Should I be Wary of Clerking a Year Out?

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beepboopbeep

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Re: Should I be Wary of Clerking a Year Out?

Post by beepboopbeep » Thu May 28, 2020 8:38 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 8:20 am
Casper123 wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 7:51 am
1. I don't think Simpson Thacher DC can be compared to Covington/GDC/WH DC.
2. Is there a risk that OP will not be welcomed back? Maybe there is a tiny risk but the risk that OP ends up working with a partner or in a group he/she doesn't like or that partners think his work sucks (and therefore wants to leave or gets pushed out) is way higher. There are so many reasons why people need to look for a new firm at some point. Clerking does not seem to be a particularly risky move.
3. I am a bit surprised that some people seem to suggest that OP shouldn't clerk. I don't see a H/S top 10% graduate with a decent district court or COA clerkship having trouble finding a job at another firm.
You are a 3L, correct? Why are you giving your advice about post clerkship hiring when you’ve never tried to do it? Why don’t you take a look at the post clerkship hiring threads on TLS and get back to me on whether what the people there are saying fits with what you think it would be. And LOL at trying to draw a distinction between STB and the firms you mentioned. Perhaps there is some minor distinction among law student litigation snobs but the notion that a V10 with 4.5 million PPP a year is unrepresentative of ‘truly elite’ firms or whatever point you’re trying to make is absurd. Also, it was STB NY.
FWIW, I have been through the post-clerkship hiring process and basically agree with (3). Certainly firms yoink offers that were guaranteed before someone left. But a HYS top 10% grad with a good clerkship will probably land on their feet. This year sucks, sure, but it's pretty conservative to suggest the market will still be awful in, like, 2023 like OP is talking about.

Y'all are talking past each on STB. Not gonna wade into that.

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Re: Should I be Wary of Clerking a Year Out?

Post by Casper123 » Thu May 28, 2020 8:52 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 8:20 am
Casper123 wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 7:51 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 6:18 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 6:11 am
BansheeScream wrote:
Wed May 27, 2020 3:37 pm
Lurk2020 wrote:
Wed May 27, 2020 3:25 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed May 27, 2020 10:53 am


Anon from above who wasn't able to come back to his firm. Complete agree with this -- I had conversations with partners before I left for the clerkship who made it "clear" that there was no risk to clerking, that I had good reviews and would be welcome back, etc.
Who are the brand name firms that are failing to fulfill their promises to bring back clerks?
Seconding this. Everyone on this board encourages people to out firms for way less. Our recruitment team has told us you basically email a month before with your intention to return. It seems to be wildly inappropriate to keep up this rouse when you could be interviewing at other firms.
Simpson thacher
and actually I just confirmed on the firm website that they also did not bring back another person I knew at the firm, same situation, who told me he had spoken to a partner and received assurances that he would be taken back a month before he contacted recruiting to begin re-onboarding
1. I don't think Simpson Thacher DC can be compared to Covington/GDC/WH DC.
2. Is there a risk that OP will not be welcomed back? Maybe there is a tiny risk but the risk that OP ends up working with a partner or in a group he/she doesn't like or that partners think his work sucks (and therefore wants to leave or gets pushed out) is way higher. There are so many reasons why people need to look for a new firm at some point. Clerking does not seem to be a particularly risky move.
3. I am a bit surprised that some people seem to suggest that OP shouldn't clerk. I don't see a H/S top 10% graduate with a decent district court or COA clerkship having trouble finding a job at another firm.
You are a 3L, correct? Why are you giving your advice about post clerkship hiring when you’ve never tried to do it? Why don’t you take a look at the post clerkship hiring threads on TLS and get back to me on whether what the people there are saying fits with what you think it would be. And LOL at trying to draw a distinction between STB and the firms you mentioned. Perhaps there is some minor distinction among law student litigation snobs but the notion that a V10 with 4.5 million PPP a year is unrepresentative of ‘truly elite’ firms or whatever point you’re trying to make is absurd. Also, it was STB NY.
No, I am a midlevel. My point about STB DC was not related to "prestige" but rather that, as I said, it cannot be compared (size, the work they do etc.).

PS: Have you ever considered that you not having been welcomed back could have had anything to do with the way you chose to be?

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Re: Should I be Wary of Clerking a Year Out?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu May 28, 2020 8:58 am

Casper123 wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 7:51 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 6:18 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 6:11 am
BansheeScream wrote:
Wed May 27, 2020 3:37 pm
Lurk2020 wrote:
Wed May 27, 2020 3:25 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed May 27, 2020 10:53 am
LBJ's Hair wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 5:40 pm


To reiterate -- there were brand name V10 firms that were refusing to take back clerks *pre-COVID*. You think they'd tell former summers that, if they asked? Absolutely not.

Not saying this is going to happen you, and congrats on the clerkship.

