Importance of Clerkship’s Location on Return to Biglaw

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Importance of Clerkship’s Location on Return to Biglaw

Post by Cochran » Sun Mar 22, 2020 10:15 am

In the context of someone in Biglaw (with long-term BigFed goals):
1. Generally, how much does the location of a usdc clerkship have on the prestige/overall career benefit of getting a clerkship?
2. If I were to take a district court clerkship that is a) not within a major state/circuit and b) outside of the state/circuit that I would hope to either return to or transfer into, is the clerkship wholly unhelpful career wise?
3. Specifically with regard to returning to biglaw, would an employer in a major market see any benefit to clerking at a usdc of a small state? Would it be difficult to return or transfer to a market outside of where the clerkship took place?

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Re: Importance of Clerkship’s Location on Return to Biglaw

Post by The Lsat Airbender » Sun Mar 22, 2020 11:15 am

Should not be a problem to go clerk in Arizona or whatever and then return to your current market. Going from place A to clerk in place B and then trying to lateral to place C, on the other hand, sounds harder to explain unless you have ties to C for some unrelated reason.

All federal clerkships are prestigious (although I list three points of distinction below). MDTN is obviously going to be a better networking tool and have more of a "wow" factor in Nashville, but the experience and talent-signalling are still there in New York.

- District clerkships in big metros (SDNY/EDNY, DDC, NDIL, etc.) are more competitive, because more people want to live and work there. Whether this makes them more prestigious is a matter of some dispute.

- Judges' relationships with employers are a huge part of the value of a clerkship. Judges obviously tend to be more connected to the region they sit in, but a judge in Michigan who happens to be an alumna of the DC firm you really want could be extremely helpful to your career. Certain famous judges also have strong reputations which lend a sort of aura to their clerks, although this is more of a CoA phenomenon.

- Certain districts have dockets slanted towards a certain kind of litigation (border districts = criminal being the main example), which colors how useful they are for different kinds of employment.


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Re: Importance of Clerkship’s Location on Return to Biglaw

Post by Anon-non-anon » Mon Mar 23, 2020 8:10 am

Firms also recruit from local clerkships so you'll get more marketing stuff if you clerk in the area you want to work, and networking will be easier (more important for super lit shops if not as much for standard biglaw).

There are also more likely to be former clerks working for target employers if you clerk in the area you want to work, which is a great way to break in. They'll almost certainly be willing to help you get in the door.

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