How helpful is a district court clerkship for landing an appellate job?

(Seek and share information about clerkship applications, clerkship hiring timelines, and post-clerkship employment opportunities)
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How helpful is a district court clerkship for landing an appellate job?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat May 02, 2020 8:50 pm

I have a district court clerkship lined up (not in a top tier district but in a real city) but fairly meh grades from HYS for an appellate clerkship. Speaking generally, how much easier do you think it might be to land an appellate clerkship for the year after my district court clerkship? I would think it would at least be easier in the circuit where my district is located, especially if I can get my judge to make a call.

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Re: How helpful is a district court clerkship for landing an appellate job?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat May 02, 2020 10:17 pm

Definitely worth applying. I think you’re right on the value within your circuit plus some judges strongly prefer or exclusively consider students with district court clerkships under their belt (Jane Kelly’s one and she’s a Harvard grad if you’re there for example). As always being willing to move to out of the way places and work for a (good) senior judge will significantly increase your chances.

texanslimjim

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Re: How helpful is a district court clerkship for landing an appellate job?

Post by texanslimjim » Sun May 03, 2020 9:37 pm

If you just have it lined up, I would say it's helpful but I wouldn't say it's a HUGE plus. It'll help you edge out similar candidates, but if you weren't a competitive applicant before it's not going to make the difference.

The fact that another judge has hired you is not the same as that judge recommending you. A district judge giving a strong recommendation and being willing to take phone calls on your behalf is a big plus, but that's no help if you're trying to line something up for the year immediately afterwards.

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