should I even bother with fed dist cships?

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should I even bother with fed dist cships?

Post by objctnyrhnr » Sun Apr 14, 2013 6:45 pm

I was not going to apply to any federal district court clerkships, thinking I did not have a shot. Then, the other day, I learned that an article I wrote will be published in a law review, and I began to consider it. That being said, I am far from optimistic about my chances. What I am wondering is whether it is even worth the time, given my low GPA.

I attend one of those t30 boston schools.

1L GPA was a little above a 3.0. One of my parents was undergoing chemo/was very sick. That just is what it is/what what it was, and it cannot be changed.

2L GPA was like a 3.5 (I have already completed 4 sems and am currently on a sem off, set to graduate in the spring of 2014). cum is a bit under a 3.25.

Resume is very prosecution and research and writing-heavy, along with some appellate-level judicial stuff. nothing federal. my res is really really good, due to the fact that I have filled the time I have not been in school with research and writing internships. i've also argued before MA appeals a bunch of times, if it's relevant.

i expect to note-onto a journal at the end of this semester with the article that is to be published. it probably will not be my school's law review, though. the illness I described above precluded me from being able to attempt to write on as a 1L.

recs will be quite good and will probably mention the 1L issue, though I do not know if any of them will really be able to call anybody.

the real kicker is I am not geographically flexible due to the ongoing family sitch/significant other. basically anything in MA or RI is all I would apply to.

i want to emphasize that I do not expect to get anything, but I am just wondering if you think my GPA is so low that it is not worth applying. either way, I plan to apply to state-level clerkships.

let me know if more info is needed, though I think I covered everything.

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Re: should I even bother with fed dist cships?

Post by emciosn » Sun Apr 14, 2013 6:52 pm

Might help to give us the approximate percentile cutoff that corresponds to your grades. A 3.5 means different things from different schools.


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Re: should I even bother with fed dist cships?

Post by thsmthcrmnl » Sun Apr 14, 2013 6:52 pm

It is not worth applying.

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Re: should I even bother with fed dist cships?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Apr 14, 2013 7:26 pm

You definitely can't get a clerkship if you don't apply, but I think your biggest obstacle is the narrow scope of your search. If your parameters were broader you might might have a better chance of getting beyond the initial clerk/OSCAR screener for grades simply by giving yourself more opportunities. Some mag./d.j.'s still do a comprehensive scan of your resume and pull people in for interviews for all sorts of reasons because they see something that resonates with them. And some judges (albeit a minority of them) are more accepting of the concept that illnesses/extenuating situations happen and 1L maybe is not as representative of your abilities as your 2L & 3L years.

My closest law school friend, and now fiancé, was incredibly ill her 1L year and basically went through it undiagnosed by doctors until they figured it out during her 1L summer. She pulled low B's and C's after a high performing college career and a successful stint on Wall Street. It was, by far, the worst six-ten months I have seen her emotionally. She couldn't grade or write on to law review, but got a note published, basically pulled straight A's, and won an intramural moot court competition. She clerked for an intermediary state court judge and will clerk for a federal judge next year. I don't know how much her current clerkship compensated for her 1L year or lack of law review of if her current judge had any connection to the federal judge. The federal judge was clearly willing to look beyond her 1L troubles and lack of law review to have hired her. It really comes down to the right judge and some luck and that's the case for most people applying for federal clerkships - even those who match up on paper.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sun Apr 14, 2013 7:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: should I even bother with fed dist cships?

Post by Tangerine Gleam » Sun Apr 14, 2013 7:45 pm

The district courts in your area are probably quite competitive, but if you're already going to be applying for state court clerkships (and thus will be going through the recommendation and writing sample preparation steps either way), I don't think it would take a considerable amount of extra time to also send out applications to district court judges. If these judges are waiting for the Plan, OSCAR makes electronic applications quite easy.

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Re: should I even bother with fed dist cships?

Post by A. Nony Mouse » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:32 am

Anonymous User wrote:It really comes down to the right judge and some luck and that's the case for most people applying for federal clerkships - even those who match up on paper.
As living proof that getting a federal clerkship doesn't always come down to being top X% at a T3/6/10 school, I completely agree with this. (And I too went from a state intermediate clerkship to federal clerkship, and know that the state clerkship helped for getting the federal one, so that might be a route to consider.) Although I also agree that being limited to MA/RI will make your search tougher.


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Re: should I even bother with fed dist cships?

Post by lolwat » Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:31 am

Might as well apply, your geographic requirements are so narrow that sending out those applications will take you like an hour or something.

I think your chances are difficult to tell. Judges that tend to hire from lower ranked schools generally want the best students from there or some other connection. Unless your school is different with grading than most, a 3.5 isn't terribly impressive even if the judge looks past your 1L issues. But it sounds like you do have a ton of other stuff other than your grades - so it depends if the judge looks past your grades, too.

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