Chance of CA9 Clerkship? Forum

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Chance of CA9 Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jan 23, 2022 1:07 am

I'm a diverse student, LR/published, top 5% at T1 school in the Ninth Circuit. I have a district court clerkship lined up and want to clerk on a circuit court afterwards, preferably 9th Circuit, but I'm not sure if that's a reasonable goal. Not many students from my school get circuit court positions, so career services hasn't been too helpful.

What are my chances? Does anyone know of judges that hire outside of the T14? Should I also apply across the 10th Circuit?

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Re: Chance of CA9 Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jan 23, 2022 1:23 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Jan 23, 2022 1:07 am
I'm a diverse student, LR/published, top 5% at T1 school in the Ninth Circuit. I have a district court clerkship lined up and want to clerk on a circuit court afterwards, preferably 9th Circuit, but I'm not sure if that's a reasonable goal. Not many students from my school get circuit court positions, so career services hasn't been too helpful.

What are my chances? Does anyone know of judges that hire outside of the T14? Should I also apply across the 10th Circuit?
District Court clerk here with 9th Circuit clerk friends. There are some judges that would be very difficult to get because of your school. For the ones that are do-able, it will largely depend on (1) the connections of your DJ (and their willingness to vouch for you), (2) which school you went to (for instance, there's a big difference between USC and UCI/UCD), (3) your background/interests (biglaw vs. public interest; liberal vs. conservative).

Speaking of judges specifically, If you have a background/interest in public interest (and are liberal), Paez could be do-able. Milan Smith wants top 5%, but will consider schools outside of the t14, so you might have a shot there too. If you're a bonafide fed soc person, Bumatay and Collins are do-able. Koh is probably out of the question.

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Re: Chance of CA9 Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jan 23, 2022 2:45 am

Unless there’s some reason you have to live in the West, you should apply nationwide. I think you have decent odds but it may take quite a while. The advice in the previous post is good.

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Re: Chance of CA9 Clerkship?

Post by lavarman84 » Sun Jan 23, 2022 4:28 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Jan 23, 2022 1:07 am
I'm a diverse student, LR/published, top 5% at T1 school in the Ninth Circuit. I have a district court clerkship lined up and want to clerk on a circuit court afterwards, preferably 9th Circuit, but I'm not sure if that's a reasonable goal. Not many students from my school get circuit court positions, so career services hasn't been too helpful.

What are my chances? Does anyone know of judges that hire outside of the T14? Should I also apply across the 10th Circuit?
Keep an eye out for Johnnie Rawlinson if you don't have luck with the judges who move earlier. She tends to move late, but I've heard that she likes to hire diverse applicants and doesn't shy away from hiring outside the t14.

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Re: Chance of CA9 Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jan 23, 2022 5:21 am

Senior judges can also be a good route. I believe Judge Bybee and Judge Tallman have full caseloads and they regularly hire outside the T14. Not sure how much of a caseload N.R. Smith has, but he also hires outside the T14. For active judges, I know Judge Forrest regularly hires outside the T14. And I second the person who mentioned Judge Rawlinson. I would assume the Arizona CA9 judges occasionally hire ASU grads, as well.

I think your chances here depend on what T1 school you're at and how big your school is. If you're at say, UC Davis, then I'd say you'd have lower odds than if you're at UW. There's just generally more competition for California judges and more law schools in the area, and CA judges are thus less ties-selective. Likewise, if you're at a large school and Top 5% means that you're ranked in the top 20 of individuals in your class--and thus competing with 19 other people from your class who want CA9 clerkships and have better grades--that's a harder fight than if top 5% means you're ranked in the top 5 people in your class.

In short, you have a chance, but how big that chance is depends on geography. And, as for everyone, will have a lot to do with luck and connections.

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Re: Chance of CA9 Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jan 23, 2022 10:01 pm

Not OP, but I'm wondering if which non-California CA9 judges (if any) put a priority on local ties vs. which don't care at all? I've heard maybe Bade in Arizona or Tallman in Idaho prefer some local connection, but I don't know how accurate that is/where the other judges fall. Especially interested in the PNW judges (Gould, Graber, Miller, Forrest, and now Sung).

