In Desperate Need of Advice

(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."
User avatar
Elston Gunn

Gold
Posts: 3580
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:09 pm

Re: In Desperate Need of Advice - Co-Clerks Make Me Feel Unwelcome

Postby Elston Gunn » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:28 pm

Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of helpful thoughts, but I just want to emphasize for you that the details in your post will make it extremely easy to identify you to your co-clerks. Up to you whether to decided if you’re comfortable with them potentially seeing this post.

lavarman84

Platinum
Posts: 7868
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: In Desperate Need of Advice - Co-Clerks Make Me Feel Unwelcome

Postby lavarman84 » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:35 pm

My best advice to you is to suck it up and make use of your private workspace. You can try confronting them, but that might make things worse. You could go to the judge, but that will definitely make things worse. In fact, it could cost you your job.

The judge might like you, but he/she might not want to deal with the drama. And there are two of them and one of you. Even if the judge does support you, it won't make things better with them. They'll see you as a narc and will shut you out.

I think the best you can do in this situation is get out of your shared office, get your work done alone, and give all three of you some distance. With some time and cooling off, you might be able to build relationships up again. It's a lot easier when you and the other clerk aren't breathing down each other's necks in the office.

However, it's also possible that your relationship with them won't improve. I have a friend who disliked both of his co-clerks. They weren't nice people. I know other people who didn't like one or more of their co-clerks. Sometimes, that's the unluck of the draw. In such a scenario, just keep your head down, get your work done, and stay away from any drama (because it might get back to the judge).

I'm sorry that there might not be a fix. Some people have great clerkships with great co-clerks and a great judge. Some people have bad clerkships due to either a bad judge or bad co-clerks. It's just luck of the draw. At the end of the day, while having a good relationship with your co-clerks is a nice bonus, it's the judge's reference that you need.

EDIT: I'll also note that you should reflect on whether you had any role in what has happened. I understand your frustration at your co-clerks lack of courtesy. However, you come off as very tightly wound from your post. Now, I don't know you IRL, and it's not fair to judge somebody from only a post on the internet. However, if you're tightly wound, you might be frustrating your co-clerk as much as he is frustrating you.

Keep in mind that it's not uncommon to socialize in the office. I talked to my co-clerk (we shared an office) off and on throughout the day. It sounds like your officemate was there before you. It's very possible the person you replaced was much more social and fine with the vaping. I'm not saying that excuses his behavior, but I am saying that it helps to understand his perspective on it all. When you share an office, there will be things your officemate does that annoys you, and there will be things you do that annoy him.

nixy

Gold
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: In Desperate Need of Advice - Co-Clerks Make Me Feel Unwelcome

Postby nixy » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:47 pm

Are these term clerks or career clerks or a combo of both? (I'm kind of assuming the vaper is a career clerk b/c I find it hard to think a term clerk would pull that, but I don't vape or know anyone who does, so I could be wrong. But also it sounds like they're not in the middle of a learning curve, and consequently have more time in the office to socialize/get stuff done more quickly.) Because, as frustrating as it is, if a career clerk is involved, frankly, I would keep my mouth shut, do the best job I could, and just get through the year. You don't have to trust them, but I don't think speaking to them or to the judge is going to accomplish anything. Career clerks always have an advantage over term clerks, and it sounds like this person has established routines/habits that the judge doesn't have any problem with. (Or: there may have been problems in the past - the "you see how this reflects on me" suggests there may have been complaints in the past because why else would your request reflect on them? But this clerk is still there.) It sucks, but I don't think going up against a career clerk is a good idea. They have a long-term relationship with the judge on their side, and usually are pretty good at their jobs or have some other skills that the judge values.

If the other clerk (who doesn't share your space) is also a career clerk, they may be prioritizing their relationship with the person they'll have to work with for a long time over their relationship with a short-timer; if they're also a term clerk, they may really just be trying to stay out of the conflict.

If they're all term clerks, then I think you have more leeway to speak to them (or the judge, but I'd start with them).

