how much does a district ct clerkship in a "second tier" city help for new york/dc biglaw?

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how much does a district ct clerkship in a "second tier" city help for new york/dc biglaw?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jun 04, 2021 7:14 pm

by help i mean in improving one's ability to lateral/obtain a litigation job in new york/dc biglaw, not help in the skills sense

by "second tier" city i mean not the major super competitive clerkships like DDC, SDNY, NDIL, and NDCA but also not in the middle of nowhere and still competitive, e.g. Seattle, Nashville, Boston

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Re: how much does a district ct clerkship in a "second tier" city help for new york/dc biglaw?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jun 04, 2021 7:43 pm

It helped me. I was a junior at a firm in a smaller market that's my home town, and I took the job because it was my only offer. I tried to lateral to DC but couldn't convince DC firms to hire me. I think they thought it was weird that a guy at a small regional firm would want to leave for DC. So I took a clerkship at a district court in a different mid-major type city. I think DC firms like clerkships, and I think me moving from the small city to a bigger one showed I wasn't tethered to my home town. It also helped because I landed several federal government interviews in DC, and I was able to shoot a note to every firm in DC with a job opening and say "look I'm in town, no need to pay for my flight or my hotel, I have several interviews in DC, can I stop by?" That really helped because there was almost no down side to the firm bringing me in for a few hours. It also helped because when people learned I was in town for several government interviews, the "why DC" question went away; they believed I was committed to moving to DC.

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Re: how much does a district ct clerkship in a "second tier" city help for new york/dc biglaw?

Post by 2013 » Fri Jun 04, 2021 9:48 pm

This is very difficult to answer given how you’ve defined second tier. I’d argue that D. Mass. is still very nice to have on a resume (mostly since many HLS grads did that clerkship).

However, M.D. Tenn? Idk. I’m assuming it’s mostly Tennessee grads. Relatedly, I know at least two Alabama grads with District Court clerkships in Alabama who struggled to find market-paying, clerkship bonus-paying positions in any city, never mind NY or DC. Both ended up at big firms in Nashville.

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Re: how much does a district ct clerkship in a "second tier" city help for new york/dc biglaw?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jun 04, 2021 10:06 pm

I'm also interested in a similar situation. All of this is dependent on several factors. Here's my question and maybe it will help OP or others wondering whether their "flyover" clerkships are "worth it."

I'm CCN. Decent grades, but nothing fancy or remarkable. Flyover district clerkship, middle of nowhere (for purposes of this question). Will this still help me with DC, be neutral or hurt against other clerkship candidates? If I get a COA clerkship, is this all moot and I'm a contender (no matter what circuit it is, e.g. 6/8/10/11)?

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Re: how much does a district ct clerkship in a "second tier" city help for new york/dc biglaw?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jun 04, 2021 11:26 pm

I've seen a CCN grad, with probably just decent grades, that, after graduation, took a dct clerkship in middle of nowhere to springboard it into a second dct clerkship in Chicago and got biglaw in Chicago immediately after.

Need to know more about OP stats to know whether the dct clerkship could be helpful.

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Re: how much does a district ct clerkship in a "second tier" city help for new york/dc biglaw?

Post by nixy » Sat Jun 05, 2021 10:30 am

I think doing a clerkship at all is always going to help more than not doing a clerkship. Yes, a “flyover” clerkship may not go as far with NY/DC biglaw employers as one from the more competitive districts, but it will go further than not having a clerkship. So the question is really, what is your alternative?

Unless you have an interview already lined up with SDNY or the like, or some really concrete reason to think you’ll get one somewhere like SDNY, I’d take the clerkship where you get it. If you don’t have a NY/DC biglaw gig, and want one, clerking will help more than not clerking. If you do have a NY/DC biglaw gig and are worried about keeping it/the impact of clerking elsewhere, it’s not going to hurt you to clerk elsewhere. (A federal clerkship never hurts you, it’s just that some may have more pull than others.)

I’m not saying that clerking is the only way you can lateral into NY/DC biglaw; depending what work you’re doing now, you may be able to get good practice experience and trade up that way. But I think clerking can help you.

Re: the Alabama grads mentioned - clerking isn’t a magic bullet, it doesn’t radically transform you as a candidate. Sometimes you can get a clerkship without having traditional biglaw credentials (clerkship hiring is weird), and doing the clerkship alone won’t magically make you appealing to biglaw employers. But it’s still going to put you in a better position than not clerking (I’m sure the Alabama clerks weren’t originally rolling in biglaw offers that went away after they clerked). In any case, I think you need to be realistic and always consider backup options - if you’re not a traditional biglaw candidate you might want to pursue other options at the same time. But you can do that while clerking, too.

