D. Ct. Clerkship?

(Seek and share information about clerkship applications, clerkship hiring timelines, and post-clerkship employment opportunities)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are sharing sensitive information about clerkship applications and clerkship hiring. 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."
crazywafflez

Bronze
Posts: 115
Joined: Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:02 pm

D. Ct. Clerkship?

Post by crazywafflez » Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:03 pm

Hey y'all, I'm debating applying to clerkships for 2021-22 term.
First, it is something that really interests me. I did an internship with a fed judge back home my 1L summer and really enjoyed it and it is something I'm really interested in pursuing. This summer I'll be with a firm back in my hometown, a firm I think I'd like to be with upon graduation (if I'm lucky and they offer me a job). It's a midsized firm and I'd be doing litigation work.
Ultimately, I'd like to be back in my hometown after graduating with this firm, or a similar one.
Should I only apply to clerkships in my hometown or apply more broadly? I don't think applying for one in the next state in a city 3-4 hours away will help me make connections in my city either, but it could help me out in general.
I'm median at my T1 school- so I'm not sure if it is even worth trying to get a clerkship because my grades are fairly low compared to most folks applying. Additionally, my school is not in the same state as my city but it is in the same region.
Also, when I was interviewing for my firm I had expressed interest in pursuing a clerkship and one of the hiring partners discouraged me privately later. He said the goal of a clerkship was to help land a job etc., and that if I could start working earlier I should. I'm not saying his words are the end all be all but he is one of the hiring partners at the firm I want to work with upon graduation and that I'm with this summer so I don't want to toss it out the window.
Any advice or thoughts would be appreciated.

kengh

Bronze
Posts: 195
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:59 pm

Re: D. Ct. Clerkship?

Post by kengh » Mon Apr 20, 2020 2:50 pm

crazywafflez wrote:Hey y'all, I'm debating applying to clerkships for 2021-22 term.
First, it is something that really interests me. I did an internship with a fed judge back home my 1L summer and really enjoyed it and it is something I'm really interested in pursuing. This summer I'll be with a firm back in my hometown, a firm I think I'd like to be with upon graduation (if I'm lucky and they offer me a job). It's a midsized firm and I'd be doing litigation work.
Ultimately, I'd like to be back in my hometown after graduating with this firm, or a similar one.
Should I only apply to clerkships in my hometown or apply more broadly? I don't think applying for one in the next state in a city 3-4 hours away will help me make connections in my city either, but it could help me out in general.
I'm median at my T1 school- so I'm not sure if it is even worth trying to get a clerkship because my grades are fairly low compared to most folks applying. Additionally, my school is not in the same state as my city but it is in the same region.
Also, when I was interviewing for my firm I had expressed interest in pursuing a clerkship and one of the hiring partners discouraged me privately later. He said the goal of a clerkship was to help land a job etc., and that if I could start working earlier I should. I'm not saying his words are the end all be all but he is one of the hiring partners at the firm I want to work with upon graduation and that I'm with this summer so I don't want to toss it out the window.
Any advice or thoughts would be appreciated.

I don't want to discourage you from applying, but being median at a T1 seems unlikely of securing a dct clerkship. I would work for a few years and then apply if it is something you want to do. And a clerkship opens many doors for employment, but if you are going to the firm you want to be at, and they discourage a clerkship, for some odd reason, then just start working.

decimalsanddollars

Bronze
Posts: 415
Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:26 pm

Re: D. Ct. Clerkship?

Post by decimalsanddollars » Mon Apr 20, 2020 3:02 pm

I think clerking is a good move for people who want to litigate generally, but:

1) Your grades are going to make it very tough. Most district court judges get applications from top-10-percenters from all over the country, including schools better than yours. Absent exceptional circumstances or personal connections, median at a lower T1 is pretty out-of-the-money.

2) Your current firm is actively discouraging your from applying, which will make it hard to get support for the move. Some firms are supportive of clerking before or during your time there, and they have connections to help facilitate placement with some judges (even where your grades would be a drawback). It doesn't sound like you're at a firm like that; it may be difficult to get a rec letter or a return offer from them.

3) Many judges prefer experience and ties to the area. Some judges require work experience between JD and the clerkship. Let's say your hometown is Memphis, and you have a litigation job with a firm there. Great! You can use that time to gain experience and connections to strengthen your application at 2 years (or more) out. I think you're right that, generally, a clerkship elsewhere in the South won't help develop professional connections in your target city, but going to clerk for a judge in Louisville or Huntsville would still strengthen your resume, and if you spent the time before clerking building a network back home, it won't be hard to make it back and bank that great experience.

4) Except for following the pattern at (3) above, you'll probably have to decide between clerking at all or staying local. You may have a shot if you apply very, very broadly, but the judge who hires you could be anywhere in the US, and you'd have to be okay living in, say, Nebraska for a year or two and working for a judge that doesn't have as strong a network where you plan to practice. You'd have to balance that against staying in Memphis (or wherever) and not clerking at all.

crazywafflez

Bronze
Posts: 115
Joined: Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:02 pm

Re: D. Ct. Clerkship?

Post by crazywafflez » Mon Apr 20, 2020 4:32 pm

Thank you both so much for the advice. Yeah, I'd like to stay in the South, don't mind going to the Southwest but would prefer to stay here. I think you are right, and I realized, that my grades are much too low. I didn't realize that some folks would wait a couple years and then go clerk, thought it was very much a job for fresh grads- I think this might be my move if I'm still interested/still want to go. If I do wait though I think i'd have to stay in my city (just with family stuff it would be harder to leave after being back a couple years and then uprooting again). I wouldn't mind being a clerk in Jackson or Biloxi, but would prefer not to be in Omaha (it's a fine place, just too cold!); but I'd have to do this right after graduation. But this confirms my thoughts that I wouldn't be competitive for a city like B'ham, Memphis, Louisville, etc. at the get go.
Re Decimal: I'm surprised on how accurate you were on locations/regions hah.

Thanks y'all, I appreciate the feedback.

decimalsanddollars

Bronze
Posts: 415
Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:26 pm

Re: D. Ct. Clerkship?

Post by decimalsanddollars » Tue Apr 21, 2020 10:45 am

crazywafflez wrote: Re Decimal: I'm surprised on how accurate you were on locations/regions hah.
I wish I was that good at guessing lol. I've seen your other posts about your current school and target market; didn't wanna out you on your own advice post, but wanted to frame my advice in the relevant context.

crazywafflez

Bronze
Posts: 115
Joined: Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:02 pm

Re: D. Ct. Clerkship?

Post by crazywafflez » Tue Apr 21, 2020 12:22 pm

Hah, no worries, thanks so much for the time and help!

Want to continue reading?

Register now to search topics and post comments!

Absolutely FREE!


Post Reply Post Anonymous Reply  

Return to “Judicial Clerkships”