But like, let's get real about how this works: Until you're a full-time employee, the partners are selling you. "Of course you can focus on appellate work!" "Yeah, anyone who wants to go to a US Attorney's goes." "First years don't do much document review." Etc.
Anon from above who wasn't able to come back to his firm. Complete agree with this -- I had conversations with partners before I left for the clerkship who made it "clear" that there was no risk to clerking, that I had good reviews and would be welcome back, etc.
Who are the brand name firms that are failing to fulfill their promises to bring back clerks?
Seconding this. Everyone on this board encourages people to out firms for way less. Our recruitment team has told us you basically email a month before with your intention to return. It seems to be wildly inappropriate to keep up this rouse when you could be interviewing at other firms.
Simpson thacher
and actually I just confirmed on the firm website that they also did not bring back another person I knew at the firm, same situation, who told me he had spoken to a partner and received assurances that he would be taken back a month before he contacted recruiting to begin re-onboarding
1. I don't think Simpson Thacher DC can be compared to Covington/GDC/WH DC.
2. Is there a risk that OP will not be welcomed back? Maybe there is a tiny risk but the risk that OP ends up working with a partner or in a group he/she doesn't like or that partners think his work sucks (and therefore wants to leave or gets pushed out) is way higher. There are so many reasons why people need to look for a new firm at some point. Clerking does not seem to be a particularly risky move.
3. I am a bit surprised that some people seem to suggest that OP shouldn't clerk. I don't see a H/S top 10% graduate with a decent district court or COA clerkship having trouble finding a job at another firm.
idk what your basis for saying any of this is, but here’s my anecdote - as a top 1/4 HYS with a decent COA clerkship, I found the post clerk market a fucking disaster two years ago. Ended up having to go back to my summer firm. The market is probably unfatjomably worse now

I know of several people who had a weird year gap or 8-9 months, and they were not welcomed backed. Economic considerations aside, I think a non trivial percent of firms dislike a third or fourth year (for two clerkships) coming in and billing at that level with basically no biglaw skills

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Re: Should I be Wary of Clerking a Year Out?

Post by LBJ's Hair » Thu May 28, 2020 1:16 pm

Friend (Y/S + URM) was not guaranteed return to V10 firm (not STB) when s/he left for CA2/DC clerkship. Blanketed NY V10 when s/he finished, got interviews with ... S&C, Gibson, and there might have been a third? The rest of the V10 told him/her they couldn't hire anyone. Ended up with another two more niche interviews, accepted one.

This was a year ago, so pre-COVID. Again, Y/S + CA2/DC + URM. Good interviewer. Was worried s/he wouldn't get a job. (FWIW, s/he likes the one s/he has now.)

Just one data point, and my point isn't "don't clerk." Just, you know, be careful. If you're a litigator and your department isn't busy (his/hers wasn't), you're not guaranteed a sinecure just because you went to HLS or are leaving for CA9 or whatever.
Last edited by LBJ's Hair on Thu May 28, 2020 1:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Should I be Wary of Clerking a Year Out?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu May 28, 2020 1:29 pm

It seems like the horror stories so far are pretty NYC-heavy. No NYC V10 is particularly similar in work type, size, etc. to top DC biglaw offices, though, where OP (and myself) are heading. At my law school virtually everyone who goes to the DC market does at least one federal clerkship. Are we all making a mistake? Or does the expectation that DC lit = clerkship mean that the concerns here are lower?

I'd also be interested in going to a secondary/tertiary market post-clerkship, where I suspect being a big fish in a small pond makes clerking less risky, but I'm not sure. Any thoughts on that situation would be helpful as well.

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Re: Should I be Wary of Clerking a Year Out?

Post by LBJ's Hair » Thu May 28, 2020 1:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 1:29 pm
It seems like the horror stories so far are pretty NYC-heavy. No NYC V10 is particularly similar in work type, size, etc. to top DC biglaw offices, though, where OP (and myself) are heading. At my law school virtually everyone who goes to the DC market does at least one federal clerkship. Are we all making a mistake? Or does the expectation that DC lit = clerkship mean that the concerns here are lower?
Just to be clear: The issue isn't "top NY law firms don't value fancy clerkships." They do. The issue is that many top NY litigation departments don't have enough work to go around, and if there isn't enough work, it doesn't matter how fancy your clerkship is. They're not gonna pay you to bill 100 hours a month.

I don't know the DC litigation market. Billable rates are lower (at least at the firms I'm familiar with), so that might insulate DC from some of the cost pressures from clients that top NY firms are facing. Maybe post-clerkship hiring has been robust?

But I would not assume that there's no risk just because "everyone clerks." Lots and lots of people clerk in NY.

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Re: Should I be Wary of Clerking a Year Out?

Post by kovdak02 » Thu May 28, 2020 3:08 pm

Ignore, I misread OP

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Re: Should I be Wary of Clerking a Year Out?

Post by kovdak02 » Thu May 28, 2020 3:20 pm

I know a DC lit associate who left to clerk and then was ghosted by their firm when they sought to come back. Not any of Cov/GDC/WH, but a DC litigation group in that same neighborhood (think Latham, Kirkland, Skadden, Hogan).

