job advice- state trial court

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job advice- state trial court

Postby JDanger007 » Fri Jan 20, 2017 6:09 pm

Haven't found a ton of info on this issue. Graduated from a decent regional school, am currently employed, but retaking the bar in February. I am unsure about future at the small law firm. Strong interest in trial work. Is there a downside to applying for state trial level clerkships ONLY for my "second" job? I know most people who do state clerkships apply during 3L and it is their first job, but is there any downside to applying for my next job? I know what my career plans include, and just worry that this "sets me back" another year, but in the region, maybe having a clerkship with a high alum base, would be helpful.



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Re: job advice- state trial court

Postby tomwatts » Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:57 pm

I clerked for a state supreme court, but in a building with a bunch of trial court judges. I doubt that it would be bad for your career to do this. If you're coming from a decent regional school and are employed at a small law firm, there's a pretty good chance that your next career opportunity is going to be somewhere that will value a strong understanding of what goes on in state trial courts, and you get that — oh boy, do you get that — in a state trial court clerkship. Unlike federal judges, who sit every couple of weeks or so, state trial court judges in many states are on the bench most of the day every day, and you're watching, doing paperwork, running around getting things for them, etc., so that you come to have a pretty deep understanding of how your judge thinks (and how many state trial court judges think), and how procedures work (and why they work the way that they do). And you see a lot of advocacy, both good and bad, because you're in court every day. Your next employer probably will not be put off by your having that experience.

I also don't think it's weird to work at a law firm for a year or two and then clerk for a year. Lots of people do that — at least from biglaw to federal clerkships, not as sure about small law to state clerkships.

Er, in the state where I clerked, trial court clerks got paid something like 32K. So bear in mind that you may not be making very much during your clerkship.

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