Benefits of Federal Clerkship?

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luckyirish13
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Benefits of Federal Clerkship?

Postby luckyirish13 » Fri Apr 07, 2017 7:15 pm

Asked this in another thread and was told to move it here,
It appears that a Federal Clerkship opens the door to basically any legal job you want afterwards. Proletariate says it's "so damn valuable". How exactly is it so valuable and what does it lead to? Just Biglaw? Anything else?
Also why would one take a Federal Clerkship rather than Biglaw if Biglaw is their ultimate goal?
If someone does not intend to take Biglaw, is there still a value to a Federal Clerkship?
A Clerkship is not covered by an LRAP right? Yale's COAP or Harvard's LIPP might cover it (if the salary is low enough), but otherwise you'll be eating the cost of your student loans during the duration of your clerkship right?

WheninLaw
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Re: Benefits of Federal Clerkship?

Postby WheninLaw » Fri Apr 07, 2017 7:27 pm

luckyirish13 wrote:Asked this in another thread and was told to move it here,
It appears that a Federal Clerkship opens the door to basically any legal job you want afterwards. Proletariate says it's "so damn valuable". How exactly is it so valuable and what does it lead to? Just Biglaw? Anything else?
Also why would one take a Federal Clerkship rather than Biglaw if Biglaw is their ultimate goal?
If someone does not intend to take Biglaw, is there still a value to a Federal Clerkship?
A Clerkship is not covered by an LRAP right? Yale's COAP or Harvard's LIPP might cover it (if the salary is low enough), but otherwise you'll be eating the cost of your student loans during the duration of your clerkship right?


It's valuable, but nowhere close to "open[ing] the door to any legal job you want." Most people go into big law after, and almost everyone with the qualifications for a federal clerkship could have done that anyways.

The reasons to take a federal clerkship is that its a fantastic training experience, especially for developing your legal writing and learning how judges make decisions. Clerks often forge a close and long-term relationship with their judge, which has tremendous benefits. Also, many alumni take a clerkship as a big law "break," or when they are looking to step away from it altogether.

Clerkships are covered by many LRAPs, although you will be on IBR, so the interest will accumulate. Nobody does a clerkship because it pays well.

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Po$eidon
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Re: Benefits of Federal Clerkship?

Postby Po$eidon » Fri Apr 07, 2017 7:31 pm

luckyirish13 wrote:Asked this in another thread and was told to move it here,
It appears that a Federal Clerkship opens the door to basically any legal job you want afterwards. Proletariate says it's "so damn valuable". How exactly is it so valuable and what does it lead to? Just Biglaw? Anything else?
Also why would one take a Federal Clerkship rather than Biglaw if Biglaw is their ultimate goal?
If someone does not intend to take Biglaw, is there still a value to a Federal Clerkship?
A Clerkship is not covered by an LRAP right? Yale's COAP or Harvard's LIPP might cover it (if the salary is low enough), but otherwise you'll be eating the cost of your student loans during the duration of your clerkship right?


Litigation is prestige-obsessed and often needs it, you get a big bonus at biglaw (transactional or litigation) if you did one and it likely gives you better (more interesting) work in biglaw as partners look very favorably on it (on that note, I'm pretty sure most partners have clerked), and it's virtually required for academia. Also, most ppl just think it's comparatively fun (from what I've heard) cuz you do meaningul work which is rare for fresh grads

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RSN
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Re: Benefits of Federal Clerkship?

Postby RSN » Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:38 pm

Po$eidon wrote:
luckyirish13 wrote:Asked this in another thread and was told to move it here,
It appears that a Federal Clerkship opens the door to basically any legal job you want afterwards. Proletariate says it's "so damn valuable". How exactly is it so valuable and what does it lead to? Just Biglaw? Anything else?
Also why would one take a Federal Clerkship rather than Biglaw if Biglaw is their ultimate goal?
If someone does not intend to take Biglaw, is there still a value to a Federal Clerkship?
A Clerkship is not covered by an LRAP right? Yale's COAP or Harvard's LIPP might cover it (if the salary is low enough), but otherwise you'll be eating the cost of your student loans during the duration of your clerkship right?


