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applying to firms as a law clerk

Posted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 3:26 pm
by Anonymous User
I am starting my one-year clerkship this summer and not exactly sure how to go about the post-clerkship job search. I would like to think that the clerkship would make me a strong candidate for available positions - at least those within the geographic area - although I know that not all clerkships are created equal. I don't even know where to begin though. I feel very uncomfortable sending out cold emails, but I'm not sure what else I can do, especially when I'd be looking to start more than a year from now. I just want to do something to feel productive.

Re: applying to firms as a law clerk

Posted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 4:11 pm
by lavarman84
Are you asking if you should apply for positions with firms before your clerkship has even started? If so, the answer is no.

Re: applying to firms as a law clerk

Posted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 5:38 pm
by nixy
You should be sending out cold e-mails, but not yet. Firms won't have any idea right now what their needs will be by the time your clerkship ends, so there's no point in applying now. (They ESPECIALLY don't know now, with COVID going on.) You should start reaching out to firms sometime in the January or so before into your clerkship ends (I was told Feb-March, but clerked a while ago and have seen others suggest hiring can start earlier). That said, you also shouldn't panic if you don't get something till later, possibly much later - it depends a lot on your qualifications and the market and so on.

What will be productive is doing a good job at your clerkship so your judge wants to help you, and getting to know as much as you can about the firms you think you'd want to apply to.

Re: applying to firms as a law clerk

Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2020 12:42 pm
by justanotherlurker
For a fall 2021 job start (August 2021 to Jan 2022), highly selective NYC firms will start recruiting in December 2020, and most of the NYC recruiting will be January - March 2021. I think other markets start later, but there's no reason not to start reaching out to firms around January/February 2021.

It's not a "cold" email if you're emailing a recruiting contact - it's just a job application!

If you want to do something now (not that you need to), reaching out to associates and partners are firms you think would be your top choices now is fine. I agree, cold emailing is awkward. See if you can find alums of your college or law school, former clerks of the judge you will be clerking for, etc.

An email like "Hi XXX, I went to ___ law school / will be clerking for Judge ___, and am very interested in learning about ___. Would you have time for a phone call over the next few weeks?" is totally acceptable. If you have a nice chat, when you apply in 6 months, just send them an email letting them know.