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Questions

Post by Anonymous User » Fri May 08, 2020 1:02 am

Summering at a firm in the Mid-Atlantic. Thinking about applying to federal clerkships. A few questions:

1. Does the geographic region matter? If firms no offer a substantial number of people, and I want to return to the Mid-Atlantic after clerking, should I not apply to South Dakota for a federal clerkship?

2. I am ranked 4th at a T30. Is my school rank too low for District courts? Should I focus on magistrate judges instead?

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Wild Card

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Re: Questions

Post by Wild Card » Fri May 08, 2020 1:21 am

1. It does because you attend a T30. You'll want to focus on Mid-Atlantic, your home state, and the state where your law school is located.

2. No, no at all, as long as you focus on the districts above. Apply to both DJs and MJs. You can use MJ to springboard to DJ.

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Re: Questions

Post by Anonymous User » Fri May 08, 2020 7:08 am

Wild Card wrote:1. It does because you attend a T30. You'll want to focus on Mid-Atlantic, your home state, and the state where your law school is located.

2. No, no at all, as long as you focus on the districts above. Apply to both DJs and MJs. You can use MJ to springboard to DJ.
OP here. Thank you for your response. Do you mean I should focus on the Mid-Atlantic for post-grad employment or obtaining the actual clerkship?

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Re: Questions

Post by nixy » Fri May 08, 2020 8:53 am

I think he probably means that you will have a better shot with judges in geographic regions where you have ties, so that's why you should focus on those three areas. You certainly can apply more broadly, if you have more slots open, but it makes sense to at least start by focusing on those three areas.

If you want to work in the mid-Atlantic region after clerking, the absolute ideal would be a clerkship in the mid-Atlantic region, but any clerkship is still valuable. So apply to South Dakota (if you're willing to go to South Dakota), although maybe think about applying in waves, so that you can see if you get any response from your first choice places before moving on to others (of course if South Dakota is your first choice then apply away).

Your rank/school isn't too low for district courts, but talk to the clerkship committee or clerkship person in your career services office to find out what your school's historic placement rate is and where, just to get a better sense of what you're looking at.

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Re: Questions

Post by Anon-non-anon » Fri May 08, 2020 9:50 am

nixy wrote:I think he probably means that you will have a better shot with judges in geographic regions where you have ties, so that's why you should focus on those three areas. You certainly can apply more broadly, if you have more slots open, but it makes sense to at least start by focusing on those three areas.

If you want to work in the mid-Atlantic region after clerking, the absolute ideal would be a clerkship in the mid-Atlantic region, but any clerkship is still valuable. So apply to South Dakota (if you're willing to go to South Dakota), although maybe think about applying in waves, so that you can see if you get any response from your first choice places before moving on to others (of course if South Dakota is your first choice then apply away).

Your rank/school isn't too low for district courts, but talk to the clerkship committee or clerkship person in your career services office to find out what your school's historic placement rate is and where, just to get a better sense of what you're looking at.
All of this seems right. As the #4 person, they should want to help place you, and likely have the best shot of doing so with judges nearby. Good luck!

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Re: Questions

Post by Anonymous User » Fri May 08, 2020 9:55 am

Anonymous User wrote:Summering at a firm in the Mid-Atlantic. Thinking about applying to federal clerkships. A few questions:

2. I am ranked 4th at a T30. Is my school rank too low for District courts?
Being in the Top 10 of your class should give you a good shot a D. Ct. clerkship.

Anecdotally, I was 5/210 at a school close to your range and landed in a d. ct. clerkship a few states away, in a place I didn't have a ton of ties. Then I parlayed that into a COA clerkship for the following year. Good luck!

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Re: Questions

Post by Anonymous User » Fri May 08, 2020 10:02 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Summering at a firm in the Mid-Atlantic. Thinking about applying to federal clerkships. A few questions:

2. I am ranked 4th at a T30. Is my school rank too low for District courts?
Being in the Top 10 of your class should give you a good shot a D. Ct. clerkship.

Anecdotally, I was 5/210 at a school close to your range and landed in a d. ct. clerkship a few states away, in a place I didn't have a ton of ties. Then I parlayed that into a COA clerkship for the following year. Good luck!
Similarly, I was like top 10/500ish at T25 and landed district court clerkship in pretty competitive district (Conn., DNJ, E.D.P.A., etc) with no ties. Got bites on CoA after but didn't convert (prob for the best looking back). Granted this was a couple years out of school.

