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Clerkship Chances

Posted: Wed May 27, 2020 9:25 pm
by Anonymous User
Current 2L, applying for the year after graduation. Slightly above median at CCN, moot court but no journal, SA at highly ranked firm in DC, recommenders will be mixed from average to very strong. Have very strong ties to my desired market, but it's one of the most competitive markets (think SDNY/EDNY/EDVA/NDIL) so it's not much of a benefit. Applying extremely broadly at District level and throwing in CoA apps to my desired circuit, plus some other judges in "less desirable" cities, as well as SSC apps in mine and neighboring states. Not expecting to get any bites, and fully prepared to keep applying into next year and, more likely, start out at my firm and try again in a couple of years, but curious as to what people think my chances are?

Re: Clerkship Chances

Posted: Wed May 27, 2020 9:52 pm
by Necho2
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed May 27, 2020 9:25 pm
Current 2L, applying for the year after graduation. Slightly above median at CCN, moot court but no journal, SA at highly ranked firm in DC, recommenders will be mixed from average to very strong. Have very strong ties to my desired market, but it's one of the most competitive markets (think SDNY/EDNY/EDVA/NDIL) so it's not much of a benefit. Applying extremely broadly at District level and throwing in CoA apps to my desired circuit, plus some other judges in "less desirable" cities, as well as SSC apps in mine and neighboring states. Not expecting to get any bites, and fully prepared to keep applying into next year and, more likely, start out at my firm and try again in a couple of years, but curious as to what people think my chances are?
At the risk of an attack by Columbia/NYU folks defending their clerking figures (I believe all of your points about 2d Cir./SDNY hiring years ahead of time! It's totally valid to not want to spend a year in Hammond, Indiana!), I think the school/market really matters for this one, even within CCN. If it's UChicago and your desired market is NDIL and you're willing to include most of the cities in the Midwest in your less desirable list, maybe you've got a decent chance, but I still wouldn't expect that much, unless slightly above median is closer to top 40% or 1/3.

If you're in NY shooting for SDNY/EDNY and other (still more competitive) east coast cities, I don't think you should expect much interest, although I know less about those schools and those clerking markets.

Re: Clerkship Chances

Posted: Wed May 27, 2020 11:10 pm
by Anonymous User
Necho2 wrote:
Wed May 27, 2020 9:52 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed May 27, 2020 9:25 pm
Current 2L, applying for the year after graduation. Slightly above median at CCN, moot court but no journal, SA at highly ranked firm in DC, recommenders will be mixed from average to very strong. Have very strong ties to my desired market, but it's one of the most competitive markets (think SDNY/EDNY/EDVA/NDIL) so it's not much of a benefit. Applying extremely broadly at District level and throwing in CoA apps to my desired circuit, plus some other judges in "less desirable" cities, as well as SSC apps in mine and neighboring states. Not expecting to get any bites, and fully prepared to keep applying into next year and, more likely, start out at my firm and try again in a couple of years, but curious as to what people think my chances are?
At the risk of an attack by Columbia/NYU folks defending their clerking figures (I believe all of your points about 2d Cir./SDNY hiring years ahead of time! It's totally valid to not want to spend a year in Hammond, Indiana!), I think the school/market really matters for this one, even within CCN. If it's UChicago and your desired market is NDIL and you're willing to include most of the cities in the Midwest in your less desirable list, maybe you've got a decent chance, but I still wouldn't expect that much, unless slightly above median is closer to top 40% or 1/3.

If you're in NY shooting for SDNY/EDNY and other (still more competitive) east coast cities, I don't think you should expect much interest, although I know less about those schools and those clerking markets.
I agree that the best case scenario here is a UChicago student targeting Illinois, but that seems unlikely since Chicago has sent three students in like the past 20 years to the Illinois Supreme Court and all were career clerks. If you are at Chicago, OP, you should probably heavily apply in the Midwest regardless of what your desired market is if you would really like to clerk next year. SSCs in the Midwest are pretty regional though so maybe don't apply to them if that's not where you want to end up.

Re: Clerkship Chances

Posted: Thu May 28, 2020 3:06 pm
by Anon-non-anon
If it's NYC based, apply to Newark judges as well, maybe Connecticut. I wouldn't do SSC unless you have a good reason to.

With a couple years under your belt, I think you'd have a better shot, but those districts are tough, especially straight out of school.

Re: Clerkship Chances

Posted: Thu May 28, 2020 3:29 pm
by decimalsanddollars
Agreed w/ above posters that clerking a year out and blanketing the area near where you have ties will increase your odds significantly. I think your chances at a very competitive district straight out of law school are not good, but your chances of getting a clerkship if you apply broadly enough in space or time is pretty good.

Re: Clerkship Chances

Posted: Thu May 28, 2020 4:54 pm
by Anonymous User
OP here. I'm pretty much applying to every district judge that is hiring for 2021, except for some of the judges in competitive cities which are in neither my desired market nor the markets in which I have any ties, and a very small number of Trump judges about whom I've decided I just do not want to work for. It is a...pretty expansive list to be honest.