Clerkship Timeline

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Po$eidon

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Clerkship Timeline

Post by Po$eidon » Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:20 pm

I’m a rising 2L that has begun leaning towards litigation (especially focused on L&E) following a revealing 1L SA. As a result, I am now interested in clerking (I had been leaning transactional previously and had not deeply considered it). My question primarily concerns timing:

I have heard that waiting a year or two after law school to begin clerking is becoming increasingly common. Personally, I need to get my debts down a bit with biglaw pay before I would feel comfortable taking the clerkship pay cut. Does waiting negatively impact your post-clerkship opportunities? If you are waiting to clerk, is it better to clerk after one year of biglaw or two? Is there a significant difference in outcomes between those two timelines?

More info: T14, top ~15/20%, on Law Review

*if this is the wrong spot for this Q, my apologies

Reese1

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Re: Clerkship Timeline

Post by Reese1 » Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:43 pm

Po$eidon wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:20 pm
I’m a rising 2L that has begun leaning towards litigation (especially focused on L&E) following a revealing 1L SA. As a result, I am now interested in clerking (I had been leaning transactional previously and had not deeply considered it). My question primarily concerns timing:

I have heard that waiting a year or two after law school to begin clerking is becoming increasingly common. Personally, I need to get my debts down a bit with biglaw pay before I would feel comfortable taking the clerkship pay cut. Does waiting negatively impact your post-clerkship opportunities? If you are waiting to clerk, is it better to clerk after one year of biglaw or two? Is there a significant difference in outcomes between those two timelines?

More info: T14, top ~15/20%, on Law Review

*if this is the wrong spot for this Q, my apologies
Aside from a few judges who only hire 1Ls for right after graduation, I think you would not be disadvantaged. I could see this being an advantage for some judges who like having their clerks have real-world experience before entering chambers. I can't really answer the question of whether one or two years out would make a difference, but my instincts say it wouldn't much matter.

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Po$eidon

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Re: Clerkship Timeline

Post by Po$eidon » Fri Aug 07, 2020 2:12 pm

Reese1 wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:43 pm
Po$eidon wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:20 pm
I’m a rising 2L that has begun leaning towards litigation (especially focused on L&E) following a revealing 1L SA. As a result, I am now interested in clerking (I had been leaning transactional previously and had not deeply considered it). My question primarily concerns timing:

I have heard that waiting a year or two after law school to begin clerking is becoming increasingly common. Personally, I need to get my debts down a bit with biglaw pay before I would feel comfortable taking the clerkship pay cut. Does waiting negatively impact your post-clerkship opportunities? If you are waiting to clerk, is it better to clerk after one year of biglaw or two? Is there a significant difference in outcomes between those two timelines?

More info: T14, top ~15/20%, on Law Review

*if this is the wrong spot for this Q, my apologies
Aside from a few judges who only hire 1Ls for right after graduation, I think you would not be disadvantaged. I could see this being an advantage for some judges who like having their clerks have real-world experience before entering chambers. I can't really answer the question of whether one or two years out would make a difference, but my instincts say it wouldn't much matter.
Thanks for this! Any insight as to whether there would be negative repercussions coming out of the clerkship from a delayed start?

Reese1

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Re: Clerkship Timeline

Post by Reese1 » Fri Aug 07, 2020 2:31 pm

Po$eidon wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 2:12 pm
Reese1 wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:43 pm
Po$eidon wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:20 pm
I’m a rising 2L that has begun leaning towards litigation (especially focused on L&E) following a revealing 1L SA. As a result, I am now interested in clerking (I had been leaning transactional previously and had not deeply considered it). My question primarily concerns timing:

I have heard that waiting a year or two after law school to begin clerking is becoming increasingly common. Personally, I need to get my debts down a bit with biglaw pay before I would feel comfortable taking the clerkship pay cut. Does waiting negatively impact your post-clerkship opportunities? If you are waiting to clerk, is it better to clerk after one year of biglaw or two? Is there a significant difference in outcomes between those two timelines?

