Chance me for a clerkship

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Deltaforce11

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Chance me for a clerkship

Post by Deltaforce11 » Tue Aug 18, 2020 2:42 pm

Can ya'll chance me for a clerkship? I am interested in either federal district/ct. app. I'd like to land one within several hours of NYC (I know in NYC is a pretty long shot), but am also applying very broadly across the US.

I am: (1) top 10% at my T30; (2) law review E-board; and (3) starting at a V100 firm this winter with 1/2 YOE by the time I clerk. I also finished 3rd in my class as a 1L (probably should have transferred to a T-14 but didn't).

What are my chances at landing a district court clerkship? Is it worth applying even? I have 6 months before I start work so am working on landing one 1-2 years out, but don't want to waste my time if its not achievable.

decimalsanddollars

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Re: Chance me for a clerkship

Post by decimalsanddollars » Tue Aug 18, 2020 2:50 pm

You have an okay shot at D.Ct. if you apply very broadly, and it's worth applying if you really want to clerk (as opposed to being merely open to clerking). SDNY/EDNY/most circuit clerkships are probably out, and your chances are higher anywhere where you have ties.

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GFox345

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Re: Chance me for a clerkship

Post by GFox345 » Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:53 pm

Yep, COA and the more-competitive District Courts are out. Anywhere remotely close to NYC/DC is probably out, aside from a judge you have some personal in with through connections. But you have a decent chance at a d. ct. in a less competitive place (i.e. middle of the county). If you want to clerk, apply everywhere you'd be willing to spend a year. It's a great experiece.

shoebox

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Re: Chance me for a clerkship

Post by shoebox » Tue Aug 18, 2020 7:32 pm

I wouldn't rule COA out, particularly if you have some good recommendations. But it's one of those situations where you probably would need to apply to every COA judge you can find, leverage your recommenders' contacts, and hope you get a couple bites. I'd apply almost as broadly to district courts. You can probably rule out the ultra competitive districts unless they are local to your law school or you have connections.

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Re: Chance me for a clerkship

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 18, 2020 7:56 pm

I think the advice ITT is somewhat too pessimistic, depending on which T30 it is and where OP's grades fall in the top 10%. I clerked for a district court judge in a medium-sized city in the Ninth Circuit (i.e., not CD Cal/ND Cal), and we hired people who fit a similar profile to OP from time to time (although for every person like OP, we probably hired 5 honors T14 grads). If you apply broadly to courts across the country, have good recommendations, and are willing to wait a year or two before beginning your clerkship, I think you have a reasonable chance at a district court clerkship (including in medium-sized cities within driving distance of NYC) and even potentially some COA clerkships.

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Re: Chance me for a clerkship

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 18, 2020 10:58 pm

Just my anecdotal two cents, I got a D. Ct. clerkship, and I was only top 25% at a school ranked around 50th. I wasn't even on law review, but was on senior board of a secondary journal. Was my clerkship in New York? No, absolutely not. Was it a fantastic experience in a busy court in a large city? Yes, absolutely.
I also got a lot of interviews other than for the position I eventually took, for what it's worth, although those didn't end in job offers.
This board is a lot more pessimistic than my experience has been.
It's definitely worth applying if you want to clerk.

namefromplace

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Re: Chance me for a clerkship

Post by namefromplace » Wed Aug 19, 2020 12:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 10:58 pm
Just my anecdotal two cents, I got a D. Ct. clerkship, and I was only top 25% at a school ranked around 50th. I wasn't even on law review, but was on senior board of a secondary journal. Was my clerkship in New York? No, absolutely not. Was it a fantastic experience in a busy court in a large city? Yes, absolutely.
I also got a lot of interviews other than for the position I eventually took, for what it's worth, although those didn't end in job offers.
This board is a lot more pessimistic than my experience has been.
It's definitely worth applying if you want to clerk.
No one is saying that it isn't worth applying, we are just giving this person their chances at getting a clerkship, which are "decent if they apply broadly."
What I assume you did have in your application is a connection; I doubt your application would have been pulled out of any kind of pile without something like that. In this process, that's the best advice I can give: leverage your connections. Look at where your school has placed clerks in the past and figure out how those clerks were placed there.

