Two D.Ct. Clerkships?

(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."
Anonymous User
Posts: 351029
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Two D.Ct. Clerkships?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 04, 2020 1:45 pm

I'm a current D.Ct. clerk in a market that was pretty garbage before the pandemic, and is definitely not going to be hiring by the time my clerkship winds up in August. I've got licensing pending in the jurisdiction where I eventually want to work, but from what I can tell, those firms have frozen hiring too, and no one is sure quite when that will pick back up (I've heard this fall, next year, next fall...).

If I don't have some sort of employment lined up by the time this clerkship ends, I will be moving back home (to a jurisdiction where I am not barred) and trying to work pro bono and/or as a legal secretary on the side. The prospect doesn't thrill me, but I've been a secretary before.

As such, like many people, I'm sure, I took to OSCAR to check out what kind of clerkships might be on offer. Even with this D.Ct. clerkship, I'm not really competitive for COA, and although I've applied, I don't expect to hear back from them. I also applied to D.Ct. clerkships in my home state. I am really interested in not being unemployed. I had a hell of a time getting ANY employment all through law school, and prior to the pandemic, my applications were either ignored or shut down, so I don't know what my prospects really are.

One of the judges in my home state has asked me to do a videoconference interview, to which I (somewhat panicking) said yes. Is it some sort of career suicide to do two D.Ct. clerkships in a row in an effort to wait out this hiring freeze?

Essentially, if I were to get an offer and take this job, are firms going to understand why I did it a year from now, or will they toss my resume in the trash?
Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon May 04, 2020 9:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Fireworks2016

New
Posts: 92
Joined: Thu May 05, 2016 1:17 pm

Re: Two D.Ct. Clerkships?

Post by Fireworks2016 » Mon May 04, 2020 1:54 pm

It's not that unusual to take a second district court clerkship to re-position yourself to a particular market. It might not make it any easier to land a biglaw job in Texas afterwards, but I wouldn't call it a red flag or anything like that either.

In your shoes, I would take the job if offered. Better to clerk a second year than going off into the great unknown.

User avatar
Wild Card

Silver
Posts: 840
Joined: Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:48 pm

Re: Two D.Ct. Clerkships?

Post by Wild Card » Mon May 04, 2020 1:54 pm

So your choice is between employment and unemployment?

I respectfully advise you to choose employment.

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 3594
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: Two D.Ct. Clerkships?

Post by QContinuum » Mon May 04, 2020 2:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I had a video conference interview with a somewhat-controversial judge as well to fill in my gap year but am wondering if I should just extend my current term.
My gut instinct would be that for your upcoming "gap year", firm work > extending your current clerkship another year > doing two separate D. Ct. clerkships >>> no work. The worry would be that after your CoA clerkship, a firm will see you've done not one, not two, but three clerkships and suspect (justifiably or not) that you aren't really into the whole private practice thing. They may suspect you're more into academia or advocacy work.

Two clerkships total looks better than three clerkships total. Everyone knows there are some judges who only offer 2-year clerkships, and doing a CoA clerkship after a district court clerkship doesn't look unusual at all, even if the district court clerkship was for 2 years instead of the more typical 1. Further, even if you want/need to disclose that your clerkship term was extended for a year, you can simply say that due to the coronavirus pandemic, you thought it'd be best to stay put instead of trying to move and so was happy to accept when your judge asked you to stay on for another year. People will understand.

kengh

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

Re: Two D.Ct. Clerkships?

Post by kengh » Mon May 04, 2020 2:18 pm

QContinuum wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I had a video conference interview with a somewhat-controversial judge as well to fill in my gap year but am wondering if I should just extend my current term.
My gut instinct would be that for your upcoming "gap year", firm work > extending your current clerkship another year > doing two separate D. Ct. clerkships >>> no work. The worry would be that after your CoA clerkship, a firm will see you've done not one, not two, but three clerkships and suspect (justifiably or not) that you aren't really into the whole private practice thing. They may suspect you're more into academia or advocacy work.