More info: T14, top ~15/20%, on Law Review

*if this is the wrong spot for this Q, my apologies
Aside from a few judges who only hire 1Ls for right after graduation, I think you would not be disadvantaged. I could see this being an advantage for some judges who like having their clerks have real-world experience before entering chambers. I can't really answer the question of whether one or two years out would make a difference, but my instincts say it wouldn't much matter.
Thanks for this! Any insight as to whether there would be negative repercussions coming out of the clerkship from a delayed start?
I can't really think of any, but I haven't worked at a big firm, so I am not sure. I'd bet someone else can answer this though.

ksm6969

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Re: Clerkship Timeline

Post by ksm6969 » Fri Aug 07, 2020 2:45 pm

Po$eidon wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 2:12 pm
Reese1 wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:43 pm
Po$eidon wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:20 pm
I’m a rising 2L that has begun leaning towards litigation (especially focused on L&E) following a revealing 1L SA. As a result, I am now interested in clerking (I had been leaning transactional previously and had not deeply considered it). My question primarily concerns timing:

I have heard that waiting a year or two after law school to begin clerking is becoming increasingly common. Personally, I need to get my debts down a bit with biglaw pay before I would feel comfortable taking the clerkship pay cut. Does waiting negatively impact your post-clerkship opportunities? If you are waiting to clerk, is it better to clerk after one year of biglaw or two? Is there a significant difference in outcomes between those two timelines?

More info: T14, top ~15/20%, on Law Review

*if this is the wrong spot for this Q, my apologies
Aside from a few judges who only hire 1Ls for right after graduation, I think you would not be disadvantaged. I could see this being an advantage for some judges who like having their clerks have real-world experience before entering chambers. I can't really answer the question of whether one or two years out would make a difference, but my instincts say it wouldn't much matter.
Thanks for this! Any insight as to whether there would be negative repercussions coming out of the clerkship from a delayed start?
The thing about going to work for a year and then to a clerkship is that it is kind of weird to start at a firm knowing that you will leave in a year. Partners may be hesitant to give you substantive work, introduce you to clients, etc. because they know you are leaving and so there's no reason to have to deal with knowledge transfer when they could just give the work to someone who will be around longer. So theres a good chance youll end up doing low-value work rather than becoming a point person on something important. I understand the debt thing, but consider that by clerking later you are actually giving up more money in lost income, and it really makes more sense to clerk right after (if you can). Alternatively, I'd plan on at least two years at the firm, and use the clerking as a way to plan to amicably pursue new firms/markets/opportunities if you wish.

It does suck that for litigation you are looking at 3 years of law school + at least one year clerking (and often two or more). Very $$$ and sort of rules out a lot of older applicants...

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Re: Clerkship Timeline

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Aug 07, 2020 3:03 pm

ksm6969 wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 2:45 pm
Po$eidon wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 2:12 pm
Reese1 wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:43 pm
Po$eidon wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:20 pm
I’m a rising 2L that has begun leaning towards litigation (especially focused on L&E) following a revealing 1L SA. As a result, I am now interested in clerking (I had been leaning transactional previously and had not deeply considered it). My question primarily concerns timing:

I have heard that waiting a year or two after law school to begin clerking is becoming increasingly common. Personally, I need to get my debts down a bit with biglaw pay before I would feel comfortable taking the clerkship pay cut. Does waiting negatively impact your post-clerkship opportunities? If you are waiting to clerk, is it better to clerk after one year of biglaw or two? Is there a significant difference in outcomes between those two timelines?

More info: T14, top ~15/20%, on Law Review

*if this is the wrong spot for this Q, my apologies
Aside from a few judges who only hire 1Ls for right after graduation, I think you would not be disadvantaged. I could see this being an advantage for some judges who like having their clerks have real-world experience before entering chambers. I can't really answer the question of whether one or two years out would make a difference, but my instincts say it wouldn't much matter.
Thanks for this! Any insight as to whether there would be negative repercussions coming out of the clerkship from a delayed start?
The thing about going to work for a year and then to a clerkship is that it is kind of weird to start at a firm knowing that you will leave in a year. Partners may be hesitant to give you substantive work, introduce you to clients, etc. because they know you are leaving and so there's no reason to have to deal with knowledge transfer when they could just give the work to someone who will be around longer. So theres a good chance youll end up doing low-value work rather than becoming a point person on something important. I understand the debt thing, but consider that by clerking later you are actually giving up more money in lost income, and it really makes more sense to clerk right after (if you can). Alternatively, I'd plan on at least two years at the firm, and use the clerking as a way to plan to amicably pursue new firms/markets/opportunities if you wish.

