Columbia's Clerkship Office is Awful

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Columbia's Clerkship Office is Awful

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 29, 2021 11:52 am

Anon because I am still expecting them to provide at least the most basic aid in sending out apps. I'm frustrated.

I wish I had gone to Chicago, UVA, NYU, or one of the other peer schools I was accepted at. The office here is not only completely unhelpful, but they are more interested in making sure their jobs are a little easier than helping students get clerkships. Whenever they do send out information about judge openings or something else it seems like the emphasis is more on "This is CONFIDENTIAL information do not share with anyone from any other school" than on actually being helpful. Plus we just got a very passive aggressive email from the Dean about making it easier for them to process apps. As a 3L with good grades but not on LR, I feel like I've gotten little to no support through this process. Forget any guidance.

Here is the first line of that email.

"From time to time, OJC will receive a request from an applicant to send "on file" faculty recommendation letters in connection with a new round of clerkship applications.  The expectation appears to be that OJC will update the "on file" letters with the name, address and salutation information for each of the new judges in this new round of applications. This expectation is incorrect."

Basically they're more interested in their byzantine internal procedures being followed than results and helping the students get out apps. Yuck.

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Re: Columbia's Clerkship Office is Awful

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 29, 2021 12:24 pm

Agreed. Also current 3L who is clerking in spite of OJC. There are a lot of things out of their control but they don't seem interested in making this process any easier for students. My friends and I are basically figuring it out together on our own. Another student who will actually read your writing sample is better than an administrator who just glances at it.

Honestly, what would be the harm in decreasing the barriers to more students applying to more judges? It's just a mail merge file. Sometimes it feels like OJC imagines each student's recommenders are their biggest cheerleaders guiding them through this process which just isn't always the case and could never be if you want to increase numbers. We can't all be a professor's favorite there are too many of us and not enough of them and OJC could fill in that gap. But alas.

Not to mention snarky mass emails are never necessary.

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Re: Columbia's Clerkship Office is Awful

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 29, 2021 1:08 pm

Not NYU. The amount of institutional support for anyone who's not (1) a top student and/or (2) doesn't have access to the feeding networks of LR/Fed Soc is frankly dismal compared to our peers (sans Columbia). Without those two factors, one basically has to pray a connected prof likes him/her enough to coach/drag them through the process.

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Re: Columbia's Clerkship Office is Awful

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 29, 2021 2:27 pm

Had the same thought regarding the email today. How did they type out that procedure and not realize how inefficient it is? I feel that there has to be a way of automating it, but I'm not sure how it works at other schools. Either way, OJC is incredibly frustrating and it makes me regret every day that I didn't just choose Chicago.

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Re: Columbia's Clerkship Office is Awful

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 29, 2021 2:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 2:27 pm
Had the same thought regarding the email today. How did they type out that procedure and not realize how inefficient it is? I feel that there has to be a way of automating it, but I'm not sure how it works at other schools. Either way, OJC is incredibly frustrating and it makes me regret every day that I didn't just choose Chicago.
Lol, since you asked, at my plebeian non-T14 you gave the assistant for your faculty recommender a new word doc with a table of the names/addresses of that round of judges to facilitate their mail merge. Which was perfectly fine (and also made perfectly clear from the beginning of the process). But we had a single clerkship coordinator, not an actual office.

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Re: Columbia's Clerkship Office is Awful

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 29, 2021 2:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 2:41 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 2:27 pm
Had the same thought regarding the email today. How did they type out that procedure and not realize how inefficient it is? I feel that there has to be a way of automating it, but I'm not sure how it works at other schools. Either way, OJC is incredibly frustrating and it makes me regret every day that I didn't just choose Chicago.
Lol, since you asked, at my plebeian non-T14 you gave the assistant for your faculty recommender a new word doc with a table of the names/addresses of that round of judges to facilitate their mail merge. Which was perfectly fine (and also made perfectly clear from the beginning of the process). But we had a single clerkship coordinator, not an actual office.
The CLS clerkship office is the Dean, who doesn't handle logistical matters, and two assistants. And in the office's defense, the email, which was presumably from one of the assistants, was snarky, but the instructions for how to apply and update applications are pretty clear and I can only imagine how many people are getting it wrong.