Two clerkships total looks better than three clerkships total. Everyone knows there are some judges who only offer 2-year clerkships, and doing a CoA clerkship after a district court clerkship doesn't look unusual at all, even if the district court clerkship was for 2 years instead of the more typical 1. Further, even if you want/need to disclose that your clerkship term was extended for a year, you can simply say that due to the coronavirus pandemic, you thought it'd be best to stay put instead of trying to move and so was happy to accept when your judge asked you to stay on for another year. People will understand.
I kinda wanted to piggy back off this thread. How would it look to do a mag clerkship for 2020, due to the economy, (have already been deferred in BL, with the possibility that it might keep getting deferred) then a 2-year dct, and then a COA? Loans are not a consideration right now, I am just thinking about from a career perspective.

Want to continue reading?

Register now to search topics and post comments!

Absolutely FREE!


QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 3594
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: Two D.Ct. Clerkships?

Post by QContinuum » Mon May 04, 2020 2:25 pm

kengh wrote:I kinda wanted to piggy back off this thread. How would it look to do a mag clerkship for 2020, due to the economy, (have already been deferred in BL, with the possibility that it might keep getting deferred) then a 2-year dct, and then a COA? Loans are not a consideration right now, I am just thinking about from a career perspective.
I mean, doing the mag clerkship won't help your career. Having three clerkships on the resume will impede your job search. Firms also typically have a cap on class year credit for clerking (and some don't give class year credit for magistrate judge clerkships at all) so you may be looking at getting 2 years of class year credit after doing 4 years of clerking.

How long have you been deferred? If to January 2021, I'd just ride it out if at all financially feasible. Maybe try to do some pro bono legal work in the meantime, or even volunteer for a campaign (happens to be election season...). Throwing the BigLaw offer away for a magistrate clerkship doesn't seem like it'd be worth it to me. And in the very worst case scenario where your BigLaw offer gets revoked, or you get deferred until after your district court clerkship is scheduled to start, having one year of pro bono on your resume wouldn't look any worse than having three clerkships under your belt. More likely with the pro bono route, you get to start in January 2021, or at least sometime in spring 2021 and get a few months of BigLaw pay before leaving for your district court clerkship.

decimalsanddollars

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

Re: Two D.Ct. Clerkships?

Post by decimalsanddollars » Mon May 04, 2020 3:27 pm

QContinuum wrote:
kengh wrote:I kinda wanted to piggy back off this thread. How would it look to do a mag clerkship for 2020, due to the economy, (have already been deferred in BL, with the possibility that it might keep getting deferred) then a 2-year dct, and then a COA? Loans are not a consideration right now, I am just thinking about from a career perspective.
I mean, doing the mag clerkship won't help your career. Having three clerkships on the resume will impede your job search. Firms also typically have a cap on class year credit for clerking (and some don't give class year credit for magistrate judge clerkships at all) so you may be looking at getting 2 years of class year credit after doing 4 years of clerking.

How long have you been deferred? If to January 2021, I'd just ride it out if at all financially feasible. Maybe try to do some pro bono legal work in the meantime, or even volunteer for a campaign (happens to be election season...). Throwing the BigLaw offer away for a magistrate clerkship doesn't seem like it'd be worth it to me. And in the very worst case scenario where your BigLaw offer gets revoked, or you get deferred until after your district court clerkship is scheduled to start, having one year of pro bono on your resume wouldn't look any worse than having three clerkships under your belt. More likely with the pro bono route, you get to start in January 2021, or at least sometime in spring 2021 and get a few months of BigLaw pay before leaving for your district court clerkship.
Generally agree with this, and I'd say a mag clerkship as a placeholder wouldn't be a great move here especially if you plan to do 3 years of other clerkships. If your choice was between not clerking at all and doing one mag clerkship in this economy, I would support it---I'm of the opinion that it's better than no clerkship, and most firms agree---but if you're already planning on clerking for multiple Article III judges, it's going to look weird later on.

lavarman84

Platinum
Posts: 8088
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Two D.Ct. Clerkships?

Post by lavarman84 » Mon May 04, 2020 4:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Essentially, if I were to get an offer and take this job, are firms going to understand why I did it a year from now, or will they toss my resume in the trash?
Two D. Ct. clerkships won't kill your career, and it's far better than being unemployed. As for the controversial judge, I think in most cases that it's probably not a big deal. I'd say it depends on the controversy. Assuming the judge is the person that comes to mind (near Texas), I don't think that is the sort of controversy that would hurt your prospects. It is far better than being a secretary.