Litigation is prestige-obsessed and often needs it, you get a big bonus at biglaw (transactional or litigation) if you did one and it likely gives you better (more interesting) work in biglaw as partners look very favorably on it (on that note, I'm pretty sure most partners have clerked), and it's virtually required for academia. Also, most ppl just think it's comparatively fun (from what I've heard) cuz you do meaningul work which is rare for fresh grads


Nope. Are you even a law student?

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Po$eidon
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Re: Benefits of Federal Clerkship?

Postby Po$eidon » Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:52 pm

RSN wrote:
Po$eidon wrote:
luckyirish13 wrote:Asked this in another thread and was told to move it here,
It appears that a Federal Clerkship opens the door to basically any legal job you want afterwards. Proletariate says it's "so damn valuable". How exactly is it so valuable and what does it lead to? Just Biglaw? Anything else?
Also why would one take a Federal Clerkship rather than Biglaw if Biglaw is their ultimate goal?
If someone does not intend to take Biglaw, is there still a value to a Federal Clerkship?
A Clerkship is not covered by an LRAP right? Yale's COAP or Harvard's LIPP might cover it (if the salary is low enough), but otherwise you'll be eating the cost of your student loans during the duration of your clerkship right?


Litigation is prestige-obsessed and often needs it, you get a big bonus at biglaw (transactional or litigation) if you did one and it likely gives you better (more interesting) work in biglaw as partners look very favorably on it (on that note, I'm pretty sure most partners have clerked), and it's virtually required for academia. Also, most ppl just think it's comparatively fun (from what I've heard) cuz you do meaningul work which is rare for fresh grads


Nope. Are you even a law student?


*edited*
Last edited by Po$eidon on Fri Apr 07, 2017 11:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

WheninLaw
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Re: Benefits of Federal Clerkship?

Postby WheninLaw » Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:01 pm

Well this got unnecessarily out of hand :|

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bearsfan23
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Re: Benefits of Federal Clerkship?

Postby bearsfan23 » Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:08 pm

Po$eidon wrote:
RSN wrote:
Po$eidon wrote:
luckyirish13 wrote:Asked this in another thread and was told to move it here,
It appears that a Federal Clerkship opens the door to basically any legal job you want afterwards. Proletariate says it's "so damn valuable". How exactly is it so valuable and what does it lead to? Just Biglaw? Anything else?
Also why would one take a Federal Clerkship rather than Biglaw if Biglaw is their ultimate goal?
If someone does not intend to take Biglaw, is there still a value to a Federal Clerkship?
A Clerkship is not covered by an LRAP right? Yale's COAP or Harvard's LIPP might cover it (if the salary is low enough), but otherwise you'll be eating the cost of your student loans during the duration of your clerkship right?


Litigation is prestige-obsessed and often needs it, you get a big bonus at biglaw (transactional or litigation) if you did one and it likely gives you better (more interesting) work in biglaw as partners look very favorably on it (on that note, I'm pretty sure most partners have clerked), and it's virtually required for academia. Also, most ppl just think it's comparatively fun (from what I've heard) cuz you do meaningul work which is rare for fresh grads


Nope. Are you even a law student?


Nope. I've just taught and guided through the admissions process students at NYU Law, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Harvard and Duke. Did you notice the way I put it in parentheses and indicated some doubt over that one aspect of my comment? Or were you too busy being an insufferable douchebag to thoroughly read?


Several of the things you wrote were just wrong though. Most partners have clerked is definitely not true, especially in transactional practices, and despite the clerkship bonus, you actually end up losing a lot of money from doing a clerkship (as compared to spending a year in biglaw). At least for my firm and every other firm I know, it also doesn't end up in you getting "more interesting" (what would that even be?) work, you get staffed on the same matters as everyone else.