lavarman84

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Re: Chance me for a clerkship

Post by lavarman84 » Wed Aug 19, 2020 1:24 am

Deltaforce11 wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 2:42 pm
Can ya'll chance me for a clerkship? I am interested in either federal district/ct. app. I'd like to land one within several hours of NYC (I know in NYC is a pretty long shot), but am also applying very broadly across the US.

I am: (1) top 10% at my T30; (2) law review E-board; and (3) starting at a V100 firm this winter with 1/2 YOE by the time I clerk. I also finished 3rd in my class as a 1L (probably should have transferred to a T-14 but didn't).

What are my chances at landing a district court clerkship? Is it worth applying even? I have 6 months before I start work so am working on landing one 1-2 years out, but don't want to waste my time if its not achievable.
OP, are you a vet? Because that can make a big difference in the clerking game.

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Re: Chance me for a clerkship

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 25, 2020 11:15 am

namefromplace wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 12:57 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 10:58 pm
Just my anecdotal two cents, I got a D. Ct. clerkship, and I was only top 25% at a school ranked around 50th. I wasn't even on law review, but was on senior board of a secondary journal. Was my clerkship in New York? No, absolutely not. Was it a fantastic experience in a busy court in a large city? Yes, absolutely.
I also got a lot of interviews other than for the position I eventually took, for what it's worth, although those didn't end in job offers.
This board is a lot more pessimistic than my experience has been.
It's definitely worth applying if you want to clerk.
No one is saying that it isn't worth applying, we are just giving this person their chances at getting a clerkship, which are "decent if they apply broadly."
What I assume you did have in your application is a connection; I doubt your application would have been pulled out of any kind of pile without something like that. In this process, that's the best advice I can give: leverage your connections. Look at where your school has placed clerks in the past and figure out how those clerks were placed there.
I'm happy to tell you that your assumption is incorrect. I had zero connections (geographic or personal) to any of the districts where I received interviews, and to the best of my knowledge, no one from my school had ever clerked in any of these districts, either. The only thing I had that could possibly have given me an edge was a couple of fantastic writing samples, and anyone can construct one of those.

Thank you for the insult, though! I truly value your opinion that someone like me couldn't have gotten the job that I, uh, already got.

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namefromplace

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Re: Chance me for a clerkship

Post by namefromplace » Tue Aug 25, 2020 3:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 11:15 am
namefromplace wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 12:57 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 10:58 pm
Just my anecdotal two cents, I got a D. Ct. clerkship, and I was only top 25% at a school ranked around 50th. I wasn't even on law review, but was on senior board of a secondary journal. Was my clerkship in New York? No, absolutely not. Was it a fantastic experience in a busy court in a large city? Yes, absolutely.
I also got a lot of interviews other than for the position I eventually took, for what it's worth, although those didn't end in job offers.
This board is a lot more pessimistic than my experience has been.
It's definitely worth applying if you want to clerk.
No one is saying that it isn't worth applying, we are just giving this person their chances at getting a clerkship, which are "decent if they apply broadly."
What I assume you did have in your application is a connection; I doubt your application would have been pulled out of any kind of pile without something like that. In this process, that's the best advice I can give: leverage your connections. Look at where your school has placed clerks in the past and figure out how those clerks were placed there.
I'm happy to tell you that your assumption is incorrect. I had zero connections (geographic or personal) to any of the districts where I received interviews, and to the best of my knowledge, no one from my school had ever clerked in any of these districts, either. The only thing I had that could possibly have given me an edge was a couple of fantastic writing samples, and anyone can construct one of those.