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Re: Columbia's Clerkship Office is Awful

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 29, 2021 5:50 pm

Not gonna lie, UChicago's clerkship office is a well-oiled machine, even outside the FedSoc/high honors pipelines. It's not a perfect office by any means. But I've never felt unsupported or been denied resources when I've asked for them.

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Re: Columbia's Clerkship Office is Awful

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 29, 2021 6:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 11:52 am
Anon because I am still expecting them to provide at least the most basic aid in sending out apps. I'm frustrated.

I wish I had gone to Chicago, UVA, NYU, or one of the other peer schools I was accepted at. The office here is not only completely unhelpful, but they are more interested in making sure their jobs are a little easier than helping students get clerkships. Whenever they do send out information about judge openings or something else it seems like the emphasis is more on "This is CONFIDENTIAL information do not share with anyone from any other school" than on actually being helpful. Plus we just got a very passive aggressive email from the Dean about making it easier for them to process apps. As a 3L with good grades but not on LR, I feel like I've gotten little to no support through this process. Forget any guidance.

Here is the first line of that email.

"From time to time, OJC will receive a request from an applicant to send "on file" faculty recommendation letters in connection with a new round of clerkship applications.  The expectation appears to be that OJC will update the "on file" letters with the name, address and salutation information for each of the new judges in this new round of applications. This expectation is incorrect."

Basically they're more interested in their byzantine internal procedures being followed than results and helping the students get out apps. Yuck.
CLS clerk here. The clerkship office is perfectly adequate at logistics, but if you really want to clerk, you must speak with your professors.

They also do worse than Chicago and UVA because, unlike them, Columbia's office takes the Plan quite seriously to the detriment of Columbia students.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Jun 30, 2021 5:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Columbia's Clerkship Office is Awful

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 29, 2021 7:20 pm

CLS alum, former clerk.

The logistical stuff, to the extent it's actually a problem, is a problem at a lot of schools, some w "good" clerkship reputations. This stuff is annoying, but honestly...just send the paper apps yourself, and hassle the office about the letters. Plenty of other T14 students do that. Doesn't seem to stop them from getting clerkships. (FWIW YLS's clerkship office, at least when my s/o was there, had a bad rep.)

The main CLS problem I saw, as a clerk = lack of professor involvement. Seemingly-unethusiastic letters from professors whose opinions "mattered" to my judge. "Fine" letters from irrelevant professors. No calls. I dunno if it's the fault of the professors, students. Probably a mix. But that stood out.

The other is probably students are just *obsessed* with applying to only NY area. I sort of understand that -- I wanted to stay local, worked out for me.

But NY-area clerkships are very, very competitive, and I don't think CLS applicants appreciate that. Our chambers received numerous high-effort applications from CLS 2Ls with, cumulative ... ~3.4 GPAs. Not to be condescending, but those applications were a waste of everyone's time. My time in reading them, the professors' time in writing recommendations, the students' time in crafting tailored cover letters, etc.

I guess it's possible less-competitive students apply concurrently with targeted applications to other non-NY courts, but judging by CLS's clerkship alumni directory, that doesn't happen very often. The handbook isn't overflowing with DNJ or EDPA alumni. Rather, it seems like dozens and dozens of CLS students every year, w/unimpressive applications, just *blanket* SDNY/EDNY/CA2, thinking, for whatever reason, that *they're* gonna be the first double-Stone candidate with a B+ in negotiations to clerk for Judge Engelmayer (just to give an example).

I don't blame people for betting on themselves, but at some point confidence descends into delusion, and these applications stop being "ambitious" and start being "irrational."

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Re: Columbia's Clerkship Office is Awful

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 29, 2021 9:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 7:20 pm
But NY-area clerkships are very, very competitive, and I don't think CLS applicants appreciate that. Our chambers received numerous high-effort applications from CLS 2Ls with, cumulative ... ~3.4 GPAs. Not to be condescending, but those applications were a waste of everyone's time. My time in reading them, the professors' time in writing recommendations, the students' time in crafting tailored cover letters, etc.
Not a CLS student but curious at what GPA would you not toss an application basically immediately.

