Chance me cap

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Kobaine51

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Chance me cap

Postby Kobaine51 » Sun Feb 09, 2020 7:40 pm

Hi team - considering trying to clerk in 2021. Im a second year V10 associate in New York. Never thought about clerking during law school so completely unfamiliar with the timeline/process of getting a gig. Please advise.

My second question is what jobs I'm going to be competitive for. Graduated HYS, but had pretty unremarkable grades. Straight Ps 1L, which improved modestly thereafter, got some top grades in black letter courses later, but definitely not a particularly distinguished student. Didn't journal at all, went heavy on interesting clinics and political work. Went to a top 5 undergrad university and was very successful there, don't know if that matter tho.

I think I've been pretty exceptionally successful in my litigation group, and I'm sure I could get recs to that effect (don't know if this is valuable in clerking). I don't really feel any pressing need to leave, but as the window for clerking is closing, I'm considering as a way to boost my prestige credentials and work on my writing a little bit. As a litigator too, it seems like a really excellent way to better understand judges processes.

Anyway, I don't know how the clerking prestige tree works, or how up I could climb given my record, but I think I would only really be interested in doing it if the position was generally considered "prestigious," as there is a pretty substantial opportunity cost of falling off the radar of partners I've gotten close to. Let me know what yall think.

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Re: Chance me cap

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 09, 2020 8:50 pm

An important question for you would be: how flexible are you geographically? With the profile as you've described it, you might have a shot at D.Conn or D.N.J., but SDNY/EDNY could be tough. But you'll probably be a strong candidate outside of NYC, especially if you have ties to another location

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Kobaine51

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Re: Chance me cap

Postby Kobaine51 » Sun Feb 09, 2020 9:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:An important question for you would be: how flexible are you geographically? With the profile as you've described it, you might have a shot at D.Conn or D.N.J., but SDNY/EDNY could be tough. But you'll probably be a strong candidate outside of NYC, especially if you have ties to another location


I'm totally flexible, somewhere in the 1st Circuit would be great for me, but I'd really be ok with living just about anywhere. That said, I feel like I'm well positioned to succeed where I am now. I'm not sure that clerking in e.g. D.N.M. would actually strengthen my resume at all, though ofc it would still be an opportunity to gain experience/skills.

Whats the thinking on taking far flung clerkships before returning to New York? Are firms/individuals within firms likely to look down on that?

Also, do people with my profile compete for CoA clerkships? I'm more confident that that would be a boost to my resume.

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Re: Chance me cap

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 09, 2020 11:07 pm

Kobaine51 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:An important question for you would be: how flexible are you geographically? With the profile as you've described it, you might have a shot at D.Conn or D.N.J., but SDNY/EDNY could be tough. But you'll probably be a strong candidate outside of NYC, especially if you have ties to another location


I'm totally flexible, somewhere in the 1st Circuit would be great for me, but I'd really be ok with living just about anywhere. That said, I feel like I'm well positioned to succeed where I am now. I'm not sure that clerking in e.g. D.N.M. would actually strengthen my resume at all, though ofc it would still be an opportunity to gain experience/skills.

Whats the thinking on taking far flung clerkships before returning to New York? Are firms/individuals within firms likely to look down on that?

Also, do people with my profile compete for CoA clerkships? I'm more confident that that would be a boost to my resume.


Your chances will depend on how significantly your grades improved 2L and 3L year. If you graduated below median getting a district court clerkship in CA1 will be very challenging. The same goes for getting a COA clerkship anywhere. Remember also that most judges have filled for 2020-21. You therefore would be looking to leave your firm as a fourth year (at the earliest) and you would return as a fifth year (at the earliest). Personally I would think long and hard before leaving a firm you are doing well at to chase a "prestige credential" most helpful to young associates without real practical experience.