I guess my question to you, though, is: what do you want to accomplish by speaking to them? (career clerk or not) It's true that your medical information is none of their business, but that ship has already sailed. If you're concerned about them continuing to tell people (outside of chambers), it's fair to ask them not to speak to anyone else about it. (I also don't think it's anything to be ashamed of, though obv. that's easier for me to say.) If you want an apology/acknowledgment that they were wrong, well, I don't think that's going to happen. So what is your ideal outcome, and how likely is it that you'll get it?

(I'm not trying to justify their behavior in any way - though I think really the person you share the office with is the bigger problem than the other; hearing the judge say something to another person about an appropriate location for you and commenting on it is kind of fair game, flipping out that you must have tattled to the judge and badmouthed them isn't. Unfortunately chambers are small and when things don't go well there are very very few practical options.)

Edit: also, I posted before reading lavarman's post, but I cosign everything he says.

LBJ's Hair

Bronze
Posts: 277
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:17 pm

Re: In Desperate Need of Advice - Co-Clerks Make Me Feel Unwelcome

Postby LBJ's Hair » Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:24 pm

I would start with apologizing to your co-clerks. You should have been able to resolve these extremely trivial office issues with them through some combination of a conversation and noise canceling headphones. Instead, you complained to the *judge* and implied they were being insensitive to your *disability*. Of course they're pissed lol

Anonymous User
Posts: 340468
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: In Desperate Need of Advice - Co-Clerks Make Me Feel Unwelcome

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:07 pm

LBJ's Hair wrote:I would start with apologizing to your co-clerks. You should have been able to resolve these extremely trivial office issues with them through some combination of a conversation and noise canceling headphones. Instead, you complained to the *judge* and implied they were being insensitive to your *disability*. Of course they're pissed lol
LBJ's Hair wrote:I would start with apologizing to your co-clerks. You should have been able to resolve these extremely trivial office issues with them through some combination of a conversation and noise canceling headphones. Instead, you complained to the *judge* and implied they were being insensitive to your *disability*. Of course they're pissed lol


OP here. I am impressed, this is very insightful. I wonder why I didn't think of doing any of those things. :roll: IKR, it was so rude of me to think of chambers as a place to work. I take it your chambers is vape-friendly? Sounds super chill, keep livin the dream!

Miss Understood

New
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:05 pm

Re: In Desperate Need of Advice - Co-Clerks Make Me Feel Unwelcome

Postby Miss Understood » Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:11 pm

lavarman84 wrote:My best advice to you is to suck it up and make use of your private workspace. You can try confronting them, but that might make things worse. You could go to the judge, but that will definitely make things worse. In fact, it could cost you your job.

The judge might like you, but he/she might not want to deal with the drama. And there are two of them and one of you. Even if the judge does support you, it won't make things better with them. They'll see you as a narc and will shut you out.

I think the best you can do in this situation is get out of your shared office, get your work done alone, and give all three of you some distance. With some time and cooling off, you might be able to build relationships up again. It's a lot easier when you and the other clerk aren't breathing down each other's necks in the office.

However, it's also possible that your relationship with them won't improve. I have a friend who disliked both of his co-clerks. They weren't nice people. I know other people who didn't like one or more of their co-clerks. Sometimes, that's the unluck of the draw. In such a scenario, just keep your head down, get your work done, and stay away from any drama (because it might get back to the judge).

I'm sorry that there might not be a fix. Some people have great clerkships with great co-clerks and a great judge. Some people have bad clerkships due to either a bad judge or bad co-clerks. It's just luck of the draw. At the end of the day, while having a good relationship with your co-clerks is a nice bonus, it's the judge's reference that you need.

EDIT: I'll also note that you should reflect on whether you had any role in what has happened. I understand your frustration at your co-clerks lack of courtesy. However, you come off as very tightly wound from your post. Now, I don't know you IRL, and it's not fair to judge somebody from only a post on the internet. However, if you're tightly wound, you might be frustrating your co-clerk as much as he is frustrating you.

Keep in mind that it's not uncommon to socialize in the office. I talked to my co-clerk (we shared an office) off and on throughout the day. It sounds like your officemate was there before you. It's very possible the person you replaced was much more social and fine with the vaping. I'm not saying that excuses his behavior, but I am saying that it helps to understand his perspective on it all. When you share an office, there will be things your officemate does that annoys you, and there will be things you do that annoy him.


