Mistake to take COA clerkship a year early?

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Mistake to take COA clerkship a year early?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 18, 2020 10:08 am

I was in a 2-year dist court clerkship with a 1-year circuit clerkship lined up for 2021-22. Some shuffling of plans resulted in a sooner-than-expected opening at the COA, and I decided to take it for this upcoming year instead. However, the COA judge also told me that he has filled all the slots for 2021-22. I really enjoy clerking and am concerned about whether I made the right decision here - that is, did it make sense to take the COA clerkship a year earlier and give up my spot at the district court, which I won't be able to go back to in '21-22. I should add that I'm in the "hoping to parlay my clerkships into something interesting camp". I am not wedded to biglaw or even traditional law practice at all. I am trying to convince myself that doing the COA clerkship sooner was the right call, but I also don't like the fact that now I am having to rush my post-clerkship plans, whereas before I would have had 2 years to figure it out. Please be gentle in your commentary :).

desiperc

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Re: Mistake to take COA clerkship a year early?

Post by desiperc » Tue Aug 18, 2020 10:21 am

Just to clarify: You had already committed to two years with your district judge. Did you let your district judge know that you’ve accepted something for the second year, and did your judge give you permission to accept something else for the second year?

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Re: Mistake to take COA clerkship a year early?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 18, 2020 10:42 am

desiperc wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 10:21 am
Just to clarify: You had already committed to two years with your district judge. Did you let your district judge know that you’ve accepted something for the second year, and did your judge give you permission to accept something else for the second year?
The term with the district judge was formally renewed for a 2nd year and had sort of an informal floating, stay-as-long-as you need (I guess, up to 4 years) kind of offer. After the renewal, I got the COA offer: things moved fast, and then I was given the option to do either this year or the following year at the COA. My DJ said that leaving "early" was fine, but my spot with her (the DJ) would be my replacement's job as long as he/she wants it.

Anon-non-anon

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Re: Mistake to take COA clerkship a year early?

Post by Anon-non-anon » Tue Aug 18, 2020 11:27 am

would be silly to clerk another year in district court if you didn't have to, this was right call. obviously covid complicates it but hopefully by the end of your term we're chugging along well again. Just apply early to your next gig and don't get discouraged if it takes longer than usual.

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Re: Mistake to take COA clerkship a year early?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 18, 2020 11:37 am

Anon-non-anon wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 11:27 am
would be silly to clerk another year in district court if you didn't have to, this was right call. obviously covid complicates it but hopefully by the end of your term we're chugging along well again. Just apply early to your next gig and don't get discouraged if it takes longer than usual.
ok, thanks
this was some positive feedback that I needed to hear. I think part of it too (and maybe this is more a general function of transitioning any job) is that I had begun to get really comfortable in the DJ clerkship and thought that I had mastered many of the responsibilities, which could have translated to a pretty chill year ahead and allowed me to enter the COA without as much stress - at least, assuming covid is contained a year from now.

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nixy

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Re: Mistake to take COA clerkship a year early?

Post by nixy » Tue Aug 18, 2020 12:04 pm

If your judge is fine with it, there isn’t any issue with leaving the DCt clerkship early. I don’t think another year at the DCt would have made any difference for what you can do post-clerking.

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Re: Mistake to take COA clerkship a year early?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 18, 2020 1:50 pm

nixy wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 12:04 pm
If your judge is fine with it, there isn’t any issue with leaving the DCt clerkship early. I don’t think another year at the DCt would have made any difference for what you can do post-clerking.
yeah, the DJ was ok with it. I guess I'm speaking more to the issue of whether it was a good idea to make such an impulsive move (and add all the concomitant stress of job searching during a pandemic) or to ride out another year with the DJ in order to let things covid-related sort themselves out. I suppose we could have a swift recovery in early 2021, and then maybe inflation spikes and interest rates force true economic decline in 2022, and maybe it will be that the job market ends up being better a year from now than it will be 2 years from now?

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Re: Mistake to take COA clerkship a year early?

Post by objctnyrhnr » Tue Aug 18, 2020 1:55 pm

If you’re geographically flexible, you’re definitely fine. If you’re not geographically flexible, you’re probably also fine because your credentials are so good. I’m a v25 lit midlevel and have been busier than I’ve been in my life since like May. There are definitely still strong upper-tier firms that will be looking either expressly or covertly. (For example, rumor is that quinn is almost always looking for the next appropriately highly credentialed junior associate candidate, though they don’t often publicly post.)

Maybe expand Your search to academia if that’s what you’re into. Clerking is fun and useful and great, but honestly it’s not something one should do more than 2 years or 3 tops. Go use your skills and make a little money in the process of thats your thing.

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Re: Mistake to take COA clerkship a year early?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Aug 19, 2020 10:11 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 1:50 pm
nixy wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 12:04 pm
If your judge is fine with it, there isn’t any issue with leaving the DCt clerkship early. I don’t think another year at the DCt would have made any difference for what you can do post-clerking.
yeah, the DJ was ok with it. I guess I'm speaking more to the issue of whether it was a good idea to make such an impulsive move (and add all the concomitant stress of job searching during a pandemic) or to ride out another year with the DJ in order to let things covid-related sort themselves out. I suppose we could have a swift recovery in early 2021, and then maybe inflation spikes and interest rates force true economic decline in 2022, and maybe it will be that the job market ends up being better a year from now than it will be 2 years from now?
I feel you as to your anxiety. The future is uncertain for everyone - not just those in the legal profession. I hope you made the right call. I think even if you were promised a COA clerkship for the following year and could have bridged the DJ for another year, it still was the right call to take the COA clerkship as soon as possible.

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