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Re: Chance me cap

Postby LBJ's Hair » Sun Feb 09, 2020 11:53 pm

Kobaine51 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:An important question for you would be: how flexible are you geographically? With the profile as you've described it, you might have a shot at D.Conn or D.N.J., but SDNY/EDNY could be tough. But you'll probably be a strong candidate outside of NYC, especially if you have ties to another location


I'm totally flexible, somewhere in the 1st Circuit would be great for me, but I'd really be ok with living just about anywhere. That said, I feel like I'm well positioned to succeed where I am now. I'm not sure that clerking in e.g. D.N.M. would actually strengthen my resume at all, though ofc it would still be an opportunity to gain experience/skills.

Whats the thinking on taking far flung clerkships before returning to New York? Are firms/individuals within firms likely to look down on that?

Also, do people with my profile compete for CoA clerkships? I'm more confident that that would be a boost to my resume.


Bolded is correct. You shouldn't just clerk to clerk. SDNY/EDNY would absolutely be valuable. Others can speak to other CA1/2 district courts? D.N.M. and the like, ie non-metro district courts outside of the NY area...I wouldn't do it, personally.

This goes to competitiveness, too.It's sort of besides the point because an application doesn't cost you anything. Pull together three good recs from professors/partners, pick their brains (maybe they'll have a connection) and apply where you want to clerk. The cover letters aren't going to change much between judges. Use mail-merge.

That said, if you got those mediocre grades at YLS, you could potentially get bites at less-competitive SDNY/EDNY judges, maybe even COA. Def apply to D.Mass, DNJ, whatever. There are people clerking EDNY with straight Ps. Again, caveat that this is YLS.

Would think this is less true of HLS - grading being more granular, class size being bigger, and, to put it more bluntly, HLS being not-YLS.

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Re: Chance me cap

Postby Wild Card » Mon Feb 10, 2020 6:38 am

YHS should all have exceptional clerkship advisory offices with guides and data (and people) that you can consult to get yourself up to speed.

It's their full-time job to help you, so you should make them work for their money.

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Kobaine51

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Re: Chance me cap

Postby Kobaine51 » Mon Feb 10, 2020 10:33 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Kobaine51 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:An important question for you would be: how flexible are you geographically? With the profile as you've described it, you might have a shot at D.Conn or D.N.J., but SDNY/EDNY could be tough. But you'll probably be a strong candidate outside of NYC, especially if you have ties to another location


I'm totally flexible, somewhere in the 1st Circuit would be great for me, but I'd really be ok with living just about anywhere. That said, I feel like I'm well positioned to succeed where I am now. I'm not sure that clerking in e.g. D.N.M. would actually strengthen my resume at all, though ofc it would still be an opportunity to gain experience/skills.

Whats the thinking on taking far flung clerkships before returning to New York? Are firms/individuals within firms likely to look down on that?

Also, do people with my profile compete for CoA clerkships? I'm more confident that that would be a boost to my resume.


Your chances will depend on how significantly your grades improved 2L and 3L year. If you graduated below median getting a district court clerkship in CA1 will be very challenging. The same goes for getting a COA clerkship anywhere. Remember also that most judges have filled for 2020-21. You therefore would be looking to leave your firm as a fourth year (at the earliest) and you would return as a fifth year (at the earliest). Personally I would think long and hard before leaving a firm you are doing well at to chase a "prestige credential" most helpful to young associates without real practical experience.


Ya I agree with this, leaving as a fourth year seems like a bad idea, or at least tricky. I was more interested in potentially leaving at the end of my 2nd year (Fall 2020), and then probably coming back to the same firm after. Is this timeline basically foreclosed at this point? Its not so much that I want the credential now, I'm already doing work that I like, but I imagine in the future, having it on the resume will increase my bonafides as a litigator for the rest of my career.

As far as median, I don't know. If I had to guess I was probably right around the middle.

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Re: Chance me cap

Postby nixy » Mon Feb 10, 2020 10:37 am

It’s just going to be really hard to get something for fall 2020 now - judges hire 1-2 years out. You can keep an eye out for last minute openings but it’s going to make things much tougher. Fall 2021 is more realistic.