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Re: Questions

Post by Anonymous User » Fri May 08, 2020 10:06 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Summering at a firm in the Mid-Atlantic. Thinking about applying to federal clerkships. A few questions:

2. I am ranked 4th at a T30. Is my school rank too low for District courts?
Being in the Top 10 of your class should give you a good shot a D. Ct. clerkship.

Anecdotally, I was 5/210 at a school close to your range and landed in a d. ct. clerkship a few states away, in a place I didn't have a ton of ties. Then I parlayed that into a COA clerkship for the following year. Good luck!
Similarly, I was like top 10/500ish at T25 and landed district court clerkship in pretty competitive district (Conn., DNJ, E.D.P.A., etc) with no ties. Got bites on CoA after but didn't convert (prob for the best looking back). Granted this was a couple years out of school.
OP Here. Thanks for your responses. Do big firms care where you clerk? Or is it more so that you have clerkship experience? My school hasn’t been too helpful in explaining this process to us.

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Re: Questions

Post by Anonymous User » Fri May 08, 2020 10:21 am

Anonymous User wrote: OP Here. Thanks for your responses. Do big firms care where you clerk? Or is it more so that you have clerkship experience? My school hasn’t been too helpful in explaining this process to us.
The way I think about it, most firms say that any Art. III clerkship provides a base-line benefit (i.e. you'll learn good legal writing and be exposed to tons of commonly-litigated issues), and they give the same clerkship bonus whether you were in the District of South Dakota or S.D.N.Y.

But do firms care? Of course they'd rather have their associates clerk where their practice is centered. So if you're in in Philadelphia, they're obviously going to look more favorably at an E.D. Pa. clerkship.

In my opinion, it's worth clerking just about anywhere you're willing to live for a year. But by the same token, it makes sense to prioritize the most attractive clerkships (for which you're realistically competitive) first and apply more broadly over time.

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Re: Questions

Post by nixy » Fri May 08, 2020 10:59 am

Yeah, all clerking is better than not clerking, but certainly clerking for a judge known to the firm you’re applying to is better, if you can swing it.

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Re: Questions

Post by Anonymous User » Fri May 08, 2020 11:32 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Summering at a firm in the Mid-Atlantic. Thinking about applying to federal clerkships. A few questions:

2. I am ranked 4th at a T30. Is my school rank too low for District courts?
Being in the Top 10 of your class should give you a good shot a D. Ct. clerkship.

Anecdotally, I was 5/210 at a school close to your range and landed in a d. ct. clerkship a few states away, in a place I didn't have a ton of ties. Then I parlayed that into a COA clerkship for the following year. Good luck!
Similarly, I was like top 10/500ish at T25 and landed district court clerkship in pretty competitive district (Conn., DNJ, E.D.P.A., etc) with no ties. Got bites on CoA after but didn't convert (prob for the best looking back). Granted this was a couple years out of school.
OP Here. Thanks for your responses. Do big firms care where you clerk? Or is it more so that you have clerkship experience? My school hasn’t been too helpful in explaining this process to us.

Same anon above. agree with others here. Any district court is good, but district courts where your potential employers practice are best, for actual practical reasons that you'll understand when you clerk. And some district are especially prestigious - SDNY, EDNY, CDCa (maybe N.D. Ill.) if i remember correctly, then they kind of radiate out from there, Conn, NJ, PA, Other Cali ones, Other bigger cities, etc. And there are particular judges who are well known that add another boost. And then there are judges that feed into a SCOTUS track, which are obviously the most prestigious (this is mostly CoA though).

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Re: Questions

Post by Anonymous User » Fri May 08, 2020 12:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Summering at a firm in the Mid-Atlantic. Thinking about applying to federal clerkships. A few questions:

2. I am ranked 4th at a T30. Is my school rank too low for District courts?
Being in the Top 10 of your class should give you a good shot a D. Ct. clerkship.

Anecdotally, I was 5/210 at a school close to your range and landed in a d. ct. clerkship a few states away, in a place I didn't have a ton of ties. Then I parlayed that into a COA clerkship for the following year. Good luck!
Similarly, I was like top 10/500ish at T25 and landed district court clerkship in pretty competitive district (Conn., DNJ, E.D.P.A., etc) with no ties. Got bites on CoA after but didn't convert (prob for the best looking back). Granted this was a couple years out of school.
OP Here. Thanks for your responses. Do big firms care where you clerk? Or is it more so that you have clerkship experience? My school hasn’t been too helpful in explaining this process to us.