Your statement that litigation is prestige obsessed and that a clerkship is helpful for opening doors and furthering your career is true (i.e. if you want to work for Bartlit Beck, you need to clerk first), but you should've just left it at that

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existentialcrisis
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Re: Benefits of Federal Clerkship?

Postby existentialcrisis » Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:22 pm

luckyirish13 wrote:Also why would one take a Federal Clerkship rather than Biglaw if Biglaw is their ultimate goal?


This probably isn't the right way to think about it. Most clerks have offers to go back to their summer firms, they are just taking the year or two clerkship to add the credential/experience. Firms value the experience/credential so they welcome them back and offer a bonus, which helps somewhat to make up for the lost money.

People also use clekships as a way to switch firms if they were unhappy with their SA.

Clerkships are also helpful if you're looking to do other things after biglaw. For most, biglaw isn't really a career, but rather a stepping stone, and other litigation positions like AUSA value clerkships.

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RSN
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Re: Benefits of Federal Clerkship?

Postby RSN » Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:23 pm

bearsfan23 wrote:
Po$eidon wrote:
RSN wrote:
Po$eidon wrote:
luckyirish13 wrote:Asked this in another thread and was told to move it here,
It appears that a Federal Clerkship opens the door to basically any legal job you want afterwards. Proletariate says it's "so damn valuable". How exactly is it so valuable and what does it lead to? Just Biglaw? Anything else?
Also why would one take a Federal Clerkship rather than Biglaw if Biglaw is their ultimate goal?
If someone does not intend to take Biglaw, is there still a value to a Federal Clerkship?
A Clerkship is not covered by an LRAP right? Yale's COAP or Harvard's LIPP might cover it (if the salary is low enough), but otherwise you'll be eating the cost of your student loans during the duration of your clerkship right?


Litigation is prestige-obsessed and often needs it, you get a big bonus at biglaw (transactional or litigation) if you did one and it likely gives you better (more interesting) work in biglaw as partners look very favorably on it (on that note, I'm pretty sure most partners have clerked), and it's virtually required for academia. Also, most ppl just think it's comparatively fun (from what I've heard) cuz you do meaningul work which is rare for fresh grads


Nope. Are you even a law student?


Nope. I've just taught and guided through the admissions process students at NYU Law, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Harvard and Duke. Did you notice the way I put it in parentheses and indicated some doubt over that one aspect of my comment? Or were you too busy being an insufferable douchebag to thoroughly read?


Several of the things you wrote were just wrong though. Most partners have clerked is definitely not true, especially in transactional practices, and despite the clerkship bonus, you actually end up losing a lot of money from doing a clerkship (as compared to spending a year in biglaw). At least for my firm and every other firm I know, it also doesn't end up in you getting "more interesting" (what would that even be?) work, you get staffed on the same matters as everyone else.

Your statement that litigation is prestige obsessed and that a clerkship is helpful for opening doors and furthering your career is true (i.e. if you want to work for Bartlit Beck, you need to clerk first), but you should've just left it at that


Yup

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zot1
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Re: Benefits of Federal Clerkship?

Postby zot1 » Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:25 pm

A3 clerkships are far from fun. They are very judge-dependent, and some judges work their clerks like crazy.

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Po$eidon
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Re: Benefits of Federal Clerkship?

Postby Po$eidon » Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:29 pm

bearsfan23 wrote:
Po$eidon wrote:
RSN wrote:
Po$eidon wrote:
luckyirish13 wrote:Asked this in another thread and was told to move it here,
It appears that a Federal Clerkship opens the door to basically any legal job you want afterwards. Proletariate says it's "so damn valuable". How exactly is it so valuable and what does it lead to? Just Biglaw? Anything else?
Also why would one take a Federal Clerkship rather than Biglaw if Biglaw is their ultimate goal?
If someone does not intend to take Biglaw, is there still a value to a Federal Clerkship?
A Clerkship is not covered by an LRAP right? Yale's COAP or Harvard's LIPP might cover it (if the salary is low enough), but otherwise you'll be eating the cost of your student loans during the duration of your clerkship right?