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Re: Chance me cap

Postby BansheeScream » Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:27 am

I can't speak to your chances but, in addition to the above advice, I would also get on OSCAR and see what's available. There are 48 available district positions open for 2020, most of which were posted in the last month or so. There are only 13 COA positions available but we're 6 months away from the 2020 term and judges will likely be moving fast. Also, the recent appointees will be hiring for 2020 and 2021. Scroll through the list of recent appointees and ask your career services office how to apply if they're not on OSCAR. It took me around 3 days to send in 40 applications. It's definitely worth the time just to see what you can get if you're serious about clerking.

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Kobaine51

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Re: Chance me cap

Postby Kobaine51 » Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:44 am

BansheeScream wrote:I can't speak to your chances but, in addition to the above advice, I would also get on OSCAR and see what's available. There are 48 available district positions open for 2020, most of which were posted in the last month or so. There are only 13 COA positions available but we're 6 months away from the 2020 term and judges will likely be moving fast. Also, the recent appointees will be hiring for 2020 and 2021. Scroll through the list of recent appointees and ask your career services office how to apply if they're not on OSCAR. It took me around 3 days to send in 40 applications. It's definitely worth the time just to see what you can get if you're serious about clerking.


Love it - I'm going to work this plan and see what I can get.

Another question, how much do personal connections come into play? Looking at the openings I saw a position open in my home town, looked up the judge and realized I've probably known him my entire life, member of social organizations I frequented when I lived there, lives down the street from me. A quick scan suggests that I would likely be uncompetitive applying blind, but given all the shared history I wonder if that can get a foot in the door. Would having someone tell him that I was applying be considered gauche?

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Re: Chance me cap

Postby nixy » Mon Feb 10, 2020 12:26 pm

Connections are big. Send your app in paper form and mention the connection in your cover letter. (having someone mention it to him is fine too, but if you send a paper app it should get screened and give you a shot.)

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Re: Chance me cap

Postby lavarman84 » Mon Feb 10, 2020 1:16 pm

Kobaine51 wrote:
BansheeScream wrote:I can't speak to your chances but, in addition to the above advice, I would also get on OSCAR and see what's available. There are 48 available district positions open for 2020, most of which were posted in the last month or so. There are only 13 COA positions available but we're 6 months away from the 2020 term and judges will likely be moving fast. Also, the recent appointees will be hiring for 2020 and 2021. Scroll through the list of recent appointees and ask your career services office how to apply if they're not on OSCAR. It took me around 3 days to send in 40 applications. It's definitely worth the time just to see what you can get if you're serious about clerking.


Love it - I'm going to work this plan and see what I can get.

Another question, how much do personal connections come into play? Looking at the openings I saw a position open in my home town, looked up the judge and realized I've probably known him my entire life, member of social organizations I frequented when I lived there, lives down the street from me. A quick scan suggests that I would likely be uncompetitive applying blind, but given all the shared history I wonder if that can get a foot in the door. Would having someone tell him that I was applying be considered gauche?


IMO, no. Even if it were, that's how the game is played. You better bet others are calling in the same sorts of connections when they can. I can tell you that from experience. But make sure to apply first. Then, you can have them tell him that you applied, and he'll hopefully pull your application himself.

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Re: Chance me cap

Postby Anon-non-anon » Mon Feb 10, 2020 2:18 pm

lavarman84 wrote:
Kobaine51 wrote:
BansheeScream wrote:I can't speak to your chances but, in addition to the above advice, I would also get on OSCAR and see what's available. There are 48 available district positions open for 2020, most of which were posted in the last month or so. There are only 13 COA positions available but we're 6 months away from the 2020 term and judges will likely be moving fast. Also, the recent appointees will be hiring for 2020 and 2021. Scroll through the list of recent appointees and ask your career services office how to apply if they're not on OSCAR. It took me around 3 days to send in 40 applications. It's definitely worth the time just to see what you can get if you're serious about clerking.


Love it - I'm going to work this plan and see what I can get.

Another question, how much do personal connections come into play? Looking at the openings I saw a position open in my home town, looked up the judge and realized I've probably known him my entire life, member of social organizations I frequented when I lived there, lives down the street from me. A quick scan suggests that I would likely be uncompetitive applying blind, but given all the shared history I wonder if that can get a foot in the door. Would having someone tell him that I was applying be considered gauche?