Same anon above. agree with others here. Any district court is good, but district courts where your potential employers practice are best, for actual practical reasons that you'll understand when you clerk. And some district are especially prestigious - SDNY, EDNY, CDCa (maybe N.D. Ill.) if i remember correctly, then they kind of radiate out from there, Conn, NJ, PA, Other Cali ones, Other bigger cities, etc. And there are particular judges who are well known that add another boost. And then there are judges that feed into a SCOTUS track, which are obviously the most prestigious (this is mostly CoA though).
Where are you getting your read on CA districts? Pretty sure NDCA (which gets all the big tech cases) is a fair bit more competitive than CDCA, then both of those are far more competitive than EDCA and SDCA.

You definitely shouldn't be lumping NDCA in with "Other Cali ones," because that's just indisputably wrong. There is no world where an employer is going to give an NDCA clerkship and an SDCA clerkship equal weight. Not that the latter is anything to sneeze at, it's just in a different world of competitiveness and quality of cases.

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Re: Questions

Post by Anonymous User » Fri May 08, 2020 1:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Summering at a firm in the Mid-Atlantic. Thinking about applying to federal clerkships. A few questions:

2. I am ranked 4th at a T30. Is my school rank too low for District courts?
Being in the Top 10 of your class should give you a good shot a D. Ct. clerkship.

Anecdotally, I was 5/210 at a school close to your range and landed in a d. ct. clerkship a few states away, in a place I didn't have a ton of ties. Then I parlayed that into a COA clerkship for the following year. Good luck!
Similarly, I was like top 10/500ish at T25 and landed district court clerkship in pretty competitive district (Conn., DNJ, E.D.P.A., etc) with no ties. Got bites on CoA after but didn't convert (prob for the best looking back). Granted this was a couple years out of school.
OP Here. Thanks for your responses. Do big firms care where you clerk? Or is it more so that you have clerkship experience? My school hasn’t been too helpful in explaining this process to us.

Same anon above. agree with others here. Any district court is good, but district courts where your potential employers practice are best, for actual practical reasons that you'll understand when you clerk. And some district are especially prestigious - SDNY, EDNY, CDCa (maybe N.D. Ill.) if i remember correctly, then they kind of radiate out from there, Conn, NJ, PA, Other Cali ones, Other bigger cities, etc. And there are particular judges who are well known that add another boost. And then there are judges that feed into a SCOTUS track, which are obviously the most prestigious (this is mostly CoA though).
Where are you getting your read on CA districts? Pretty sure NDCA (which gets all the big tech cases) is a fair bit more competitive than CDCA, then both of those are far more competitive than EDCA and SDCA.

You definitely shouldn't be lumping NDCA in with "Other Cali ones," because that's just indisputably wrong. There is no world where an employer is going to give an NDCA clerkship and an SDCA clerkship equal weight. Not that the latter is anything to sneeze at, it's just in a different world of competitiveness and quality of cases.
I think they were speaking roughly but my understanding is that the selectivity is something like SDNY, DDC > EDNY, EDVA, NDIL, NDCA, CDCA > other major cities and places near them (including SDCA)

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Re: Questions

Post by Wild Card » Fri May 08, 2020 1:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP Here. Thanks for your responses. Do big firms care where you clerk? Or is it more so that you have clerkship experience? My school hasn’t been too helpful in explaining this process to us.
I remember coming across posts here by folks complaining that they were struggling to land biglaw even though they were clerking for a U.S. Court of Appeals judge.

I found that surprising. But that might have to do with very smart people not knowing how to present themselves in the right way to biglaw firms. At the same time, biglaw firms don't need that many new hires in litigation, so the hiring process still may be quite competitive.

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Re: Questions

Post by Anonymous User » Fri May 08, 2020 2:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Summering at a firm in the Mid-Atlantic. Thinking about applying to federal clerkships. A few questions:

2. I am ranked 4th at a T30. Is my school rank too low for District courts?
Being in the Top 10 of your class should give you a good shot a D. Ct. clerkship.

Anecdotally, I was 5/210 at a school close to your range and landed in a d. ct. clerkship a few states away, in a place I didn't have a ton of ties. Then I parlayed that into a COA clerkship for the following year. Good luck!
Similarly, I was like top 10/500ish at T25 and landed district court clerkship in pretty competitive district (Conn., DNJ, E.D.P.A., etc) with no ties. Got bites on CoA after but didn't convert (prob for the best looking back). Granted this was a couple years out of school.
OP Here. Thanks for your responses. Do big firms care where you clerk? Or is it more so that you have clerkship experience? My school hasn’t been too helpful in explaining this process to us.

