Federal judicial clerkships or LL.M. or policy job???

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Federal judicial clerkships or LL.M. or policy job???

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 11, 2019 8:54 am

I’ve been offered 2 clerkships (one with an EOIR Judge and the other with a district court judge) but may pass on them to do an LL.M. (no scholarship) or a policy associate job. I guess I’m stuck and don’t know which option to pick. Am I dumb for even thinking about passing on the clerkships?

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Re: Federal judicial clerkships or LL.M. or policy job???

Postby objctnyrhnr » Thu Apr 11, 2019 9:01 am

Anonymous User wrote:I’ve been offered 2 clerkships (one with an EOIR Judge and the other with a district court judge) but may pass on them to do an LL.M. (no scholarship) or a policy associate job. I guess I’m stuck and don’t know which option to pick. Am I dumb for even thinking about passing on the clerkships?


Take the district court clerkship and then do whatever else you want to do after that. Your future self will thank you later.

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Re: Federal judicial clerkships or LL.M. or policy job???

Postby nixy » Thu Apr 11, 2019 9:21 am

I tend to agree that doing the district court clerkship is the right move, but I would want to know more about your long-term goals and what the policy associate job is. (If it's a chance to start at your dream job now and the clerkship won't add much value given your future goals, I could see picking the policy job. But there's not enough info to make that decision at this point.) I wouldn't pursue the LLM because that's not going anywhere - you can always go another year (if it even makes sense, which LLMs often don't).

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Re: Federal judicial clerkships or LL.M. or policy job???

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:04 pm

objctnyrhnr wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I’ve been offered 2 clerkships (one with an EOIR Judge and the other with a district court judge) but may pass on them to do an LL.M. (no scholarship) or a policy associate job. I guess I’m stuck and don’t know which option to pick. Am I dumb for even thinking about passing on the clerkships?


Take the district court clerkship and then do whatever else you want to do after that. Your future self will thank you later.


Why would that one be better than working with the immigration judge? Is there some kind of salary difference afterward?

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Re: Federal judicial clerkships or LL.M. or policy job???

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:05 pm

nixy wrote:I tend to agree that doing the district court clerkship is the right move, but I would want to know more about your long-term goals and what the policy associate job is. (If it's a chance to start at your dream job now and the clerkship won't add much value given your future goals, I could see picking the policy job. But there's not enough info to make that decision at this point.) I wouldn't pursue the LLM because that's not going anywhere - you can always go another year (if it even makes sense, which LLMs often don't).


I would eventually like to work in immigration but I am open to other things as well. The policy job is in immigration. Hmmm ... LLMs a no go? If so, why are so many considering it?

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Re: Federal judicial clerkships or LL.M. or policy job???

Postby nixy » Thu Apr 11, 2019 5:12 pm

Who are the “so many” you’re talking about? Most people don’t do/consider LLMs.

No disrespect meant, but you sound a bit uninformed. A few thoughts:

LLMs are cash cows for law schools and often not worth the money. They originally developed as programs for foreign-educated attorneys to be able to practice in the US. They’re basically another year of school and expensive. Basically no legal jobs require a LLM and so they’re not going to add much in the job search.

Federal district court judges are appointed for life by the president and are courts of general jurisdiction, hearing a wide range of cases. The biggest law firms/organizations appear in federal court. An immigration judge only handles immigration proceedings, a very narrow area of law and not one that prepares you to practice in any other area (for one thing, the rules of evidence that apply in state/federal courts don’t apply in immigration courts). Immigration law also doesn’t generally involve/male any money (that is of course not the only thing that matters in legal practice, but prestige often follows money).

What is the policy job like? Do you want to practice law or do policy work?

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Re: Federal judicial clerkships or LL.M. or policy job???

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 11, 2019 5:32 pm

nixy wrote:Who are the “so many” you’re talking about? Most people don’t do/consider LLMs.

No disrespect meant, but you sound a bit uninformed. A few thoughts:

LLMs are cash cows for law schools and often not worth the money. They originally developed as programs for foreign-educated attorneys to be able to practice in the US. They’re basically another year of school and expensive. Basically no legal jobs require a LLM and so they’re not going to add much in the job search.

