NJ Superior Court Clerkships

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NJ Superior Court Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 22, 2019 5:41 pm

Greetings! I have accepted an NJ Superior Court clerkship, which I will start in late August. Several questions (I realize some of these might be judge-specific):

-Was it a strict 8:30-4:30 schedule or did you often have to work nights/weekends?
-Did they drug-test? (I am a medicinal marijuana card-holder)
-What are typical career outcomes of clerks? Do most find FT, long-term legal employment upon completion?
-What's a typical day like for you?
-How thorough is Orientation? Was there an overlap between your term and that of your predecessor? How steep was the learning curve?
-At any given time, how many written decisions do you have to juggle?
-Which legal research platform do clerks use-WestLaw or Lexis?
-How decent were the benefits (health insurance, PTO, etc.)?

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Re: NJ Superior Court Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 22, 2019 8:09 pm

Also: what is something you wish you had known before starting?

judgefudge

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Re: NJ Superior Court Clerkships

Postby judgefudge » Sun Jun 16, 2019 9:41 am

1. I was pretty strictly 8:30-4:30, with maybe a few exceptions. Other clerks left late most days. It really depends on your judge.
2. No drug test, as far as I know. But if you're a medicinal marijuana card holder, I don't really see why that would be a problem anyway.
3. You really have to work for it. Start looking as soon as your clerkship starts and ask your judge for advice/recommendations on where to apply. Most people I knew who put in the work to apply ended up with something, even if it wasn't exactly what they wanted. But you have to understand that there are a ton of clerks in New Jersey, so clerking is more like a requirement at this point for entry level attorneys, rather than something that puts you ahead of others.
4. Again, this is super judge specific and also division specific. I was in general equity. Civil division would be slightly different, and family/criminal are totally different. I clerked a few years ago, but in my typical day, I would get in, drink coffee, check e-mails and voicemails, gab with the other clerks, the secretary, and the court clerk, and then go see the judge to tell her about anything that was going on that day in my cases. The rest of the day would be spent working on memos and, to the extent we had new cases come in, filing and dealing with case management orders. We also had to deal with orders to show cause or stays of sheriff's sale/evictions, which meant drop whatever you're doing and work on that instead. That's very much a gen. equity thing that you probably won't have to deal with if you're in civil division. If there was something on in the courtroom, I would usually sit in. Most trial court judges in Jersey don't write a ton of opinions. My judge either did statements of reasoning or put her opinion on the record verbally. Sometimes I would help with that. Motion days and the days leading up to them required a lot of dealing with attorneys calling to seek last minute adjournments or asking what time their motion was on. Appellate was totally different. I basically just did memos and cite checked opinions all day. Not much communication with the outside world.
5. Orientation is done by the previous year's clerks. At least it was in my courthouse. I had a great orientation because the previous year's clerks cared, wanted me to have a good experience, and wanted the judge to have clerks who were prepared. Other clerks were not so lucky. I picked up on everything pretty quickly...it really depends on what your prior experience was. Plus my judge was super open to questions. That helped. Most judges are. You'll make mistakes, and that's ok. But, to the extent you can prevent it, do so. In other words, ask questions. Don't be arrogant and assume you know if you're not sure, and you'll be fine.
6. Really no written decisions for me ever. But, again..depends on your judge. In appellate, I had 1-2 a week. My judge would write them and I would fact check, cite check, bluebook, and check for grammar.
7. When I clerked, we used Lexis. I believe clerks now have access to both, but I could be wrong.
8. Benefits were awesome. I'm at a private firm now, and while I am obviously paid more, I also pay an exorbitant amount when I go to the doctor. When I worked for the state, I very rarely paid anything more than a co-pay. I believe you get 15 sick days and 15 vacation days. And I don't believe you get paid out for them, so use them all.

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Re: NJ Superior Court Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:13 pm