Thanks, this is very helpful advice.

nixy

Gold
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: In Desperate Need of Advice - Co-Clerks Make Me Feel Unwelcome

Postby nixy » Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:24 pm

So I agree that this probably could have been handled better, but 1) the office remodeling next door provided a perfectly legit reason to bring up moving without casting aspersions on a co-clerk, and 2) you kind of sound like you’re suggesting the OP doesn’t really have a disability, which is uncool. That may not be what you meant, but it comes across that way.

Miss Understood

New
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:05 pm

Re: In Desperate Need of Advice - Co-Clerks Make Me Feel Unwelcome

Postby Miss Understood » Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:34 pm

nixy wrote:Are these term clerks or career clerks or a combo of both? (I'm kind of assuming the vaper is a career clerk b/c I find it hard to think a term clerk would pull that, but I don't vape or know anyone who does, so I could be wrong. But also it sounds like they're not in the middle of a learning curve, and consequently have more time in the office to socialize/get stuff done more quickly.) Because, as frustrating as it is, if a career clerk is involved, frankly, I would keep my mouth shut, do the best job I could, and just get through the year. You don't have to trust them, but I don't think speaking to them or to the judge is going to accomplish anything. Career clerks always have an advantage over term clerks, and it sounds like this person has established routines/habits that the judge doesn't have any problem with. (Or: there may have been problems in the past - the "you see how this reflects on me" suggests there may have been complaints in the past because why else would your request reflect on them? But this clerk is still there.) It sucks, but I don't think going up against a career clerk is a good idea. They have a long-term relationship with the judge on their side, and usually are pretty good at their jobs or have some other skills that the judge values.

If the other clerk (who doesn't share your space) is also a career clerk, they may be prioritizing their relationship with the person they'll have to work with for a long time over their relationship with a short-timer; if they're also a term clerk, they may really just be trying to stay out of the conflict.

If they're all term clerks, then I think you have more leeway to speak to them (or the judge, but I'd start with them).

I guess my question to you, though, is: what do you want to accomplish by speaking to them? (career clerk or not) It's true that your medical information is none of their business, but that ship has already sailed. If you're concerned about them continuing to tell people (outside of chambers), it's fair to ask them not to speak to anyone else about it. (I also don't think it's anything to be ashamed of, though obv. that's easier for me to say.) If you want an apology/acknowledgment that they were wrong, well, I don't think that's going to happen. So what is your ideal outcome, and how likely is it that you'll get it?

(I'm not trying to justify their behavior in any way - though I think really the person you share the office with is the bigger problem than the other; hearing the judge say something to another person about an appropriate location for you and commenting on it is kind of fair game, flipping out that you must have tattled to the judge and badmouthed them isn't. Unfortunately chambers are small and when things don't go well there are very very few practical options.)

Edit: also, I posted before reading lavarman's post, but I cosign everything he says.


Thanks for your advice! They are both term clerks. I am concerned about the privacy of my medical information, so I will address that with them. I think that what upsets me most has just been the audacity of it all; specifically, just puffing like a chimney without even bothering to ask and then treating me like the problem when I asked nicely if it could be done somewhere else. I don't think they are allowed in my building at all, but I didn't narc. I just wanted to be able to do my job. It was not only the vaping, but the angry outburst after I met with the judge. His sense of entitlement in telling me that I should have involved him in a private meeting that only involved a discussion of my medical condition and needs. I did not say one negative thing about the person, I was just trying to take care of myself and get some help. There is just so much tension here, and their discussion about my info made me feel "outed" to the building and embarrassed. I don't need an apology, I just don't want to be told when I can and can't meet with the judge about my private information.