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Re: Columbia's Clerkship Office is Awful

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 29, 2021 9:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 5:50 pm
Not gonna lie, UChicago's clerkship office is a well-oiled machine, even outside the FedSoc/high honors pipelines. It's not a perfect office by any means. But I've never felt unsupported or been denied resources when I've asked for them.
Machine is the right word. They really are just as good, helpful, and well-connected as their reputation suggests. And lots of our profs are very invested in the process. It's one aspect of my law school education that thoroughly surpassed my expectations.

It helps that a lot of our students are willing to clerk anywhere and lots are from non-metropolitan areas as well.

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Re: Columbia's Clerkship Office is Awful

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 29, 2021 10:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 7:20 pm
(FWIW YLS's clerkship office, at least when my s/o was there, had a bad rep.)
I mean, the YLS "clerkship office" is essentially one person who provides generalized advice but doesn't really place students. The real work is done by the professors (and their heroic assistants).

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Re: Columbia's Clerkship Office is Awful

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 29, 2021 10:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 7:20 pm
The main CLS problem I saw, as a clerk = lack of professor involvement. Seemingly-unethusiastic letters from professors whose opinions "mattered" to my judge. "Fine" letters from irrelevant professors. No calls. I dunno if it's the fault of the professors, students. Probably a mix. But that stood out.
Not a CLS alum, but we got plenty of CLS letters in chambers and this was a consistent challenge for CLS applicants. Plenty of folks with good grades, law review, etc., but with very short and relatively perfunctory letters from both big name and small name professors. It was much easier to distinguish and call in, e.g., YLS and UVA candidates, where we'd have a mini-biography, rather than CLS applicants where we mostly just knew that they were diligent enough to make Stone or Kent.

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Re: Columbia's Clerkship Office is Awful

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 29, 2021 11:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 10:24 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 7:20 pm
(FWIW YLS's clerkship office, at least when my s/o was there, had a bad rep.)
I mean, the YLS "clerkship office" is essentially one person who provides generalized advice but doesn't really place students. The real work is done by the professors (and their heroic assistants).
that was my point - lot of CLS students seem to think that YLS has like, magical bureaucrats/administrators that effortlessly shuffle people to CA2.

it doesn't, CLS isn't gonna solve the" problem" by hiring more deans + administrators. it needs students that are more geographically flexible + make effort to get to know their professors, and professors that are willing to get involved in the (sorta distasteful, tbh) process of placing students w/reputable judges

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Re: Columbia's Clerkship Office is Awful

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 29, 2021 11:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 7:20 pm
But NY-area clerkships are very, very competitive, and I don't think CLS applicants appreciate that. Our chambers received numerous high-effort applications from CLS 2Ls with, cumulative ... ~3.4 GPAs. Not to be condescending, but those applications were a waste of everyone's time. My time in reading them, the professors' time in writing recommendations, the students' time in crafting tailored cover letters, etc.

I guess it's possible less-competitive students apply concurrently with targeted applications to other non-NY courts, but judging by CLS's clerkship alumni directory, that doesn't happen very often. The handbook isn't overflowing with DNJ or EDPA alumni. Rather, it seems like dozens and dozens of CLS students every year, w/unimpressive applications, just *blanket* SDNY/EDNY/CA2, thinking, for whatever reason, that *they're* gonna be the first double-Stone candidate with a B+ in negotiations to clerk for Judge Engelmayer (just to give an example).

I don't blame people for betting on themselves, but at some point confidence descends into delusion, and these applications stop being "ambitious" and start being "irrational."
Not to derail this thread, but in your view, what is a competitive GPA out of CLS? Part of the frustration with OJC is that they give almost no information about what GPAs are competitive for which judges. They give an unhelpful "double Stone" means you can go to SDNY and EDNY and "Kent and Stone" means 2nd Circuit. Even just providing GPA averages for judges like they apparently used to do would be helpful in targeting judges.

