a big firm. I know multiple people that work in such groups and dont meet those criteria. Not saying it’s easy by any means but it’s not as crazily difficult to get as that makes it seem.

I agree. Doing appellate work in biglaw basically requires having clerked for any judge on 2/9/DC, or for a judge in the circuit where your office is located. Of course that doesn't guarantee entry into a big law appellate practice, but by no means is a feeder/SCOTUS clerkship required to work on run-of-the-mill biglaw appellate cases.

TheProsecutor

Bronze
Posts: 146
Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 12:50 pm

Re: Is it worth it to do a CoA clerkship after a district clerkship?

Postby TheProsecutor » Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:05 pm

Lol at a COA clerkship giving you a boost at USAO or DOJ litigation section at main. Clerking is a necessity but there’s no reason to do both COA and District to be competitive. One or the other is fine and for USAOs district court is more practical.

lavarman84

Platinum
Posts: 7726
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Is it worth it to do a CoA clerkship after a district clerkship?

Postby lavarman84 » Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:15 pm

QContinuum wrote:
lavarman84 wrote:I'll go in the other direction. If you don't want to do appellate work, I'd pass. If you think you might want to do appellate work, do it. If you have a shot at a feeder and any possible shot at SCOTUS, do it.

Disagree with the above. "Appellate" requires more than a run-of-the-mill CoA clerkship; it requires a "feeder" CoA position on 2/9/DC at minimum, and preferably SCOTUS. The "average" CoA clerkship, say, out on the 11th Circuit will likely not be enough to get someone an appellate position, but will help greatly with DoJ, prestigious USAOs, and elite lit practices, as the above anon notes.


I'll call bullshit on that. That is generally true for the elite of the elite appellate boutiques and the elite biglaw appellate practices (like the ones who often are going before SCOTUS), but those are hardly the only options out there.

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 862
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: Is it worth it to do a CoA clerkship after a district clerkship?

Postby QContinuum » Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:41 pm

Barrred wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Anon from above. It’s definitely not true that you need to have a feeder clerkship/SCOTUS to work in an appellate group at a big firm. I know multiple people that work in such groups and dont meet those criteria. Not saying it’s easy by any means but it’s not as crazily difficult to get as that makes it seem.

I agree. Doing appellate work in biglaw basically requires having clerked for any judge on 2/9/DC, or for a judge in the circuit where your office is located. Of course that doesn't guarantee entry into a big law appellate practice, but by no means is a feeder/SCOTUS clerkship required to work on run-of-the-mill biglaw appellate cases.

I think this is right, and that my original post was an overstatement. I've edited it accordingly.

BlackAndOrange84

Bronze
Posts: 286
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:06 am

Re: Is it worth it to do a CoA clerkship after a district clerkship?

Postby BlackAndOrange84 » Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:37 pm

lavarman84 wrote:
QContinuum wrote:
lavarman84 wrote:I'll go in the other direction. If you don't want to do appellate work, I'd pass. If you think you might want to do appellate work, do it. If you have a shot at a feeder and any possible shot at SCOTUS, do it.

Disagree with the above. "Appellate" requires more than a run-of-the-mill CoA clerkship; it requires a "feeder" CoA position on 2/9/DC at minimum, and preferably SCOTUS. The "average" CoA clerkship, say, out on the 11th Circuit will likely not be enough to get someone an appellate position, but will help greatly with DoJ, prestigious USAOs, and elite lit practices, as the above anon notes.


I'll call bullshit on that. That is generally true for the elite of the elite appellate boutiques and the elite biglaw appellate practices (like the ones who often are going before SCOTUS), but those are hardly the only options out there.


I'm with Lavarman on this, and I'll go a little further. It's not that hard to get some appellate work in standard issue biglaw. Even in the high-end appellate practices you don't have to clerk for a 2/9/DC/feeder to get some of that work. If you want an example, go look at Jenner's appellate associates. By my count, there are 3-4 folks (out of what, 10 total appellate associates?) who clerked for mere mortal 1st, 3rd, and 6th circuit judges. Do they like their former Garland clerks and SCOTUS clerks? Sure, but it's hardly a sine qua non. Even in Gibson Dunn's sterling DC appellate practice you'll find some former clerks that don't the 2/9/DC/feeder bill, like the odd Tjoflat clerk. The same goes for JD in DC. Are they stacked to the gills with SCOTUS clerks? Yes, but you'll find the odd duck who clerked for mortal 11th Circuit judges and even one who clerked for a NC Supreme Court justice. You can play this game with pretty much any biglaw appellate practice. True appellate boutiques might be a different animal, but that's about it.

