Wachtell vs. DC Lit for Clerkships? Forum

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.

WLRK or DC Lit for Clerkships?

WLRK
68
67%
DC Lit (Wilmer/GDC/Cov/PW)
34
33%
 
Total votes: 102

Anonymous User
Posts: 413350
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Wachtell vs. DC Lit for Clerkships?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Aug 29, 2022 12:37 am

I'm deciding between WLRK and several DC lit firms after OCI, including Wilmer, GDC, Covington, and PW, though no DC boutiques. Do any of these firms, either as a resume signal going into OSCAR or as a network of connections after 2L summer for 3L off-plan hiring, give a leg up for clerkships?

I like NYC and DC equally and I'm not trying to plan out the next 5 years of my life at this time, so non-clerkship long-term considerations (including pay -- I know WLRK pays a lot more) don't factor in here. My understanding is that for OSCAR, WLRK gives a non-trivial boost for SDNY/CA2 and isn't any worse than any DC firm in any other region, even for DDC/CADC. But for off-plan, WLRK's network might be weaker than some of the government oriented lit places. And WLRK doesn't do appellate work, which is a drag.

Is this right? Any info appreciated.

Anonymous User
Posts: 413350
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Wachtell vs. DC Lit for Clerkships?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Aug 29, 2022 5:48 pm

It is significantly easier to get into DC Lit post clerking than WLRK. All are basically going to be the same for clerkships, in that they tell judges you are smart and capable, barring having Kannon Shanmugam or something personally call judges. No off-plan judge is turning up their nose at a WLRK summer.

Anonymous User
Posts: 413350
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Wachtell vs. DC Lit for Clerkships?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Aug 29, 2022 7:35 pm

For SCOTUS clerkships, doing appellate law with an established partner can give a leg up. For all other purposes, I'd choose Wachtell. In general, I'd choose Wachtell.

jdoeman1234567

New
Posts: 21
Joined: Sun May 17, 2020 11:29 am

Re: Wachtell vs. DC Lit for Clerkships?

Post by jdoeman1234567 » Mon Aug 29, 2022 8:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Aug 29, 2022 12:37 am
I'm deciding between WLRK and several DC lit firms after OCI, including Wilmer, GDC, Covington, and PW, though no DC boutiques. Do any of these firms, either as a resume signal going into OSCAR or as a network of connections after 2L summer for 3L off-plan hiring, give a leg up for clerkships?

I like NYC and DC equally and I'm not trying to plan out the next 5 years of my life at this time, so non-clerkship long-term considerations (including pay -- I know WLRK pays a lot more) don't factor in here. My understanding is that for OSCAR, WLRK gives a non-trivial boost for SDNY/CA2 and isn't any worse than any DC firm in any other region, even for DDC/CADC. But for off-plan, WLRK's network might be weaker than some of the government oriented lit places. And WLRK doesn't do appellate work, which is a drag.

Is this right? Any info appreciated.

What is this law firm “network” for off-plan clerkships? Are you just referring to connections you could potentially make with partners, who could then put in calls for clerkships? If so, I wouldn’t worry too much about this and I’d probably take Wachtell unless you have an in with some of the appellate partners at the DC shops or were told you could do appellate work over the summer.

Anonymous User
Posts: 413350
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Wachtell vs. DC Lit for Clerkships?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 30, 2022 10:01 am

I would go with WLRK unless you’re a special snowflake with a targeted appellate offer, just bc it’s harder to get WLRK post-clerkship in case you end up wanting to work in NYC. But your choice will not affect your clerkship prospects unless maybe if you’re in an appellate group.

Want to continue reading?

Register now to search topics and post comments!

Absolutely FREE!


Anonymous User
Posts: 413350
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Wachtell vs. DC Lit for Clerkships?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 30, 2022 10:49 am

Judges really won't care about summer employment for clerkships and to the extent they do it will be idiosyncratic and not consistent across the board. Like oh I've had good experiences with Davis Polk or oh my favorite clerk is a Partner at Cravath or oh I summered at Covington DC when I was a law student.

