Do I have any shot at a clerkship?

(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: 341787
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Do I have any shot at a clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:15 pm

Stats:

-Graduated from WUSTL/ND/GW
-Median (terrible grades 2L, very good grades 1L and 3L)
-No journal
-Two years as a V10 corporate associate
-No publications
-Somewhat strong ties ties to the establishment of one of the two major political parties

Ideally want to do a district court clerkship to pivot into litigation and eventually government work (AUSA, etc.)

Do I have any shot? Extremely flexible geographically, I’m not ruling anywhere out.

FascinatedWanderer

Bronze
Posts: 301
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2015 10:12 pm

Re: Do I have any shot at a clerkship?

Postby FascinatedWanderer » Sun Jan 19, 2020 6:55 pm

Short answer is no.

Longer answer is you’re going to have to rely exclusively on connections to some judge through your political affiliations because otherwise there is no way your app will get pulled from the pile.

User avatar
mjb447

Silver
Posts: 1327
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:36 am

Re: Do I have any shot at a clerkship?

Postby mjb447 » Sun Jan 19, 2020 8:25 pm

Yeah, you have the "well, you never know!" shot many, many people do, but not much beyond that. There's no downside to applying but unlikely that your app will get pulled in most chambers.

User avatar
GoldenPuppy

New
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 7:58 pm

Re: Do I have any shot at a clerkship?

Postby GoldenPuppy » Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:08 am

Yes, you do have a shot. But you're going to have to demonstrate great writing skills in your cover letter and resume (to compensate for no journal). Read Bryan Garner and maybe take a class from LawProse. Also, overall GPA is the only thing that matters (as compared to year-by-year GPA or trends). Lastly, you will need many (~5) letters of recommendation. If your ties are to a left-leaning major political party in the US, please disregard all my advice! : )

nixy

Gold
Posts: 2011
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: Do I have any shot at a clerkship?

Postby nixy » Mon Jan 20, 2020 1:30 pm

I don't think many letters of rec will make a difference; if you have someone who can vouch for you who can reach out to the judge, that can make a difference, but I don't think number of letters is going to do it.

Want to continue reading?

Register now to search topics and post comments!

Absolutely FREE!


lavarman84

Platinum
Posts: 7897
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Do I have any shot at a clerkship?

Postby lavarman84 » Tue Jan 21, 2020 12:56 am

GoldenPuppy wrote:Yes, you do have a shot. But you're going to have to demonstrate great writing skills in your cover letter and resume (to compensate for no journal). Read Bryan Garner and maybe take a class from LawProse. Also, overall GPA is the only thing that matters (as compared to year-by-year GPA or trends). Lastly, you will need many (~5) letters of recommendation. If your ties are to a left-leaning major political party in the US, please disregard all my advice! : )


I don't think increasing the number of letters of recommendation will help. Yes, OP will need strong LORs, but three strong LORs is enough. The issue for the OP is getting the people reviewing apps to even look at the LORs. I imagine most clerks reviewing apps are similar to myself in that they don't look at materials beyond the resume and cover letter if the applicant doesn't have anything warranting a further look (like credentials, ties, etc.).

Obviously, the best way to get out of the stack of apps is to have a recommender who knows the judge and can get him/her to pull your app. But I don't think increasing the number of LORs is going to, on its own, solve OP's problems.

I will note, OP, that if you were a member of the FedSoc and have a lot of political involvement with the Republican Party, that could majorly boost your chances with conservative judges (especially Trump appointees). If your political experience is on the other side of the spectrum, I don't think it does nearly as much for you. That's because lawyers on average lean left, so that creates a larger pool of liberal applicants than conservative applicants. So if you do have Republican political/FedSoc contacts in your network, I would recommend working those as well.

T3TON

New
Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2016 5:10 pm

Re: Do I have any shot at a clerkship?

Postby T3TON » Tue Jan 21, 2020 1:41 am

Anonymous User wrote:Stats:

-Graduated from WUSTL/ND/GW
-Median (terrible grades 2L, very good grades 1L and 3L)
-No journal
-Two years as a V10 corporate associate
-No publications
-Somewhat strong ties ties to the establishment of one of the two major political parties

Ideally want to do a district court clerkship to pivot into litigation and eventually government work (AUSA, etc.)

Do I have any shot? Extremely flexible geographically, I’m not ruling anywhere out.


This may depend on which of WUSTL/ND/GW you attended. I wouldn't be shocked if you could land a district court somewhere with the right recommenders. But I should warn you: even if you do, pivoting into litigation will be hard and becoming an AUSA will be extremely difficult.

texanslimjim

New
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2014 1:23 pm

Re: Do I have any shot at a clerkship?

Postby texanslimjim » Tue Jan 21, 2020 12:33 pm

Strong agree with lavarman--depends heavily on which political party you have ties to. FedSoc connections can land you a clerkship with middling to mediocre grades from a ~T20 school. Even then, for most judges it'll be hard because you're competing with the usual OSCAR/mass mail stack of applications. Best shot will be if a special circumstances opportunity comes up, like a nominated judge hiring his first clerks ahead of the Senate confirmation vote or someone needing to fill an unexpected vacancy on short notice.

You didn't mention geographic preference--if you're willing to blanket the country and apply to literally every district judge, I'd say that your stats are good enough that you're more likely than not to get a clerkship if you try for a few years. Of course, I'm skeptical whether clerking for the District of Kansas will be enough to transition to litigation, especially if you hope to one day do Big Fed. You might be better off trying to switch to big law litigation as a big law transactional attorney, and then clerk later on.

Anonymous User
Posts: 341787
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Do I have any shot at a clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 22, 2020 1:59 am

OP here. Thanks everyone for the responses.

To add some more information - the school is ND and the party is the GOP. I don’t really have any strong geographic preference, so hopefully blanketing the whole country can get me a few bites.

Want to continue reading?

Register for access!

Did I mention it was FREE ?




Return to “Judicial Clerkships?

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.