IMO, no. Even if it were, that's how the game is played. You better bet others are calling in the same sorts of connections when they can. I can tell you that from experience. But make sure to apply first. Then, you can have them tell him that you applied, and he'll hopefully pull your application himself.


Agree with above. Apply, put stuff in the cover letter making the connection clear (without being like, my daddy knows the judge), and then have someone friendly with the judge contact him to say you applied.

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Kobaine51

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Re: Chance me cap

Postby Kobaine51 » Mon Feb 10, 2020 3:14 pm

Anon-non-anon wrote:
lavarman84 wrote:
Kobaine51 wrote:
BansheeScream wrote:I can't speak to your chances but, in addition to the above advice, I would also get on OSCAR and see what's available. There are 48 available district positions open for 2020, most of which were posted in the last month or so. There are only 13 COA positions available but we're 6 months away from the 2020 term and judges will likely be moving fast. Also, the recent appointees will be hiring for 2020 and 2021. Scroll through the list of recent appointees and ask your career services office how to apply if they're not on OSCAR. It took me around 3 days to send in 40 applications. It's definitely worth the time just to see what you can get if you're serious about clerking.


Love it - I'm going to work this plan and see what I can get.

Another question, how much do personal connections come into play? Looking at the openings I saw a position open in my home town, looked up the judge and realized I've probably known him my entire life, member of social organizations I frequented when I lived there, lives down the street from me. A quick scan suggests that I would likely be uncompetitive applying blind, but given all the shared history I wonder if that can get a foot in the door. Would having someone tell him that I was applying be considered gauche?


IMO, no. Even if it were, that's how the game is played. You better bet others are calling in the same sorts of connections when they can. I can tell you that from experience. But make sure to apply first. Then, you can have them tell him that you applied, and he'll hopefully pull your application himself.


Agree with above. Apply, put stuff in the cover letter making the connection clear (without being like, my daddy knows the judge), and then have someone friendly with the judge contact him to say you applied.


I like it, smart. Is the recommendation still to submit paper application? Looking at OSCAR its not clear that paper applications are even accepted (though frankly I can't figure out how to apply on OSCAR at all from my one viewing of it).

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Re: Chance me cap

Postby Anon-non-anon » Mon Feb 10, 2020 3:33 pm

Kobaine51 wrote:
Anon-non-anon wrote:
lavarman84 wrote:
Kobaine51 wrote:
BansheeScream wrote:I can't speak to your chances but, in addition to the above advice, I would also get on OSCAR and see what's available. There are 48 available district positions open for 2020, most of which were posted in the last month or so. There are only 13 COA positions available but we're 6 months away from the 2020 term and judges will likely be moving fast. Also, the recent appointees will be hiring for 2020 and 2021. Scroll through the list of recent appointees and ask your career services office how to apply if they're not on OSCAR. It took me around 3 days to send in 40 applications. It's definitely worth the time just to see what you can get if you're serious about clerking.


Love it - I'm going to work this plan and see what I can get.

Another question, how much do personal connections come into play? Looking at the openings I saw a position open in my home town, looked up the judge and realized I've probably known him my entire life, member of social organizations I frequented when I lived there, lives down the street from me. A quick scan suggests that I would likely be uncompetitive applying blind, but given all the shared history I wonder if that can get a foot in the door. Would having someone tell him that I was applying be considered gauche?


IMO, no. Even if it were, that's how the game is played. You better bet others are calling in the same sorts of connections when they can. I can tell you that from experience. But make sure to apply first. Then, you can have them tell him that you applied, and he'll hopefully pull your application himself.


Agree with above. Apply, put stuff in the cover letter making the connection clear (without being like, my daddy knows the judge), and then have someone friendly with the judge contact him to say you applied.


I like it, smart. Is the recommendation still to submit paper application? Looking at OSCAR its not clear that paper applications are even accepted (though frankly I can't figure out how to apply on OSCAR at all from my one viewing of it).


