Apply as a lateral or clerk? Forum

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Apply as a lateral or clerk?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Sep 11, 2021 5:41 pm

I am looking at different firm websites for post-clerkship hiring and it looks like many firms have a specific portal for judicial clerk applicants, and a separate one for laterals. I have a little under 2 years of biglaw experience before clerking (but my firm can't guarantee me an offer back, which is why I'm considering going elsewhere if possible), and am not sure if I should apply as a clerk or lateral? Would it be more advantageous in terms of landing a job applying as one vs. another?

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Re: Apply as a lateral or clerk?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Sep 11, 2021 6:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Sep 11, 2021 5:41 pm
I am looking at different firm websites for post-clerkship hiring and it looks like many firms have a specific portal for judicial clerk applicants, and a separate one for laterals. I have a little under 2 years of biglaw experience before clerking (but my firm can't guarantee me an offer back, which is why I'm considering going elsewhere if possible), and am not sure if I should apply as a clerk or lateral? Would it be more advantageous in terms of landing a job applying as one vs. another?
I ran into this issue too coming off a clerkship after three years of practice. Apply as a clerk if you can. For one, there is typically more of a pipeline / established process for postclerkship hiring. And for lateral applications, firms are usually looking for people to start as soon as possible. Applying as a clerk makes clear that you are asking to start after your clerkship ends, not at any time / after bonus season / etc. Also, it probably won't make a difference for getting a clerkship bonus, but I felt like going in through the clerk door made more sense for that, too.

FWIW, both from going through this and now having participated in hiring for clerks with prior biglaw experience, you'll be evaluated closer to a lateral candidate anyway (i.e.: what is your experience, how did you do at your last firm, etc.). So ultimately it probably doesn't make too much of a difference in terms of your odds.

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