COA to state court or magistrate

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COA to state court or magistrate

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jul 21, 2020 9:22 am

I realize that this would not be the traditional path but this is an option that I have this year, and given that there is not much hiring in Biglaw, I am inclined to give extra consideration to it. Would the COA clerkship lose some of its cache if supplemented by a state court/fed magistrate clerkship on the back end?

decimalsanddollars

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Re: COA to state court or magistrate

Post by decimalsanddollars » Tue Jul 21, 2020 1:01 pm

Are you an incoming COA clerk this year, i.e. looking to dodge a lean biglaw cycle this year? Or are you clerking for one now and considering a second clerkship instead of the current, nearly non-existent biglaw cycle? If the latter and you don't have a job to start in 1-2 months, a second clerkship would be a great move. Idk about lowering the "cache" of the COA clerkship; plenty of people do a "lesser" clerkship after COA (usually D.Ct. in their target market) and are recruited at the same level as COA clerks. As for whether a state ct or fed mag clerkship would be worth it, I'd generally say yes if it's in your target city or the highest court in the state of your target city. I think a clerkship like this that's not in your target market would look a little weird.

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Re: COA to state court or magistrate

Post by Iowahawk » Tue Jul 21, 2020 1:12 pm

For an example of this, Patrick Strawbridge at Consovoy McCarthy went CA8 --> S Ct Maine --> SCOTUS (I assume to help break into the Maine market since he's a native Midwesterner).

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Re: COA to state court or magistrate

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jul 21, 2020 2:11 pm

decimalsanddollars wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 1:01 pm
Are you an incoming COA clerk this year, i.e. looking to dodge a lean biglaw cycle this year?
OP here...this one

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Re: COA to state court or magistrate

Post by decimalsanddollars » Tue Jul 21, 2020 3:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 2:11 pm
decimalsanddollars wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 1:01 pm
Are you an incoming COA clerk this year, i.e. looking to dodge a lean biglaw cycle this year?
OP here...this one
Yeah so I'll stand by my advice that it depends if you're clerking in your target market or for the supreme court of your target state. The second clerkship won't diminish the recruitment force of your first one, but it may be a waste of time or raise questions if it wouldn't make any sense for you to do *that* clerkship.

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Re: COA to state court or magistrate

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jul 21, 2020 8:40 pm

If you were a clerk right now, I'd say that people will totally get it if you do a second clerkship (for a magistrate, or any state court, or whatever) this year. The pandemic has brought hiring to a total halt in unforeseen ways. In past years, people may have found it a little odd if someone did something like COA>>> state intermediate court, or whatever, but I think you could do it this year. If anything, in this situation, I think it shows that you can roll with the punches.

But since it sounds like you are starting a clerkship soon, I think it's too early to tell. If the job market picks up over the next six months, then I think your options coming off a state court (especially a state not-supreme court) or a mag might end up weaker than they would have been coming right off a COA. But if hiring just doesn't pick up, then I think the "people will understand that it's a crappy time" advice stands. It's just a smidge early to know right now.

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Re: COA to state court or magistrate

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:43 am

I feel like this is an interesting conundrum. I recall when I graduated post-financial crisis and didn't land a stable job right out of school that firms were asking questions like "why didn't you do XYZ" or "why should we hire you if nobody else did". It's frustrating to hear these responses, because you can't just say "well, the economy stunk and, while hanging a shingle is always an option, it is not what I envisioned". Sometimes, there just aren't enough jobs for everyone.

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Re: COA to state court or magistrate

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jul 23, 2020 12:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:43 am
I feel like this is an interesting conundrum. I recall when I graduated post-financial crisis and didn't land a stable job right out of school that firms were asking questions like "why didn't you do XYZ" or "why should we hire you if nobody else did". It's frustrating to hear these responses, because you can't just say "well, the economy stunk and, while hanging a shingle is always an option, it is not what I envisioned". Sometimes, there just aren't enough jobs for everyone.
This is fair, but doing something like a mag clerkship is not being hired by "nobody else." I think firms would be harder on someone who had nothing lined up and ended up unemployed for a year, or whatever, than someone who did something a step outside the typical trajectory. (Not trying to snub people who end up unemployed coming off their clerkship--that sucks and this situation isn't their fault).

But doing something like a "less prestigious" judicial clerkship is easy to explain. I'm hopeful that firms could understand someone saying something along the lines of "when COVID happened, I was in the middle of the law firm interview process, but obviously everything changed so quickly. I ended up finding a wonderful magistrate judge to work for, which was great because it gave me a little time to figure out my next steps during a bizarre time, and I learned a lot from her. But I am glad to be interviewing to move into practice now" (or whatever). But again, IDK what the situation will be like 6 months from now, so I don't have advice for the incoming term clerks, this is more for the clerks whose terms are ending.