Thank you for the insult, though! I truly value your opinion that someone like me couldn't have gotten the job that I, uh, already got.
Just about everyone who gets a clerkship does so through a connection, be it a professor who knows a judge or organizational ties (i.e. judge went to your law school, FedSoc). This is especially true if you aren't an exceptional candidate on paper, i.e. top 10% at a T14, LR. I feel no shame in saying that I would not have been able to get my clerkship or any interviews without having connections. I built those connections through hard work; not all networking is nepotism. You taking any implication that you networked as an insult grossly misrepresents what the clerkship process is like for the vast majority of applicants.

I congratulate you on your clerkship, but for most people in the top 25% at a T50, a D. Ct. clerkship without connections is highly unlikely.

cheaptilts

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Re: Chance me for a clerkship

Post by cheaptilts » Tue Aug 25, 2020 4:00 pm

namefromplace wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 3:49 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 11:15 am
namefromplace wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 12:57 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 10:58 pm
Just my anecdotal two cents, I got a D. Ct. clerkship, and I was only top 25% at a school ranked around 50th. I wasn't even on law review, but was on senior board of a secondary journal. Was my clerkship in New York? No, absolutely not. Was it a fantastic experience in a busy court in a large city? Yes, absolutely.
I also got a lot of interviews other than for the position I eventually took, for what it's worth, although those didn't end in job offers.
This board is a lot more pessimistic than my experience has been.
It's definitely worth applying if you want to clerk.
No one is saying that it isn't worth applying, we are just giving this person their chances at getting a clerkship, which are "decent if they apply broadly."
What I assume you did have in your application is a connection; I doubt your application would have been pulled out of any kind of pile without something like that. In this process, that's the best advice I can give: leverage your connections. Look at where your school has placed clerks in the past and figure out how those clerks were placed there.
I'm happy to tell you that your assumption is incorrect. I had zero connections (geographic or personal) to any of the districts where I received interviews, and to the best of my knowledge, no one from my school had ever clerked in any of these districts, either. The only thing I had that could possibly have given me an edge was a couple of fantastic writing samples, and anyone can construct one of those.

Thank you for the insult, though! I truly value your opinion that someone like me couldn't have gotten the job that I, uh, already got.
Just about everyone who gets a clerkship does so through a connection, be it a professor who knows a judge or organizational ties (i.e. judge went to your law school, FedSoc). This is especially true if you aren't an exceptional candidate on paper, i.e. top 10% at a T14, LR. I feel no shame in saying that I would not have been able to get my clerkship or any interviews without having connections. I built those connections through hard work; not all networking is nepotism. You taking any implication that you networked as an insult grossly misrepresents what the clerkship process is like for the vast majority of applicants.

I congratulate you on your clerkship, but for most people in the top 25% at a T50, a D. Ct. clerkship without connections is highly unlikely.
I don’t think the bolded is true at all, but go off

lavarman84

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Re: Chance me for a clerkship

Post by lavarman84 » Tue Aug 25, 2020 7:52 pm

cheaptilts wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 4:00 pm
namefromplace wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 3:49 pm
Just about everyone who gets a clerkship does so through a connection, be it a professor who knows a judge or organizational ties (i.e. judge went to your law school, FedSoc). This is especially true if you aren't an exceptional candidate on paper, i.e. top 10% at a T14, LR. I feel no shame in saying that I would not have been able to get my clerkship or any interviews without having connections. I built those connections through hard work; not all networking is nepotism. You taking any implication that you networked as an insult grossly misrepresents what the clerkship process is like for the vast majority of applicants.

I congratulate you on your clerkship, but for most people in the top 25% at a T50, a D. Ct. clerkship without connections is highly unlikely.
I don’t think the bolded is true at all, but go off
Its an overstatement, but name isn't being unreasonable. I got my D. Ct. clerkship without connections and nearly landed a COA without connections (ended up landing a different COA gig in part because of connections and in part because of dumb luck). But it's a harder and less traveled path.