judgefudge wrote:1. I was pretty strictly 8:30-4:30, with maybe a few exceptions. Other clerks left late most days. It really depends on your judge.
2. No drug test, as far as I know. But if you're a medicinal marijuana card holder, I don't really see why that would be a problem anyway.
3. You really have to work for it. Start looking as soon as your clerkship starts and ask your judge for advice/recommendations on where to apply. Most people I knew who put in the work to apply ended up with something, even if it wasn't exactly what they wanted. But you have to understand that there are a ton of clerks in New Jersey, so clerking is more like a requirement at this point for entry level attorneys, rather than something that puts you ahead of others.
4. Again, this is super judge specific and also division specific. I was in general equity. Civil division would be slightly different, and family/criminal are totally different. I clerked a few years ago, but in my typical day, I would get in, drink coffee, check e-mails and voicemails, gab with the other clerks, the secretary, and the court clerk, and then go see the judge to tell her about anything that was going on that day in my cases. The rest of the day would be spent working on memos and, to the extent we had new cases come in, filing and dealing with case management orders. We also had to deal with orders to show cause or stays of sheriff's sale/evictions, which meant drop whatever you're doing and work on that instead. That's very much a gen. equity thing that you probably won't have to deal with if you're in civil division. If there was something on in the courtroom, I would usually sit in. Most trial court judges in Jersey don't write a ton of opinions. My judge either did statements of reasoning or put her opinion on the record verbally. Sometimes I would help with that. Motion days and the days leading up to them required a lot of dealing with attorneys calling to seek last minute adjournments or asking what time their motion was on. Appellate was totally different. I basically just did memos and cite checked opinions all day. Not much communication with the outside world.
5. Orientation is done by the previous year's clerks. At least it was in my courthouse. I had a great orientation because the previous year's clerks cared, wanted me to have a good experience, and wanted the judge to have clerks who were prepared. Other clerks were not so lucky. I picked up on everything pretty quickly...it really depends on what your prior experience was. Plus my judge was super open to questions. That helped. Most judges are. You'll make mistakes, and that's ok. But, to the extent you can prevent it, do so. In other words, ask questions. Don't be arrogant and assume you know if you're not sure, and you'll be fine.
6. Really no written decisions for me ever. But, again..depends on your judge. In appellate, I had 1-2 a week. My judge would write them and I would fact check, cite check, bluebook, and check for grammar.
7. When I clerked, we used Lexis. I believe clerks now have access to both, but I could be wrong.
8. Benefits were awesome. I'm at a private firm now, and while I am obviously paid more, I also pay an exorbitant amount when I go to the doctor. When I worked for the state, I very rarely paid anything more than a co-pay. I believe you get 15 sick days and 15 vacation days. And I don't believe you get paid out for them, so use them all.


Awesome; super helpful! Did you get to do the 12 hour mediation training?

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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: NJ Superior Court Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 17, 2019 11:34 pm

judgefudge wrote:1. I was pretty strictly 8:30-4:30, with maybe a few exceptions. Other clerks left late most days. It really depends on your judge.
2. No drug test, as far as I know. But if you're a medicinal marijuana card holder, I don't really see why that would be a problem anyway.
3. You really have to work for it. Start looking as soon as your clerkship starts and ask your judge for advice/recommendations on where to apply. Most people I knew who put in the work to apply ended up with something, even if it wasn't exactly what they wanted. But you have to understand that there are a ton of clerks in New Jersey, so clerking is more like a requirement at this point for entry level attorneys, rather than something that puts you ahead of others.
4. Again, this is super judge specific and also division specific. I was in general equity. Civil division would be slightly different, and family/criminal are totally different. I clerked a few years ago, but in my typical day, I would get in, drink coffee, check e-mails and voicemails, gab with the other clerks, the secretary, and the court clerk, and then go see the judge to tell her about anything that was going on that day in my cases. The rest of the day would be spent working on memos and, to the extent we had new cases come in, filing and dealing with case management orders. We also had to deal with orders to show cause or stays of sheriff's sale/evictions, which meant drop whatever you're doing and work on that instead. That's very much a gen. equity thing that you probably won't have to deal with if you're in civil division. If there was something on in the courtroom, I would usually sit in. Most trial court judges in Jersey don't write a ton of opinions. My judge either did statements of reasoning or put her opinion on the record verbally. Sometimes I would help with that. Motion days and the days leading up to them required a lot of dealing with attorneys calling to seek last minute adjournments or asking what time their motion was on. Appellate was totally different. I basically just did memos and cite checked opinions all day. Not much communication with the outside world.
5. Orientation is done by the previous year's clerks. At least it was in my courthouse. I had a great orientation because the previous year's clerks cared, wanted me to have a good experience, and wanted the judge to have clerks who were prepared. Other clerks were not so lucky. I picked up on everything pretty quickly...it really depends on what your prior experience was. Plus my judge was super open to questions. That helped. Most judges are. You'll make mistakes, and that's ok. But, to the extent you can prevent it, do so. In other words, ask questions. Don't be arrogant and assume you know if you're not sure, and you'll be fine.
6. Really no written decisions for me ever. But, again..depends on your judge. In appellate, I had 1-2 a week. My judge would write them and I would fact check, cite check, bluebook, and check for grammar.
7. When I clerked, we used Lexis. I believe clerks now have access to both, but I could be wrong.
8. Benefits were awesome. I'm at a private firm now, and while I am obviously paid more, I also pay an exorbitant amount when I go to the doctor. When I worked for the state, I very rarely paid anything more than a co-pay. I believe you get 15 sick days and 15 vacation days. And I don't believe you get paid out for them, so use them all.


