Have D. Ct., want CoA. Best play?

(Seek and share information about clerkship applications, clerkship hiring timelines, and post-clerkship employment opportunities)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are sharing sensitive information about clerkship applications and clerkship hiring. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned."
Anonymous User
Posts: 351198
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Have D. Ct., want CoA. Best play?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:47 am

Background: graduate of Y/S, have an upcoming D. Ct. clerkship in a mid-tier city. 60% Hs, a couple class prizes. No LR, recommendations are probably very "meh." Very excited for my upcoming job.

I'm wondering what my best play for a CoA clerkship is. I've applied to innumerable CoA jobs with no luck, and have been told my grades put me at a big disadvantage for CoAs. I'm thinking I should just try to do a great job in my D. Ct. clerkship as I normally would, and, if my judge likes me, ask them to recommend me to one or two judges on the circuit in which my district sits—preferably judges with whom they're friendly. Maybe also on my home circuit.

Thoughts? It seems like the only way to overcome my apparently lackluster recommendations and grades is a good professional reference from my judge to someone they already know. But this whole process has always been utterly inscrutable to me, so that's why I'm tapping the TLS hive mind. I'm willing to clerk in 21-22 (very unlikely, I know), 22-23, or 23-24.

Anonymous User
Posts: 351198
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Have D. Ct., want CoA. Best play?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:59 am

Take this with a huge grain of salt as I'm by no means an expert, but my understanding is that most of the time, if a judge doesn't choose to interview you, it's usually because they didn't really look too hard at your application in the first place. They probably didn't throw it in a pile of "never hire under any circumstances." The point being, having your district judge recommend you to circuit judges will probably be immensely helpful, but it almost certainly would not hurt you to go ahead and throw in some applications now. I'm not sure there's any utility in waiting, and there's a chance you might get a surprise interview before your district judge calls. Probably just shouldn't devote an inordinate amount of your energy to applications at this point.

Anonymous User
Posts: 351198
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Have D. Ct., want CoA. Best play?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jul 17, 2020 1:48 pm

I did a COA clerkship, and your grades seem good enough to me, especially since you're coming from a very fancy school. But most judges don't just interview the applicants from the highest ranked law schools with the highest grades. Some circuit judges would interview someone from, say, the top 10-15% of their class at Michigan over someone with great grades at Stanford, if the Michigan grad had an interesting resume, clear interest in working for that judge, etc.

So, I don't think your grades are the problem. It sounds like there is just nothing standing out in your application. (Glowing recommendations would help--they can be a thing that stands out. But since you don't have those, you need *something*)

I'd make sure your resume is as compelling/interesting as possible, and I'd write targeted cover letters for the judges you are most interested in: mention if you have geographic ties, professional reasons for wanting to work for that judge, etc. If your district court judge will go to bat for you, that would help, too.

Post Reply Post Anonymous Reply  

Return to “Judicial Clerkships”