And I don't think it's an insult to assume a person from a T1 law school with only top 25% grades received a D. Ct. clerkship because of networking. Bluntly put, those credentials are definitely on the lower side of things for an Art. III clerkship. Anon, I'm not trying to insult you. I'm just being honest.

I wonder if there was a soft factor on your resume that played big with some judges. I know you said it was your writing sample. I can't speak for every chambers, but we wouldn't have even looked at your writing sample if you weren't already seriously in the running based on your resume and cover letter. That's why I wonder if there was some past work experience or something of that nature that really boosted you.

Again, I'm not trying to be insulting. You succeeded in landing a clerkship. Congratulations! You should be proud of it. But on this board, the best advice we can give is general in nature. And most people at a T1 law school with top 25% grades are going to struggle to land an Art. III clerkship.

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Re: Chance me for a clerkship

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 25, 2020 9:02 pm

lavarman84 wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 7:52 pm
cheaptilts wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 4:00 pm
namefromplace wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 3:49 pm
Just about everyone who gets a clerkship does so through a connection, be it a professor who knows a judge or organizational ties (i.e. judge went to your law school, FedSoc). This is especially true if you aren't an exceptional candidate on paper, i.e. top 10% at a T14, LR. I feel no shame in saying that I would not have been able to get my clerkship or any interviews without having connections. I built those connections through hard work; not all networking is nepotism. You taking any implication that you networked as an insult grossly misrepresents what the clerkship process is like for the vast majority of applicants.

I congratulate you on your clerkship, but for most people in the top 25% at a T50, a D. Ct. clerkship without connections is highly unlikely.
I don’t think the bolded is true at all, but go off
Its an overstatement, but name isn't being unreasonable. I got my D. Ct. clerkship without connections and nearly landed a COA without connections (ended up landing a different COA gig in part because of connections and in part because of dumb luck). But it's a harder and less traveled path.

And I don't think it's an insult to assume a person from a T1 law school with only top 25% grades received a D. Ct. clerkship because of networking. Bluntly put, those credentials are definitely on the lower side of things for an Art. III clerkship. Anon, I'm not trying to insult you. I'm just being honest.

I wonder if there was a soft factor on your resume that played big with some judges. I know you said it was your writing sample. I can't speak for every chambers, but we wouldn't have even looked at your writing sample if you weren't already seriously in the running based on your resume and cover letter. That's why I wonder if there was some past work experience or something of that nature that really boosted you.

Again, I'm not trying to be insulting. You succeeded in landing a clerkship. Congratulations! You should be proud of it. But on this board, the best advice we can give is general in nature. And most people at a T1 law school with top 25% grades are going to struggle to land an Art. III clerkship.
Speaking of weird things that pique the interest with judges, I landed my pretty solid COA gig because the judge found my blue-collar work history interesting. The judge specifically wanted to build a blue-collar/white-collar mix of clerks. I guess my main point is that this whole process has so many random elements, it is hard to pinpoint what triggers the judge, unless they tell you specifically.

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namefromplace

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Re: Chance me for a clerkship

Post by namefromplace » Tue Aug 25, 2020 9:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 9:02 pm
lavarman84 wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 7:52 pm
cheaptilts wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 4:00 pm
namefromplace wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 3:49 pm
Just about everyone who gets a clerkship does so through a connection, be it a professor who knows a judge or organizational ties (i.e. judge went to your law school, FedSoc). This is especially true if you aren't an exceptional candidate on paper, i.e. top 10% at a T14, LR. I feel no shame in saying that I would not have been able to get my clerkship or any interviews without having connections. I built those connections through hard work; not all networking is nepotism. You taking any implication that you networked as an insult grossly misrepresents what the clerkship process is like for the vast majority of applicants.

I congratulate you on your clerkship, but for most people in the top 25% at a T50, a D. Ct. clerkship without connections is highly unlikely.
I don’t think the bolded is true at all, but go off
Its an overstatement, but name isn't being unreasonable. I got my D. Ct. clerkship without connections and nearly landed a COA without connections (ended up landing a different COA gig in part because of connections and in part because of dumb luck). But it's a harder and less traveled path.