Anonymous User
Posts: 413350
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Wachtell vs. DC Lit for Clerkships?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 30, 2022 11:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Aug 30, 2022 10:49 am
Judges really won't care about summer employment for clerkships and to the extent they do it will be idiosyncratic and not consistent across the board. Like oh I've had good experiences with Davis Polk or oh my favorite clerk is a Partner at Cravath or oh I summered at Covington DC when I was a law student.
Agree with this. To the extent my judges preferred people from any firm it was because he had friends there or otherwise had a good personal association with a particular place. Most clerks I knew who came from firms came from NY firms, so being in DC might put you at a slight disadvantage for SDNY/2d Cir, so to the extent that matters to you, WLRK might be an easier bridge, but that could also just be a function of more NYC based people applying to those chambers.

Anonymous User
Posts: 413350
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Wachtell vs. DC Lit for Clerkships?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 30, 2022 3:26 pm

WLRK > Work for Ted Mirvis > 2nd. Cir. COA > ??? > $$$

Anonymous User
Posts: 413350
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Wachtell vs. DC Lit for Clerkships?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 30, 2022 9:02 pm

OP here. I don't exactly know what "targeted appellate offer" means (should my contract be different?) but the heads of the appellate departments at most of these firms (e.g. Shanmugam at PW) have personally guaranteed that I can work on appellate matters if I want to over the summer. I don't know if that changes the calculus at all, either for on-plan OSCAR hiring or off-plan post-2L hiring.

Former clerk input would be very much appreciated, as I don't have a good picture of how clerkship hiring is from the inside. Sounds like the firm name maybe doesn't matter and I should instead weight having someone important at the firm making calls on my behalf?

Want to continue reading?

Register for access!

Did I mention it was FREE ?


Anonymous User
Posts: 413350
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Wachtell vs. DC Lit for Clerkships?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 30, 2022 9:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Aug 30, 2022 9:02 pm
OP here. I don't exactly know what "targeted appellate offer" means (should my contract be different?) but the heads of the appellate departments at most of these firms (e.g. Shanmugam at PW) have personally guaranteed that I can work on appellate matters if I want to over the summer. I don't know if that changes the calculus at all, either for on-plan OSCAR hiring or off-plan post-2L hiring.

Former clerk input would be very much appreciated, as I don't have a good picture of how clerkship hiring is from the inside. Sounds like the firm name maybe doesn't matter and I should instead weight having someone important at the firm making calls on my behalf?
The firm name typically does not matter at all. Here's one anecdote. I had high grades from a T6, but decided to work in a secondary market in my hometown for my 2L summer, and my judge (who was located outside this market) really liked the fact that I stayed in my hometown and turned down more prestigious firms.

Now what could matter a lot is a partner putting in a call on your behalf or even writing a strong letter of recommendation to a judge who knows and respects the partner. It does not necessarily have to be an important partner, just a partner who personally knows the judge. To make this happen, you need to either get very lucky or proactively reach out to some of the partners who have relationships with judges and are willing to mentor and provide real work to summers. You should be able to figure this out by asking around, but typically the younger partners who clerked and worked in government are decent resources.

Anonymous User
Posts: 413350
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Wachtell vs. DC Lit for Clerkships?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 30, 2022 9:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Aug 30, 2022 9:02 pm
OP here. I don't exactly know what "targeted appellate offer" means (should my contract be different?) but the heads of the appellate departments at most of these firms (e.g. Shanmugam at PW) have personally guaranteed that I can work on appellate matters if I want to over the summer. I don't know if that changes the calculus at all, either for on-plan OSCAR hiring or off-plan post-2L hiring.

Former clerk input would be very much appreciated, as I don't have a good picture of how clerkship hiring is from the inside. Sounds like the firm name maybe doesn't matter and I should instead weight having someone important at the firm making calls on my behalf?
Former CA 2/9/DC clerk here. It matters but not a huge amount. And it will vary by chamber. So don't let it carry that much weight in your decision making process. The usual factors carry more weight for clerk hiring.

Anonymous User
Posts: 413350
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Wachtell vs. DC Lit for Clerkships?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 30, 2022 10:15 pm

OP here. Thanks for all the responses and info from clerks. So firm name doesn't carry much weight, but it also seems like the type of work I do may not have much weight either. Is going to a firm with a good appellate practice beneficial not for the appellate work experience (which would be limited since internships are 10 weeks anyway) but for the possibility of an important appellate partner making calls on one's behalf? I just can't imagine you do enough work as a summer to have a partner know the quality of your work sufficiently to make a genuine and strong recommendation on your behalf...

It seems like the bottom-line answer is that it doesn't really matter a ton where I go 2L summer for clerkships either way?

