confused about what grades I need to clerk... Forum

(Seek and share information about clerkship applications, clerkship hiring timelines, and post-clerkship employment opportunities)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are sharing sensitive information about clerkship applications and clerkship hiring. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned."
Anonymous User
Posts: 380730
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

confused about what grades I need to clerk...

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Aug 20, 2021 1:51 pm

first gen law student and feel like the whole clerkship process is a black box. been trying to read up as much as I can to figure out whats going on... but still not clear whether a federal district clerkship is a possibility for me? after 1L, I'm roughly top 30% at M/V/P but no LR (but I'm on a secondary journal)

have some friends who are closer to top 10 or 15% of the class but no LR...would their chances be much better?

should I be trying to write on to law review before I apply for clerkships? will it make a huge difference in my application? what (if anything) could I be doing this year as a 2L to make myself a stronger applicant?

Anonymous User
Posts: 380730
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: confused about what grades I need to clerk...

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Aug 20, 2021 5:53 pm

Not sure if my advice/story is what you’re after, but I went to one of those schools, had slightly-worse grades than you, and wasn’t on LR (I was on a secondary journal) and I got a district court clerkship. The difference is that I worked and then clerked for a magistrate judge before. Also I was pretty geographically-flexible.

I’m my experience, the clerkship process is pretty opaque in general. It’s really hard to tell what judges are looking for, even if you take into consideration the preferences they post on OSCAR. For example, both of my judges posted class rank preferences higher than my class rank, and neither said they had a preference for work experience but that came up as a plus during my interviews. Some judges like to hire folks who graduated from their law school and/or have local ties, while others don’t care. So, I guess my basic advice is just to apply generally and see what happens. I will say this: I don’t think there’s anything about your stats and situation that would preclude you from getting a clerkship, with or without LR. It’ll probably be harder than the friends you mentioned that are top 10-15% in class rank, but I don’t think it’s impossible as long as you apply generally and you keep your grades up.

Anonymous User
Posts: 380730
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: confused about what grades I need to clerk...

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Aug 20, 2021 7:09 pm

I went to one of these schools, and in my experience the best source for this kind of information and guidance is professors, especially ones who clerked themselves. I would choose 1-2 whose classes you did really well in to get to know better and ask for advice. They will be able to put your mind at ease and may even know judges they can set you up with. From your position it's very doable if you have someone like that guiding you through the process.

Anonymous User
Posts: 380730
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: confused about what grades I need to clerk...

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Aug 21, 2021 12:12 pm

Assuming you aren't FedSoc and don't have any connections, I think a COA or more competitive district are extremely unlikely. You do have a decent shot at a less competitive district court if you apply broadly, but you should ask yourself whether it is worth it to spend a year clerking in Nashville or Pittsburg or wherever rather than spending that year at Kirkland or Cleary etc.

nixy

Gold
Posts: 3532
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: confused about what grades I need to clerk...

Post by nixy » Sat Aug 21, 2021 12:48 pm

God FORBID you have to spend a year in Nashville or Pittsburgh (and there are going to be lots of applicants who do want to. Those are actually really cool cities).

OP, I agree with others who say that you definitely have a shot, but will probably need to apply broadly and (as everyone should) work any connections with profs. All else equal, higher grades are always better, so yes, people above you in class will probably have a better shot, but that doesn't mean you have no shot.

I don't think law review will make a *huge* difference, but as with grades, all else equal, having law review is better than having only a secondary journal. There are some judges who will want law review only, but I don't think it's a huge proportion (and in any case it's impossible to predict unless you can get info about every specific judge). If you can write onto law review before applications go out, sure, though if that would only be for 3L I'm not sure it would really make a difference.

Things to do are keep your grades up (improve as much as possible), get to know profs or others who can write letters of rec, figure out a way to get a really good writing sample (whether that's do an internship or take a seminar or do a moot court competition or work really hard on your journal note).

Want to continue reading?

Register now to search topics and post comments!

Absolutely FREE!


Anonymous User
Posts: 380730
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: confused about what grades I need to clerk...

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Aug 26, 2021 1:18 pm

nixy wrote:
Sat Aug 21, 2021 12:48 pm
God FORBID you have to spend a year in Nashville or Pittsburgh (and there are going to be lots of applicants who do want to. Those are actually really cool cities).

OP, I agree with others who say that you definitely have a shot, but will probably need to apply broadly and (as everyone should) work any connections with profs. All else equal, higher grades are always better, so yes, people above you in class will probably have a better shot, but that doesn't mean you have no shot.

I don't think law review will make a *huge* difference, but as with grades, all else equal, having law review is better than having only a secondary journal. There are some judges who will want law review only, but I don't think it's a huge proportion (and in any case it's impossible to predict unless you can get info about every specific judge). If you can write onto law review before applications go out, sure, though if that would only be for 3L I'm not sure it would really make a difference.

Things to do are keep your grades up (improve as much as possible), get to know profs or others who can write letters of rec, figure out a way to get a really good writing sample (whether that's do an internship or take a seminar or do a moot court competition or work really hard on your journal note).
I disagree about LR - when we were reviewing apps, we had to use some pretty blunt tools to knock down the number of apps we would actually read, and more than one of my co-clerks knocked out anyone without LR. So even if you were only on for a year, you'd survive that first cull. I do agree, though, that grades are more important if it is one or the other. And way more important than either is a connection to make a call and get your app pulled.

Anonymous User
Posts: 380730
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: confused about what grades I need to clerk...

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 10, 2021 1:24 pm

I mean the entire process is a black box. For a data point, HYS, similar grade wise and also on a secondary journal, and very geographically flexible and have been unable to get a single bite for an interview.

Want to continue reading?

Register for access!

Did I mention it was FREE ?


Post Reply Post Anonymous Reply  

Return to “Judicial Clerkships”