And I don't think it's an insult to assume a person from a T1 law school with only top 25% grades received a D. Ct. clerkship because of networking. Bluntly put, those credentials are definitely on the lower side of things for an Art. III clerkship. Anon, I'm not trying to insult you. I'm just being honest.

I wonder if there was a soft factor on your resume that played big with some judges. I know you said it was your writing sample. I can't speak for every chambers, but we wouldn't have even looked at your writing sample if you weren't already seriously in the running based on your resume and cover letter. That's why I wonder if there was some past work experience or something of that nature that really boosted you.

Again, I'm not trying to be insulting. You succeeded in landing a clerkship. Congratulations! You should be proud of it. But on this board, the best advice we can give is general in nature. And most people at a T1 law school with top 25% grades are going to struggle to land an Art. III clerkship.
Speaking of weird things that pique the interest with judges, I landed my pretty solid COA gig because the judge found my blue-collar work history interesting. The judge specifically wanted to build a blue-collar/white-collar mix of clerks. I guess my main point is that this whole process has so many random elements, it is hard to pinpoint what triggers the judge, unless they tell you specifically.
This is true; applying for judges is, occasionally, a very idiosyncratic process. And I concede I exaggerated: some people manage to get clerkships without connections*, but, without getting high grades at a T14, it's generally tough to get your application out of the pile otherwise.

*barring, of course, letters of recommendation, which are very important even if the judge does not know the recommender.

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Re: Chance me for a clerkship

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:10 am

namefromplace wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 9:15 pm
*barring, of course, letters of recommendation, which are very important even if the judge does not know the recommender.
Again, idiosyncratic. I got a desirable COA clerkship from non-HYS with no letters of rec or any communication from professors etc. to chambers.

Unless someone specializes in clerkship applications (e.g. works in a related law school office, consults professionally), I wonder how they seem to possess such definitive but general knowledge about how hiring works.

nixy

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Re: Chance me for a clerkship

Post by nixy » Thu Aug 27, 2020 8:04 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:10 am
namefromplace wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 9:15 pm
*barring, of course, letters of recommendation, which are very important even if the judge does not know the recommender.
Again, idiosyncratic. I got a desirable COA clerkship from non-HYS with no letters of rec or any communication from professors etc. to chambers.

Unless someone specializes in clerkship applications (e.g. works in a related law school office, consults professionally), I wonder how they seem to possess such definitive but general knowledge about how hiring works.
What do you mean, no letters of rec? That’s really unusual in that most applications require letters of recommendation even to apply (I’m not talking about some kind of personal connection/someone reaching out; just a letter, period).

And people know about these things the same way that people know about law school admissions: talking to other applicants, talking to other clerks, talking to their school clerkship office and the professionals that you think someone has to be. With the caveat that of course clerkship hiring is idiosyncratic (because it is based on the preferences of one person), there are a lot of pretty safe conclusions that someone can draw, one of which is that you will need letters of recommendation. Just because one judge hires without them doesn’t make it incorrect to say that letters of rec aren’t important.

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Re: Chance me for a clerkship

Post by Wild Card » Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:12 pm

Your credentials are unimpressive. If your T30 is a regional powerhouse, you should have a good chance at the district court embracing your law school.

Ultimately, you should apply because it's incredibly simple and easy to use the same materials for every judge. You could apply to 100 judges in a day.

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mjb447

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Re: Chance me for a clerkship

Post by mjb447 » Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:32 pm

nixy wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 8:04 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:10 am
namefromplace wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 9:15 pm
*barring, of course, letters of recommendation, which are very important even if the judge does not know the recommender.
Again, idiosyncratic. I got a desirable COA clerkship from non-HYS with no letters of rec or any communication from professors etc. to chambers.