It does suck that for litigation you are looking at 3 years of law school + at least one year clerking (and often two or more). Very $$$ and sort of rules out a lot of older applicants...
Would this provide an opportunity to do a lot of pro bono then? I'm doing this and hoping to do a mix of junior level investigation or lit work and a shit ton of pro bono, hopefully getting stand up experience if possible

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Re: Clerkship Timeline

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Aug 07, 2020 3:16 pm

I don't think it makes a big difference with 1 vs 2 years for post-clerkship, but some judges require 2 years experience . One thing to consider is if you'd like to do CoA and D Ct (or 2 year clerkship), plus two years in big law, you're pretty senior by the time you're leaving. That can impact how firms view you, especially if you missed the most substantive parts of big law up to that point (year 3-4).

I did 2 years in big law and 2 year clerkship so kinda same thing, and it hurt me with a CoA judge I interviewed with. She was explicit that I'd be strangely senior by that point, which in hindsight, I think she was right about (woulda been after another year back at the firm too).

Can't say if firms were / were not worried when I interviewed, but it might have made it a little harder for them to hire me. The firm I accepted at will pay me at normal rate but delayed partnership decision one year. That seemed fair to me, maybe even preferable.

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Re: Clerkship Timeline

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Aug 07, 2020 3:55 pm

Po$eidon wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:20 pm
Does waiting negatively impact your post-clerkship opportunities? If you are waiting to clerk, is it better to clerk after one year of biglaw or two? Is there a significant difference in outcomes between those two timelines?
I don't think anyone can give you a super scientific answer to this question. Broadly speaking, there has been an increase in judges who value work experience over the last 10 or so years. That said, my experience is that they are still a minority (and certainly a distinct minority at the COA level). If you are trying to do everything to maximize your chances at a clerkship, and you have the traditional T14 school + good grades resume, I'd say to apply for a clerkship immediately after graduating. That's not to say it can't happen later by any means (I was able to eventually land a COA gig with a significantly greater amount of experience than you'd have in this scenario), but I think you'll find its more of an uphill battle.

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Re: Clerkship Timeline

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Aug 07, 2020 4:00 pm

Waiting is most common at the trial level in districts like SDNY and EDNY. While you will not save as much your first year, you get a clerkship bonus upon entering a firm. You are still on-plan for the 2022 term. I would seriously consider clerking your first year out and then just doing BL.

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Re: Clerkship Timeline

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Aug 08, 2020 8:41 am

ksm6969 wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 2:45 pm
Po$eidon wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 2:12 pm
Reese1 wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:43 pm
Po$eidon wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:20 pm
I’m a rising 2L that has begun leaning towards litigation (especially focused on L&E) following a revealing 1L SA. As a result, I am now interested in clerking (I had been leaning transactional previously and had not deeply considered it). My question primarily concerns timing:

I have heard that waiting a year or two after law school to begin clerking is becoming increasingly common. Personally, I need to get my debts down a bit with biglaw pay before I would feel comfortable taking the clerkship pay cut. Does waiting negatively impact your post-clerkship opportunities? If you are waiting to clerk, is it better to clerk after one year of biglaw or two? Is there a significant difference in outcomes between those two timelines?

More info: T14, top ~15/20%, on Law Review

*if this is the wrong spot for this Q, my apologies
Aside from a few judges who only hire 1Ls for right after graduation, I think you would not be disadvantaged. I could see this being an advantage for some judges who like having their clerks have real-world experience before entering chambers. I can't really answer the question of whether one or two years out would make a difference, but my instincts say it wouldn't much matter.
Thanks for this! Any insight as to whether there would be negative repercussions coming out of the clerkship from a delayed start?
The thing about going to work for a year and then to a clerkship is that it is kind of weird to start at a firm knowing that you will leave in a year. Partners may be hesitant to give you substantive work, introduce you to clients, etc. because they know you are leaving and so there's no reason to have to deal with knowledge transfer when they could just give the work to someone who will be around longer. So theres a good chance youll end up doing low-value work rather than becoming a point person on something important. I understand the debt thing, but consider that by clerking later you are actually giving up more money in lost income, and it really makes more sense to clerk right after (if you can). Alternatively, I'd plan on at least two years at the firm, and use the clerking as a way to plan to amicably pursue new firms/markets/opportunities if you wish.