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 862
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: Is it worth it to do a CoA clerkship after a district clerkship?

Postby QContinuum » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:10 am

BlackAndOrange84 wrote:I'm with Lavarman on this, and I'll go a little further. It's not that hard to get some appellate work in standard issue biglaw. Even in the high-end appellate practices you don't have to clerk for a 2/9/DC/feeder to get some of that work. If you want an example, go look at Jenner's appellate associates. By my count, there are 3-4 folks (out of what, 10 total appellate associates?) who clerked for mere mortal 1st, 3rd, and 6th circuit judges. Do they like their former Garland clerks and SCOTUS clerks? Sure, but it's hardly a sine qua non. Even in Gibson Dunn's sterling DC appellate practice you'll find some former clerks that don't the 2/9/DC/feeder bill, like the odd Tjoflat clerk. The same goes for JD in DC. Are they stacked to the gills with SCOTUS clerks? Yes, but you'll find the odd duck who clerked for mortal 11th Circuit judges and even one who clerked for a NC Supreme Court justice. You can play this game with pretty much any biglaw appellate practice. True appellate boutiques might be a different animal, but that's about it.

As I noted, I've revised my previous advice, as I agree that there is no need to do a "feeder" CoA clerkship to land an appellate position. Note that no one ITT - including myself - has ever asserted a need to be a "Garland clerk [or] SCOTUS clerk" to land appellate. Even my original advice (which again, I've since revised) only stated that a "feeder" CoA clerkship was necessary - there was no claim that one had to clerk on SCOTUS, or for Judge Garland.

Also, I don't think citing Jenner helps your "not that hard" case. First, only 1 out of their 9 current appellate associates graduated from a non-HYS school. 8 out of 9 graduated from HYS. Second, 5 out of 9, in addition to graduating from HYS, also clerked for a bigshot CoA judge (Wood, Garland, Kavanaugh), including three who also clerked on SCOTUS itself. Of the 4 non-"feeder," non-2/9/DC clerks, three went to HYS (including one URM). Really, it's only the single non-HYS grad who clerked on the 3rd Circuit who fits your "not that hard" argument.

I guess you yourself acknowledge this with your statement:
BlackAndOrange84 wrote:you'll find the odd duck who clerked for mortal 11th Circuit judges

Sure, there are always exceptions, just like it's always possible to land BigLaw from a T2 law school. It's just very unlikely. No one should expect to be the exception to the rule.

I stand by my revised advice:
QContinuum wrote:The "average" CoA clerkship, say, out on the 11th Circuit will likely not be enough to get someone an appellate position, but will help greatly with DoJ, prestigious USAOs, and elite lit practices, as the above anon notes.

lavarman84

Platinum
Posts: 7726
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Is it worth it to do a CoA clerkship after a district clerkship?

Postby lavarman84 » Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:25 am

This thing seems to have gotten bogged down in a separate discussion. I'll make a few points to hopefully move us back towards OP's dilemma:
1. OP is questioning if he or she should pursue a COA clerkship.
2. OP has said that he or she is not "gunning" for appellate work.
3. I made the point that I think a COA clerkship is unnecessary unless OP wants appellate work because OP already has a D. Ct. clerkship.
4. There are more appellate opportunities out there than just the major biglaw appellate practices.
5. However, even if OP was interested in a major biglaw appellate practice, we all can agree that a COA clerkship of some sort is basically a necessary credential.
6. If OP does not want that, what does a COA clerkship offer? For those who have had a D. Ct. clerkship and don't want appellate work, it doesn't offer much to the skillset they already have. It basically offers a credential.
7. How much will that credential matter? It depends on the sort of jobs that OP wants, where his or her D. Ct. clerkship is, and his or her credentials.

I'm also going to point out that the whole 2/9/DC distinction is kind of bullshit. On the circuit level, the judge matters more than the circuit. On the district level, it is a bit different. The DC Circuit is the only one that carries significant weight because basically all the judges are heavy hitters imo. The value of a 2/9 clerkship is that those regions are very desirable (NYC, LA, SF, Seattle, Vegas, Phoenix, etc.). Your COA clerkship will obviously be most valuable in its geographic area.

However, the idea that clerking for Judge Callahan on the 9th is going to be considered more valuable than clerking for say Judge Fuentes on the 3rd in a city like NYC solely because the 9th is more "prestigious" than the 3rd is BS imo. People oversell how much that matters.




Return to “Judicial Clerkships?

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.