Anonymous User
Posts: 413350
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Wachtell vs. DC Lit for Clerkships?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Aug 31, 2022 12:23 am

You shouldn't pick a firm on the basis of dubious clerkship value. More likely than not people won't care if you go to WLRK vs some decent DC firm. And what you will actually be doing is screwing up a chance to make connections at whatever firm you might actually want to go to.

You say you don't have a 5-year plan, and that's fine, but intentionally refusing to consider the long view and picking a firm on the basis of low/not-very-helpful clerkship value is bad decisionmaking.

Register now!

Resources to assist law school applicants, students & graduates.

It's still FREE!


Anonymous User
Posts: 413350
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Wachtell vs. DC Lit for Clerkships?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Aug 31, 2022 12:26 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Aug 30, 2022 9:02 pm
OP here. I don't exactly know what "targeted appellate offer" means (should my contract be different?) but the heads of the appellate departments at most of these firms (e.g. Shanmugam at PW) have personally guaranteed that I can work on appellate matters if I want to over the summer. I don't know if that changes the calculus at all, either for on-plan OSCAR hiring or off-plan post-2L hiring.

Former clerk input would be very much appreciated, as I don't have a good picture of how clerkship hiring is from the inside. Sounds like the firm name maybe doesn't matter and I should instead weight having someone important at the firm making calls on my behalf?
Firm name doesn't matter at all. What does matter is letters, emails, and phone calls. If you can get a partner like Kannon to put in a phone call for you, that makes a massive difference. Even associates you bond with over the summer can flag your app with their judge. I've seen that make a difference.

Anonymous User
Posts: 413350
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Wachtell vs. DC Lit for Clerkships?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Aug 31, 2022 8:00 am

If you're applying on plan the rush of hiring is going to be like what 2 weeks into your summer associateship? Wouldn't count on making such a good impression with a Partner that he or she is willing to call for you. Look, if you have these options available to you I'm sure your grades are good. Just go to the firm you think you would most enjoy and have fun there.

Anonymous User
Posts: 413350
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Wachtell vs. DC Lit for Clerkships?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Aug 31, 2022 8:41 am

Agree. You are not going to get a meaningful rec from a partner as a summer -- you just won't do enough substantive work for them, even by the end of the summer. As a former 2d Cir clerk, I can say that for applicants still in law school my judge was much more interested in recs from professors that he knew and respected and did not care almost at all about recs from employers, unless you had a significant and relevant career before law school, and even then the value was limited. And I would not pick a firm as part of strategy to get a rec from a particular partner -- you have no guarantee that you will work closely with that partner early and often enough for them to write you anything but a vague "John/Jane is great!" letter. And even then even a big name recommender will be less meaningful than someone you may never have heard of but who is buddies with the judge and whom the judge trusts. At this point if you to position yourself for a clerkship, you should be more focused on getting to know your professors with connections to judges so that you can secure strong recs from them.

Anonymous User
Posts: 413350
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Wachtell vs. DC Lit for Clerkships?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Aug 31, 2022 11:03 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Aug 31, 2022 8:41 am
Agree. You are not going to get a meaningful rec from a partner as a summer -- you just won't do enough substantive work for them, even by the end of the summer. As a former 2d Cir clerk, I can say that for applicants still in law school my judge was much more interested in recs from professors that he knew and respected and did not care almost at all about recs from employers, unless you had a significant and relevant career before law school, and even then the value was limited. And I would not pick a firm as part of strategy to get a rec from a particular partner -- you have no guarantee that you will work closely with that partner early and often enough for them to write you anything but a vague "John/Jane is great!" letter. And even then even a big name recommender will be less meaningful than someone you may never have heard of but who is buddies with the judge and whom the judge trusts. At this point if you to position yourself for a clerkship, you should be more focused on getting to know your professors with connections to judges so that you can secure strong recs from them.
Also like unless this guy is really good at schmoozing and these type of things to do it seamlessly, which I doubt. Desperately trying to kiss ass with a name partner in order to get him/her to make a call for you two weeks into your summer associateship is a good way to get your peers to despise you.

Get unlimited access to all forums and topics

Register now!

I'm pretty sure I told you it's FREE...