Unless someone specializes in clerkship applications (e.g. works in a related law school office, consults professionally), I wonder how they seem to possess such definitive but general knowledge about how hiring works.
What do you mean, no letters of rec? That’s really unusual in that most applications require letters of recommendation even to apply (I’m not talking about some kind of personal connection/someone reaching out; just a letter, period).

And people know about these things the same way that people know about law school admissions: talking to other applicants, talking to other clerks, talking to their school clerkship office and the professionals that you think someone has to be. With the caveat that of course clerkship hiring is idiosyncratic (because it is based on the preferences of one person), there are a lot of pretty safe conclusions that someone can draw, one of which is that you will need letters of recommendation. Just because one judge hires without them doesn’t make it incorrect to say that letters of rec aren’t important.
Yeah, clerkship advice basically always comes with the caveat that any one judge might vary, but that doesn't mean we can't draw any conclusions about what tends to be important (especially where someone is applying to lots of judges, as many applicants will). Most judges want some kind of LORs, and for many they fulfill a pretty important role by, e.g., putting the applicant's credentials in context and giving some very basic information about "fit" and personality before an invitation to interview is extended.

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Re: Chance me for a clerkship

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Aug 27, 2020 7:25 pm

nixy wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 8:04 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:10 am
namefromplace wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 9:15 pm
*barring, of course, letters of recommendation, which are very important even if the judge does not know the recommender.
Again, idiosyncratic. I got a desirable COA clerkship from non-HYS with no letters of rec or any communication from professors etc. to chambers.

Unless someone specializes in clerkship applications (e.g. works in a related law school office, consults professionally), I wonder how they seem to possess such definitive but general knowledge about how hiring works.
What do you mean, no letters of rec? That’s really unusual in that most applications require letters of recommendation even to apply (I’m not talking about some kind of personal connection/someone reaching out; just a letter, period).

And people know about these things the same way that people know about law school admissions: talking to other applicants, talking to other clerks, talking to their school clerkship office and the professionals that you think someone has to be. With the caveat that of course clerkship hiring is idiosyncratic (because it is based on the preferences of one person), there are a lot of pretty safe conclusions that someone can draw, one of which is that you will need letters of recommendation. Just because one judge hires without them doesn’t make it incorrect to say that letters of rec aren’t important.

A number of judges that hire early will accept applications without LORs, some openly state it on their letters inviting applications from the schools they are targeting.

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Re: Chance me for a clerkship

Post by namefromplace » Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:10 am
namefromplace wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 9:15 pm
*barring, of course, letters of recommendation, which are very important even if the judge does not know the recommender.
Again, idiosyncratic. I got a desirable COA clerkship from non-HYS with no letters of rec or any communication from professors etc. to chambers.

Unless someone specializes in clerkship applications (e.g. works in a related law school office, consults professionally), I wonder how they seem to possess such definitive but general knowledge about how hiring works.
There will be an exception to almost everything with clerkships. Everything I have said is general advice. I have not claimed in any way to be an expert. All I have said is that connections are important and LoRs are important. Hiring is idiosyncratic, but I think that's pretty uncontroversial advice.

Yes, some judges don't require LoRs. Most do, and most see it as a big part of your application. Applying with good LoRs will generally make you more competitive than otherwise.

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Re: Chance me for a clerkship

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Sep 12, 2020 2:27 pm

Just to chime in on the "connections" conversation -

I was a fine but not stellar applicant (CCN top 25%, leadership position on secondary journal). I absolutely thought that regional/personal connections were going to be my best shot because my application was nothing special, but applied all over the country.

I ended up with three d. ct. interviews before I ended my search, and only one of those was in the state where I was raised. The other two seemed completely random - no family ties to the area, nothing. None of the three were judges who got a call from my recommenders.

It turns out that one of the two random judges had a family tie to something unusual on my résumé. The remaining judge, the one who gave me my offer......I still have no idea how my résumé ended up on the top of that pile.

It's such a crapshoot. What goes on in most judges' heads is a mystery. It can't hurt to shoot your shot and see if anything sticks. God knows that's what happened to me.

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