Litigation is prestige-obsessed and often needs it, you get a big bonus at biglaw (transactional or litigation) if you did one and it likely gives you better (more interesting) work in biglaw as partners look very favorably on it (on that note, I'm pretty sure most partners have clerked), and it's virtually required for academia. Also, most ppl just think it's comparatively fun (from what I've heard) cuz you do meaningul work which is rare for fresh grads


Nope. Are you even a law student?


Nope. I've just taught and guided through the admissions process students at NYU Law, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Harvard and Duke. Did you notice the way I put it in parentheses and indicated some doubt over that one aspect of my comment? Or were you too busy being an insufferable douchebag to thoroughly read?


Several of the things you wrote were just wrong though. Most partners have clerked is definitely not true, especially in transactional practices, and despite the clerkship bonus, you actually end up losing a lot of money from doing a clerkship (as compared to spending a year in biglaw). At least for my firm and every other firm I know, it also doesn't end up in you getting "more interesting" (what would that even be?) work, you get staffed on the same matters as everyone else.

Your statement that litigation is prestige obsessed and that a clerkship is helpful for opening doors and furthering your career is true (i.e. if you want to work for Bartlit Beck, you need to clerk first), but you should've just left it at that


I never indicated that you come out making more money in the aggregate. I merely said that you get a sizable bonus, which means that the only thing that was wrong was precisely the one thing that I indicated I was unsure about. I also specifically indicated it was tied more w/litigation than transactional and only mentioned transactional to indicate the bonus (which you receive in both). In other words, nearly the entirety of what I said was true with the singular exception of the one thing I openly indicated I wasn't solid on. Fin.

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Re: Benefits of Federal Clerkship?

Postby guynourmin » Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:40 pm

Po$eidon wrote:Fin.


Well, might as well lock this thread now, Po$eidon said it's done.

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Po$eidon
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Re: Benefits of Federal Clerkship?

Postby Po$eidon » Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:44 pm

guybourdin wrote:
Po$eidon wrote:Fin.


Well, might as well lock this thread now, Po$eidon said it's done.


The thread can continue. That snarky, unnecessary sidebar convo from ppl who bit off more than they could chew can shut down tho 8)

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Re: Benefits of Federal Clerkship?

Postby cavalier1138 » Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:08 am

bearsfan23 wrote:...and despite the clerkship bonus, you actually end up losing a lot of money from doing a clerkship (as compared to spending a year in biglaw).


I wouldn't say you lose "a lot" of money in the grand scheme of things. Most firms pay a $50k bonus, and your clerkship bumps you up a class year. So depending on your clerkship salary (which will be different depending on when you take it), you might not really be missing out on that much money in the long run.

The more important benefit, as far as I can tell, has nothing to do with money. A federal clerkship gives you a leg up when you're looking for exit options, especially if you want to lateral into government work. It's not 100% necessary, but a lot of people at the top agencies or competitive USAOs have a clerkship under their belt.

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luckyirish13
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Re: Benefits of Federal Clerkship?

Postby luckyirish13 » Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:38 am

cavalier1138 wrote:
bearsfan23 wrote:...and despite the clerkship bonus, you actually end up losing a lot of money from doing a clerkship (as compared to spending a year in biglaw).


I wouldn't say you lose "a lot" of money in the grand scheme of things. Most firms pay a $50k bonus, and your clerkship bumps you up a class year. So depending on your clerkship salary (which will be different depending on when you take it), you might not really be missing out on that much money in the long run.

The more important benefit, as far as I can tell, has nothing to do with money. A federal clerkship gives you a leg up when you're looking for exit options, especially if you want to lateral into government work. It's not 100% necessary, but a lot of people at the top agencies or competitive USAOs have a clerkship under their belt.
A lot of people talk about wanting the prestige/exit options of Biglaw, but would a Federal Clerkship accomplish the same or more? If someone was wanting to go into public service in the future, does a Federal Clerkship opens doors for that?

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Easterbork
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Re: Benefits of Federal Clerkship?