Anonymous User
Posts: 413350
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Wachtell vs. DC Lit for Clerkships?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Aug 31, 2022 1:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Aug 31, 2022 11:03 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Aug 31, 2022 8:41 am
Agree. You are not going to get a meaningful rec from a partner as a summer -- you just won't do enough substantive work for them, even by the end of the summer. As a former 2d Cir clerk, I can say that for applicants still in law school my judge was much more interested in recs from professors that he knew and respected and did not care almost at all about recs from employers, unless you had a significant and relevant career before law school, and even then the value was limited. And I would not pick a firm as part of strategy to get a rec from a particular partner -- you have no guarantee that you will work closely with that partner early and often enough for them to write you anything but a vague "John/Jane is great!" letter. And even then even a big name recommender will be less meaningful than someone you may never have heard of but who is buddies with the judge and whom the judge trusts. At this point if you to position yourself for a clerkship, you should be more focused on getting to know your professors with connections to judges so that you can secure strong recs from them.
Also like unless this guy is really good at schmoozing and these type of things to do it seamlessly, which I doubt. Desperately trying to kiss ass with a name partner in order to get him/her to make a call for you two weeks into your summer associateship is a good way to get your peers to despise you.
Right and the partner who has known you for two weeks (or even a whole summer) won't make that call anyway because they know that they have a limited number of candidates they can recommend and remain credible so they will save their recs for associates they have actually worked closely with and about whom they have something real to say.

RedNewJersey

New
Posts: 52
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2016 9:58 am

Re: Wachtell vs. DC Lit for Clerkships?

Post by RedNewJersey » Thu Sep 01, 2022 5:17 am

The consensus on this thread is right: it won't really matter, and you won't be able to do work that any judge would care about during your summer (or any partner would care enough about to write a letter of recommendation, frankly).

But, there may be a small signaling value. As a clerk screening applicants, I may have thought "impressive, wants to make money" for WLRK on a resume, and "impressive, interested in law" for appellate work in DC. Judges *might* care about these factors. For example, a judge who wants his or her clerks to go on to be a judge or academic or impact litigator, etc. *might* slightly favor DC appellate over WLRK (people who want money do not do these things, but people who just like the law do). But not much.

There also may be ways to signal whether an applicant is conservative or liberal too (GDC v. Wilmer appellate, for example). But, if you are conservative, the better play is to make that obvious from other things on your resume (and, frankly, to have already applied off-plan). And if you are progressive, neither of these options will be that helpful for a progressive judge (as compared to working on voting rights or something).

Anonymous User
Posts: 413350
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Wachtell vs. DC Lit for Clerkships?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Sep 01, 2022 4:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Aug 30, 2022 10:15 pm
It seems like the bottom-line answer is that it doesn't really matter a ton where I go 2L summer for clerkships either way?
Correct, but it does matter if you want to work at WLRK. Should assume this is your one chance to work there.

Anonymous User
Posts: 413350
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Wachtell vs. DC Lit for Clerkships?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Sep 01, 2022 7:28 pm

Second hand and anecdotal, so take it for what it’s worth, but I heard that one “prestigious” Circuit Court judge said he liked seeing Wachtell on the resume because it indicated the student wasn’t afraid of working hard.

Communicate now with those who not only know what a legal education is, but can offer you worthy advice and commentary as you complete the three most educational, yet challenging years of your law related post graduate life.

Register now, it's still FREE!


Anonymous User
Posts: 413350
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Wachtell vs. DC Lit for Clerkships?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 02, 2022 12:15 am

OP Here. The star appellate partners at some of these firms have guaranteed in no uncertain terms that I will work with them, and that they will make calls for clerkships. If I didn't have this guarantee, I think WLRK would be the right play. With this, I'm taking the DC firm I fit with the most. This seems to be consistent with the general advice in this thread, which is that without more information, I should go to WLRK since clerkship value is dubious regardless and WLRK is harder to get than generic DC Lit, but guaranteed appellate work and a known appellate partner reaching out would change the calculus.

Anonymous User
Posts: 413350
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Wachtell vs. DC Lit for Clerkships?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Sep 05, 2022 3:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Sep 02, 2022 12:15 am
OP Here. The star appellate partners at some of these firms have guaranteed in no uncertain terms that I will work with them, and that they will make calls for clerkships. If I didn't have this guarantee, I think WLRK would be the right play. With this, I'm taking the DC firm I fit with the most. This seems to be consistent with the general advice in this thread, which is that without more information, I should go to WLRK since clerkship value is dubious regardless and WLRK is harder to get than generic DC Lit, but guaranteed appellate work and a known appellate partner reaching out would change the calculus.
couple thoughts:

(1) if you want to be in DC and do appellate (WLRK does not have a separate appellate practice and is only in NYC) this makes sense.