It does suck that for litigation you are looking at 3 years of law school + at least one year clerking (and often two or more). Very $$$ and sort of rules out a lot of older applicants...
I had the opposite experience. I was only there for 11 months pre-clerkship but got put on exciting litigation, I'm guessing because they wanted to sell me on coming back (sort of like SA 2.0). Got to do tons of pro bono and the billables didn't matter much since I was never going to get a review/bonus.

ksm6969

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Re: Clerkship Timeline

Post by ksm6969 » Sat Aug 08, 2020 9:49 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Aug 08, 2020 8:41 am
ksm6969 wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 2:45 pm

The thing about going to work for a year and then to a clerkship is that it is kind of weird to start at a firm knowing that you will leave in a year. Partners may be hesitant to give you substantive work, introduce you to clients, etc. because they know you are leaving and so there's no reason to have to deal with knowledge transfer when they could just give the work to someone who will be around longer. So theres a good chance youll end up doing low-value work rather than becoming a point person on something important. I understand the debt thing, but consider that by clerking later you are actually giving up more money in lost income, and it really makes more sense to clerk right after (if you can). Alternatively, I'd plan on at least two years at the firm, and use the clerking as a way to plan to amicably pursue new firms/markets/opportunities if you wish.

It does suck that for litigation you are looking at 3 years of law school + at least one year clerking (and often two or more). Very $$$ and sort of rules out a lot of older applicants...
I had the opposite experience. I was only there for 11 months pre-clerkship but got put on exciting litigation, I'm guessing because they wanted to sell me on coming back (sort of like SA 2.0). Got to do tons of pro bono and the billables didn't matter much since I was never going to get a review/bonus.
FWIW, I wrote the post you responded to, and I initially had the same experience-- staffed on a fun litigation within a few weeks of starting. But then that litigation got put on hold (settlement talks), and I was left with about 4 months at the end where people were understandably hesitant to staff me on long-term, substantive work. Between these slow months, plus the pre-firm stub year before starting, plus 3LOL, it really felt like i did real work (not counting bar study) for like a few months of the past 2 years. And it makes sense: If you have 5 people to select from and you are going to invest time / energy into mentoring one of them, plus you are going to pay them to get 'up to speed' on some complex issues, why would you chose the person you know is leaving within the year? I really think it comes down to lucky timing (obviously helped by good firm management), and joining right when there is a fun litigation that is at an exciting phase -- not too far in the future that you would be gone by the time it really revs up, but still far enough down the line that you are able to dive into it.

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Re: Clerkship Timeline

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Aug 12, 2020 2:06 pm

Po$eidon wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 2:12 pm
Reese1 wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:43 pm
Po$eidon wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:20 pm
I’m a rising 2L that has begun leaning towards litigation (especially focused on L&E) following a revealing 1L SA. As a result, I am now interested in clerking (I had been leaning transactional previously and had not deeply considered it). My question primarily concerns timing:

I have heard that waiting a year or two after law school to begin clerking is becoming increasingly common. Personally, I need to get my debts down a bit with biglaw pay before I would feel comfortable taking the clerkship pay cut. Does waiting negatively impact your post-clerkship opportunities? If you are waiting to clerk, is it better to clerk after one year of biglaw or two? Is there a significant difference in outcomes between those two timelines?

More info: T14, top ~15/20%, on Law Review

*if this is the wrong spot for this Q, my apologies
Aside from a few judges who only hire 1Ls for right after graduation, I think you would not be disadvantaged. I could see this being an advantage for some judges who like having their clerks have real-world experience before entering chambers. I can't really answer the question of whether one or two years out would make a difference, but my instincts say it wouldn't much matter.
Thanks for this! Any insight as to whether there would be negative repercussions coming out of the clerkship from a delayed start?
I went your route, pretty much exactly - L&E at a biglaw firm for two years, d.ct., then COA.

A particular warning about L&E: I don't know what you're looking at, exactly, but if you mean REALLY classic biglaw L&E there isn't much of it. If you end up doing L&E at a truly big firm, you'll be in an unusual position to begin with, and may have no trouble going back.

But if you're talking about Proskauer or Morgan Lewis or equivalent, be aware they may not be as interested in your clerkship as the Cravaths, SullCroms of the world. You may end up taking a firm-hit coming out if you want to stay in L&E - switching to Littler/Jackson etc., which are great places for L&E but do not pay like S&C etc.

I will also say: I think two years is the outside maximum you should work at a firm first. At that point the firm experience you're giving up to clerk isn't worth the trade unless you need to exit the place anyway imo. At four years (because of the second clerkship) I was getting asked to justify going back to biglaw, even with the explanation that I did not want to return to L&E, and was going to have to take a hit on class year.

I am happy to give more specifics through dms if you're interested.

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