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 2824
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: In Desperate Need of Advice - Co-Clerks Make Me Feel Unwelcome

Postby QContinuum » Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:42 am

LBJ's Hair wrote:I would start with apologizing to your co-clerks. You should have been able to resolve these extremely trivial office issues with them through some combination of a conversation and noise canceling headphones. Instead, you complained to the *judge* and implied they were being insensitive to your *disability*. Of course they're pissed lol

LBJ, you're a great TLSer, but it's not okay to suggest someone's making up a disability. Please don't do so again going forward.

nixy

Gold
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: In Desperate Need of Advice

Postby nixy » Wed Oct 09, 2019 11:16 am

Are they term clerks who’ve been there for a year already? (It just seems really weird if this is them establishing themselves at the same time that you are.)

I’m still not sure what conversation can take place after the fact to address what you’re upset about. It doesn’t sound like they had any basis at all to demand that they be involved in your conversation with the judge, so that is weird and off putting and I get being upset. But I don’t know how you’re going to remedy that going forward. My advice would be to be polite to this person but minimize contact as much as possible, do your job, and just be aware how they might react in future. Talk to the judge as you need to about whatever you need to, and just don’t engage this person if they start going off. They don’t have any authority over you and don’t give them any by taking anything they say seriously. Honestly, just walk out (I mean to another room or the bathroom, not out of the building) if they start going off. What are they going to do? Go complain to the judge themselves?

Unless there’s something really specific and concrete that the judge has to address (like a different work space was fine) I wouldn’t bring the judge into it. Do your job in your new space and let the other clerk be the one to cause problems.

LBJ's Hair

Bronze
Posts: 277
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:17 pm

Re: In Desperate Need of Advice - Co-Clerks Make Me Feel Unwelcome

Postby LBJ's Hair » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:52 pm

QContinuum wrote:
LBJ's Hair wrote:I would start with apologizing to your co-clerks. You should have been able to resolve these extremely trivial office issues with them through some combination of a conversation and noise canceling headphones. Instead, you complained to the *judge* and implied they were being insensitive to your *disability*. Of course they're pissed lol

LBJ, you're a great TLSer, but it's not okay to suggest someone's making up a disability. Please don't do so again going forward.


Wasn't meant that way. I was saying that were I the co-clerks, I would be extremely pissed that someone told the judge that I was being disrespectful of a disability that I previously had no knowledge of. It turns a minor inter-office dispute into a quasi-discrimination issue, raises the stakes.

nixy

Gold
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: In Desperate Need of Advice

Postby nixy » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:58 pm

Except that isn’t what the OP said to the judge?

LBJ's Hair

Bronze
Posts: 277
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:17 pm

Re: In Desperate Need of Advice - Co-Clerks Make Me Feel Unwelcome

Postby LBJ's Hair » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
LBJ's Hair wrote:I would start with apologizing to your co-clerks. You should have been able to resolve these extremely trivial office issues with them through some combination of a conversation and noise canceling headphones. Instead, you complained to the *judge* and implied they were being insensitive to your *disability*. Of course they're pissed lol
LBJ's Hair wrote:I would start with apologizing to your co-clerks. You should have been able to resolve these extremely trivial office issues with them through some combination of a conversation and noise canceling headphones. Instead, you complained to the *judge* and implied they were being insensitive to your *disability*. Of course they're pissed lol


OP here. I am impressed, this is very insightful. I wonder why I didn't think of doing any of those things. :roll: IKR, it was so rude of me to think of chambers as a place to work. I take it your chambers is vape-friendly? Sounds super chill, keep livin the dream!


OK, fair. But you didn't do a very good job though, no? Because the conversation didn't work and elevating the issue to the boss made it so: (a) your co-clerks hate you and (b) the judge things you're causing office drama.

Like, maybe the tone you took with your co-clerks was off. Maybe it's the framing: "You are doing this thing and it is disrespectful and I don't like it," rather than "sorry to bug you about this, I'm a little sensitive to noise, would you mind taking calls outside." Or maybe you were too indirect. Or maybe they just forgot and you've gotta have the conversation more than once. Or maybe they are kind of assholes and your have to be firm, IDK. But even if these guys are kind of assholes...you still have to deal with them for the next 11 months, and there's probably some sorta informal solution you can reach.

The reason I'm bringing this up is because these sorts of minor inter-personal disputes will come up over and over again, not just at your clerkship but at the firm you go to, the non-profit, etc. Like this is not going to be the first time you will have an officemate who talks on the phone and vapes lol.