Same anon above. agree with others here. Any district court is good, but district courts where your potential employers practice are best, for actual practical reasons that you'll understand when you clerk. And some district are especially prestigious - SDNY, EDNY, CDCa (maybe N.D. Ill.) if i remember correctly, then they kind of radiate out from there, Conn, NJ, PA, Other Cali ones, Other bigger cities, etc. And there are particular judges who are well known that add another boost. And then there are judges that feed into a SCOTUS track, which are obviously the most prestigious (this is mostly CoA though).
Where are you getting your read on CA districts? Pretty sure NDCA (which gets all the big tech cases) is a fair bit more competitive than CDCA, then both of those are far more competitive than EDCA and SDCA.

You definitely shouldn't be lumping NDCA in with "Other Cali ones," because that's just indisputably wrong. There is no world where an employer is going to give an NDCA clerkship and an SDCA clerkship equal weight. Not that the latter is anything to sneeze at, it's just in a different world of competitiveness and quality of cases.
I think they were speaking roughly but my understanding is that the selectivity is something like SDNY, DDC > EDNY, EDVA, NDIL, NDCA, CDCA > other major cities and places near them (including SDCA)
EDNY, NDIL and EDVA > NDCA? Isn't this judge-specific? My understanding is that these courts are equivalents.

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Re: Questions

Post by Anonymous User » Fri May 08, 2020 10:28 pm

:oops:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote: Being in the Top 10 of your class should give you a good shot a D. Ct. clerkship.

Anecdotally, I was 5/210 at a school close to your range and landed in a d. ct. clerkship a few states away, in a place I didn't have a ton of ties. Then I parlayed that into a COA clerkship for the following year. Good luck!
Similarly, I was like top 10/500ish at T25 and landed district court clerkship in pretty competitive district (Conn., DNJ, E.D.P.A., etc) with no ties. Got bites on CoA after but didn't convert (prob for the best looking back). Granted this was a couple years out of school.
OP Here. Thanks for your responses. Do big firms care where you clerk? Or is it more so that you have clerkship experience? My school hasn’t been too helpful in explaining this process to us.

Same anon above. agree with others here. Any district court is good, but district courts where your potential employers practice are best, for actual practical reasons that you'll understand when you clerk. And some district are especially prestigious - SDNY, EDNY, CDCa (maybe N.D. Ill.) if i remember correctly, then they kind of radiate out from there, Conn, NJ, PA, Other Cali ones, Other bigger cities, etc. And there are particular judges who are well known that add another boost. And then there are judges that feed into a SCOTUS track, which are obviously the most prestigious (this is mostly CoA though).
Where are you getting your read on CA districts? Pretty sure NDCA (which gets all the big tech cases) is a fair bit more competitive than CDCA, then both of those are far more competitive than EDCA and SDCA.

You definitely shouldn't be lumping NDCA in with "Other Cali ones," because that's just indisputably wrong. There is no world where an employer is going to give an NDCA clerkship and an SDCA clerkship equal weight. Not that the latter is anything to sneeze at, it's just in a different world of competitiveness and quality of cases.
I think they were speaking roughly but my understanding is that the selectivity is something like SDNY, DDC > EDNY, EDVA, NDIL, NDCA, CDCA > other major cities and places near them (including SDCA)
EDNY, NDIL and EDVA > NDCA? Isn't this judge-specific? My understanding is that these courts are equivalents.
That’s what I intended to convey, the ones separated by commas instead of > are on the same rough tier

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Re: Questions

Post by lavarman84 » Sat May 09, 2020 7:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 1:02 am
Summering at a firm in the Mid-Atlantic. Thinking about applying to federal clerkships. A few questions:

1. Does the geographic region matter? If firms no offer a substantial number of people, and I want to return to the Mid-Atlantic after clerking, should I not apply to South Dakota for a federal clerkship?

2. I am ranked 4th at a T30. Is my school rank too low for District courts? Should I focus on magistrate judges instead?
1. It is more helpful to clerk in the region in which you will practice. But you don't have to do that.

2. No. You should be able to land one if you present yourself well and apply somewhat broadly. Don't apply to MJs right now. Go for DJs. You have the credentials for that.

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