Can I target feeders/2/9/DC from (non-T6) T14, or should I apply broadly? Forum

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Can I target feeders/2/9/DC from (non-T6) T14, or should I apply broadly?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 11, 2022 4:26 am

Hi everyone! Most of the discussion on applying to feeders on here is centered around T6 -- I see less info about other T14s, and my clerkship office is not that helpful. I'm curious if others think it would be realistic for me to target feeders + 2/9/DC, or if the better move is to apply broadly:

Current 2L at Mich / Berk / NW / Duke
#1 or 2 in class, have taken mostly black-letter doctrinal.
On LR + Moot Court, will be published on LR.
Have good relationships with a few profs, and expect good recs.

Thanks!

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Re: Can I target feeders/2/9/DC from (non-T6) T14, or should I apply broadly?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 11, 2022 10:44 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 4:26 am
Hi everyone! Most of the discussion on applying to feeders on here is centered around T6 -- I see less info about other T14s, and my clerkship office is not that helpful. I'm curious if others think it would be realistic for me to target feeders + 2/9/DC, or if the better move is to apply broadly:

Current 2L at Mich / Berk / NW / Duke
#1 or 2 in class, have taken mostly black-letter doctrinal.
On LR + Moot Court, will be published on LR.
Have good relationships with a few profs, and expect good recs.

Thanks!
Assuming you are not a conservative (in which case you would likely already have a COA clerkship), I think you have a very good chance with 2/9/DC and a good to decent chance with liberal feeders other than Sri (depending on whether you are 1 or 2).

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Re: Can I target feeders/2/9/DC from (non-T6) T14, or should I apply broadly?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 11, 2022 11:16 am

You have a good chance but nobody is a lock for those so you should apply broadly anyway. Plus just there are a lot of great judges on other circuits and prestige correlates imperfectly with circuit—if you’re not getting a feeder there are few judges who are more desirable than eg Diane Wood and Gregg Costa.

Also remember you may not be #1 or #2 after the spring

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Re: Can I target feeders/2/9/DC from (non-T6) T14, or should I apply broadly?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 11, 2022 5:29 pm

If you're #1 or 2 at Berkeley, then you should seriously consider applying to Willie Fletcher.

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Re: Can I target feeders/2/9/DC from (non-T6) T14, or should I apply broadly?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 11, 2022 6:21 pm

You can get very far if you can turn just good recs into sensational ones, which shouldn't be too hard with your pedigree.

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Re: Can I target feeders/2/9/DC from (non-T6) T14, or should I apply broadly?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 11, 2022 8:39 pm

if I were in your shoes, I would apply to only feeders/semi-feeders (to avoid interviewing/accepting my non-dream clerkship)

I would also go in knowing I could strike out and being comfortable having to reapply broadly next cycle

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Re: Can I target feeders/2/9/DC from (non-T6) T14, or should I apply broadly?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 11, 2022 9:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 8:39 pm
if I were in your shoes, I would apply to only feeders/semi-feeders (to avoid interviewing/accepting my non-dream clerkship)

I would also go in knowing I could strike out and being comfortable having to reapply broadly next cycle
I could not second this more strongly. Someone in your position should apply judiciously. You can always apply broadly later.

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Re: Can I target feeders/2/9/DC from (non-T6) T14, or should I apply broadly?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 11, 2022 10:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 9:59 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 8:39 pm
if I were in your shoes, I would apply to only feeders/semi-feeders (to avoid interviewing/accepting my non-dream clerkship)

I would also go in knowing I could strike out and being comfortable having to reapply broadly next cycle
I could not second this more strongly. Someone in your position should apply judiciously. You can always apply broadly later.
am original anon - will say that this comes from place of experience of not holding off (as ~top 10 at a T6), applying to generic COA that matched geographic preferences, accepting generic COA that matched geographic preferences

few years removed, would have been cool to hold out for the "best" clerkship

at same time - I was a very marginal SCOTUS candidate (no argument beyond grades/fairly personable for law student), the geography worked out (lived with my GF, getting engaged), and am working at same firm I would have gone back to had I done feeder/SCOTUS, etc

point being - take your shot, but if it doesn't pan out, life is fine as an ex-ordinary COA clerk

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Re: Can I target feeders/2/9/DC from (non-T6) T14, or should I apply broadly?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 11, 2022 11:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 9:59 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 8:39 pm
if I were in your shoes, I would apply to only feeders/semi-feeders (to avoid interviewing/accepting my non-dream clerkship)

I would also go in knowing I could strike out and being comfortable having to reapply broadly next cycle
I could not second this more strongly. Someone in your position should apply judiciously. You can always apply broadly later.
Would not advise, and I think the post this is responding to may be sarcastic?