Postby Easterbork » Sat Apr 08, 2017 7:25 am

Po$eidon wrote:
guybourdin wrote:
Po$eidon wrote:Fin.


Well, might as well lock this thread now, Po$eidon said it's done.


The thread can continue. That snarky, unnecessary sidebar convo from ppl who bit off more than they could chew can shut down tho 8)


What were you saying about insufferable douchebags?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Benefits of Federal Clerkship?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Apr 08, 2017 7:34 am

It depends what you want to do. A clerkship can be an excellent credential for public service, yes, although it may not be enough experience to get you there on your own (for instance, many AUSAs have clerkships, but they usually need experience beyond a clerkship to get hired an AUSA). It will depend on what you mean by public service and which employer - there's probably more variation in that category so it's hard to give a blanket response.

For instance if your employer doesn't bring cases in court a clerkship is less valuable. Or if you want to do something like PD or legal aid they may not care about a clerkship as much as you getting out there working with clients.

And again since it's a one year position, it will depend on what other experience you get and whether the employer values that experience. If, say, you did a clerkship and then worked for a couple of years in, say, the lowest level insurance defense shop, a biglaw employer or the ACLU or whatever may still not be interested. It all really depends on a lot of factors.

stoopkid13
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Re: Benefits of Federal Clerkship?

Postby stoopkid13 » Mon Apr 10, 2017 2:18 pm

Po$eidon wrote:
I never indicated that you come out making more money in the aggregate. I merely said that you get a sizable bonus, which means that the only thing that was wrong was precisely the one thing that I indicated I was unsure about. I also specifically indicated it was tied more w/litigation than transactional and only mentioned transactional to indicate the bonus (which you receive in both). In other words, nearly the entirety of what I said was true with the singular exception of the one thing I openly indicated I wasn't solid on. Fin.


Why mention the bonus at all if you know it's not a reason to clerk? I feel like if you are being honest about the benefit of the bonus, you should also mention the significant opportunity cost to clerking. Also, if you are reading the rest of this thread, litigation does not "often need it." There are a small number of areas where clerkship experience is needed--far from often. Other posters have said it's not "comparatively fun" and it doesn't "give you better (more interesting) work in biglaw." What thread are you reading where partnership promotion is the only thing you were wrong on?

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Benefits of Federal Clerkship?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:04 pm

I'm a former federal D. Ct. and COA clerk. I'll take some questions if you still have some that weren't answered yet.

Edit: I'll add that I worked in biglaw for ~2 years before going D. Ct. and then COA. I'm now at a prefstigious BIGFED job that I probably couldn't have gotten without my clerkships. I had good but not top grades from a T14.

Veil of Ignorance
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Re: Benefits of Federal Clerkship?

Postby Veil of Ignorance » Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:33 pm

ExBiglawAssociate wrote:I'm a former federal D. Ct. and COA clerk. I'll take some questions if you still have some that weren't answered yet.

Edit: I'll add that I worked in biglaw for ~2 years before going D. Ct. and then COA. I'm now at a prefstigious BIGFED job that I probably couldn't have gotten without my clerkships. I had good but not top grades from a T14.

Thanks for your wisdom :)
1. What are the hours like in a clerkship? Do judges have you work later than they do?
2. Are most of the bigfed jobs that clerkships lead to located in DC?
3. By T14 do you mean T6? Isn't getting a COA clerkship extremely hard?

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mjb447
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Re: Benefits of Federal Clerkship?

Postby mjb447 » Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:40 pm

Veil of Ignorance wrote:
ExBiglawAssociate wrote:I'm a former federal D. Ct. and COA clerk. I'll take some questions if you still have some that weren't answered yet.

Edit: I'll add that I worked in biglaw for ~2 years before going D. Ct. and then COA. I'm now at a prefstigious BIGFED job that I probably couldn't have gotten without my clerkships. I had good but not top grades from a T14.