And like, 99% of the time there's a way to solve the problem without (a) involving your boss, and (b) making your co-worker hate you. The informal conversation is almost always more effective. It's analogous to law, really: The question frequently isn't *can you bring the lawsuit*, it's *should you*.

Putting that aside, here's your situation: You have 10-11 months left of the clerkship. The co-clerks, rightly or not, think you're a whiny snitch. The judge absolutely doesn't want anymore workplace drama---like it was annoying enough having to be involved the first time. How do you salvage the situation? Can't hurt to bite the bullet, apologize for the miscommunication, give em a token gift (IDK, coffee or something). Try to be sincere and don't blame them for the problems earlier, even if it was their fault. At worst, they reject it. At best, you have detente.

And then just keep your head down and try to keep doing good work. Your goal by the end of the clerkship is to have your judge remember you for your great legal mind, not for workplace drama.

LBJ's Hair

Bronze
Posts: 277
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:17 pm

Re: In Desperate Need of Advice

Postby LBJ's Hair » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:18 pm

nixy wrote:Except that isn’t what the OP said to the judge?


I know, but that's how the co-clerks view it. Which honestly is like, what actually matters here. You're not trying to prove who's right, you're trying to create a reasonably amicable workplace.

nixy

Gold
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: In Desperate Need of Advice

Postby nixy » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:29 pm

LBJ's Hair wrote:
nixy wrote:Except that isn’t what the OP said to the judge?


I know, but that's how the co-clerks view it. Which honestly is like, what actually matters here. You're not trying to prove who's right, you're trying to create a reasonably amicable workplace.

That’s fair, but there’s only so much the OP should be expected to kowtow to fellow term clerks (I would say what the judge thinks is way more important than what the co-clerks think). Because it is totally possible that the OP could have handled it better, but it also seems that the co-clerk is being an asshole. Especially since they’re not in chambers (where clerks presumably wouldn’t share) but temporary space, I don’t think asking for another space is so unreasonable. I agree generally about keeping their head down and doing their work, but I don’t know that it’s so clearly the OP’s job to actually apologize about this.

User avatar
GoldenPuppy

New
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 7:58 pm

Re: In Desperate Need of Advice

Postby GoldenPuppy » Fri Oct 11, 2019 8:55 pm

I peeped that Google archive and felt compelled to log in and reply.

1. You should've purchased a set of noise-cancelling headphones. You should've purchased a little air purifier, as well. People can be so cheap or short-sighted sometimes. Ok, that's most of my victim-blaming. I express a tiny bit more below.

2. Is vaping even allowed where you were working (the temporary location)? I doubt it's allowed in the courthouse or government building? This was a legit issue.

3. You obviously didn't handle things well. K-JD Syndrome I'm assuming.

4. I'm assuming you're a chick and your co-clerks are dudes. Yes, they're probably chatting electronically, but not on your court's messaging system, if they've got any brains. Probably texting or using WhatsApp.

5. Assuming this is a year-long clerkship, just stick it out. Get through it and forget all about it after you've finished it. Quitting is going to look terrible.

6. It's a shame you don't have better friends or sounding boards. Or mentors or advisers. This is probably a birds of a feather issue.

7. You need to recognize that you were also part of the problem here, even though the co-clerk was the biggest part of the problem. (Vaping indoors in close quarters is ridiculous to me.)

8. Don't cry. That's not a good look ever. Get rid of the sarcasm and attitude. Immediately. The sooner you fix your sarcasm and attitude, the better the rest of your life will go. If it's an unchangeable personality trait that you can't or won't fix, good luck to you because you're gonna need it.

9. You should've told your co-clerk that you didn't bring him up to the judge. That you just told the judge you needed space due to your disability, period. That would've diffused the co-clerk's blow up, it seems to me.

10. Be very nice to that judge. He comes off as a good guy to me. Do your best work for him and express your appreciation for the clerkship, his advice, etc.

11. Don't feel ashamed or depressed. Again, just get through the year and do things differently next time. For one thing, get advice from intelligent, socially adept people next time.