1. You're much, much more likely to have a significant dip in grades in your 3L year, which would probably kill OP's chances at many very-desirable-but-not-feeder judges, than to strike out once entirely, then succeed with feeders on a second try.
2. If you accept a slightly-less-fancy judge this year because it's what you get, you can always reapply to feeders next year with a stronger app, with one good clerkship in the bag already.
3. Career-wise, many feeders hire far out, and there are significant career costs to ending up doing your first clerkship in 2025-26.
4. Semi-feeders are statistically a lot closer to being non-feeders than to being "true" feeders like Pryor and Srinivasan, so there's not much of a reason to focus laser-like on the former.

Fwiw I'm another person who applied with SCOTUS-caliber grades but who is not really a plausible SCOTUS candidate now (so-called semi-feeder clerkships, unremarkable besides grades, white guy). I'm very happy with the gigs I ended up with--in part because they line up well with my longer-term career plans like the prior poster--and think it would have been stupid of past-me to hold out on the off chance that Jeffrey Sutton liked me a bit more in a year. So on the one hand, I'm not really objective, but on the other, I've actually lived through this calculus and made it at the time.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Jan 12, 2022 12:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Can I target feeders/2/9/DC from (non-T6) T14, or should I apply broadly?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 12, 2022 12:02 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 11:51 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 9:59 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 8:39 pm
if I were in your shoes, I would apply to only feeders/semi-feeders (to avoid interviewing/accepting my non-dream clerkship)

I would also go in knowing I could strike out and being comfortable having to reapply broadly next cycle
I could not second this more strongly. Someone in your position should apply judiciously. You can always apply broadly later.
Would not advise, and I think the post this is responding to may be sarcastic?

1. You're much, much more likely to have a significant dip in grades in your 3L year, which would probably kill OP's chances at many very-desirable-but-not-feeder judges, than to strike out once entirely, then succeed with feeders on a second try.
2. If you accept a slightly-less-fancy judge this year because it's what you get, you can always reapply to feeders next year with a stronger app, with one good clerkship in the bag already.
3. Career-wise, many feeders hire far out, and there are significant career costs to ending up doing your first clerkship in 2025-26.
I don't think that person was being sarcastic, as they made another comment afterward along the same lines. I understand there are risks, but I doubt that OP will see any sort of significant grade drop if they keep up the habits that got them here and select classes carefully. But if OP doesn't want to bust their ass during 3L, applying more broadly makes sense. Also, I am a bit partial to clerking after practicing for a year or two, but that is a choice for OP to make. FWIW, I did route #2 and it worked out well for me, however, I have friends who applied more selectively, and it worked out for them as well.

Overall, I was probably too strong when I said "could not second this more strongly." However, I still think applying to a narrower group to start is the right choice.

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Re: Can I target feeders/2/9/DC from (non-T6) T14, or should I apply broadly?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 12, 2022 2:34 am

OP here. Thanks so much everyone for all your thoughtful comments, leaves me with lots to think about. Like a few of the previous posters, I tend to think I would be a marginal SCOTUS candidate. I have fine extracurriculars but nothing outstanding. That said, I wouldn't mind keeping the dream alive!

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Re: Can I target feeders/2/9/DC from (non-T6) T14, or should I apply broadly?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jan 12, 2022 2:34 am
OP here. Thanks so much everyone for all your thoughtful comments, leaves me with lots to think about. Like a few of the previous posters, I tend to think I would be a marginal SCOTUS candidate. I have fine extracurriculars but nothing outstanding. That said, I wouldn't mind keeping the dream alive!
No T14 valedictorian is ever a "marginal" SCOTUS candidate. You may not get the job, but you have a good shot at getting an interview. I'd apply judiciously. For liberals that means feeder COA, feeder DCT. For conservatives, two feeder COAs. Your top priority needs to be keeping sky-high grades. Good luck!

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