Is there a way for a couple to apply together?

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Is there a way for a couple to apply together?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Nov 21, 2020 4:43 pm

Here's the situation: My partner and I (both 3Ls at a T14 going into biglaw) are both probably competitive for some district court clerkships for 2022-23 term. But we're worried about applying to judges outside of a small geographical area because we don't want to end up clerking in vastly different regions for a whole year. We wouldn't mind going somewhere far-flung from where we went to school or plan to practice, but if one of us ends up going somewhere else, we don't want to be separated. I'm wondering if there's some way around that. Have you ever heard of someone specifying in a cover letter that they'll only accept the clerkship if their partner gets one in the same area/courthouse? We probably wouldn't want to be in the position of clerking for the same judge, but if we did, could we apply jointly in some way (kind of akin to how medical residencies are done)?

lavarman84

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Re: Is there a way for a couple to apply together?

Post by lavarman84 » Sat Nov 21, 2020 6:18 pm

You're welcome to put that in your cover letter, but I don't see it helping you land a clerkship. I think it would be tough to apply together.

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Re: Is there a way for a couple to apply together?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 4:43 pm
Here's the situation: My partner and I (both 3Ls at a T14 going into biglaw) are both probably competitive for some district court clerkships for 2022-23 term. But we're worried about applying to judges outside of a small geographical area because we don't want to end up clerking in vastly different regions for a whole year. We wouldn't mind going somewhere far-flung from where we went to school or plan to practice, but if one of us ends up going somewhere else, we don't want to be separated. I'm wondering if there's some way around that. Have you ever heard of someone specifying in a cover letter that they'll only accept the clerkship if their partner gets one in the same area/courthouse? We probably wouldn't want to be in the position of clerking for the same judge, but if we did, could we apply jointly in some way (kind of akin to how medical residencies are done)?

Best bet is to apply to markets with lots of judges. Or, one of you accept a clerkship, then see if your judge can connect your spouse with another judge.

nixy

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Re: Is there a way for a couple to apply together?

Post by nixy » Sat Nov 21, 2020 9:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 4:43 pm
Here's the situation: My partner and I (both 3Ls at a T14 going into biglaw) are both probably competitive for some district court clerkships for 2022-23 term. But we're worried about applying to judges outside of a small geographical area because we don't want to end up clerking in vastly different regions for a whole year. We wouldn't mind going somewhere far-flung from where we went to school or plan to practice, but if one of us ends up going somewhere else, we don't want to be separated. I'm wondering if there's some way around that. Have you ever heard of someone specifying in a cover letter that they'll only accept the clerkship if their partner gets one in the same area/courthouse? We probably wouldn't want to be in the position of clerking for the same judge, but if we did, could we apply jointly in some way (kind of akin to how medical residencies are done)?
I've never heard of anyone doing this, and to be honest, I don't think it would go over well. Maybe that's unfair or old-fashioned of me, but that's my gut reaction. (Well, maybe the most elite of the elite could pull it off, like clearly SCOTUS candidates? but even then I feel like it would be something maneuvered behind the scenes with the assistance of connections.) I agree that your best bet is to apply in markets with lots of judges, and whoever gets an offer first, find out if that judge can help out at all.

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Re: Is there a way for a couple to apply together?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Nov 21, 2020 9:54 pm

I have heard of this happen once before. A classmate and his partner both went to the same boutique firm that's well-connected with judges. After a few years of working there, the firm helped place both of them in the same courthouse using the goodwill that the firm had built up with the judges.

Basically, it's possible but this will take some planning. What State are you currently working in and where do you want to end up?

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polareagle

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Re: Is there a way for a couple to apply together?

Post by polareagle » Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:24 pm

nixy wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 9:47 pm
I've never heard of anyone doing this, and to be honest, I don't think it would go over well. Maybe that's unfair or old-fashioned of me, but that's my gut reaction. (Well, maybe the most elite of the elite could pull it off, like clearly SCOTUS candidates? but even then I feel like it would be something maneuvered behind the scenes with the assistance of connections.) I agree that your best bet is to apply in markets with lots of judges, and whoever gets an offer first, find out if that judge can help out at all.
Agreed on all counts. One of the judges I clerked for would have thought this was nice (and *maybe* would have tried to help once hiring one of the clerks). The other judge would have rejected your application for mentioning this in a cover letter. Not saying that's fair or right, but it is true. That's not a reason not to do this, but you should go in eyes open and know that you're limiting yourself.

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Re: Is there a way for a couple to apply together?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Nov 23, 2020 1:59 pm

If you are top of the class, maybe, otherwise it's going to be quite limiting.

accidental anon - sorry

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floatie

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Re: Is there a way for a couple to apply together?

Post by floatie » Mon Nov 23, 2020 3:53 pm

That's going to be tough since there isn't a "couples match" in the same way that there is for med school. I agree with all of the suggestions above about applying to larger markets with a lot of judges.

Some other things to think about:
  • You could stagger your clerkships so that one of you clerks at the same time that the other is at the firm (assuming you're in the same market as the firm)
  • A year apart isn't that long. Long-distance isn't ideal, obviously, but a year goes by quickly especially when you're both busy. I knew plenty of couples who were long distance for all or part of law school, or for the first year or two of working until they could be in the same city
  • Going along with the above, even if you can't end up in the same courthouse or the same city, you can try and coordinate clerkships that are within a couple of hours of each other so that you can visit on weekends. Again, not ideal, but the time goes by quickly. In both the market where I went to school (prominent secondary market) and the market where I work (SDNY), judges are pretty understanding of spouses/partners in other cities and taking the weekend off to go visit. Also, look at separate markets that are still pretty close to each other (ex: DNJ and EDNY)

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mjb447

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Re: Is there a way for a couple to apply together?

Post by mjb447 » Mon Nov 23, 2020 8:23 pm

polareagle wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:24 pm
nixy wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 9:47 pm
I've never heard of anyone doing this, and to be honest, I don't think it would go over well. Maybe that's unfair or old-fashioned of me, but that's my gut reaction. (Well, maybe the most elite of the elite could pull it off, like clearly SCOTUS candidates? but even then I feel like it would be something maneuvered behind the scenes with the assistance of connections.) I agree that your best bet is to apply in markets with lots of judges, and whoever gets an offer first, find out if that judge can help out at all.
Agreed on all counts. One of the judges I clerked for would have thought this was nice (and *maybe* would have tried to help once hiring one of the clerks). The other judge would have rejected your application for mentioning this in a cover letter. Not saying that's fair or right, but it is true. That's not a reason not to do this, but you should go in eyes open and know that you're limiting yourself.
Agreed as well, including that, *if* this ultimately works out, it'll probably be because someone helps you out after one of you gets an offer.

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Re: Is there a way for a couple to apply together?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Nov 25, 2020 12:36 pm

A married couple in my graduating class clerked in successive terms for the same district judge in a small market that they were not planning to stay in long-term. The judge helped them find a public interest position that the non-clerking spouse held while the other one was clerking.

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