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Re: Chance of CA9 Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jan 24, 2022 12:27 am

OP here. Thanks all, this is great feedback. Quick follow-up questions: Does applying nationwide really increase my odds if I have no connections or ties in other circuits? And grades/application materials aside, is there anything I can do to increase my chances of getting interviewed?

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Re: Chance of CA9 Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jan 24, 2022 12:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jan 24, 2022 12:27 am
OP here. Thanks all, this is great feedback. Quick follow-up questions: Does applying nationwide really increase my odds if I have no connections or ties in other circuits? And grades/application materials aside, is there anything I can do to increase my chances of getting interviewed?
Yes. Think you're overestimating the benefit of being "local" (it helps, but CA9 isn't exactly short on applications from people with CA ties) and underestimating the value of just sending like, 60 applications vs 15. It's partly a numbers game.

Your judge/recommenders/etc should make targeted phone calls.

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Re: Chance of CA9 Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jan 24, 2022 12:57 am

Echoing the above:

Just one data point, but I sent about 170 COA applications after 1L, with a 4.00 at a T20, and was offered three interviews: one in Florida, one in the upper Midwest, and one in California. My resume has none of the relevant states on it. Your district court clerkship will be a boost, but the process is absolutely a crapshoot and to the extent that you want to be selective, you should send applications to your first-tier choices, then send applications to second-tier choices about two weeks later, etc.

You should ask your recommenders whether there are judges they have a relationship with, but even if there aren't, you should ask them whether they'd be willing to place a call to a few chambers shortly after you send applications. Your three recommenders could potentially call between three and fifteen different chambers to suggest that your application is worth being pulled from the pile.

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Re: Chance of CA9 Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jan 24, 2022 3:07 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jan 24, 2022 12:27 am
OP here. Thanks all, this is great feedback. Quick follow-up questions: Does applying nationwide really increase my odds if I have no connections or ties in other circuits? And grades/application materials aside, is there anything I can do to increase my chances of getting interviewed?
Applying nationwide will significantly increase your odds. AS to getting an interview, I would heavily lean on your District judge. Judges love other judges (usually). His/her support will make a huge difference.

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Re: Chance of CA9 Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 25, 2022 2:14 am

OP here. Sounds like I should just plan on applying nationwide. Glad to have this feedback and hopefully applying broadly will at least get me a few interviews.

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Re: Chance of CA9 Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Apr 14, 2022 5:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Jan 23, 2022 10:01 pm
Not OP, but I'm wondering if which non-California CA9 judges (if any) put a priority on local ties vs. which don't care at all? I've heard maybe Bade in Arizona or Tallman in Idaho prefer some local connection, but I don't know how accurate that is/where the other judges fall. Especially interested in the PNW judges (Gould, Graber, Miller, Forrest, and now Sung).
Arizona judges in the 9th Cir strongly prefer a local connection, other than Hurwitz who is now retiring (and presumably going to be replaced with someone who strongly prefers a local connection, given the candidates). Even Hurwitz always hired at least one ASU grad.

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Re: Chance of CA9 Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Apr 14, 2022 6:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Apr 14, 2022 5:40 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Jan 23, 2022 10:01 pm
Not OP, but I'm wondering if which non-California CA9 judges (if any) put a priority on local ties vs. which don't care at all? I've heard maybe Bade in Arizona or Tallman in Idaho prefer some local connection, but I don't know how accurate that is/where the other judges fall. Especially interested in the PNW judges (Gould, Graber, Miller, Forrest, and now Sung).
Arizona judges in the 9th Cir strongly prefer a local connection, other than Hurwitz who is now retiring (and presumably going to be replaced with someone who strongly prefers a local connection, given the candidates). Even Hurwitz always hired at least one ASU grad.
Not to get too off-topic, but who are the leading candidates to replace Hurwitz?

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Re: Chance of CA9 Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Apr 14, 2022 7:54 pm

Top of my list is Rosemary Marquez, if she's interested.

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