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Re: Columbia's Clerkship Office is Awful

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 29, 2021 11:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 11:19 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 7:20 pm
But NY-area clerkships are very, very competitive, and I don't think CLS applicants appreciate that. Our chambers received numerous high-effort applications from CLS 2Ls with, cumulative ... ~3.4 GPAs. Not to be condescending, but those applications were a waste of everyone's time. My time in reading them, the professors' time in writing recommendations, the students' time in crafting tailored cover letters, etc.

I guess it's possible less-competitive students apply concurrently with targeted applications to other non-NY courts, but judging by CLS's clerkship alumni directory, that doesn't happen very often. The handbook isn't overflowing with DNJ or EDPA alumni. Rather, it seems like dozens and dozens of CLS students every year, w/unimpressive applications, just *blanket* SDNY/EDNY/CA2, thinking, for whatever reason, that *they're* gonna be the first double-Stone candidate with a B+ in negotiations to clerk for Judge Engelmayer (just to give an example).

I don't blame people for betting on themselves, but at some point confidence descends into delusion, and these applications stop being "ambitious" and start being "irrational."
Not to derail this thread, but in your view, what is a competitive GPA out of CLS? Part of the frustration with OJC is that they give almost no information about what GPAs are competitive for which judges. They give an unhelpful "double Stone" means you can go to SDNY and EDNY and "Kent and Stone" means 2nd Circuit. Even just providing GPA averages for judges like they apparently used to do would be helpful in targeting judges.
My gut tells me you'll want to be near a 3.7 (with real classes) to be competitive for most EDNY/SDNY judges. 2nd Cir probably takes a bit more. NYC district courts are tough as nails cause they are super sought after and district court judges have fewer spots to offer.

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Re: Columbia's Clerkship Office is Awful

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 29, 2021 11:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 11:19 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 7:20 pm
But NY-area clerkships are very, very competitive, and I don't think CLS applicants appreciate that. Our chambers received numerous high-effort applications from CLS 2Ls with, cumulative ... ~3.4 GPAs. Not to be condescending, but those applications were a waste of everyone's time. My time in reading them, the professors' time in writing recommendations, the students' time in crafting tailored cover letters, etc.

I guess it's possible less-competitive students apply concurrently with targeted applications to other non-NY courts, but judging by CLS's clerkship alumni directory, that doesn't happen very often. The handbook isn't overflowing with DNJ or EDPA alumni. Rather, it seems like dozens and dozens of CLS students every year, w/unimpressive applications, just *blanket* SDNY/EDNY/CA2, thinking, for whatever reason, that *they're* gonna be the first double-Stone candidate with a B+ in negotiations to clerk for Judge Engelmayer (just to give an example).

I don't blame people for betting on themselves, but at some point confidence descends into delusion, and these applications stop being "ambitious" and start being "irrational."
Not to derail this thread, but in your view, what is a competitive GPA out of CLS? Part of the frustration with OJC is that they give almost no information about what GPAs are competitive for which judges. They give an unhelpful "double Stone" means you can go to SDNY and EDNY and "Kent and Stone" means 2nd Circuit. Even just providing GPA averages for judges like they apparently used to do would be helpful in targeting judges.
I’m not the CLS clerk you responded to, but the one from another post in this thread. I’m clerking on a “premium circuit” - think 2/9/7/DC, and we’d pretty much require a 3.7 just to keep your application in the pile. If you wanted a serious shot at getting hired, you would probably want 1 A+ and a glowing recommendation from a professor my judge trusted. If that sounds harsh, well it is - but we get close to 200+ applications from people that grade-wise and school-wise are more than qualified.


You need professors (or current clerks) pushing for you to get noticed.

Things that may help you out - we do not care about Law Review, and a few B+s from professors my judge doesn’t know wouldn’t hurt your application with solid recommendations.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Jun 30, 2021 5:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Columbia's Clerkship Office is Awful

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jun 30, 2021 12:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 11:46 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 11:19 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 7:20 pm
But NY-area clerkships are very, very competitive, and I don't think CLS applicants appreciate that. Our chambers received numerous high-effort applications from CLS 2Ls with, cumulative ... ~3.4 GPAs. Not to be condescending, but those applications were a waste of everyone's time. My time in reading them, the professors' time in writing recommendations, the students' time in crafting tailored cover letters, etc.

