Debating Applying: T14 / Decent Grades / Journal / Cancelled Summer

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Joined: Sun May 31, 2020 1:31 pm

Debating Applying: T14 / Decent Grades / Journal / Cancelled Summer

Post by ClerkOrWork » Sun May 31, 2020 1:39 pm

Hi All:

I hope everyone is well despite the difficult times.

I'm a rising 3L at a lower T14 (Mich/Berk/NU/Duke) with a 3.7ish GPA and have a position on a journal (but not Law Review). I had a summer position at a firm that got cancelled, but offers were sent. The summer program is not large, meaning that under normal circumstances, they take what they need and typically do not defer for clerkships. I really like the firm, and want to work there post graduation. The fact of the matter is that they did furlough people, and I don't know how steady the ground is that I'm standing on, no matter how optimistic their emails seem. They seem to fully intend on honoring the offer now, and I appreciate that. But I'm sure we all know that could change in a year.
I've emailed professors, and our school's clerkship coordinator. Unfortunately I've received two different suggestions. (1) wait until 3L and see if the offer is rescinded, as the school often receives last minute positions from some judges; or (2) apply now. Option 1 is somewhat scary, because I'm sure a lot more people are going to apply this year due to the uncertainty.


I’m starting to think clerking is the best option. What are my chances at Midwest district courts? I don’t really know where to look.

Thank you all. I hope all of you are well, and that your loved ones are safe and healthy.


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Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2016 5:37 am

Re: Debating Applying: T14 / Decent Grades / Journal / Cancelled Summer

Post by BrainsyK » Sun May 31, 2020 2:54 pm

I know absolutely nothing about clerkships, but I'd say apply and clerk if you can. It doesn't sound like you're going to a financially healthy firm. Although there has been reports of even V10s not giving offers to returning clerks, it sounds like clerks are still getting a healthy selection of random mix of high and low quality firms in terms of financial strength. Ultimately, I think that that's a better result than what you currently have, which is a guarantee at a badly positioned firm--even if it involves somewhat of a gamble.

The problem with financially unstable firms is that no one even knows if they pay will ever go back to normal, and the second the labor market decides that it isn't, competition for Cravath scale positions will heat up like there's no tomorrow, and in that market I'd rather be coming out of a clerkship than a generic V100. If you get out of the a clerkship before the market figures it out, all the better.

My bet is hiring at the end of 2022 will be significantly better than any time before so on that timing front, I think that it'll work to your advantage as well.

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