12. I don't get the ADA breach of confidentiality thing you're taking about. It's not like your judge or the ADA guy he spoke with blabbed. It sounds like the breach went: you -> co-clerk -> everyone else.

13. You might want broach this issue with your judge at some point, and especially if things deteriorate further, but I would 1) advise against doing so now, 2) without a game plan, and 3) without first speaking to good advisers.

14. 13 is such an unlucky number.

User avatar
GoldenPuppy

New
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 7:58 pm

Re: In Desperate Need of Advice

Postby GoldenPuppy » Fri Oct 11, 2019 9:10 pm

Also wondering what the chambers administrator situation looks like.

Normally clerks run everything by their CA first.

That's one great thing about having a knowledgeable and experienced CA.

She prevents stuff like this.

nixy

Gold
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: In Desperate Need of Advice

Postby nixy » Fri Oct 11, 2019 9:32 pm

I agree with a lot of what you said. I think this:
GoldenPuppy wrote:Get rid of the sarcasm and attitude. Immediately. The sooner you fix your sarcasm and attitude, the better the rest of your life will go. If it's an unchangeable personality trait that you can't or won't fix, good luck to you because you're gonna need it.

is a little much, based on what the OP has posted here. I didn't see much sarcasm and attitude (and I also don't agree that sarcasm, at least, is some kind of doom).

9. You should've told your co-clerk that you didn't bring him up to the judge. That you just told the judge you needed space due to your disability, period. That would've diffused the co-clerk's blow up, it seems to me.

Pretty sure that is what the OP actually did.

Also,
GoldenPuppy wrote:Also wondering what the chambers administrator situation looks like.

Normally clerks run everything by their CA first.

That's one great thing about having a knowledgeable and experienced CA.

She prevents stuff like this.

is this a COA thing? I've never heard of a chambers administrator, but maybe it's not a DCt thing (my co-clerk and I just worked things out between ourselves or with the judge). I'm not sure where the OP is at b/c three clerks is confusing (mostly I've seen 2 for DCt and 4 for COA, but chief judges in DCt usually get 3 clerks and I suppose a senior status COA might have 3? not sure).

User avatar
GoldenPuppy

New
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 7:58 pm

Re: In Desperate Need of Advice

Postby GoldenPuppy » Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:21 pm

I.

OP has admitted sarcasm in both posts in this thread. First, "Detecting my sarcasm." Second, "I am impressed" and "IKR." I think you overlooked the second post.

As for attitude, it's gonna have to be a citation to the entire record, given my time constraints tonight.

II.

Okay, where to start. Yes, but notice the "[i]n the end" part. The first time OP mentions not bad-mouthing the co-clerk, it's only internal dialogue. Only near the end of the paragraph do we learn that at some point, and obviously nowhere near the beginning of the conversation, did OP mention to the co-clerk that the co-clerk wasn't mentioned.

It should've been the first thing OP said in response to the co-clerk, instead of all the other stuff in the beginning of the paragraph. Furthermore, notice the "I ... responded that I was sorry I didn’t think about their feelings." That makes it sounds like OP is actually admitting that OP did bring up the co-clerk to the judge, thus confirming the co-clerk's concern, and inadvertently (?) pouring gasoline on the fire. (Mandatory reminder that sarcasm in this situation was not good.)

It seems to me the discussion went:
It's my disability dude -> F your feelings -> I didn't bring you up dude

In order, it should've gone something like this:
I didn't bring you up dude -> it's my disability -> F your feelings

III.

By chambers administrator I mean secretary. The person who answers the phones, but also has been at the job for years and knows the judge very well, etc. Some of them only answer phones and there's not much going on upstairs. But it's my sense that most (50%+) (federal) chambers administrators operate at a high level and are quite helpful to avoiding messy situations like this.

I was under the impression that all federal chambers had chambers administrators. If this is a state-level court, then I've got no clue. Yeah, it sounds like the judge is a chief judge or in senior status, but I dunno.

nixy

Gold
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: In Desperate Need of Advice

Postby nixy » Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:55 pm

GoldenPuppy wrote:I.OP has admitted sarcasm in both posts in this thread. First, "Detecting my sarcasm." Second, "I am impressed" and "IKR." I think you overlooked the second post.

