Is a COA clerkship not worth it?

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Is a COA clerkship not worth it?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:50 pm

I am about to start a clerkship in SDNY and have been applying to 2/9/DC judges to no avail. I do think a COA clerkship would be a good (even fun?) experience but do not love the idea of having to move to Ohio or something (no offense, just a big city person). Are there even real tangible benefits to doing a not super prestigious COA clerkship in a city in which I am unlikely to ever practice given that I am already doing a DCT clerkship in my city?

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Wild Card

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Re: Is a COA clerkship not worth it?

Post by Wild Card » Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:05 pm

Ex-SDNY clerks are not immune from layoffs. After your clerkship, you might work a few years at a V10. After you're pushed out, you might work a few more years at a V50 before you're pushed out again. But a career lasts a lot longer than a few years, and a COA clerkship could set you up for an unforeseen opportunity further down the line.

FascinatedWanderer

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Re: Is a COA clerkship not worth it?

Post by FascinatedWanderer » Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:39 pm

As a practical matter a random CoA clerkship is not going to do much for you beyond what an SDNY clerkship will. Maybe if you really want to focus on appellate work some places will like the CoA. But from a generic prestige perspective, a flyover CA8 clerkship is not going to be much value add over an SDNY district court clerkship.

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Re: Is a COA clerkship not worth it?

Post by cheaptilts » Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:53 pm

FascinatedWanderer wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:39 pm
As a practical matter a random CoA clerkship is not going to do much for you beyond what an SDNY clerkship will. Maybe if you really want to focus on appellate work some places will like the CoA. But from a generic prestige perspective, a flyover CA8 clerkship is not going to be much value add over an SDNY district court clerkship.
I agree with this. Do the CoA clerkship if you really want to do a CoA clerkship or know for sure you want to work at a place like Robbins Russell, Goldstein & Russell, etc., or you’re just dying to work with Kannon at P,W.

But don’t do a CoA out of your target market just to keep some hypothetical options open. The SDNY clerkship will speak for itself; no need to forgo $$.

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Re: Is a COA clerkship not worth it?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:57 pm

This may not be pertinent to you now (or ever), but my experience in federal government has been that having the clerkships is valuable regardless of where they're from. I mean, yes, all else being equal I'm sure, say, the DC Cir is *especially* valued, but the experience of doing the clerkship is what is valued, not (or not only) the prestige of having obtained one. So yeah, if you want to do appellate at some point doing a COA anywhere is going to help. And I think a COA is always recognized as hard to get and valuable, even if it's a *gasp* lowly 8th Cir flyover. (Assuming you're being literal about 2/9/DC, that's kind of a silly breakdown for COAs, since there are plenty of big cities - and extremely well-respected judges - outside that artificial TLS grouping. Though I realize you may not be being literal.)

That said, the value really depends on what you want to do. If that's standard biglaw and its traditional exit options in your city, I'm sure you'll be fine without a COA. The further you get down your career path, the more it's about what you accomplish in a given job, not just accumulating brass rings. if you want to stay in your city more than you want to do a COA, that's totally cool. Moving somewhere just for a year is a pain, and staying put and progressing in your actual chosen job is a perfectly good choice.

(Of course, you could also work a year or two and apply again. I have the impression some COA judges are less interested than DCt judges are in taking experienced candidates, and I don't know how the 2d Cir judges approach this, but often having the experience of the first clerkship and some work experience and more connections/references will make you more competitive locally than you are right now.)

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stoopkid13

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Re: Is a COA clerkship not worth it?

Post by stoopkid13 » Thu Aug 06, 2020 9:33 pm

If you don't want to live in Ohio, don't live in Ohio. Whatever marginal value a second clerkship has, I don't think it's worth living in a place you don't want to live. You'll be fine.
That said, there's nothing wrong with Ohio.

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polareagle

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Re: Is a COA clerkship not worth it?

Post by polareagle » Thu Aug 06, 2020 9:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:57 pm
This may not be pertinent to you now (or ever), but my experience in federal government has been that having the clerkships is valuable regardless of where they're from. I mean, yes, all else being equal I'm sure, say, the DC Cir is *especially* valued, but the experience of doing the clerkship is what is valued, not (or not only) the prestige of having obtained one. So yeah, if you want to do appellate at some point doing a COA anywhere is going to help. And I think a COA is always recognized as hard to get and valuable, even if it's a *gasp* lowly 8th Cir flyover. (Assuming you're being literal about 2/9/DC, that's kind of a silly breakdown for COAs, since there are plenty of big cities - and extremely well-respected judges - outside that artificial TLS grouping. Though I realize you may not be being literal.)
I generally agree with this. If your goal is NY non-appellate biglaw, then no clerkship outside of the Second Circuit (and really outside the New York area) is likely to be a big value add in a purely utilitarian sense. As with the above, I don't see any generic 9th circuit clerkship being more valuable than any generic 6th/8th/11th etc.--that's a distinction that law students make but most lawyers could care less about. D.C. may be different because of the prestige involved, although a D.C. Circuit clerkship is also the most practically useless COA clerkship to anyone who isn't doing admin law.