Anonymous User
Posts: 351029
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Two D.Ct. Clerkships?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 04, 2020 4:56 pm

OP here.

The vibe I'm getting is that I'm correct in thinking it's dubious whether I'd be able to get anything before my current clerkship ends, and that it won't be some kind of major red flag to firms if I accept this job.

I agree that it's better to have a job like a clerkship than secretary work, but I was also concerned about closing doors for myself down the road. I initially felt like "it was the middle of a pandemic and I chose to take the job I was offered" would be a reasonable explanation if any firm questioned me on it, and I wanted to get some outside opinions on that.

lavarman84 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Essentially, if I were to get an offer and take this job, are firms going to understand why I did it a year from now, or will they toss my resume in the trash?
Two D. Ct. clerkships won't kill your career, and it's far better than being unemployed. As for the controversial judge, I think in most cases that it's probably not a big deal. I'd say it depends on the controversy. Assuming the judge is the person that comes to mind (near Texas), I don't think that is the sort of controversy that would hurt your prospects. It is far better than being a secretary.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon May 04, 2020 9:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Want to continue reading?

Register for access!

Did I mention it was FREE ?


lavarman84

Platinum
Posts: 8088
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Two D.Ct. Clerkships?

Post by lavarman84 » Mon May 04, 2020 6:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. The state IS near Texas, and the city DOES start with "N."

The vibe I'm getting is that I'm correct in thinking it's dubious whether I'd be able to get anything before my current clerkship ends, and that it won't be some kind of major red flag to firms if I accept this job.

I agree that it's better to have a job like a clerkship than secretary work, but I was also concerned about closing doors for myself down the road. I initially felt like "it was the middle of a pandemic and I chose to take the job I was offered" would be a reasonable explanation if any firm questioned me on it, and I wanted to get some outside opinions on that.

lavarman84 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Essentially, if I were to get an offer and take this job, are firms going to understand why I did it a year from now, or will they toss my resume in the trash?
Two D. Ct. clerkships won't kill your career, and it's far better than being unemployed. As for the controversial judge, I think in most cases that it's probably not a big deal. I'd say it depends on the controversy. Assuming the judge is the person that comes to mind (near Texas), I don't think that is the sort of controversy that would hurt your prospects. It is far better than being a secretary.
I don't think anybody can say with certainty. If there were no pandemic and economic problems happening right now, I'd say that you still have plenty of time to find something. But there's no real certainty with this virus. And the oil and gas issues are hitting Texas hard on top of that. As far as it being a red flag, I don't think it would be tough to explain away. It's not ideal, but these aren't ideal times.

Iowahawk

New
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:24 pm

Re: Two D.Ct. Clerkships?

Post by Iowahawk » Mon May 04, 2020 8:57 pm

OP, this thread could out you and you should probably delete anything that plausibly identifies you and the judge you might interview for just to be safe now that you seem to have good answers. You really don't want to be asked related questions in an interview.

Anonymous User
Posts: 351029
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Two D.Ct. Clerkships?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 04, 2020 9:34 pm

Iowahawk wrote:OP, this thread could out you and you should probably delete anything that plausibly identifies you and the judge you might interview for just to be safe now that you seem to have good answers. You really don't want to be asked related questions in an interview.
Unfortunately for me, some of the potentially ID'ing information has been quoted, not much I can do about that.

kengh

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

Re: Two D.Ct. Clerkships?

Post by kengh » Mon May 04, 2020 9:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Iowahawk wrote:OP, this thread could out you and you should probably delete anything that plausibly identifies you and the judge you might interview for just to be safe now that you seem to have good answers. You really don't want to be asked related questions in an interview.
Unfortunately for me, some of the potentially ID'ing information has been quoted, not much I can do about that.
See if a mod can delete the thread.

Register now!

Resources to assist law school applicants, students & graduates.

It's still FREE!


Post Reply Post Anonymous Reply  

Return to “Judicial Clerkships”