Is clerking for a senior judge worth it?

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Is clerking for a senior judge worth it?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Apr 01, 2021 11:01 am

Is clerking for a senior district judge in a flyover state worth it if I already have a big law job?

nixy

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Re: Is clerking for a senior judge worth it?

Post by nixy » Thu Apr 01, 2021 11:39 am

Being a senior judge can have almost no effect on the actual clerkship - many senior judges are very active and carry essentially full caseloads. It’s going to depend on the judge. What do you want to get out of the clerkship? Why did you apply?

moxcoal

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Re: Is clerking for a senior judge worth it?

Post by moxcoal » Thu Apr 01, 2021 11:55 am

In terms of post-clerkship options, you’ll likely have the same outcomes as the active judges in your “flyover”state. I’ve actually seen better outcomes even, because senior judges tend to have a bigger network of former clerks. Senior status isn’t seen as a negative from practitioners unless the docket size is greatly reduced.

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Re: Is clerking for a senior judge worth it?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Apr 01, 2021 11:58 am

OP: Thanks, I applied for the credential and for the substantive experience. I was worried that senior judge would offer limited mentorship and that a flyover state would carry less weight in future hiring determinations. (i have the credentials for edny/sdny)

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Re: Is clerking for a senior judge worth it?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Apr 01, 2021 1:38 pm

Your credentials are what they are and won’t be “sullied” by clerking for a judge in a “flyover” state (if I sound snarky it’s because I clerked in a state others would call flyover). It’s probably true that clerking for SDNY/EDNY offers additional benefits in terms of connections and the kinds of cases you see (my clerkship saw a lot of interesting stuff but not so much, say, sophisticated securities litigation). But no clerkship will hurt you. It will still give you great substantive experience (or that will be the presumption) and tick the clerkship box.

I agree with the above that senior judges usually have broader networks so are more helpful in that respect, and their experience can make them even better mentors. But as with so much about clerking, it’s going to depend on the judge.

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kugs

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Re: Is clerking for a senior judge worth it?

Post by kugs » Thu Apr 01, 2021 7:00 pm

Went through the process recently and accepted a clerkship with a senior judge. It's worth asking in an interview how being senior has affected their caseload since some drop down in total cases or stop accepting certain kinds of cases, but at least in my judge's case the caseload is no different than the regular-status judges. I also think the idea that clerking for senior judges can have certain benefits due to the judge's longevity on the court, reputation in the district/state, and number of former clerks has rung true in my experience.

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Re: Is clerking for a senior judge worth it?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Apr 01, 2021 10:32 pm

kugs wrote:
Thu Apr 01, 2021 7:00 pm
Went through the process recently and accepted a clerkship with a senior judge. It's worth asking in an interview how being senior has affected their caseload since some drop down in total cases or stop accepting certain kinds of cases, but at least in my judge's case the caseload is no different than the regular-status judges. I also think the idea that clerking for senior judges can have certain benefits due to the judge's longevity on the court, reputation in the district/state, and number of former clerks has rung true in my experience.
Don't just assume the senior judge has a bunch of former clerks as well, though. There may be judges who only recently took on term clerks after a history of career clerks, for whatever reason.

namefromplace

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Re: Is clerking for a senior judge worth it?

Post by namefromplace » Fri Apr 02, 2021 12:43 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Apr 01, 2021 11:58 am
OP: Thanks, I applied for the credential and for the substantive experience. I was worried that senior judge would offer limited mentorship and that a flyover state would carry less weight in future hiring determinations. (i have the credentials for edny/sdny)
Question: If you have the credentials for EDNY/SDNY, why apply for a district judge in a place you aren't crazy about?
I agree with the rest of the group that a lot of senior judges have an identical docket to active judges and that you can ask in your interview to get a sense of how busy chambers are. I also think that the clerkship hunt is a total crapshoot and it makes sense to apply to a wide variety of places. But I also don't think that someone would be very happy with their clerkship if they spent the whole time thinking that they're better than the place they're clerking and wishing that they would've clerked elsewhere. The real question here is whether you think you'd be happy living in the flyover and if you think you would regret not trying to clerk for a judge in a more competitive district.

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axel.foley

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Re: Is clerking for a senior judge worth it?

