Do Circuit Court Judges Dip in Grades Hiring 2-3 Years Out? Forum

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Do Circuit Court Judges Dip in Grades Hiring 2-3 Years Out?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat May 07, 2022 1:44 am

Title says it all. I had mediocre grades from a T6, no law review. If I clerk for 2 years at the district court and/or state appellate level with a couple years of work experience will any circuit judges consider my app? Assume I can get good LORs from judges and bosses.

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Re: Do Circuit Court Judges Dip in Grades Hiring 2-3 Years Out?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat May 07, 2022 10:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 1:44 am
Title says it all. I had mediocre grades from a T6, no law review. If I clerk for 2 years at the district court and/or state appellate level with a couple years of work experience will any circuit judges consider my app? Assume I can get good LORs from judges and bosses.
Your odds improve with the work experience but nothing will fully make up for the mediocre grades. That said, I know someone who had mediocre grades at NYU and no law review but is a very dynamic, likeable person and she leveraged personal connections to get a third circuit clerkship after several years in biglaw after getting no interviews during 3L. So what you’re describing does happen.

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Re: Do Circuit Court Judges Dip in Grades Hiring 2-3 Years Out?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat May 07, 2022 4:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 10:08 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 1:44 am
Title says it all. I had mediocre grades from a T6, no law review. If I clerk for 2 years at the district court and/or state appellate level with a couple years of work experience will any circuit judges consider my app? Assume I can get good LORs from judges and bosses.
Your odds improve with the work experience but nothing will fully make up for the mediocre grades. That said, I know someone who had mediocre grades at NYU and no law review but is a very dynamic, likeable person and she leveraged personal connections to get a third circuit clerkship after several years in biglaw after getting no interviews during 3L. So what you’re describing does happen.
Question: What are considered mediocre grades at a T14? I anticipate graduating with around a 3.65 to 3.7, secondary journal, and a district court clerkship lined up after graduation. Not part of fed soc or any extracurricular group for that matter. Although I had a lot of luck with interviews and offers with district judges, I'm not getting much traction with COA judges apart from a few screeners that didn't pan out. Like OP, I'm also wondering whether I should continue applying with the mindset that things may not pan out and I can try again after a few years of work experience.

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Re: Do Circuit Court Judges Dip in Grades Hiring 2-3 Years Out?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat May 07, 2022 5:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 4:03 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 10:08 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 1:44 am
Title says it all. I had mediocre grades from a T6, no law review. If I clerk for 2 years at the district court and/or state appellate level with a couple years of work experience will any circuit judges consider my app? Assume I can get good LORs from judges and bosses.
Your odds improve with the work experience but nothing will fully make up for the mediocre grades. That said, I know someone who had mediocre grades at NYU and no law review but is a very dynamic, likeable person and she leveraged personal connections to get a third circuit clerkship after several years in biglaw after getting no interviews during 3L. So what you’re describing does happen.
Question: What are considered mediocre grades at a T14? I anticipate graduating with around a 3.65 to 3.7, secondary journal, and a district court clerkship lined up after graduation. Not part of fed soc or any extracurricular group for that matter. Although I had a lot of luck with interviews and offers with district judges, I'm not getting much traction with COA judges apart from a few screeners that didn't pan out. Like OP, I'm also wondering whether I should continue applying with the mindset that things may not pan out and I can try again after a few years of work experience.
At NYU/CLS, 3.65-3.7 is solidly Top 25% but not Top 10%. So I would not call that mediocre at all. Mediocre would be below median, so like 3.33 or lower.

You have a shot at a CoA clerkship with a 3.65 coming from a T6 with work experience, especially if you apply very broadly including in random places like Wyoming, Iowa, etc.

