Proper Way to Name Drop in Cover Letter

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Proper Way to Name Drop in Cover Letter

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:25 pm

For several judges I spoke to their former and current clerks. What is the proper way to name drop in a cover letter that you spoke to a former or current clerk? How would one phrase that exactly? Thank you!

nixy

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Re: Proper Way to Name Drop in Cover Letter

Post by nixy » Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:53 pm

I'd probably put it in the first/intro paragraph, which was where I put any connection kind of stuff: "I am a rising third-year student at school X writing to apply for a clerkship in your chambers for the 2021-22 term. I am particularly interested in clerking in your district because I grew up in Podunkia and intend to start my legal practice there. In addition, I met with [clerk], who spoke highly of your mentoring/strongly suggested that I apply/[whatever they actually said]."

That said, a caveat: I'm not super certain that you reaching out to a clerk is really the best basis for namedropping, if that's the full extent of your relationship. You namedrop the clerk, the judge speaks to the clerk, and the clerk says, "I spoke to this applicant and they seemed nice" but can't really offer much more. It's much more useful if you can namedrop someone the judge knows who you worked for, or was your prof, or even was a classmate of yours, and therefore can give some kind of useful feedback about you as an applicant.

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mjb447

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Re: Proper Way to Name Drop in Cover Letter

Post by mjb447 » Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:35 pm

Yeah, it's probably easiest to tie in as part of explaining why you're applying. The clerk almost certainly said some positive things about the clerkship that you can reference; it can be at the vague level of "encouraged me to apply" if that's what you have, but you may want to say something more specific to the particular chambers if you can (e.g., quality of mentoring like nixy mentioned).

I agree that it's not really "name dropping" in the traditional sense, or even necessarily a positive reference, but my chambers would probably have looked on it favorably as showing due diligence.

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Re: Proper Way to Name Drop in Cover Letter

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 09, 2020 10:57 am

Thank you all for the suggestions!

DougEvans789

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Re: Proper Way to Name Drop in Cover Letter

Post by DougEvans789 » Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:50 pm

I’d be careful about namedropping clerks you didn’t know before beginning the application process. I sometimes talk to people about my judge, and I’d be a little weirded out to learn that my name made it into a cover letter. Obviously, I’m not the judge, but maybe (s)he’d see it the same way.

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mjb447

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Re: Proper Way to Name Drop in Cover Letter

Post by mjb447 » Wed Jun 10, 2020 5:42 am

DougEvans789 wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:50 pm
I’d be careful about namedropping clerks you didn’t know before beginning the application process. I sometimes talk to people about my judge, and I’d be a little weirded out to learn that my name made it into a cover letter. Obviously, I’m not the judge, but maybe (s)he’d see it the same way.
Ideally, I think you ask the clerk about that while you're talking.

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Re: Proper Way to Name Drop in Cover Letter

Post by HillandHollow » Wed Jun 10, 2020 12:03 pm

+1 to the advice that you should definitely run this by the clerk you spoke with first. If my judge called me and said "This young woman Roberta mentions you in her cover letter, what was your impression?" I would answer honestly, whatever that may mean. Also, in the instance when someone reaches out and I really like them, I typically drop an email to the judge just saying "I spoke to Roberta, and she seems great, keep an eye out for her application."

Guess I am just saying (1) make sure the clerk is okay with it, and (2) be careful not to overstate the extent of your relationship with the clerk, or imply that the clerk recommends you (unless they do).

Otherwise, the name drop usually goes best in the first paragraph (like Nixy suggested, I think).

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Re: Proper Way to Name Drop in Cover Letter

Post by justanotherlurker » Thu Jun 11, 2020 8:15 pm

DougEvans789 wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:50 pm
I’d be careful about namedropping clerks you didn’t know before beginning the application process. I sometimes talk to people about my judge, and I’d be a little weirded out to learn that my name made it into a cover letter. Obviously, I’m not the judge, but maybe (s)he’d see it the same way.
+1 to this. If a person name-dropped me, I'd expect chambers to reach out to me if they were under serious consideration. I don't think that would go well if I hardly knew the person.

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