Post by axel.foley » Fri Apr 02, 2021 11:38 am

Senior judges on the courts of appeal don’t participate in the en banc process. All other things being equal (and they never are), you don’t want to miss en banc practice, especially on circuits like the 5th and 9th where it is very active, involves high-profile cases, and often generates separate opinions.

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Re: Is clerking for a senior judge worth it?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Apr 02, 2021 7:54 pm

axel.foley wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 11:38 am
Senior judges on the courts of appeal don’t participate in the en banc process. All other things being equal (and they never are), you don’t want to miss en banc practice, especially on circuits like the 5th and 9th where it is very active, involves high-profile cases, and often generates separate opinions.
9th Circuit clerk here. You're right--the en banc process often gives you a chance to see very interesting, and high-profile cases, including political cases. But it's also a ton of extra work, and there's only a 1 in 11 chance that your judge ends up with the opinion. (I had 5 en banc cases to prep for over my 1-year clerkship and my judge only wrote in one of those (dissenting)). The en bancs can add an element of fun, but a senior judge who keeps a full schedule without having en bancs to worry about will be a lower-intensity clerkship, and you'll have more time to focus on your regular caseload.

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Re: Is clerking for a senior judge worth it?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Apr 02, 2021 8:14 pm

namefromplace wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 12:43 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Apr 01, 2021 11:58 am
OP: Thanks, I applied for the credential and for the substantive experience. I was worried that senior judge would offer limited mentorship and that a flyover state would carry less weight in future hiring determinations. (i have the credentials for edny/sdny)
Question: If you have the credentials for EDNY/SDNY, why apply for a district judge in a place you aren't crazy about?
I agree with the rest of the group that a lot of senior judges have an identical docket to active judges and that you can ask in your interview to get a sense of how busy chambers are. I also think that the clerkship hunt is a total crapshoot and it makes sense to apply to a wide variety of places. But I also don't think that someone would be very happy with their clerkship if they spent the whole time thinking that they're better than the place they're clerking and wishing that they would've clerked elsewhere. The real question here is whether you think you'd be happy living in the flyover and if you think you would regret not trying to clerk for a judge in a more competitive district.
Potentiall dumb question, what are the general qualifications fo SDNY/EDNY? My clerkship office doesn't really seem to know.

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Re: Is clerking for a senior judge worth it?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Apr 03, 2021 11:05 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 7:54 pm
axel.foley wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 11:38 am
Senior judges on the courts of appeal don’t participate in the en banc process. All other things being equal (and they never are), you don’t want to miss en banc practice, especially on circuits like the 5th and 9th where it is very active, involves high-profile cases, and often generates separate opinions.
9th Circuit clerk here. You're right--the en banc process often gives you a chance to see very interesting, and high-profile cases, including political cases. But it's also a ton of extra work, and there's only a 1 in 11 chance that your judge ends up with the opinion. (I had 5 en banc cases to prep for over my 1-year clerkship and my judge only wrote in one of those (dissenting)). The en bancs can add an element of fun, but a senior judge who keeps a full schedule without having en bancs to worry about will be a lower-intensity clerkship, and you'll have more time to focus on your regular caseload.
Yeah, not having to deal with en banc stuff is a bonus, not a drawback.

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Re: Is clerking for a senior judge worth it?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Apr 03, 2021 7:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 8:14 pm
namefromplace wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 12:43 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Apr 01, 2021 11:58 am
OP: Thanks, I applied for the credential and for the substantive experience. I was worried that senior judge would offer limited mentorship and that a flyover state would carry less weight in future hiring determinations. (i have the credentials for edny/sdny)
Question: If you have the credentials for EDNY/SDNY, why apply for a district judge in a place you aren't crazy about?
I agree with the rest of the group that a lot of senior judges have an identical docket to active judges and that you can ask in your interview to get a sense of how busy chambers are. I also think that the clerkship hunt is a total crapshoot and it makes sense to apply to a wide variety of places. But I also don't think that someone would be very happy with their clerkship if they spent the whole time thinking that they're better than the place they're clerking and wishing that they would've clerked elsewhere. The real question here is whether you think you'd be happy living in the flyover and if you think you would regret not trying to clerk for a judge in a more competitive district.
Potentiall dumb question, what are the general qualifications fo SDNY/EDNY? My clerkship office doesn't really seem to know.
Depends on your school. Often comparable to what you need for a COA but it depends on the judge.

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