How/when to tell firm about clerkship?

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How/when to tell firm about clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:42 pm

Current 2L with an SA offer here. I've secured a clerkship for one year after graduation (i.e. I'd need to work at the firm for one year before going to clerkship and hopefully returning to firm). When should I tell my SA firm? And how should I do it (should I email the recruitment contact)? My plan is to go ahead and tell them soon before the start of the summer program for the sake of transparency. Just wanted to make sure that this doesn't go against TLS wisdom. FWIW, I'm going to an office where more than half of lit associates clerk.

No quoting please, thanks.

Count1234

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Re: How/when to tell firm about clerkship?

Postby Count1234 » Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:15 am

I was in a similar boat a few years ago. During my 2L SA I applied for, and received an offer to clerk a year after law school. By the time I got the clerkship, I already got the return offer to my firm. I waited maybe a month (September of my 3L year), and then emailed the HR person who was in charge of summers (you should know who this is) and just let her know that I accepted a clerkship for a year after I start with the firm. She was nice, just congratulated me, and then she told the practice group I was joining. A year later, when I actually started as a first year associate, everyone in my practice group knew and they didn't treat me any differently for it. It's not a big deal.

Your situation, though, is a little different since you know before your return offer. If I were you, I would wait until I got that return offer to tell the firm that you're leaving after a year, unless you think the clerkship will boost your chances of getting a return offer. You don't have to tell them when you accepted the clerkship. I certainly didn't. Just said something like "I recently accepted a clerkship." which was true.

AUSAorBust

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Re: How/when to tell firm about clerkship?

Postby AUSAorBust » Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:58 am

I second the approach above. I think that's the right way to go about it--inform them after you receive (and accept) the offer.

I would hedge a bit on people not treating you any differently. If the firm knows you are leaving after one year, it is going to affect your staffing on cases, which, in turn, will affect the work you will receive. That said, you should still tell them.

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Re: How/when to tell firm about clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 10, 2019 12:10 pm

Thanks for the super helpful replies. My concern is that people will be talking a lot about summers and their clerkships given that under the new plan, folks will start interviewing en masse during the summer. I would be uncomfortable about equivocating when lawyers ask me directly about my interest in clerking. Or should I not be?

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Re: How/when to tell firm about clerkship?

Postby QContinuum » Wed Apr 10, 2019 12:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for the super helpful replies. My concern is that people will be talking a lot about summers and their clerkships given that under the new plan, folks will start interviewing en masse during the summer. I would be uncomfortable about equivocating when lawyers ask me directly about my interest in clerking. Or should I not be?

If you're asked directly, you should be forthright. Folks will expect aspiring litigators to be looking to clerk. It won't be held against you. (It might actually be held against you if you wanted to do lit but had no interest in clerking.)

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Re: How/when to tell firm about clerkship?

Postby AUSAorBust » Wed Apr 10, 2019 12:33 pm

QContinuum wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for the super helpful replies. My concern is that people will be talking a lot about summers and their clerkships given that under the new plan, folks will start interviewing en masse during the summer. I would be uncomfortable about equivocating when lawyers ask me directly about my interest in clerking. Or should I not be?

If you're asked directly, you should be forthright. Folks will expect aspiring litigators to be looking to clerk. It won't be held against you. (It might actually be held against you if you wanted to do lit but had no interest in clerking.)


Agreed. Don't volunteer the information, but don't lie/be awkwardly evasive.

At the same time, I wouldn't worry about coming across as someone who does not want to clerk. A number of biglaw litigators don't for any number of reasons, many of which are financial/location-based. I don't think anyone is going to be concerned if you aren't out there talking about interviews/applications.

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Re: How/when to tell firm about clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 10, 2019 12:35 pm

QContinuum wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for the super helpful replies. My concern is that people will be talking a lot about summers and their clerkships given that under the new plan, folks will start interviewing en masse during the summer. I would be uncomfortable about equivocating when lawyers ask me directly about my interest in clerking. Or should I not be?

If you're asked directly, you should be forthright. Folks will expect aspiring litigators to be looking to clerk. It won't be held against you. (It might actually be held against you if you wanted to do lit but had no interest in clerking.)


Thank you! That was my instinct. Given that most litigators at the office clerk, I'm wondering if disavowing any interest in clerking could hurt more than help. I guess I'm trying to decide if I should wait until someone asks me directly or just let recruitment know.

On an unrelated note, I'm wondering if more SAs will be in this boat this year, given that a bunch of schools are enforcing the plan but many judges are ignoring it and are currently hiring for 1-2 years out as we speak.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How/when to tell firm about clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 10, 2019 12:37 pm

AUSAorBust wrote:
QContinuum wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for the super helpful replies. My concern is that people will be talking a lot about summers and their clerkships given that under the new plan, folks will start interviewing en masse during the summer. I would be uncomfortable about equivocating when lawyers ask me directly about my interest in clerking. Or should I not be?

If you're asked directly, you should be forthright. Folks will expect aspiring litigators to be looking to clerk. It won't be held against you. (It might actually be held against you if you wanted to do lit but had no interest in clerking.)


Agreed. Don't volunteer the information, but don't lie/be awkwardly evasive.

At the same time, I wouldn't worry about coming across as someone who does not want to clerk. A number of biglaw litigators don't for any number of reasons, many of which are financial. I don't think anyone is going to be concerned if you aren't out there talking about interviews/applications.


Same OP here. In that case, isn't it better to just tell them upfront? I wouldn't want to come off as witholding info until forced to show my hand.

This is really helpful. Thank you everyone. Hoping this will be helpful to others as well.

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Re: How/when to tell firm about clerkship?

Postby hlsperson1111 » Wed Apr 10, 2019 2:24 pm

If you are at an office where most people clerk, I would tell them now--especially if the firm is a 100% offer or near 100% offer firm. The point about it affecting your staffing on cases is well-taken, but that will happen regardless of whether you tell them now or after you get an offer.

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Re: How/when to tell firm about clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 10, 2019 2:34 pm

Not to hijack this post, but I have a similar question. I am a 3L and have already accepted an offer to return to the firm I summered with. I got an offer to clerk for 2020, so I’ll spend a year at the firm first. How should I go about telling the firm? And should I wait or tell them now?

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Re: How/when to tell firm about clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Not to hijack this post, but I have a similar question. I am a 3L and have already accepted an offer to return to the firm I summered with. I got an offer to clerk for 2020, so I’ll spend a year at the firm first. How should I go about telling the firm? And should I wait or tell them now?


Seconding this question. I'm also a 3L and just accepted an offer to clerk for 2020 yesterday, so I'd definitely appreciate any insight on whether to tell the firm I'm headed to in the fall about it now or not.

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Re: How/when to tell firm about clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:22 pm

I got my clerkship right after I accepted my offer at the end of the summer. I didn't tell the firm until I came back the next year. Some associates told me that was bad but I've been fine (at least nobody has made it apparent to me it was an issue).

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Re: How/when to tell firm about clerkship?

Postby 265489164158 » Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:25 am

Be prepared to answer the question directly if it comes from the firm's recruiter. I was in this situation last year and had received an offer to clerk mid-summer (2L). I was trying to decide when to tell the firm when they had a meeting where the recruiter asked the question if any of us planned to clerk. My situation is a bit different because the clerkship is right after I take the bar.

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Wild Card

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Re: How/when to tell firm about clerkship?

Postby Wild Card » Sat Apr 27, 2019 2:34 am

I thought this thread would be about first and second year associates requesting leave to go clerk. Thoughts on this?



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