airwrecka wrote: Finch123 wrote: NotAGolfer wrote: Finch123 wrote:
NotAGolfer wrote:Anyone have experience with CDO's clerkship support? It seemed like Eric Stern had his stuff together from what I saw at Admitted Students Weekend, but I was wondering what current students thought.
Hi! 3L here. I've decided to practice for a year or two before applying to clerkships, but I've had some contact with Eric over the years and have friends who went the clerkship route. He has a GREAT reputation around school for being super available, super helpful, super POSITIVE (which can be huge sometimes), and just generally being a badass. I can't speak to other schools' clerkship support, but Eric does a great job. Note: I would not necessarily say the same thing re: the rest of the career services office, so take that for what it's worth.
Thanks so much for replying! Glad to hear he's as great as he seems. Would you say the Berkeley students who want federal clerkships tend to get them if they're willing to put in the work?
I would say yes, based on my friends' experiences, although I would ask for clerkship data from the career services office if you want something more fact-based. However, you may have to go outside your ideal geographic area; for example, California clerkships are notoriously competitive. When I talked to Eric after my 1L year when I was considering applying for clerkships during school, I think I was ranked within the top 25%. Eric was very positive about my chances, but I was also flexible geographically so that likely played a role in his assessment. I will also say that professors here are extremely good about giving recommendations -- almost all of my 1L profs made a point of saying early in 1L that part of their job is to help us with jobs/clerkship applications so you have a great support system for that. There are also a lot of opportunities to develop your writing sample in classes so that's not something you have to be super proactive about doing on your own. Again, this might be similar to other schools but I figured I would mention it. Oh, and Eric also has crazy contacts with former clerks of various judges which can be super helpful in designing your apps and deciding where to apply so that is a plus.
This is so helpful! I was wondering the same things as NotAGolfer re: clerkships. ASW really got me excited about the idea of clerking, and I really liked Eric and the info he had to give.
Since you said your experience with the rest of the CDO was not so good, could you elaborate a little more on that? And just generally--are you glad you went to Berkeley or do you think somewhere might have been better? Pretty much anything and everything you'd like to say about your experience is interesting/relevant to me (feel free to PM me if you'd rather keep it more private)
Sure! Re: the CDO, I think they do a good job with the lunch-time presentations and info sessions and such. They bring in a lot of different firms and have a lot of how-to guides available on line, so I think they get the basics done. I had two main complaints. 1) They sort of discouraged people from applying to private firm jobs for 1L summer; the message I got was that those positions are too competitive to really bother with. Now, certainly they're competitive. However, I regretted not applying when a bunch of my (obviously smarter) classmates DID apply and were accepted. I really enjoyed my 1L summer position (DA's office) so I can't complain too much, but it would have been really nice to a) get paid and b) have a better feeling for what working at a private firm looks like before OCI. So. That irritated me. 2) The CDO did a good job of arranging networking events and such at law firms, but I thought the sort of advice I got on places like TLS was SO much more helpful for preparing for OCI than anything I got from the CDO. Their advice was very "get good grades, do your online research, dress appropriately and show up for the interview." In contrast, I think the absolutely most helpful thing I did was actually speak on the phone with people who worked at most of the firms that I interviewed with -- it gave me good info on the firm, and it gave me a way of clearly demonstrating interest in my interview. That was not the sort of thing that I was getting from the CDO. But I'm sure other people had different experiences so take this all with a grain of salt.
Re: Berkeley overall... I am really happy I came here. 1) The people are awesome -- a lot of smart, super passionate people. It definitely lives up to its reputation for being public-interest focused (although obviously people can still get biglaw jobs), and I think that is what makes the school so awesome. Everyone CARES about something, you know? Everyone has a story. This isn't to say that other schools don't also have smart, interesting people, but I've been happy with the people here. 2) The professors have also been impressively friendly and willing to step up to help. When I applied to one biglaw firm that was a bit of a stretch for me, one of my 1L profs actually emailed a friend of his who is a partner there to put in a good word for me. All my 1L profs made a point of saying at the beginning of the year that part of their job is helping us - I've never been too intimidated or turned off to go into office hours or email a prof to ask a question. They're also typically really smart, interesting, passionate people. 3) The grading system is HUGE. I didn't really pay that much attention to it when I was deciding btw schools, but knowing that the worst you can do is a P (bottom 60%) is a huge stress reliever, especially 1L year when no one knows what they're doing. I definitely think it impacts the culture too -- super non-competitive, in my experience. Lots of willingness to share notes and such. None of that mutilation of library book nonsense you hear about. 4) The Bay Area is very nice. It's expensive though, so keep that in mind. I definitely took out more loans than I anticipated on living expenses. BUT, the food is awesome, there's lots to do, etc. etc. You might think law school will eat your life (and it will, to an extent), but being in a nice place really helps. 5) Berkeley passed some sort of ordinance that got rid of the food trucks, so that sucks.