(2) I'm skeptical of the value of a phone call from an appellate partner who has never worked with you. like what's s/he going to say, I interviewed this person, seemed great? my chambers would have been pretty nonplussed by that. are you planning to be interviewing for clerkships after you start as a first year? most people who are clerkship gunners have their clerkships locked up by then.

(3) the whole point of the clerkship is to help you get your preferred legal job? not the other way around, no? the clerkship is a one-year thing. I would definitely not trade my current (ideal) legal job for the 'ideal' clerkship' I had as a rising 2L

(4) if this is a SCOTUS chase ... I think maximizing SCOTUS chances = being in DC appellate litigation. (having never been a serious SCOTUS contender.) but obviously, most SCOTUS chases end disappointingly...query to what extent you want to build the next 5 years of your life around this, especially if you're liberal.

Anonymous User
Posts: 413350
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Wachtell vs. DC Lit for Clerkships?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Sep 05, 2022 4:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Sep 02, 2022 12:15 am
OP Here. The star appellate partners at some of these firms have guaranteed in no uncertain terms that I will work with them, and that they will make calls for clerkships. If I didn't have this guarantee, I think WLRK would be the right play. With this, I'm taking the DC firm I fit with the most. This seems to be consistent with the general advice in this thread, which is that without more information, I should go to WLRK since clerkship value is dubious regardless and WLRK is harder to get than generic DC Lit, but guaranteed appellate work and a known appellate partner reaching out would change the calculus.
Not like this matters anyways as going DC Lit is not a bad spot to be in I, respectfully, am getting off vibes from like your posts and this whole thread.

1) As the person above me said, the point of a clerkship is to get a firm, not the other way around, so I am highly confused on why you are picking firms with this in mind.

2) I'm sorry, but unless I am missing something and you have some sort of previous relationship with this appellate partner they are either a) not going to call for you and are just straight up lying or b) will call for you and give information of little or confusing value. Surely you have a Professor who knows you well—maybe even a well connected Professor—that you would much rather put in a good word with you to clerks.

3) "The star appellate partners at some of these firms have guaranteed in no uncertain terms that I will work with them, and that they will make calls for clerkships." I'm sorry but this is ridiculous—you are a 2L with likely great grades at a great school—am I to believe you have multiple star appellate partners stumbling over themselves to work with you.

Anonymous User
Posts: 413350
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Wachtell vs. DC Lit for Clerkships?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Sep 05, 2022 4:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Sep 05, 2022 4:07 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Sep 02, 2022 12:15 am
OP Here. The star appellate partners at some of these firms have guaranteed in no uncertain terms that I will work with them, and that they will make calls for clerkships. If I didn't have this guarantee, I think WLRK would be the right play. With this, I'm taking the DC firm I fit with the most. This seems to be consistent with the general advice in this thread, which is that without more information, I should go to WLRK since clerkship value is dubious regardless and WLRK is harder to get than generic DC Lit, but guaranteed appellate work and a known appellate partner reaching out would change the calculus.
Not like this matters anyways as going DC Lit is not a bad spot to be in I, respectfully, am getting off vibes from like your posts and this whole thread.

1) As the person above me said, the point of a clerkship is to get a firm, not the other way around, so I am highly confused on why you are picking firms with this in mind.

2) I'm sorry, but unless I am missing something and you have some sort of previous relationship with this appellate partner they are either a) not going to call for you and are just straight up lying or b) will call for you and give information of little or confusing value. Surely you have a Professor who knows you well—maybe even a well connected Professor—that you would much rather put in a good word with you to clerks.

3) "The star appellate partners at some of these firms have guaranteed in no uncertain terms that I will work with them, and that they will make calls for clerkships." I'm sorry but this is ridiculous—you are a 2L with likely great grades at a great school—am I to believe you have multiple star appellate partners stumbling over themselves to work with you.
I actually think OP is telling the truth. Star appellate partners absolutely get involved in the summer associate recruiting process for top candidates, and they absolutely promise professional mentorship and help with clerkships. Phone calls are not unheard of. Sometimes these promises don't pan out, however. Based on this info and the Wachtell offer, I'd guess OP is top 5% at HYS or similar.

Seriously? What are you waiting for?

Now there's a charge.
Just kidding ... it's still FREE!


Post Reply Post Anonymous Reply  

Return to “Legal Employment”