Western District of Texas—help me out

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Western District of Texas—help me out

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 30, 2019 3:45 pm

I’m interviewing for a permanent pro se law clerk position in the western district of Texas. But I can’t find anyone that clerked in this district or knows much about the position to help with my interview. I was hoping to find some luck here. Has anyone clerked in the Western District of Texas, particularly the Austin or San Antonio division? What was your sense of the pro se staff attorneys? What was their level of interaction with the Court? Anything at all that might be helpful in preparing for an interview?

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Re: Western District of Texas—help me out

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 01, 2019 2:32 am

I didn’t clerk in WDTX, but I clerked for a DJ in a district with a ton of pro se litigation (prisoners), so we had a few pro se clerks. They worked primarily with the MJs on prisoner/civil rights litigation. The bulk of it is screening cases. (Statutes allow courts to sua sponte see if a pro se complaint states a claim.) The second most common thing was the MSJs. Discovery disputes and then of course preparing for trial. The pro se clerks would be assigned cases and were responsible for them through resolution.

The cases aren’t always glamorous or exciting, but they can actually be really interesting. A bonus was the pro se clerks worked with every judge in the courthouse and often got more trial experience than the term clerks. You also become an expert in the subject matter because you see lots of the same stuff, which is a blessing and a curse.

If you think you’d be happy with a laidback and generally interesting but at times monotonous and easy job, I think being a pro se career clerk could be a great fit. It’s not for everyone, but the lifers at my court seemed really happy with great work-life balance.

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Re: Western District of Texas—help me out

Postby decimalsanddollars » Tue Oct 01, 2019 11:07 am

Anonymous User wrote:I’m interviewing for a permanent pro se law clerk position in the western district of Texas. But I can’t find anyone that clerked in this district or knows much about the position to help with my interview. I was hoping to find some luck here. Has anyone clerked in the Western District of Texas, particularly the Austin or San Antonio division? What was your sense of the pro se staff attorneys? What was their level of interaction with the Court? Anything at all that might be helpful in preparing for an interview?


PM me

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Re: Western District of Texas—help me out

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 01, 2019 4:09 pm

decimalsanddollars wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I’m interviewing for a permanent pro se law clerk position in the western district of Texas. But I can’t find anyone that clerked in this district or knows much about the position to help with my interview. I was hoping to find some luck here. Has anyone clerked in the Western District of Texas, particularly the Austin or San Antonio division? What was your sense of the pro se staff attorneys? What was their level of interaction with the Court? Anything at all that might be helpful in preparing for an interview?


PM me


Op here. I think was able to figure out the pm function and left you a message

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Re: Western District of Texas—help me out

Postby decimalsanddollars » Wed Oct 02, 2019 6:35 pm

Sorry, my account is too new to PM back---I've been trying for a while.

I clerked in another Texas district court and worked closely with pro se staff attorneys. I can answer questions about that kind of thing generally, but I wanted to clarify via PM that I haven't worked with PSSAs in San Antonio or Austin.

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Re: Western District of Texas—help me out

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 02, 2019 11:59 pm

Just make sure you go in with open eyes about what you are actually going to do in this position on a day to day basis. It is really tough to work on pro se cases all the time.

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Re: Western District of Texas—help me out

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 04, 2019 2:19 am

Anonymous User wrote:Just make sure you go in with open eyes about what you are actually going to do in this position on a day to day basis. It is really tough to work on pro se cases all the time.


Anon from above about another district.

I second this. I clerked for a DJ who took on a lot of pro se/prisoner/civil rights stuff and even though it was maybe 10% of what I worked on, it got monotonous at times. Screening complaints in particular. I could see the work getting tiresome.

That said, the law is always evolving in these areas, and fascinating legal issues do arise more often than you’d expect. And sometimes a pro se motion is so bizarre, you don’t even know where to begin. I have so many good stories from some of our “frequent flyer” litigants.

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Re: Western District of Texas—help me out

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I’m interviewing for a permanent pro se law clerk position in the western district of Texas. But I can’t find anyone that clerked in this district or knows much about the position to help with my interview. I was hoping to find some luck here. Has anyone clerked in the Western District of Texas, particularly the Austin or San Antonio division? What was your sense of the pro se staff attorneys? What was their level of interaction with the Court? Anything at all that might be helpful in preparing for an interview?


I clerked in the W.D. Tex. I apologize for not seeing this sooner. Here's what I can tell you:
1. The pro se law clerks in the district handle all habeas petitions but ICE detention, as well as pro se cases filed by prisoners (ex. prisoner civil rights, but those are normally sent to MJs for R&Rs first). Other pro se cases (like lawsuits filed by random citizens) are not handled by the pro se law clerks.

2. The level of interaction with the court doesn't seem overly high. Judges will keep track of you for the purposes of monitoring where you are on the cases on their docket. Beyond that, there isn't much interaction from what I could tell (that might differ from courthouse to courthouse). I was social with the pro se law clerk in our courthouse, but that was more because we were friendly than anything.

3. If you have the choice, I'd choose Austin. There's some acrimony between the judges in SA, the courthouse is old and dreary (might be getting a new one soonish), and I like the judges in Austin better as people.

4. Terees Jenkins seems to be the de facto chief of the pro se law clerks. Keep that in mind. She has Chief Judge Garcia's ear.

Do you know who is interviewing you?

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Re: Western District of Texas—help me out

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 04, 2019 9:21 pm

Heard the same about disagreements between the judges in SA and that some mags. were difficult to appear before. But you'd be behind the curtain - not practicing before them.



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