As for attitude, it's gonna have to be a citation to the entire record, given my time constraints tonight.

I think this is all pretty much in the eye of the beholder. Sure, the second post ("I am impressed" and "IKR") were definitely sarcastic (which is why I said I didn't see "much" sarcasm), but 1) that was in response to a stranger on the internet writing pretty harshly and 2) again, I don't think sarcasm is some kind of inherent deadly character flaw one needs to rid themselves of as soon as possible. Lots and lots of people are sarcastic, and sarcasm can be perfectly appropriate depending on the circumstances. So I think that's just reading a lot into a response to a harsh post on the internet.
It seems to me the discussion went:
It's my disability dude -> F your feelings -> I didn't bring you up dude

In order, it should've gone something like this:
I didn't bring you up dude -> it's my disability -> F your feelings

See, this isn't really how I understood the conversation to go. I understood "I was sorry I didn't think about their feelings" as a response to being upset that the OP went to the judge *alone* rather than as a collective thing, but not specifically because that meant the OP had talked about the other clerk (i.e. "I'm sorry you were upset that I went to talk to the judge alone but I did so because I wanted to talk privately about personal issues" isn't the same as "but I did so because I wanted to talk about you.") I don't think you can determine the course of the conversation so precisely based on how it was described in the OP, but it also seems clear that the OP was blindsided by the co-clerk being so upset and demanding satisfaction, which isn't the easiest thing to deal with if you don't predict it. (I also think it's hard to say exactly how it should have gone differently without knowing exactly what either side said.)

In any case, my issue is really with the OP getting told that they did it all wrong and here's how everything should have gone differently, when it sounds like the co-clerk contributed a lot to this conflict and they're kind of being let off the hook here.

Re: chambers administrator - I just find that interesting because like I said, I never heard that specific term used in my federal district court. There was a judicial assistant and a courtroom deputy and two clerks, and we all kind of pitched in together. The JA in my chambers was very smart and knew the judge well, of course, and I certainly did ask her about stuff, but I read "Normally clerks run everything by their CA first" as if there's some formal role that they play, like they're the official filter between clerks and the judge. That just wasn't the case where I clerked (but I think culture can vary a lot by and within courthouses).

(Sorry to overdissect this, I can't sleep so am roaming the internet.)

User avatar
GoldenPuppy

New
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 7:58 pm

Re: In Desperate Need of Advice

Postby GoldenPuppy » Sat Oct 12, 2019 7:56 am

nixy wrote:
GoldenPuppy wrote:I.OP has admitted sarcasm in both posts in this thread. First, "Detecting my sarcasm." Second, "I am impressed" and "IKR." I think you overlooked the second post.

As for attitude, it's gonna have to be a citation to the entire record, given my time constraints tonight.

I think this is all pretty much in the eye of the beholder. Sure, the second post ("I am impressed" and "IKR") were definitely sarcastic (which is why I said I didn't see "much" sarcasm), but 1) that was in response to a stranger on the internet writing pretty harshly and 2) again, I don't think sarcasm is some kind of inherent deadly character flaw one needs to rid themselves of as soon as possible. Lots and lots of people are sarcastic, and sarcasm can be perfectly appropriate depending on the circumstances. So I think that's just reading a lot into a response to a harsh post on the internet.
It seems to me the discussion went:
It's my disability dude -> F your feelings -> I didn't bring you up dude

In order, it should've gone something like this:
I didn't bring you up dude -> it's my disability -> F your feelings

See, this isn't really how I understood the conversation to go. I understood "I was sorry I didn't think about their feelings" as a response to being upset that the OP went to the judge *alone* rather than as a collective thing, but not specifically because that meant the OP had talked about the other clerk (i.e. "I'm sorry you were upset that I went to talk to the judge alone but I did so because I wanted to talk privately about personal issues" isn't the same as "but I did so because I wanted to talk about you.") I don't think you can determine the course of the conversation so precisely based on how it was described in the OP, but it also seems clear that the OP was blindsided by the co-clerk being so upset and demanding satisfaction, which isn't the easiest thing to deal with if you don't predict it. (I also think it's hard to say exactly how it should have gone differently without knowing exactly what either side said.)