Some judges are a little pissy if they post on oscar but you send a paper app anyway. Generally though, people will read the paper applications that come in, maybe even more closely than the oscar ones. I would (1) talk to your school clerkship office and see if there's a preference/history they know of and (2) if not and there's an active oscar listing, just apply on oscar. If there's not a current position on oscar, apply via paper.

This is a close call and is very unlikely to matter if you are really as connected to the judge as it seems. You could even do both. The important thing is having someone with a good relationship to the judge contact him at a time that your application is easily accessible.

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Re: Chance me cap

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 10, 2020 10:13 pm

LBJ's Hair wrote:That said, if you got those mediocre grades at YLS, you could potentially get bites at less-competitive SDNY/EDNY judges, maybe even COA. Def apply to D.Mass, DNJ, whatever. There are people clerking EDNY with straight Ps. Again, caveat that this is YLS.

Would think this is less true of HLS - grading being more granular, class size being bigger, and, to put it more bluntly, HLS being not-YLS.


In my experience, the quoted is too bullish on the advantage the YLS name provides in a vacuum. Yes, YLS grads do well on the clerkship market. But part of YLS's success comes from its generous curve. Getting Ps in classes that give out 70+% Hs looks worse than getting Ps in classes that give out 37% Hs. I agree that some YLS students who get straight Ps during their 1L year (that is, 4 or so Ps) eventually clerk on the EDNY. But I doubt the same could be said of YLS students who get straight Ps during their 1L and 2L years absent extremely unusual circumstances. Most YLS students pick up at least 1-2 Hs by the end of 2L.

I agree with the advice that OP should apply everywhere that interests him/her. Apps are free and there's nothing to lose. However, OP should focus his/her phone calls on judges outside of SDNY and EDNY if he/she is intent on landing a clerkship.

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Re: Chance me cap

Postby LBJ's Hair » Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
LBJ's Hair wrote:That said, if you got those mediocre grades at YLS, you could potentially get bites at less-competitive SDNY/EDNY judges, maybe even COA. Def apply to D.Mass, DNJ, whatever. There are people clerking EDNY with straight Ps. Again, caveat that this is YLS.

Would think this is less true of HLS - grading being more granular, class size being bigger, and, to put it more bluntly, HLS being not-YLS.


In my experience, the quoted is too bullish on the advantage the YLS name provides in a vacuum. Yes, YLS grads do well on the clerkship market. But part of YLS's success comes from its generous curve. Getting Ps in classes that give out 70+% Hs looks worse than getting Ps in classes that give out 37% Hs. I agree that some YLS students who get straight Ps during their 1L year (that is, 4 or so Ps) eventually clerk on the EDNY. But I doubt the same could be said of YLS students who get straight Ps during their 1L and 2L years absent extremely unusual circumstances. Most YLS students pick up at least 1-2 Hs by the end of 2L.

I agree with the advice that OP should apply everywhere that interests him/her. Apps are free and there's nothing to lose. However, OP should focus his/her phone calls on judges outside of SDNY and EDNY if he/she is intent on landing a clerkship.


I wasn't offering this example rhetorically lol I was saying that I know a *specific person* who got *literally all Ps*, for 3 years, at YLS, and clerked EDNY.

I agree with you: It's not very difficult to get Hs at YLS. It's not like you're "in the running" for SCOTUS just if you graduate with all Hs. But the "grades don't matter" thing cuts both ways. And OP's are like average, not dogshit. That + YLS + a little work experience? Would blanket SDNY/EDNY

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Re: Chance me cap

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:47 am

LBJ's Hair wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
LBJ's Hair wrote:That said, if you got those mediocre grades at YLS, you could potentially get bites at less-competitive SDNY/EDNY judges, maybe even COA. Def apply to D.Mass, DNJ, whatever. There are people clerking EDNY with straight Ps. Again, caveat that this is YLS.

Would think this is less true of HLS - grading being more granular, class size being bigger, and, to put it more bluntly, HLS being not-YLS.