Also, did the health insurance kick in immediately or after the first 30, 60, days?

judgefudge

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Re: NJ Superior Court Clerkships

Postby judgefudge » Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
judgefudge wrote:1. I was pretty strictly 8:30-4:30, with maybe a few exceptions. Other clerks left late most days. It really depends on your judge.
2. No drug test, as far as I know. But if you're a medicinal marijuana card holder, I don't really see why that would be a problem anyway.
3. You really have to work for it. Start looking as soon as your clerkship starts and ask your judge for advice/recommendations on where to apply. Most people I knew who put in the work to apply ended up with something, even if it wasn't exactly what they wanted. But you have to understand that there are a ton of clerks in New Jersey, so clerking is more like a requirement at this point for entry level attorneys, rather than something that puts you ahead of others.
4. Again, this is super judge specific and also division specific. I was in general equity. Civil division would be slightly different, and family/criminal are totally different. I clerked a few years ago, but in my typical day, I would get in, drink coffee, check e-mails and voicemails, gab with the other clerks, the secretary, and the court clerk, and then go see the judge to tell her about anything that was going on that day in my cases. The rest of the day would be spent working on memos and, to the extent we had new cases come in, filing and dealing with case management orders. We also had to deal with orders to show cause or stays of sheriff's sale/evictions, which meant drop whatever you're doing and work on that instead. That's very much a gen. equity thing that you probably won't have to deal with if you're in civil division. If there was something on in the courtroom, I would usually sit in. Most trial court judges in Jersey don't write a ton of opinions. My judge either did statements of reasoning or put her opinion on the record verbally. Sometimes I would help with that. Motion days and the days leading up to them required a lot of dealing with attorneys calling to seek last minute adjournments or asking what time their motion was on. Appellate was totally different. I basically just did memos and cite checked opinions all day. Not much communication with the outside world.
5. Orientation is done by the previous year's clerks. At least it was in my courthouse. I had a great orientation because the previous year's clerks cared, wanted me to have a good experience, and wanted the judge to have clerks who were prepared. Other clerks were not so lucky. I picked up on everything pretty quickly...it really depends on what your prior experience was. Plus my judge was super open to questions. That helped. Most judges are. You'll make mistakes, and that's ok. But, to the extent you can prevent it, do so. In other words, ask questions. Don't be arrogant and assume you know if you're not sure, and you'll be fine.
6. Really no written decisions for me ever. But, again..depends on your judge. In appellate, I had 1-2 a week. My judge would write them and I would fact check, cite check, bluebook, and check for grammar.
7. When I clerked, we used Lexis. I believe clerks now have access to both, but I could be wrong.
8. Benefits were awesome. I'm at a private firm now, and while I am obviously paid more, I also pay an exorbitant amount when I go to the doctor. When I worked for the state, I very rarely paid anything more than a co-pay. I believe you get 15 sick days and 15 vacation days. And I don't believe you get paid out for them, so use them all.


Also, did the health insurance kick in immediately or after the first 30, 60, days?


The health insurance kicked in after 30 days, I think. If memory serves correctly, they said 2 paychecks.

Anonymous User wrote:
judgefudge wrote:1. I was pretty strictly 8:30-4:30, with maybe a few exceptions. Other clerks left late most days. It really depends on your judge.
2. No drug test, as far as I know. But if you're a medicinal marijuana card holder, I don't really see why that would be a problem anyway.
3. You really have to work for it. Start looking as soon as your clerkship starts and ask your judge for advice/recommendations on where to apply. Most people I knew who put in the work to apply ended up with something, even if it wasn't exactly what they wanted. But you have to understand that there are a ton of clerks in New Jersey, so clerking is more like a requirement at this point for entry level attorneys, rather than something that puts you ahead of others.
4. Again, this is super judge specific and also division specific. I was in general equity. Civil division would be slightly different, and family/criminal are totally different. I clerked a few years ago, but in my typical day, I would get in, drink coffee, check e-mails and voicemails, gab with the other clerks, the secretary, and the court clerk, and then go see the judge to tell her about anything that was going on that day in my cases. The rest of the day would be spent working on memos and, to the extent we had new cases come in, filing and dealing with case management orders. We also had to deal with orders to show cause or stays of sheriff's sale/evictions, which meant drop whatever you're doing and work on that instead. That's very much a gen. equity thing that you probably won't have to deal with if you're in civil division. If there was something on in the courtroom, I would usually sit in. Most trial court judges in Jersey don't write a ton of opinions. My judge either did statements of reasoning or put her opinion on the record verbally. Sometimes I would help with that. Motion days and the days leading up to them required a lot of dealing with attorneys calling to seek last minute adjournments or asking what time their motion was on. Appellate was totally different. I basically just did memos and cite checked opinions all day. Not much communication with the outside world.
5. Orientation is done by the previous year's clerks. At least it was in my courthouse. I had a great orientation because the previous year's clerks cared, wanted me to have a good experience, and wanted the judge to have clerks who were prepared. Other clerks were not so lucky. I picked up on everything pretty quickly...it really depends on what your prior experience was. Plus my judge was super open to questions. That helped. Most judges are. You'll make mistakes, and that's ok. But, to the extent you can prevent it, do so. In other words, ask questions. Don't be arrogant and assume you know if you're not sure, and you'll be fine.
6. Really no written decisions for me ever. But, again..depends on your judge. In appellate, I had 1-2 a week. My judge would write them and I would fact check, cite check, bluebook, and check for grammar.
7. When I clerked, we used Lexis. I believe clerks now have access to both, but I could be wrong.
8. Benefits were awesome. I'm at a private firm now, and while I am obviously paid more, I also pay an exorbitant amount when I go to the doctor. When I worked for the state, I very rarely paid anything more than a co-pay. I believe you get 15 sick days and 15 vacation days. And I don't believe you get paid out for them, so use them all.


