Strategy when applying with some experience

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: 337370
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Strategy when applying with some experience

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:09 pm

I just finished my SA and have an offer for the litigation group. I want to practice at the firm for a year or two and then apply for clerkships. What amount of my recommendations should come from professors rather than partners when applying with experience? Should I wait to ask for those recommendations from professors or start seeking them out now?

anonymous117

Bronze
Posts: 160
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2016 5:50 pm

Re: Strategy when applying with some experience

Postby anonymous117 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:34 pm

If you’re a rising 3L hoping to clerk after 1-2 years, if you’re thinking federal clerkships, you should be applying now. I think standard wisdom is recommendations from professors unless you are applying while already at the firm with experience at the time of your application.

Barrred

Bronze
Posts: 207
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2016 6:49 pm

Re: Strategy when applying with some experience

Postby Barrred » Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:44 pm

I agree that you should be applying now for 1-2 years out. A couple years at a firm is not long enough to rely on partner recommendations over professor recommendations. Maybe one (of your three or four) letters could be from a law firm partner you worked for (preferably a big name partner), but no more. If you want a clerkship, you need to develop/maintain relationships with professors, because for whatever reason, judges look very highly on professor recs, and much less so on law firm partner recs (unless they have a personal relationship with the partner, or the partner is a household name).

ETA: If you mean that you want to spend 1-2 years at a firm, and then apply for a term 2 years out from that date, meaning you would leave to clerk as a 4th or 5th year, I think this advice still stands. Maybe at that point you could get away with 2 partner letters and 2 professor letters, but I still wouldn't rely entirely on partners' recommendations. tl;dr: maintain your relationships with professors.

Anonymous User
Posts: 337370
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Strategy when applying with some experience

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 05, 2019 6:34 pm

anonymous117 wrote:If you’re a rising 3L hoping to clerk after 1-2 years, if you’re thinking federal clerkships, you should be applying now. I think standard wisdom is recommendations from professors unless you are applying while already at the firm with experience at the time of your application.


Ok thanks for this. Do state supreme courts tend to hire only for the upcoming term?

Anonymous User
Posts: 337370
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Strategy when applying with some experience

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 05, 2019 9:49 pm

I did this and used 2 professor letters and 1 work letter. Definitely ask professors if they'd be willing to write rec letters for you now, while you are fresh in their memory, and keep their assistants looped in on your plans, e.g., if you do some research and find out your top-choice judges won't hire for your preferred term for 2 more years, let them know you won't apply immediately. It was much easier for me to come back to professors post-grad and tell them they had previously agreed to write a letter for me and request an updated letter than to cold email them years later.

Be warned, some firms have policies against partners writing rec letters, so that's yet another reason to have at least some professor recommendations locked down. Good luck and congrats on the offer.

FascinatedWanderer

Bronze
Posts: 295
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2015 10:12 pm

Re: Strategy when applying with some experience

Postby FascinatedWanderer » Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:27 am

Anonymous User wrote:
anonymous117 wrote:If you’re a rising 3L hoping to clerk after 1-2 years, if you’re thinking federal clerkships, you should be applying now. I think standard wisdom is recommendations from professors unless you are applying while already at the firm with experience at the time of your application.


Ok thanks for this. Do state supreme courts tend to hire only for the upcoming term?


No.

anonymous117

Bronze
Posts: 160
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2016 5:50 pm

Re: Strategy when applying with some experience

Postby anonymous117 » Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
anonymous117 wrote:If you’re a rising 3L hoping to clerk after 1-2 years, if you’re thinking federal clerkships, you should be applying now. I think standard wisdom is recommendations from professors unless you are applying while already at the firm with experience at the time of your application.


Ok thanks for this. Do state supreme courts tend to hire only for the upcoming term?


It depends on the state (and maybe in some states, I’m sure there’s variation between justices). In my home state, they all hire on the same timeline one year in advance.

Anonymous User
Posts: 337370
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Strategy when applying with some experience

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 16, 2019 4:14 pm

Is it ok to ask a professor you worked for as an RA for an LOR or does it have to be one you got a grade from?

Barrred

Bronze
Posts: 207
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2016 6:49 pm

Re: Strategy when applying with some experience

Postby Barrred » Fri Aug 16, 2019 5:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Is it ok to ask a professor you worked for as an RA for an LOR or does it have to be one you got a grade from?

Its okay so long as you did enough for that professor that they can credibly recommend you and sing your praises. You dont want to ask a professor you RAed for if you suspect the LOR might say something like "he was my RA and he was diligent in completing assigned research tasks, but I never graded his work so I am not sure how brilliant he is" instead of "he was my RA and he did amazing work for me, he found XYZ for me when nobody else could, and he made a connection between A and B that I had overlooked, and which greatly improved the quality of the article I wrote."



Return to “Judicial Clerkships?

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.