I guess the question is why are you applying for any COA clerkships at all? You say because they're a good/fun experience, and I think that's often (though by no means universally) true. But how good/fun it is has far more to do with who your judge is than with which court they sit on. There are a few 9th circuit judges (and a couple DC circuit judges) with whom you are likely to have *bad* experiences if fun is what you're looking for.

If you're a big city person, then fine, but presumably then you're limiting yourself to the 2nd Circuit clerkships *in* or close to NY and the 9th Circuit clerkships in LA/SF. Are you? Are Portland/San Diego/Pasadena big enough? If so, then Chicago and Philly are definitely big enough. And if you'd enjoy D.C., I think you'd likely enjoy Boston and/or Atlanta as well.

So think through what you want to get out of a clerkship and then think of which clerkships can help you get that. And if that ultimately does lead you to *gasp* an Ohio city like Cleveland, then, hey, at least their river no longer catches fire!

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Re: Is a COA clerkship not worth it?

Post by replevin123 » Thu Aug 06, 2020 10:49 pm

stoopkid13 wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 9:33 pm
If you don't want to live in Ohio, don't live in Ohio. Whatever marginal value a second clerkship has, I don't think it's worth living in a place you don't want to live. You'll be fine.
That said, there's nothing wrong with Ohio.
except the snow and the rain :lol:

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Re: Is a COA clerkship not worth it?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:06 am

I was wrestling with a similar question (whether to do COA after D.Ct) in a similar situation (D.Ct in my target/"home" market - one of DC/Chi/LA/SF - and don't really want to go to new mexico or wherever for a year after, agnostic on appellate work) and ultimately decided to selectively apply to judges in the market/circuit I'm in/where the district judge is. Which I know means in all likelihood I won't be clerking on a COA, but I'm OK with that and can at least say I tried.

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nixy

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Re: Is a COA clerkship not worth it?

Post by nixy » Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:46 am

replevin123 wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 10:49 pm
stoopkid13 wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 9:33 pm
If you don't want to live in Ohio, don't live in Ohio. Whatever marginal value a second clerkship has, I don't think it's worth living in a place you don't want to live. You'll be fine.
That said, there's nothing wrong with Ohio.
except the snow and the rain :lol:
...which it shares with like the vast majority of the country? It’s Ohio, not North Dakota. The criterion was “major city,” not “California weather,” and NYC is going to be just as bad as Ohio in the winter, probably worse.

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Re: Is a COA clerkship not worth it?

Post by shoebox » Fri Aug 07, 2020 9:43 am

nixy wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:46 am
replevin123 wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 10:49 pm
stoopkid13 wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 9:33 pm
If you don't want to live in Ohio, don't live in Ohio. Whatever marginal value a second clerkship has, I don't think it's worth living in a place you don't want to live. You'll be fine.
That said, there's nothing wrong with Ohio.
except the snow and the rain :lol:
...which it shares with like the vast majority of the country? It’s Ohio, not North Dakota. The criterion was “major city,” not “California weather,” and NYC is going to be just as bad as Ohio in the winter, probably worse.
Not a big fan of early 2000s rock, I see.

stoopkid13

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Re: Is a COA clerkship not worth it?

Post by stoopkid13 » Fri Aug 07, 2020 9:52 am

shoebox wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 9:43 am
nixy wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:46 am
replevin123 wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 10:49 pm
stoopkid13 wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 9:33 pm
If you don't want to live in Ohio, don't live in Ohio. Whatever marginal value a second clerkship has, I don't think it's worth living in a place you don't want to live. You'll be fine.
That said, there's nothing wrong with Ohio.
except the snow and the rain :lol:
...which it shares with like the vast majority of the country? It’s Ohio, not North Dakota. The criterion was “major city,” not “California weather,” and NYC is going to be just as bad as Ohio in the winter, probably worse.
Not a big fan of early 2000s rock, I see.
Lol I'm glad someone picked up on it :lol:

nixy

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Re: Is a COA clerkship not worth it?

Post by nixy » Fri Aug 07, 2020 9:58 am

stoopkid13 wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 9:52 am
shoebox wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 9:43 am
nixy wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:46 am
replevin123 wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 10:49 pm
stoopkid13 wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 9:33 pm
If you don't want to live in Ohio, don't live in Ohio. Whatever marginal value a second clerkship has, I don't think it's worth living in a place you don't want to live. You'll be fine.
That said, there's nothing wrong with Ohio.
except the snow and the rain :lol:
...which it shares with like the vast majority of the country? It’s Ohio, not North Dakota. The criterion was “major city,” not “California weather,” and NYC is going to be just as bad as Ohio in the winter, probably worse.
Not a big fan of early 2000s rock, I see.
Lol I'm glad someone picked up on it :lol:
Oops! yes, I got totally whooshed, sorry! :oops: :lol:

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stoopkid13

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Re: Is a COA clerkship not worth it?

