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Posted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 8:50 pm
How do judges view recommendations from quite academically respected professors who have never clerked themselves? I have to imagine its not too big of a deal, but would it be a good idea to include at least one professor who has clerked before?
For reference this is at a t6 school but I just happen to have the best relationships with professors who did not clerk themselves for one reason or another
Posted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:41 am
FWIW, at my T30-50, one of our professors is reputed to write very effective letters of recommendations without having clerked him/herself.
Posted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 9:04 am
I don't think it matters. The best thing is to have a recommender who has connections to the judge(s), and clerking is one way to get that, but absolutely not the only way to get that. I suppose on the very margins, it might help a prof to be able to talk about your potential as a clerk, but regardless of clerking, they can talk about your academic abilities and personableness, and that's really what a judge wants to know. The best letter comes from someone who knows you well enough to sing your praises with convincing specificity, regardless of their background.
Posted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 10:08 am
It doesn't matter, at least in most cases. It's not much of a mystery what most judges are looking for in a clerk, and a great recommender will be able to write specifically and convincingly about the attributes that will make you a good clerk - good research/writing/communication skills, geniality, trustworthiness, work ethic - regardless of whether the recommender has clerked. The judge will be able to draw parallels between your recommender's stories about you and what it takes to be a law clerk (with the added benefit of knowing how the judge's specific chambers operate and what the judge prizes most highly).