In my experience, the quoted is too bullish on the advantage the YLS name provides in a vacuum. Yes, YLS grads do well on the clerkship market. But part of YLS's success comes from its generous curve. Getting Ps in classes that give out 70+% Hs looks worse than getting Ps in classes that give out 37% Hs. I agree that some YLS students who get straight Ps during their 1L year (that is, 4 or so Ps) eventually clerk on the EDNY. But I doubt the same could be said of YLS students who get straight Ps during their 1L and 2L years absent extremely unusual circumstances. Most YLS students pick up at least 1-2 Hs by the end of 2L.

I agree with the advice that OP should apply everywhere that interests him/her. Apps are free and there's nothing to lose. However, OP should focus his/her phone calls on judges outside of SDNY and EDNY if he/she is intent on landing a clerkship.


I wasn't offering this example rhetorically lol I was saying that I know a *specific person* who got *literally all Ps*, for 3 years, at YLS, and clerked EDNY.

I agree with you: It's not very difficult to get Hs at YLS. It's not like you're "in the running" for SCOTUS just if you graduate with all Hs. But the "grades don't matter" thing cuts both ways. And OP's are like average, not dogshit. That + YLS + a little work experience? Would blanket SDNY/EDNY


Woof, did your friend or one of his/her recommendations have a personal connection to the judge? My EDNY judge, and I know a few other EDNY judges, got a bunch of YLS transcripts, we sees boatloads of H's (also tons of grade-protective clinics and BS classes). That many P's is an automatic dealbreaker in my chambers, but I guess we might be more selective than others in EDNY. (Alternatively, some chambers may not get enough YLS transcripts, don't have enough of a handle of how to compare YLS transcripts, and may have just been impressed by getting a YLS candidate at all.)

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Re: Chance me cap

Postby LBJ's Hair » Fri Feb 14, 2020 1:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
LBJ's Hair wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
LBJ's Hair wrote:That said, if you got those mediocre grades at YLS, you could potentially get bites at less-competitive SDNY/EDNY judges, maybe even COA. Def apply to D.Mass, DNJ, whatever. There are people clerking EDNY with straight Ps. Again, caveat that this is YLS.

Would think this is less true of HLS - grading being more granular, class size being bigger, and, to put it more bluntly, HLS being not-YLS.


In my experience, the quoted is too bullish on the advantage the YLS name provides in a vacuum. Yes, YLS grads do well on the clerkship market. But part of YLS's success comes from its generous curve. Getting Ps in classes that give out 70+% Hs looks worse than getting Ps in classes that give out 37% Hs. I agree that some YLS students who get straight Ps during their 1L year (that is, 4 or so Ps) eventually clerk on the EDNY. But I doubt the same could be said of YLS students who get straight Ps during their 1L and 2L years absent extremely unusual circumstances. Most YLS students pick up at least 1-2 Hs by the end of 2L.

I agree with the advice that OP should apply everywhere that interests him/her. Apps are free and there's nothing to lose. However, OP should focus his/her phone calls on judges outside of SDNY and EDNY if he/she is intent on landing a clerkship.


I wasn't offering this example rhetorically lol I was saying that I know a *specific person* who got *literally all Ps*, for 3 years, at YLS, and clerked EDNY.

I agree with you: It's not very difficult to get Hs at YLS. It's not like you're "in the running" for SCOTUS just if you graduate with all Hs. But the "grades don't matter" thing cuts both ways. And OP's are like average, not dogshit. That + YLS + a little work experience? Would blanket SDNY/EDNY


Woof, did your friend or one of his/her recommendations have a personal connection to the judge? My EDNY judge, and I know a few other EDNY judges, got a bunch of YLS transcripts, we sees boatloads of H's (also tons of grade-protective clinics and BS classes). That many P's is an automatic dealbreaker in my chambers, but I guess we might be more selective than others in EDNY. (Alternatively, some chambers may not get enough YLS transcripts, don't have enough of a handle of how to compare YLS transcripts, and may have just been impressed by getting a YLS candidate at all.)


Just a normal OSCAR app, iirc? And yeah, I'm sure most judges in SDNY/EDNY would look at those applications the way you did - frankly, I probably would. But you only need a few bites, and descriptively, for some judges horrible grades from YLS appear not to be a dealbreaker.

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