Awesome; super helpful! Did you get to do the 12 hour mediation training?


Every clerk in my courthouse had to mediate cases. I got a waiver from the 12 hour training because I took a mediation course in law school. I believe they still granted me CLE credits for that. But if your courthouse is like mine was, you'll have to mediate roughly once every few months, so if you didn't take a course in law school or if your course wasn't very good, I'd definitely recommend opting in.
Some people hated mediation, but even though I'm in private practice now, I continue to be a volunteer mediator at my local courthouse. I enjoy it, it gets me out of the office, and I feel like I'm giving something back to the community.

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Re: NJ Superior Court Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 22, 2019 1:08 pm

judgefudge wrote:1. I was pretty strictly 8:30-4:30, with maybe a few exceptions. Other clerks left late most days. It really depends on your judge.
2. No drug test, as far as I know. But if you're a medicinal marijuana card holder, I don't really see why that would be a problem anyway.
3. You really have to work for it. Start looking as soon as your clerkship starts and ask your judge for advice/recommendations on where to apply. Most people I knew who put in the work to apply ended up with something, even if it wasn't exactly what they wanted. But you have to understand that there are a ton of clerks in New Jersey, so clerking is more like a requirement at this point for entry level attorneys, rather than something that puts you ahead of others.
4. Again, this is super judge specific and also division specific. I was in general equity. Civil division would be slightly different, and family/criminal are totally different. I clerked a few years ago, but in my typical day, I would get in, drink coffee, check e-mails and voicemails, gab with the other clerks, the secretary, and the court clerk, and then go see the judge to tell her about anything that was going on that day in my cases. The rest of the day would be spent working on memos and, to the extent we had new cases come in, filing and dealing with case management orders. We also had to deal with orders to show cause or stays of sheriff's sale/evictions, which meant drop whatever you're doing and work on that instead. That's very much a gen. equity thing that you probably won't have to deal with if you're in civil division. If there was something on in the courtroom, I would usually sit in. Most trial court judges in Jersey don't write a ton of opinions. My judge either did statements of reasoning or put her opinion on the record verbally. Sometimes I would help with that. Motion days and the days leading up to them required a lot of dealing with attorneys calling to seek last minute adjournments or asking what time their motion was on. Appellate was totally different. I basically just did memos and cite checked opinions all day. Not much communication with the outside world.
5. Orientation is done by the previous year's clerks. At least it was in my courthouse. I had a great orientation because the previous year's clerks cared, wanted me to have a good experience, and wanted the judge to have clerks who were prepared. Other clerks were not so lucky. I picked up on everything pretty quickly...it really depends on what your prior experience was. Plus my judge was super open to questions. That helped. Most judges are. You'll make mistakes, and that's ok. But, to the extent you can prevent it, do so. In other words, ask questions. Don't be arrogant and assume you know if you're not sure, and you'll be fine.
6. Really no written decisions for me ever. But, again..depends on your judge. In appellate, I had 1-2 a week. My judge would write them and I would fact check, cite check, bluebook, and check for grammar.
7. When I clerked, we used Lexis. I believe clerks now have access to both, but I could be wrong.
8. Benefits were awesome. I'm at a private firm now, and while I am obviously paid more, I also pay an exorbitant amount when I go to the doctor. When I worked for the state, I very rarely paid anything more than a co-pay. I believe you get 15 sick days and 15 vacation days. And I don't believe you get paid out for them, so use them all.


Judgefudge, what type of job did you get at the conclusion of the clerkship?



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