Thanks for your wisdom :)
1. What are the hours like in a clerkship? Do judges have you work later than they do?
2. Are most of the bigfed jobs that clerkships lead to located in DC?
3. By T14 do you mean T6? Isn't getting a COA clerkship extremely hard?

(Nothing wrong with asking these here, but there's a stickied Clerks Taking Questions thread if you're interested in multiple perspectives on questions not specific to ExBiglawAssociate's experience. Some of these questions have probably also been addressed there if you're curious.)

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Benefits of Federal Clerkship?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:44 pm

Veil of Ignorance wrote:
ExBiglawAssociate wrote:I'm a former federal D. Ct. and COA clerk. I'll take some questions if you still have some that weren't answered yet.

Edit: I'll add that I worked in biglaw for ~2 years before going D. Ct. and then COA. I'm now at a prefstigious BIGFED job that I probably couldn't have gotten without my clerkships. I had good but not top grades from a T14.

Thanks for your wisdom :)
1. What are the hours like in a clerkship? Do judges have you work later than they do?
2. Are most of the bigfed jobs that clerkships lead to located in DC?
3. By T14 do you mean T6? Isn't getting a COA clerkship extremely hard?


1. The hours can vary dramatically depending on the judge. My DC judge had me working nine-hour days, generally. We got busier around reportable deadlines (when DC judges have to report how many motions, bench trial opinions, etc. have been pending on their dockets for longer than six months). I only had to work a couple of weekends but would often read publicly-available briefs at home. The COA clerkship was insane. I worked 10-11 hour days (seriously) and usually on Saturdays, except when the judge was on vacation. But it was my COA judge's connections that got me my BIGFED job, so I guess it was worth it. The reason I worked late during my COA clerkship was because my judge worked late. I think it's fairly common for clerks to leave when the judge leaves. (Relatedly, it's generally unheard of, at least in my experience, for clerks to leave significantly before a judge goes home.)

2. Yes.

3. I'd rather not say what school, although I'll say T13 now that GULC has officially been recognized as TTT. Getting a COA clerkship is generally very difficult. Yes. But some COA judges give you a significant amount of leeway on grades if you clerk for (one of their friends who happens to be) a district court judge. So you could say that I got extremely lucky. Then again, I worked my ass off and don't really think the people with better grades than me in law school were that much better than me. They just learned the law school game better than I did (and probably worked harder in law school than I did).

Veil of Ignorance
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Re: Benefits of Federal Clerkship?

Postby Veil of Ignorance » Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:26 am

mjb447 wrote:
Veil of Ignorance wrote:
ExBiglawAssociate wrote:I'm a former federal D. Ct. and COA clerk. I'll take some questions if you still have some that weren't answered yet.

Edit: I'll add that I worked in biglaw for ~2 years before going D. Ct. and then COA. I'm now at a prefstigious BIGFED job that I probably couldn't have gotten without my clerkships. I had good but not top grades from a T14.

Thanks for your wisdom :)
1. What are the hours like in a clerkship? Do judges have you work later than they do?
2. Are most of the bigfed jobs that clerkships lead to located in DC?
3. By T14 do you mean T6? Isn't getting a COA clerkship extremely hard?

(Nothing wrong with asking these here, but there's a stickied Clerks Taking Questions thread if you're interested in multiple perspectives on questions not specific to ExBiglawAssociate's experience. Some of these questions have probably also been addressed there if you're curious.)

OK! Good to know. It is definitely better if things are organized like that. :)

Veil of Ignorance
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Re: Benefits of Federal Clerkship?

Postby Veil of Ignorance » Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:34 am

ExBiglawAssociate wrote:3. I'd rather not say what school, although I'll say T13 now that GULC has officially been recognized as TTT. Getting a COA clerkship is generally very difficult. Yes. But some COA judges give you a significant amount of leeway on grades if you clerk for (one of their friends who happens to be) a district court judge. So you could say that I got extremely lucky. Then again, I worked my ass off and don't really think the people with better grades than me in law school were that much better than me. They just learned the law school game better than I did (and probably worked harder in law school than I did).


Thanks for the info :D




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