I guess it's possible less-competitive students apply concurrently with targeted applications to other non-NY courts, but judging by CLS's clerkship alumni directory, that doesn't happen very often. The handbook isn't overflowing with DNJ or EDPA alumni. Rather, it seems like dozens and dozens of CLS students every year, w/unimpressive applications, just *blanket* SDNY/EDNY/CA2, thinking, for whatever reason, that *they're* gonna be the first double-Stone candidate with a B+ in negotiations to clerk for Judge Engelmayer (just to give an example).

I don't blame people for betting on themselves, but at some point confidence descends into delusion, and these applications stop being "ambitious" and start being "irrational."
Not to derail this thread, but in your view, what is a competitive GPA out of CLS? Part of the frustration with OJC is that they give almost no information about what GPAs are competitive for which judges. They give an unhelpful "double Stone" means you can go to SDNY and EDNY and "Kent and Stone" means 2nd Circuit. Even just providing GPA averages for judges like they apparently used to do would be helpful in targeting judges.
I’m not the CLS clerk you responded to, but the one from another post in this thread. I’m clerking on a “premium circuit” - think 2/9/7/DC, and we’d pretty much require a 3.7 just to keep your application in the pile. If you wanted a serious shot at getting hired, you would need at least 1 A+ and a glowing recommendation from a professor my judge trusted. If that sounds harsh, we’ll it is - but we get close to 200+ applications from people that grade-wise and school-wise are more than qualified. You need professors (or current clerks) pushing for you to get noticed. Things that may help you out - we do not care about Law Review at all, and a few B+s from professors my judge doesn’t know wouldn’t hurt your application with solid recommendations.
Quick, somewhat off-topic, question, do you guys actually care about A+s? I always figured that getting the number one spot in a single class was so arbitrary that judges would just treat them as As.

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Re: Columbia's Clerkship Office is Awful

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jun 30, 2021 12:11 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 30, 2021 12:08 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 11:46 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 11:19 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 7:20 pm
But NY-area clerkships are very, very competitive, and I don't think CLS applicants appreciate that. Our chambers received numerous high-effort applications from CLS 2Ls with, cumulative ... ~3.4 GPAs. Not to be condescending, but those applications were a waste of everyone's time. My time in reading them, the professors' time in writing recommendations, the students' time in crafting tailored cover letters, etc.

I guess it's possible less-competitive students apply concurrently with targeted applications to other non-NY courts, but judging by CLS's clerkship alumni directory, that doesn't happen very often. The handbook isn't overflowing with DNJ or EDPA alumni. Rather, it seems like dozens and dozens of CLS students every year, w/unimpressive applications, just *blanket* SDNY/EDNY/CA2, thinking, for whatever reason, that *they're* gonna be the first double-Stone candidate with a B+ in negotiations to clerk for Judge Engelmayer (just to give an example).

I don't blame people for betting on themselves, but at some point confidence descends into delusion, and these applications stop being "ambitious" and start being "irrational."
Not to derail this thread, but in your view, what is a competitive GPA out of CLS? Part of the frustration with OJC is that they give almost no information about what GPAs are competitive for which judges. They give an unhelpful "double Stone" means you can go to SDNY and EDNY and "Kent and Stone" means 2nd Circuit. Even just providing GPA averages for judges like they apparently used to do would be helpful in targeting judges.
I’m not the CLS clerk you responded to, but the one from another post in this thread. I’m clerking on a “premium circuit” - think 2/9/7/DC, and we’d pretty much require a 3.7 just to keep your application in the pile. If you wanted a serious shot at getting hired, you would need at least 1 A+ and a glowing recommendation from a professor my judge trusted. If that sounds harsh, we’ll it is - but we get close to 200+ applications from people that grade-wise and school-wise are more than qualified. You need professors (or current clerks) pushing for you to get noticed. Things that may help you out - we do not care about Law Review at all, and a few B+s from professors my judge doesn’t know wouldn’t hurt your application with solid recommendations.
Quick, somewhat off-topic, question, do you guys actually care about A+s? I always figured that getting the number one spot in a single class was so arbitrary that judges would just treat them as As.
I changed it to “probably” because giving an A+ As a requirement overstated its necessity. But they definitely help, and anecdotally speaking, quite a few judges on my circuit think professors are able to give out multiple A+s and view them as equivalent to a DS at Harvard.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Jun 30, 2021 5:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Columbia's Clerkship Office is Awful