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Re: how much does a district ct clerkship in a "second tier" city help for new york/dc biglaw?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jun 05, 2021 11:39 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Jun 04, 2021 10:06 pm
I'm also interested in a similar situation. All of this is dependent on several factors. Here's my question and maybe it will help OP or others wondering whether their "flyover" clerkships are "worth it."

I'm CCN. Decent grades, but nothing fancy or remarkable. Flyover district clerkship, middle of nowhere (for purposes of this question). Will this still help me with DC, be neutral or hurt against other clerkship candidates? If I get a COA clerkship, is this all moot and I'm a contender (no matter what circuit it is, e.g. 6/8/10/11)?
I think that a circuit court clerkship would certainly help, although DC hiring is kind of brutal, so I wouldn't say automatically makes you a contender. The circuit does not matter much at all. The reason that the 9th and 2nd circuits are harder to get is that people want to live in California and New York, not because those judges are somehow better.

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Re: how much does a district ct clerkship in a "second tier" city help for new york/dc biglaw?

Post by nixy » Sat Jun 05, 2021 12:05 pm

(Two things I should add after being awake a bit longer: I agree with the post above that a COA is going to help more, regardless of circuit, although it may be not dispositive; and it is probably best to distinguish between NYC and DC here, since DC is tougher to get.)

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Re: how much does a district ct clerkship in a "second tier" city help for new york/dc biglaw?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jun 10, 2021 2:59 pm

2013 wrote:
Fri Jun 04, 2021 9:48 pm
This is very difficult to answer given how you’ve defined second tier. I’d argue that D. Mass. is still very nice to have on a resume (mostly since many HLS grads did that clerkship).

However, M.D. Tenn? Idk. I’m assuming it’s mostly Tennessee grads. Relatedly, I know at least two Alabama grads with District Court clerkships in Alabama who struggled to find market-paying, clerkship bonus-paying positions in any city, never mind NY or DC. Both ended up at big firms in Nashville.
fair enough DMA might be different than seattle and nashville. but a clerkship in birmingham is pretty different from a clerkship in seattle or nashville. I would call any city in alabama "third tier" rather than "second tier"

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Re: how much does a district ct clerkship in a "second tier" city help for new york/dc biglaw?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jun 10, 2021 5:42 pm

It helps significantly. I speak from experience. CCN grad, average grades, struck out at OCI and had to take a midlaw job in a small market. Got a district court clerkship in that small market after practicing for a year, then springboarded that to DC/NY biglaw offers when finished (and I had no ties to either region). I think all fed clerkships, no matter where they are, give you a giant boost and are an incredible learning experience. That being said, I think if I went to a T50, or even T25, I might not have landed any biglaw gigs post clerkship so YMMV.

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Re: how much does a district ct clerkship in a "second tier" city help for new york/dc biglaw?

Post by LBJ's Hair » Thu Jun 10, 2021 9:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Jun 10, 2021 5:42 pm
It helps significantly. I speak from experience. CCN grad, average grades, struck out at OCI and had to take a midlaw job in a small market. Got a district court clerkship in that small market after practicing for a year, then springboarded that to DC/NY biglaw offers when finished (and I had no ties to either region). I think all fed clerkships, no matter where they are, give you a giant boost and are an incredible learning experience. That being said, I think if I went to a T50, or even T25, I might not have landed any biglaw gigs post clerkship so YMMV.
you're sort of in a different situation than OP though (or at least it seems like it). a median CCN student ordinarily gets multiple V20 job offers. you're not this like, otherwise-marginal candidate for NY BigLaw. curious how you struck out at OCI

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Re: how much does a district ct clerkship in a "second tier" city help for new york/dc biglaw?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 14, 2021 8:48 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jun 05, 2021 11:39 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Jun 04, 2021 10:06 pm
I'm also interested in a similar situation. All of this is dependent on several factors. Here's my question and maybe it will help OP or others wondering whether their "flyover" clerkships are "worth it."

I'm CCN. Decent grades, but nothing fancy or remarkable. Flyover district clerkship, middle of nowhere (for purposes of this question). Will this still help me with DC, be neutral or hurt against other clerkship candidates? If I get a COA clerkship, is this all moot and I'm a contender (no matter what circuit it is, e.g. 6/8/10/11)?
I think that a circuit court clerkship would certainly help, although DC hiring is kind of brutal, so I wouldn't say automatically makes you a contender. The circuit does not matter much at all. The reason that the 9th and 2nd circuits are harder to get is that people want to live in California and New York, not because those judges are somehow better.
I mostly agree with this - COA clerkship is viewed as a COA clerkship no matter what, which is to say it will be a very strong resume addition - but I also think there is a slight bump to 2/9/DC based on perceived competitiveness to land one of those clerkships. I think someone with a CA2 or CA9 clerkship in Connecticut or Idaho would still get a slight bump over another candidate with any other non-2/9/DC clerkship, all else being equal. But it's very minor.

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