Post by stoopkid13 » Fri Aug 07, 2020 10:01 am

polareagle wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 9:36 pm
If you're a big city person, then fine, but presumably then you're limiting yourself to the 2nd Circuit clerkships *in* or close to NY and the 9th Circuit clerkships in LA/SF. Are you? Are Portland/San Diego/Pasadena big enough? If so, then Chicago and Philly are definitely big enough. And if you'd enjoy D.C., I think you'd likely enjoy Boston and/or Atlanta as well.
Agree with this advice. I'd also consider the 3rd Circuit judges in Newark and 4th Circuit judges in the DMV area if your concern is geography and not the actual circuit. Also Miami, Dallas, and Houston.

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Re: Is a COA clerkship not worth it?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Aug 31, 2020 7:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:57 pm
This may not be pertinent to you now (or ever), but my experience in federal government has been that having the clerkships is valuable regardless of where they're from. I mean, yes, all else being equal I'm sure, say, the DC Cir is *especially* valued, but the experience of doing the clerkship is what is valued, not (or not only) the prestige of having obtained one. So yeah, if you want to do appellate at some point doing a COA anywhere is going to help. And I think a COA is always recognized as hard to get and valuable, even if it's a *gasp* lowly 8th Cir flyover. (Assuming you're being literal about 2/9/DC, that's kind of a silly breakdown for COAs, since there are plenty of big cities - and extremely well-respected judges - outside that artificial TLS grouping. Though I realize you may not be being literal.)

That said, the value really depends on what you want to do. If that's standard biglaw and its traditional exit options in your city, I'm sure you'll be fine without a COA. The further you get down your career path, the more it's about what you accomplish in a given job, not just accumulating brass rings. if you want to stay in your city more than you want to do a COA, that's totally cool. Moving somewhere just for a year is a pain, and staying put and progressing in your actual chosen job is a perfectly good choice.

(Of course, you could also work a year or two and apply again. I have the impression some COA judges are less interested than DCt judges are in taking experienced candidates, and I don't know how the 2d Cir judges approach this, but often having the experience of the first clerkship and some work experience and more connections/references will make you more competitive locally than you are right now.)
Reviving this because I'm interested in bigfed (investigations/litigation) and have a district court clerkship lined up with a good judge on a not particularly "prestigious" court (think NDGa, EDLa, ND Ohio, ED Cal). Plan is DC biglaw at my SA firm afterwards and hopefully DoJ/SEC/FTC afterwards. Would an appellate clerkship significantly help my goals? I think I'd enjoy the COA experience, but I'm not particularly interested in appellate work for the government.

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Re: Is a COA clerkship not worth it?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Sep 15, 2020 11:55 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 7:43 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:57 pm
This may not be pertinent to you now (or ever), but my experience in federal government has been that having the clerkships is valuable regardless of where they're from. I mean, yes, all else being equal I'm sure, say, the DC Cir is *especially* valued, but the experience of doing the clerkship is what is valued, not (or not only) the prestige of having obtained one. So yeah, if you want to do appellate at some point doing a COA anywhere is going to help. And I think a COA is always recognized as hard to get and valuable, even if it's a *gasp* lowly 8th Cir flyover. (Assuming you're being literal about 2/9/DC, that's kind of a silly breakdown for COAs, since there are plenty of big cities - and extremely well-respected judges - outside that artificial TLS grouping. Though I realize you may not be being literal.)

That said, the value really depends on what you want to do. If that's standard biglaw and its traditional exit options in your city, I'm sure you'll be fine without a COA. The further you get down your career path, the more it's about what you accomplish in a given job, not just accumulating brass rings. if you want to stay in your city more than you want to do a COA, that's totally cool. Moving somewhere just for a year is a pain, and staying put and progressing in your actual chosen job is a perfectly good choice.

(Of course, you could also work a year or two and apply again. I have the impression some COA judges are less interested than DCt judges are in taking experienced candidates, and I don't know how the 2d Cir judges approach this, but often having the experience of the first clerkship and some work experience and more connections/references will make you more competitive locally than you are right now.)
Reviving this because I'm interested in bigfed (investigations/litigation) and have a district court clerkship lined up with a good judge on a not particularly "prestigious" court (think NDGa, EDLa, ND Ohio, ED Cal). Plan is DC biglaw at my SA firm afterwards and hopefully DoJ/SEC/FTC afterwards. Would an appellate clerkship significantly help my goals? I think I'd enjoy the COA experience, but I'm not particularly interested in appellate work for the government.
If you're not interested in appellate work for the government *and* you have a biglaw gig lined up already, then perhaps a COA doesn't make sense for you. I know SEC/FTC people without COA clerkships, who went from DC biglaw to the government.

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