Asking firm for reference and writing sample Forum

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Asking firm for reference and writing sample

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 26, 2022 7:54 am

Hi, I’m a second year at a V20 and a judge I interviewed with asked me for a firm reference and writing sample. I’ve been a little stressed by the prospect of potentially impacting the best relationship I’ve made with a partner so far, especially if I end up not getting the clerkship. Has anyone been in a similar situation? If so, how did it go? I know firms prefer associates to clerk before their first year, so I’m not sure how kindly they will take to someone leaving mid second year, particularly for a two year clerkship. Further, obtaining permission for the writing sample may take a few days. Is that okay? Thank you!

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Re: Asking firm for reference and writing sample

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 26, 2022 9:37 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 7:54 am
Hi, I’m a second year at a V20 and a judge I interviewed with asked me for a firm reference and writing sample. I’ve been a little stressed by the prospect of potentially impacting the best relationship I’ve made with a partner so far, especially if I end up not getting the clerkship. Has anyone been in a similar situation? If so, how did it go? I know firms prefer associates to clerk before their first year, so I’m not sure how kindly they will take to someone leaving mid second year, particularly for a two year clerkship. Further, obtaining permission for the writing sample may take a few days. Is that okay? Thank you!
I left my V20 to clerk while I was a second year. I was also really worried about telling everyone there, but I realized that stress was misplaced. The thing about biglaw is that partners expect pretty much all junior associates to leave at some point, and leaving to clerk is usually quite well respected/even celebrated because it's not like you're lateraling to another firm or anything. (For example, at my old firm pretty much everyone in my year has left the firm by now). If you're hoping to return to the firm post-clerkship, then convey your interest in returning to the firm upon completion of your clerkship.

It's fine if the writing sample takes a few days, but just let the judge know you're seeking permission from the firm to use a writing sample, and expect to submit a sample within a few days.

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Re: Asking firm for reference and writing sample

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 26, 2022 1:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 7:54 am
Hi, I’m a second year at a V20 and a judge I interviewed with asked me for a firm reference and writing sample. I’ve been a little stressed by the prospect of potentially impacting the best relationship I’ve made with a partner so far, especially if I end up not getting the clerkship. Has anyone been in a similar situation? If so, how did it go? I know firms prefer associates to clerk before their first year, so I’m not sure how kindly they will take to someone leaving mid second year, particularly for a two year clerkship. Further, obtaining permission for the writing sample may take a few days. Is that okay? Thank you!
The level of support you get from your firm will vary wildly depending on the personality of the partners you work for. I was in a similar situation a couple of times with partners that I didn't think would be supportive. I ended up giving the judge a current reference, but told the judge (in a very nice, delicate way) that my current employer didn't know I was applying and that I'd be happy to give a current reference, but would appreciate it if he/she didn't contact the current reference unless my application was being seriously considered. That seemed to work for me as a signalling mechanism - a judge who didn't hire me didn't insist on a reference, and a judge who did hire me did insist on one. I then just found someone at the firm who I thought I could trust the most who could speak to my work product, and listed that person as the reference.

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