State SG or Biglaw between clerkships

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State SG or Biglaw between clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:20 pm

Hi all,

I’m wrapping up a federal district court clerkship this August with a federal CoA clerkship to start in August 2020. For the year between, I’m currently weighing offers for biglaw in my choice market (albeit not at my choice firm) and a state SG fellowship in another state (non-CA/NY/IL/TX SG’s office). It feels like the firm money would be nice to pay off loans (and it could be nice to learn the ropes of discovery/other firm intricacies), but the SG gig could be a good chance to get arguments. What would y’all choose?

QContinuum

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Re: State SG or Biglaw between clerkships

Postby QContinuum » Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:26 pm

Do you want/plan to join BigLaw after your CoA clerkship? If yes, then I'd lean strongly in favor of spending your "gap year" in BigLaw. Firms might be a bit hesitant to hire someone three years out of law school with zero years of BigLaw experience - would you enter as a fourth-year despite never having worked in BigLaw full-time? Partners may also view you as someone who'd rather be in government than the private sector.

But if your post-CoA endgame is government service, then by all means go to the state SG's office - as you say, it'd likely give you way better trial experience than you'd get in BigLaw.

If you're not sure/would like to keep your options open, I'd recommend doing the "gap year" in BigLaw, because that preserves your BigLaw employability without impairing your ability to join the government post-CoA clerkship.

Congrats on your offers and on your upcoming CoA clerkship!

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Re: State SG or Biglaw between clerkships

Postby lavarman84 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:26 pm

That's a pretty tough question. Are you wanting to practice appellate law? Are you interested at all in practicing in that state? My understanding is that SG fellowships are quite competitive and offer incredible experience, but that perception might be based on the more "prestigious" states.

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Re: State SG or Biglaw between clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:23 pm

OP here: my goal is Biglaw post-COA clerkship, though I’d be interested in trading up from this firm to a firm with a better reputation in the market (basically, from a large-ish office from an out-of-town V100 to a V50/V25 with a major presence in the city, if I can).

As far as practice focus goes, appellate work sounds interesting, but I’m concerned my credentials don’t entirely fit the Biglaw appellate practice bill. I was top-20% at Duke/Northwestern/Berkeley, with secondary journal exec board and good recs, after transferring from a T20—which has turned out to be enough for COA clerking in a major city in CA4/5/6/11, but may not be enough to enter the rarefied world of Biglaw appellate groups. My choice market also does not have all that much appellate work, it seems. And other types of lit sound equally appealing. All said, not devoted to appellate work.

I don’t have any other connections to the state of the SG’s office, and little (but not zero) interest in practicing in that state medium or long term. The SG (as an individual) seems quite connected (former SCOTUS clerk and Biglaw partner) but the capitol is semi-flyover.

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Re: State SG or Biglaw between clerkships

Postby lavarman84 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:14 pm

Honestly, biglaw is probably the better bet from my POV without knowing more. That pains me to say because I have no interest in doing biglaw and would absolutely love to work for a SG after I complete my COA clerkship.

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Re: State SG or Biglaw between clerkships

Postby objctnyrhnr » Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:29 am

At my v20, I personally know of somebody who clerked for large state intermediate appeals court then two fed district court clerkships. Firm brought him in at class plus a market ish clerkship bonus (only equivalent to a single clerkship though).

The reason that I say this is that, while anecdotal, I think it might be worth countering some of the sentiment on here that higher level biglaw won’t give you a serious look if you don’t enter it for 3 years due to clerkships/whatever.

In my view, a d court, a coa, and a state SG fellowship in the middle is an incredible way to kick off your career regardless of what you want to do. If the only reason you’re considering biglaw is because you are worried about your marketability after 3 years of non biglaw, this concern doesn’t seem like a major thing in my view with the credentials you’ll be coming in with.

Now that all being said, many believe Econ will be slower in a few years which obviously is less than ideal when trying to break into biglaw. Still, assuming no major crash, even if that’s true, I think you’ll be good to go with the credentials and state SG in middle.

My two cents. Congrats either way on your options.

superfly92

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Re: State SG or Biglaw between clerkships

Postby superfly92 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 11:56 am

What’s the ideological bent of the office? My guess is you’re considering the Ohio or Missouri SG’s offices, both of which is involved in some pretty right things (think pro-death penalty, pro-life, anti-LGBT, anti-ACA advocacy). Unless you want a career in conservative spaces (in which case, that’s a great idea), I’d be very wary.
Last edited by QContinuum on Tue Apr 16, 2019 6:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Outed for anon abuse.

lavarman84

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Re: State SG or Biglaw between clerkships

Postby lavarman84 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:02 pm

objctnyrhnr wrote:At my v20, I personally know of somebody who clerked for large state intermediate appeals court then two fed district court clerkships. Firm brought him in at class plus a market ish clerkship bonus (only equivalent to a single clerkship though).

The reason that I say this is that, while anecdotal, I think it might be worth countering some of the sentiment on here that higher level biglaw won’t give you a serious look if you don’t enter it for 3 years due to clerkships/whatever.

In my view, a d court, a coa, and a state SG fellowship in the middle is an incredible way to kick off your career regardless of what you want to do. If the only reason you’re considering biglaw is because you are worried about your marketability after 3 years of non biglaw, this concern doesn’t seem like a major thing in my view with the credentials you’ll be coming in with.

Now that all being said, many believe Econ will be slower in a few years which obviously is less than ideal when trying to break into biglaw. Still, assuming no major crash, even if that’s true, I think you’ll be good to go with the credentials and state SG in middle.

My two cents. Congrats either way on your options.


I certainly wouldn't argue that the D. Ct. + SG Fellowship + COA won't be marketable to biglaw. I think if OP has the credentials for all of that (along with those credentials), he or she will have no issue landing biglaw (as long as the economy isn't in the shitter). However, OP indicated that the year of biglaw would help financially. Plus, it would be in his or her preferred market (while the SG fellowship is not). Those are the benefits I see.



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