How do I network for a clerkship

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Deltaforce11

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How do I network for a clerkship

Post by Deltaforce11 » Wed Jun 24, 2020 2:28 pm

I am looking to apply for 2021/2022 term clerkships, mainly on the east coast near NYC (within 1-3 hours). I am ranked in the top 5% of my T30, e-board position on law review, starting V100 associate job in fall 2020. I'd like to clerk around NYC because I am eventually trying to lateral there.

I have been applying to lots of clerkships in E/S dists for NY and surrounding areas, but haven't gotten any hits. I know that networking is important to get your foot in the door, but I don't know any attorneys/profs/judges who have connections there. I would like to try and build more connections, or better leverage my existing connections (attorneys/profs at a T30 on the west coast).

So, how does one network for a clerkship?

Any ideas would be helpful!

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Re: How do I network for a clerkship

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jun 24, 2020 2:31 pm

A lot of SDNY/EDNY judges rely on recommendations from professors, so definitely check in with your recommenders to see if they would be willing to make calls/emails for you. Also keep in mind that SDNY/EDNY are really competitive, as in top 5% at HYS, so I would definitely be more flexible. You could look at DNJ/D. Conn, or look at magistrate judges in SDNY/EDNY.

Deltaforce11

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Re: How do I network for a clerkship

Post by Deltaforce11 » Wed Jun 24, 2020 5:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 2:31 pm
A lot of SDNY/EDNY judges rely on recommendations from professors, so definitely check in with your recommenders to see if they would be willing to make calls/emails for you. Also keep in mind that SDNY/EDNY are really competitive, as in top 5% at HYS, so I would definitely be more flexible. You could look at DNJ/D. Conn, or look at magistrate judges in SDNY/EDNY.
Thanks, yeah I am also looking at courts in NJ, CT, PA, and some other more random ones (along with courts in my home area).

How do biglaw firms look at magistrate clerkships? Are they considered as useful/prestigious?

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Re: How do I network for a clerkship

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jun 24, 2020 11:07 pm

Deltaforce11 wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 5:34 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 2:31 pm
A lot of SDNY/EDNY judges rely on recommendations from professors, so definitely check in with your recommenders to see if they would be willing to make calls/emails for you. Also keep in mind that SDNY/EDNY are really competitive, as in top 5% at HYS, so I would definitely be more flexible. You could look at DNJ/D. Conn, or look at magistrate judges in SDNY/EDNY.
Thanks, yeah I am also looking at courts in NJ, CT, PA, and some other more random ones (along with courts in my home area).

How do biglaw firms look at magistrate clerkships? Are they considered as useful/prestigious?
At my V20, I know some former sdny/edny mag clerks who lateraled over post-clerkship, so I think it helps. Unsure if we recruit directly from them or not, and there’s some discussion in other threads about some firms not giving bonuses for them. But I do think they’re helpful.

Unfortunately, a lot of people want to clerk near NYC so your best bets are either getting professors to call for you or having a personal connection to a judge.

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Re: How do I network for a clerkship

Post by objctnyrhnr » Wed Jun 24, 2020 11:18 pm

I understand this can be frustrating. It’s important to put this specific type of networking in context. A professor’s or former law clerk’s vouching for you to a federal judge is, in my view, the ultimate vouch. I have worked with a lot of people who have been quite good, but I have only vouched for a couple to the person who I would consider my most important professional contact/mentor of my career.

So anyway, if you’re sending that this is difficult it’s because it is. Most networking isn’t this hard.

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Re: How do I network for a clerkship

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:08 am

Deltaforce11 wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 5:34 pm

How do biglaw firms look at magistrate clerkships? Are they considered as useful/prestigious?
On their own, probably not. My firm (V5) doesn't give a bonus for magistrate clerkships, and I'm not 100% sure if they'd even keep our spots. A magistrate clerkship is a good way to get a good recommendation for a future d.ct clerkship, since magistrate judges are widely respected by d.ct judges.

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Re: How do I network for a clerkship

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:08 am

On their own, probably not. My firm (V5) doesn't give a bonus for magistrate clerkships, and I'm not 100% sure if they'd even keep our spots. A magistrate clerkship is a good way to get a good recommendation for a future d.ct clerkship, since magistrate judges are widely respected by d.ct judges.
That's very surprising, when V50s are willing to give bonuses to former MJ clerks. Are you sure about this? It may not be written into the form of offer letter, but your V5 may pay out anyway to save face.

I can confirm that top 5% LR would get a close read from SDNY/EDNY MJ.

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Wild Card

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Re: How do I network for a clerkship

Post by Wild Card » Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:25 pm

Deltaforce11 wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 2:28 pm
So, how does one network for a clerkship?

Any ideas would be helpful!
Well, let's say you were involved in a student organization in college, and were on good terms with someone from that organization, but not that close. That person goes off to a T14 and graduates at the top of his class, and ends up clerking. You go off to your T30 and graduate at the top of your class, and end up working. You would reach out to him, ask him how he's doing, express admiration that he's clerking, say that you don't know much about the application process and that you're in the area and please would he be willing to get coffee or dinner with you to walk you through the process. And when the timing is right, ask whether his judge happens to be hiring, and so on.

Networking is difficult, because you have to have a strong connection with someone. You can't just demand complete strangers to do you big favors.

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Redamon1

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Re: How do I network for a clerkship

Post by Redamon1 » Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:35 pm

Wild Card wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:25 pm
Deltaforce11 wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 2:28 pm
So, how does one network for a clerkship?

Any ideas would be helpful!
Well, let's say you were involved in a student organization in college, and were on good terms with someone from that organization, but not that close. That person goes off to a T14 and graduates at the top of his class, and ends up clerking. You go off to your T30 and graduate at the top of your class, and end up working. You would reach out to him, ask him how he's doing, express admiration that he's clerking, say that you don't know much about the application process and that you're in the area and please would he be willing to get coffee or dinner with you to walk you through the process. And when the timing is right, ask whether his judge happens to be hiring, and so on.

Networking is difficult, because you have to have a strong connection with someone. You can't just demand complete strangers to do you big favors.
This is good advice on what networking looks like. This kind of networking can be very valuable to get general tips on applying to clerkships. But as another poster said, judges are looking for recommendations based on the quality of the candidate's work. So if you're looking to build your network to get an "in" with a judge, you should (1) do a good job in school and at your firm, and then (2) ask those professors, senior associate, and partners who can vouch for you to write letters or make calls to chambers. And hopefully, some of these professors or law firm colleagues know some of the judges personally.

galba

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Re: How do I network for a clerkship

Post by galba » Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:00 pm

Looking at D.N.J./D. Conn./MJs is a good suggestion. But also, NY is (by far) the least ties-sensitive legal market in the country. You might consider just trying to gun for a clerkship in one of the more "prestigious" West Coast districts where your recommenders and school would pull more weight.

(For SDNY/EDNY in particular: your stats aren't really competitive for SDNY, and even EDNY is highly selective / has local schools in roughly the same ranking band as yours to draw from. I don't mean to suggest it's literally impossible, and if your school was Fordham you'd have a solid shot with EDNY or plausible shot with one of the less-selective judges in SDNY. But it's unlikely enough for someone in your position that IMO not worth gunning really hard for.)

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