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jun 30, 2021 12:23 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 11:42 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 11:19 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 7:20 pm
But NY-area clerkships are very, very competitive, and I don't think CLS applicants appreciate that. Our chambers received numerous high-effort applications from CLS 2Ls with, cumulative ... ~3.4 GPAs. Not to be condescending, but those applications were a waste of everyone's time. My time in reading them, the professors' time in writing recommendations, the students' time in crafting tailored cover letters, etc.

I guess it's possible less-competitive students apply concurrently with targeted applications to other non-NY courts, but judging by CLS's clerkship alumni directory, that doesn't happen very often. The handbook isn't overflowing with DNJ or EDPA alumni. Rather, it seems like dozens and dozens of CLS students every year, w/unimpressive applications, just *blanket* SDNY/EDNY/CA2, thinking, for whatever reason, that *they're* gonna be the first double-Stone candidate with a B+ in negotiations to clerk for Judge Engelmayer (just to give an example).

I don't blame people for betting on themselves, but at some point confidence descends into delusion, and these applications stop being "ambitious" and start being "irrational."
Not to derail this thread, but in your view, what is a competitive GPA out of CLS? Part of the frustration with OJC is that they give almost no information about what GPAs are competitive for which judges. They give an unhelpful "double Stone" means you can go to SDNY and EDNY and "Kent and Stone" means 2nd Circuit. Even just providing GPA averages for judges like they apparently used to do would be helpful in targeting judges.
My gut tells me you'll want to be near a 3.7 (with real classes) to be competitive for most EDNY/SDNY judges. 2nd Cir probably takes a bit more. NYC district courts are tough as nails cause they are super sought after and district court judges have fewer spots to offer.
Any other suggestions to stand out if we do have a 3.7 at CLS? Been struggling to get any traction and don't know if that's because my professor connections are weak or if something else is at play. This is the type of info I wish OJC would give us.

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Re: Columbia's Clerkship Office is Awful

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jun 30, 2021 12:37 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 11:46 pm

I’m not the CLS clerk you responded to, but the one from another post in this thread. I’m clerking on a “premium circuit” - think 2/9/7/DC, and we’d pretty much require a 3.7 just to keep your application in the pile. If you wanted a serious shot at getting hired, you would need at probably 1 A+ and a glowing recommendation from a professor my judge trusted. If that sounds harsh, we’ll it is - but we get close to 200+ applications from people that grade-wise and school-wise are more than qualified.


You need professors (or current clerks) pushing for you to get noticed. Things that may help you out - we do not care about Law Review at all, and a few B+s from professors my judge doesn’t know wouldn’t hurt your application with solid recommendations.
Am earlier poster who was complaining about lots of weak CLS NY-area applications. My non-feeder COA's selection process was pretty similar, but we didn't care about the A+s. (I've heard of this, it's odd.) Reviewing transcripts, our pet peeves were more several B-range grades and/or lots of bullshit classes. The judge is predisposed to like Columbia Law Review (I was on it), but the selection process is pretty arbitrary at this point, and plenty of clerks have told him/her that.

RE SDNY/EDNY -- I can't personally speak to their hiring, but my understanding is that legal work experience is a big plus, and the judges are (moderately) less grade-focused. (Obviously, Judge Nathan is Judge Nathan, this is broad strokes.)