I don’t think they were especially well-liked - not bad enough to be fired as a junior, but enough not to be welcomed back. Those are different standards, so you do take on at least some risk when you leave. But this is a pretty rare circumstance.

And that associate in question is now at a good market-paying biglaw firm in DC, anyway, so it’s not a horror story.

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Re: Should I be Wary of Clerking a Year Out?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu May 28, 2020 3:24 pm

Current CA2 clerk. I think one moral of this story if that if you decide to clerk (and I wouldn't dissuade you from doing so, especially if you have the option to work for a highly regarded court/judge), you need to be recruiting with other firms, regardless of what your previous firm may have told you. For NYC litigation, this doesn't really mean V10, it means litigation boutiques and other smaller firms. Dozens of firms held clerk recruiting receptions in NYC this year, but zero of those firms was a V10. If your goal is V10 litigation or bust, I tend to agree that clerking has more downside risk than upside benefit.

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Re: Should I be Wary of Clerking a Year Out?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu May 28, 2020 3:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 1:29 pm
It seems like the horror stories so far are pretty NYC-heavy. No NYC V10 is particularly similar in work type, size, etc. to top DC biglaw offices, though, where OP (and myself) are heading. At my law school virtually everyone who goes to the DC market does at least one federal clerkship. Are we all making a mistake? Or does the expectation that DC lit = clerkship mean that the concerns here are lower?

I'd also be interested in going to a secondary/tertiary market post-clerkship, where I suspect being a big fish in a small pond makes clerking less risky, but I'm not sure. Any thoughts on that situation would be helpful as well.
I’m the anon who responded at 8:58Am today. All of my comments involve the DC market (including what vault who consider “top” DC lit firms)

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Re: Should I be Wary of Clerking a Year Out?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu May 28, 2020 4:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 3:24 pm
Current CA2 clerk. I think one moral of this story if that if you decide to clerk (and I wouldn't dissuade you from doing so, especially if you have the option to work for a highly regarded court/judge), you need to be recruiting with other firms, regardless of what your previous firm may have told you. For NYC litigation, this doesn't really mean V10, it means litigation boutiques and other smaller firms. Dozens of firms held clerk recruiting receptions in NYC this year, but zero of those firms was a V10. If your goal is V10 litigation or bust, I tend to agree that clerking has more downside risk than upside benefit.
seconding this. current DCt clerk, was previously at a firm that "cares" about clerkships and prestige (and has been mentioned in this thread). they wouldn't make any promises when I was leaving. I was aggressive about recruiting, found myself other (biglaw) options, and now am glad I did.

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Re: Should I be Wary of Clerking a Year Out?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu May 28, 2020 6:38 pm

Wow, these are some crazy stories I would not have expected, especially the Y/S + DC/CA2 (and a URM boost, FWIW).

Having gone through post-clerkship hiring in a boom time (this year, pre-Covid) it wasn't all roses like people sometimes make it out to be. I will say the firms I applied to early and actually made an effort to make connections to at receptions got back to me. When I didn't do both of those things, I mostly didn't hear anything. For context, I applied to most of the lit boutiques you've heard of, plus some midsize (but well-respected) firms that mostly do lit.

It seemed like if it's early in the season and your resume looks pretty good, especially compared to children at OCI, more firms will give you a shot. But by the time they're inundated with bunches of identical clerk resumes, they just have to toss a bunch. I had the benefit of a two year clerkship, so had my shit together to apply early. Then when I had positive results, I slowed down, and I think that very much hurt me, especially bc I have a pretty average clerk resume (summa but at T25, Conn./Md/NJ clerkship, 2 years in NYC big law).

Ended up with 2 callbacks (plus some public interest stuff that didn't work out either), offered by one firm, and after talking to my old firm (that said, at least at that point, I was welcome back), accepted the new offer.

Some of my co-clerks had an even tougher time, especially without a big law background.

I guess that's to say, be warned, it's not perfect. Covid is definitely scary too, but your current firm could fuck you too. But I would definitely do it again, just apply early to more places. Especially if you're only 1 year out and it's a 1 year clerkship, you won't have as much trouble with the being too expensive thing. In fact, I bet 1 year biglaw plus district court clerkship will have better results with post-clerkship hiring. It means your next firm doesn't have to deal with the baby lawyer stuff.

TL/DR - I would do it again, but it has risks, and be aware/smart about it.

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Re: Should I be Wary of Clerking a Year Out?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun May 31, 2020 1:28 pm

To answer a question from above, one of the firms revoking offers for returning clerks is Mayer Brown (including DC, FWIW).

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Re: Should I be Wary of Clerking a Year Out?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 02, 2020 10:56 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 1:28 pm
To answer a question from above, one of the firms revoking offers for returning clerks is Mayer Brown (including DC, FWIW).
Were they former associates attempting to return, or incoming associates finishing up a clerkship right after law school?

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