Worth doing District Court before Appelate?

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Worth doing District Court before Appelate?

Post by tomjones123 » Thu Oct 31, 2019 5:34 pm

I am clerking in 2021 for a judge on the 2nd/9th/DCC (not a traditional feeder, but well respected). I'm wondering if it will be weird to not have a prior clerkship on the district court level. Is it worth trying to pull strings and do something in 2020 so that I have that box "checked" before I do the COA?

Is it common to jump right to an appellate clerkship, and how will you be viewed by the judge and co-clerks if you haven't worked on the district court level beforehand?

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Re: Worth doing District Court before Appelate?

Post by Laser Lady » Thu Oct 31, 2019 6:03 pm

It's not weird at all, and it really shouldn't affect how your judge/co-clerks see you. One of the main reasons many people do district court clerkships before appellate clerkships is to improve their applications for the appellate level, but you've already got the appellate clerkship, so there's no need for you to do a district court clerkship first unless you think it would independently help your career.


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Re: Worth doing District Court before Appelate?

Post by lavarman84 » Thu Oct 31, 2019 6:49 pm

It's no big deal. If you want to do one, go for it. I think a D. Ct. is better experience, but the COA is obviously the better credential. But if you don't do it, you'll still be fine. You'll have a larger learning curve than people who did, but it won't be significantly larger.


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Re: Worth doing District Court before Appelate?

Post by Fireworks2016 » Fri Nov 01, 2019 5:02 pm

I loved every minute of my district court clerkship but wouldn't say its necessary for your appellate clerkship. If you decide clerk at a district court, you will have a much better sense for the whole process of litigation in federal court and a more practical understanding of how things work -- that will be useful, but its more of a bonus than a pre-req.

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Re: Worth doing District Court before Appelate?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Nov 07, 2019 4:42 am

I did both and do not think one is necessary for the other. They are very different in some respects, but there is a huge overlap in the work because the bulk of it is research and writing.

BTW I would highly recommend doing a district court clerkship. I learned an unbelievable amount and think I am a far, far better attorney because of the experience.

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