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Re: COA to state court or magistrate

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jul 23, 2020 1:04 pm

This might be a tougher call depending on if/how long you have to decide on the state/mag clerkship. If you can hold out for a while, it seems like that would be a good idea. I cannot imagine that any judge would want to hear an applicant refer to a clerkship as a safety option.

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Re: COA to state court or magistrate

Post by lavarman84 » Thu Jul 23, 2020 6:21 pm

I don't think I'd make that sort of decision before I started my clerkship. I'd wait and see how things are. If it looks like you're going to struggle to find something, you can always start applying around December for clerkships. There are usually some D. Ct. and COA openings that are either still available or arise late. I don't know what your credentials are, but seeing as you landed a COA, I'd think you'd have a shot at one of those jobs if need be. JMO.

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Re: COA to state court or magistrate

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:10 am

are clerks coming off COAs really having that difficult of a time? yeesh. I know a lot of biglaw is starting their first-year classes a few months later than anticipated but I always thought that COA clerkships were golden tickets to almost anything.

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Re: COA to state court or magistrate

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:10 am
are clerks coming off COAs really having that difficult of a time? yeesh. I know a lot of biglaw is starting their first-year classes a few months later than anticipated but I always thought that COA clerkships were golden tickets to almost anything.
COA clerk. From what I can tell, people who didn't have something lined up by the beginning of March are struggling. I don't know of anyone who had an offer when this all started who has since had it rescinded (some start dates have been pushed to January, but the offers are still there). That said, no, firms aren't just creating jobs for people because they are coming off a COA clerkship-- it's not that much of a golden ticket.

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Re: COA to state court or magistrate

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jul 25, 2020 4:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:05 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:10 am
are clerks coming off COAs really having that difficult of a time? yeesh. I know a lot of biglaw is starting their first-year classes a few months later than anticipated but I always thought that COA clerkships were golden tickets to almost anything.
COA clerk. From what I can tell, people who didn't have something lined up by the beginning of March are struggling. I don't know of anyone who had an offer when this all started who has since had it rescinded (some start dates have been pushed to January, but the offers are still there). That said, no, firms aren't just creating jobs for people because they are coming off a COA clerkship-- it's not that much of a golden ticket.
Can you elaborate? were the just cruising up until covid, assuming all would be ok, or were they struggling throuhgout and then covid foreclosed all possibilities? What are they doing now?

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Re: COA to state court or magistrate

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jul 25, 2020 6:01 pm

COA clerk. Far from cruising until Covid. Had momentum in February, which was stalled by Covid. I’m now looking at the possibility of unemployment in the coming months...

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Re: COA to state court or magistrate

Post by Wild Card » Sun Jul 26, 2020 2:44 am

As someone here perhaps facetious remarked, the most prestigious yet least useful clerkship is a COA clerkship; and the least prestigious yet most useful clerkship is a MJ clerkship.

That's an angle you could take.

Ultimately, you're asking us whether you should take MJ or SSC, or stay unemployed for an entire year or more. Is that it? Either MJ or SSC would be preferable to non-biglaw (or unemployment).

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Re: COA to state court or magistrate

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jul 26, 2020 5:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jul 25, 2020 4:07 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:05 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:10 am
are clerks coming off COAs really having that difficult of a time? yeesh. I know a lot of biglaw is starting their first-year classes a few months later than anticipated but I always thought that COA clerkships were golden tickets to almost anything.
COA clerk. From what I can tell, people who didn't have something lined up by the beginning of March are struggling. I don't know of anyone who had an offer when this all started who has since had it rescinded (some start dates have been pushed to January, but the offers are still there). That said, no, firms aren't just creating jobs for people because they are coming off a COA clerkship-- it's not that much of a golden ticket.
Can you elaborate? were the just cruising up until covid, assuming all would be ok, or were they struggling throuhgout and then covid foreclosed all possibilities? What are they doing now?
This isn't complicated, so there isn't much to "elaborate" on: a lot of hiring typically happens in the Spring. If you look at old threads on post-clerkship hiring, you'll see a decent amount of late February/March/April (or even later) movement. Some hiring happens in the Fall, sure, but a lot is later. So, I don't really know if people were "cruising" or "struggling" beforehand-- that seems like a false dichotomy based on the usual job search time-frames.

I have a job lined up. I'm not sure what others who don't are doing (I am not going to be nosy about their job searches), but I assume people are figuring things out in the ways that people looking for jobs do: looking at government positions and a range of law firms, reaching out to their network, etc.

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