RE "I have a 3.7 and am not getting traction," some random thoughts
- Need professor emails/phone calls. They help. Makes clerks look at application a little more closely.
- Did you really bully a professor into writing you a recommendation? Did they seem like they didn't want to write it? Maybe your recommendation letter sucks. Ask someone in chambers if you can.
- Did you only apply to active CA2 judges? That was stupid, your 3.7 is necessary, not sufficient, and doesn't stand out. Apply to the senior judges, apply to CA1/CA3 if you really want to stay northeast, apply even more broadly if you're flexible.
- Are you only applying to Dem appointees? For SDNY/EDNY particularly, that's very stupid -- all the recent nominees are great, and they're not "political," or in many cases, even conservative. Schumer blue-slipped them.

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Re: Columbia's Clerkship Office is Awful

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jun 30, 2021 2:44 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 2:41 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 2:27 pm
Had the same thought regarding the email today. How did they type out that procedure and not realize how inefficient it is? I feel that there has to be a way of automating it, but I'm not sure how it works at other schools. Either way, OJC is incredibly frustrating and it makes me regret every day that I didn't just choose Chicago.
Lol, since you asked, at my plebeian non-T14 you gave the assistant for your faculty recommender a new word doc with a table of the names/addresses of that round of judges to facilitate their mail merge. Which was perfectly fine (and also made perfectly clear from the beginning of the process). But we had a single clerkship coordinator, not an actual office.
Another CLS clerk alum (non-2/9/DC). Ironically, what your school did is exactly what CLS is asking students to do, and what OP is complaining is "byzantine." I agree with the other anon that the instructions were pretty clear (and in fact are what students were asked to do when initially applying for clerkships). And whatever criticisms you may have of the current Dean, she is MILES better than her predecessor.

I never quite understood why OJC doesn't give clearer guidance on what judges have hired what GPAs, because they certainly track that data internally (I think OCS does as well). I do understand why OJC would be reluctant to comment on professor connections or LoRs, even if that's what's hurting an application. And even if they wanted to, I don't know what kind of leverage OJC could have over professors to get them to make calls or write more personalized letters.

Agree that the main problems I've seen reviewing apps are regional bias and low professor involvement. Clerked in district court in a major metro area last year and reviewed plenty of CLS apps. Some could be screened on GPA alone, but I don't think that was a problem specific to CLS. Not in a metro area this year and literally reviewed zero CLS apps. The LoRs I saw last year did seem less compelling than those from other schools (also agree UVA tended to be better with this; same with Penn).

Anonymous User
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Re: Columbia's Clerkship Office is Awful

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jun 30, 2021 6:40 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 30, 2021 12:23 am
Any other suggestions to stand out if we do have a 3.7 at CLS? Been struggling to get any traction and don't know if that's because my professor connections are weak or if something else is at play. This is the type of info I wish OJC would give us.
If you don’t feel comfortable reaching out to your recommenders and discussing your app cycle and next steps, your recommendations are probably weak. Ask to TA/RA for classes and get to know professors that will help — there is a thread on one of the other pages with a detailed guide to the best professors at CLS for clerkship strategizing.

Otherwise, take a hard look at your transcript and application package. 3.7s at Columbia are not all same — if your GPA is getting propped up by seminars to make up for 1L, it’s an issue. Same with your writing sample — if you are using your LPW memo, that’s an issue. If you don’t have anything else suitable from internships or classes, you aren’t writing enough for a clerkship. Don’t send in an 40 page Note either, no one has the time to read that — shorten it to the best 10 pages and make the abstract exceptional.

If all of that looks fine to you, your professor, and a friend, then broaden your applications more — like one of the other clerks suggested, look at senior judges, a wider swath of America, and judges you may think are outside your preferred political persuasion.

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Re: Columbia's Clerkship Office is Awful

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jun 30, 2021 10:39 am

Given that judges may not understand that only one person per class can get an A+, you should put "best in class in XX" under the "honors" section of your resume. I checked with OCS about that and they said it was fine.

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Re: Columbia's Clerkship Office is Awful

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jun 30, 2021 10:44 am

The most disappointing thing is that CLS is now on its third different person leading the clerkship office in the last four years, and it clearly hasn't gotten any better--if anything, sounds like it's gotten worse. Their hiring decisions have been very questionable.

Seriously? What are you waiting for?

Now there's a charge.
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