Federal district court judges are appointed for life by the president and are courts of general jurisdiction, hearing a wide range of cases. The biggest law firms/organizations appear in federal court. An immigration judge only handles immigration proceedings, a very narrow area of law and not one that prepares you to practice in any other area (for one thing, the rules of evidence that apply in state/federal courts don’t apply in immigration courts). Immigration law also doesn’t generally involve/male any money (that is of course not the only thing that matters in legal practice, but prestige often follows money).

What is the policy job like? Do you want to practice law or do policy work?


Yeah sorry, first gen and confused on these things. I think I'm leaning more towards policy rather than practicing law. I appreciate you breaking it down for me!

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Re: Federal judicial clerkships or LL.M. or policy job???

Postby hdivschool » Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:56 pm

Under no circumstances should you do the LLM.

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Re: Federal judicial clerkships or LL.M. or policy job???

Postby lavarman84 » Thu Apr 11, 2019 8:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
nixy wrote:I tend to agree that doing the district court clerkship is the right move, but I would want to know more about your long-term goals and what the policy associate job is. (If it's a chance to start at your dream job now and the clerkship won't add much value given your future goals, I could see picking the policy job. But there's not enough info to make that decision at this point.) I wouldn't pursue the LLM because that's not going anywhere - you can always go another year (if it even makes sense, which LLMs often don't).


I would eventually like to work in immigration but I am open to other things as well. The policy job is in immigration. Hmmm ... LLMs a no go? If so, why are so many considering it?


Tax LLMs are an exception. Other LLMs are typically a waste of money/time (with a few narrow exceptions). Why do people consider other LLMs? I guess to add a credential or to buy time while job searching.

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Re: Federal judicial clerkships or LL.M. or policy job???

Postby objctnyrhnr » Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:23 am

Anonymous User wrote:
objctnyrhnr wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I’ve been offered 2 clerkships (one with an EOIR Judge and the other with a district court judge) but may pass on them to do an LL.M. (no scholarship) or a policy associate job. I guess I’m stuck and don’t know which option to pick. Am I dumb for even thinking about passing on the clerkships?


Take the district court clerkship and then do whatever else you want to do after that. Your future self will thank you later.


Why would that one be better than working with the immigration judge? Is there some kind of salary difference afterward?


I am just a little perplexed by the lack of pertinent knowledge evident from this question.

I mean when people say fedclerking is prestigious, they’re almost always talking about clerking for article 3 judges. It’s probably the most prestigious and useful thing that an aspiring litigator can do after graduating. It’s not that the pay is good during that year per se; but it’s an epic resume stamp that will stick with you for life and the experience will also make you a better lawyer. Many firms pay bonuses when they hire people following article 3 federal clerkships.

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Re: Federal judicial clerkships or LL.M. or policy job???

Postby everythingbagel » Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:15 am

Congratulations on all these opportunities.

As others in this thread have written, if the district court clerkship you're talking about is federal district court clerkship, that's your best choice.

Reach out to your professors and ask them for their advice. Experienced people who know you (at least better than strangers on TLS) will be able to steer you in the right direction, and talking to them now will strengthen your relationship with them.

Good luck!

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Re: Federal judicial clerkships or LL.M. or policy job???

Postby Auxilio » Wed Apr 17, 2019 6:47 pm

everythingbagel wrote:Congratulations on all these opportunities.

As others in this thread have written, if the district court clerkship you're talking about is federal district court clerkship, that's your best choice.

Reach out to your professors and ask them for their advice. Experienced people who know you (at least better than strangers on TLS) will be able to steer you in the right direction, and talking to them now will strengthen your relationship with them.

Good luck!


This is a good point, we probably shouldn't assume OP (who no offence, seems a little clueless) means a federal district court, they didn't specify.

ETA: accidental anon. Auxilio.
Last edited by QContinuum on Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: De-anoned at poster's request.

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Re: Federal judicial clerkships or LL.M. or policy job???

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 17, 2019 7:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
everythingbagel wrote:Congratulations on all these opportunities.

As others in this thread have written, if the district court clerkship you're talking about is federal district court clerkship, that's your best choice.

Reach out to your professors and ask them for their advice. Experienced people who know you (at least better than strangers on TLS) will be able to steer you in the right direction, and talking to them now will strengthen your relationship with them.

Good luck!


This is a good point, we probably shouldn't assume OP (who no offence, seems a little clueless) means a federal district court, they didn't specify.

ETA: accidental anon. Auxilio.


Yes, federal district court.



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