In any case, my issue is really with the OP getting told that they did it all wrong and here's how everything should have gone differently, when it sounds like the co-clerk contributed a lot to this conflict and they're kind of being let off the hook here.

Re: chambers administrator - I just find that interesting because like I said, I never heard that specific term used in my federal district court. There was a judicial assistant and a courtroom deputy and two clerks, and we all kind of pitched in together. The JA in my chambers was very smart and knew the judge well, of course, and I certainly did ask her about stuff, but I read "Normally clerks run everything by their CA first" as if there's some formal role that they play, like they're the official filter between clerks and the judge. That just wasn't the case where I clerked (but I think culture can vary a lot by and within courthouses).

(Sorry to overdissect this, I can't sleep so am roaming the internet.)


I.

I think the truth is somewhere in the middle, but closer to my end of the spectrum than yours. I agree that sarcasm isn't always a definite no-no. However, here, it's clearly borne of immaturity, and is some sort of unhealthy defense mechanism that in practice is quite unhelpful to OP. To me, there's a difference between comedic sarcasm and defensive sarcasm. "I'm so excited about my root canal" vs. OP's stuff. I don't think I'm reading in too much.

II.

Who knows. Based on the OP, I get the sense that OP struggles mightily with writing the facts section of opinions.

It's just like a car accident. The only way that happens is two dummies or careless drivers, against all odds, find each other and collide. Like launching a nuclear missile from a sub. Only way that happens is if both guys turn the keys at the same time. That's OP and co-clerk. They both erred. If OP were more mature and experienced, or had advisers to make up for that deficit, the situation would not have escalated and exploded. Because the smarter and more experienced person would've maneuvered to diffuse the situation. He or she would've swerved or taken out the key.

Yes, OP did it all wrong. Yes, the co-clerk was the source of the problem and is mostly to blame. We're not letting co-clerk off the hook. It's simply that we're trying to help OP deal with the fallout and prevent this from happening again (as in OP's 2nd real job after the clerkship). Since there's no assurance that co-clerk is reading this, and no indication that co-clerk wants advice from us, unlike OP, there's no use in trying to explain what co-clerk did wrong, etc., beyond recognizing in passing that vaping in close quarters is wrong, etc. Clearly the co-clerk handled things badly and likely suffers from the same personal growth deficits as OP. Like I said, car crash and sub nuke.

OP, don't beat yourself up. Just improve. We all make mistakes and we all get stuck in WTF situations from time to time. The goal is never getting back into another similar situation like that again.

III.

Sorry, CA is the old-school, less common convention. I should've used JA. They're one and the same. Not a formal filter or anything like that, just grease for the wheels and fountain of information.

lavarman84

Platinum
Posts: 7868
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: In Desperate Need of Advice

Postby lavarman84 » Sun Oct 13, 2019 5:52 am

GoldenPuppy wrote:I was under the impression that all federal chambers had chambers administrators. If this is a state-level court, then I've got no clue. Yeah, it sounds like the judge is a chief judge or in senior status, but I dunno.


No. Some judges forego a judicial assistant for a third law clerk.

Anonymous User
Posts: 340468
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: In Desperate Need of Advice

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 15, 2019 9:41 am

lavarman84 wrote:
GoldenPuppy wrote:I was under the impression that all federal chambers had chambers administrators. If this is a state-level court, then I've got no clue. Yeah, it sounds like the judge is a chief judge or in senior status, but I dunno.


No. Some judges forego a judicial assistant for a third law clerk.


In my second federal clerkship at the moment, and between the two courthouses there were approximately 50-60 judges, I think. Of those, maybe 10 still utilized a JA type position, and all 10 were *very* old judges. Just a perspective. In many chambers nowadays the closest thing to a JA--for the purpose that Golden Puppy is suggesting they be used here--is either a career clerk or a deputy clerk/case manager-type person.



Return to “Judicial Clerkships?

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.