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Re: Do Circuit Court Judges Dip in Grades Hiring 2-3 Years Out?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat May 07, 2022 8:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 5:30 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 4:03 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 10:08 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 1:44 am
Title says it all. I had mediocre grades from a T6, no law review. If I clerk for 2 years at the district court and/or state appellate level with a couple years of work experience will any circuit judges consider my app? Assume I can get good LORs from judges and bosses.
Your odds improve with the work experience but nothing will fully make up for the mediocre grades. That said, I know someone who had mediocre grades at NYU and no law review but is a very dynamic, likeable person and she leveraged personal connections to get a third circuit clerkship after several years in biglaw after getting no interviews during 3L. So what you’re describing does happen.
Question: What are considered mediocre grades at a T14? I anticipate graduating with around a 3.65 to 3.7, secondary journal, and a district court clerkship lined up after graduation. Not part of fed soc or any extracurricular group for that matter. Although I had a lot of luck with interviews and offers with district judges, I'm not getting much traction with COA judges apart from a few screeners that didn't pan out. Like OP, I'm also wondering whether I should continue applying with the mindset that things may not pan out and I can try again after a few years of work experience.
At NYU/CLS, 3.65-3.7 is solidly Top 25% but not Top 10%. So I would not call that mediocre at all. Mediocre would be below median, so like 3.33 or lower.

You have a shot at a CoA clerkship with a 3.65 coming from a T6 with work experience, especially if you apply very broadly including in random places like Wyoming, Iowa, etc.
Ehhh I think you're underestimating the competitiveness of CA8, CA10, etc. unless maybe if you have serious ties or a serious connection. There are judges who are willing to go down to top 25% at HYSC for a local, but it's much tougher to see that working out for a non-HYSC student with no connection to the area. There's just no reason to hire that person over the valedictorian of Iowa or CU or a clerk for a local DJ.

I think a district court clerkship is a significant plus for a lot of judges though, especially if your DJ is well-connected and goes to bat, so it's worth applying.

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Re: Do Circuit Court Judges Dip in Grades Hiring 2-3 Years Out?

Post by Chokenhauer » Sun May 08, 2022 10:21 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 8:48 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 5:30 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 4:03 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 10:08 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 1:44 am
Title says it all. I had mediocre grades from a T6, no law review. If I clerk for 2 years at the district court and/or state appellate level with a couple years of work experience will any circuit judges consider my app? Assume I can get good LORs from judges and bosses.
Your odds improve with the work experience but nothing will fully make up for the mediocre grades. That said, I know someone who had mediocre grades at NYU and no law review but is a very dynamic, likeable person and she leveraged personal connections to get a third circuit clerkship after several years in biglaw after getting no interviews during 3L. So what you’re describing does happen.
Question: What are considered mediocre grades at a T14? I anticipate graduating with around a 3.65 to 3.7, secondary journal, and a district court clerkship lined up after graduation. Not part of fed soc or any extracurricular group for that matter. Although I had a lot of luck with interviews and offers with district judges, I'm not getting much traction with COA judges apart from a few screeners that didn't pan out. Like OP, I'm also wondering whether I should continue applying with the mindset that things may not pan out and I can try again after a few years of work experience.
At NYU/CLS, 3.65-3.7 is solidly Top 25% but not Top 10%. So I would not call that mediocre at all. Mediocre would be below median, so like 3.33 or lower.

You have a shot at a CoA clerkship with a 3.65 coming from a T6 with work experience, especially if you apply very broadly including in random places like Wyoming, Iowa, etc.
Ehhh I think you're underestimating the competitiveness of CA8, CA10, etc. unless maybe if you have serious ties or a serious connection. There are judges who are willing to go down to top 25% at HYSC for a local, but it's much tougher to see that working out for a non-HYSC student with no connection to the area. There's just no reason to hire that person over the valedictorian of Iowa or CU or a clerk for a local DJ.

I think a district court clerkship is a significant plus for a lot of judges though, especially if your DJ is well-connected and goes to bat, so it's worth applying.
I second this. Barring connections or a local DJ clerkship, things get significantly harder. But there are quite a few judges in those circuit that prefer the lower ranked school valedictorian to someone at a T14 without any connection.

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Re: Do Circuit Court Judges Dip in Grades Hiring 2-3 Years Out?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun May 08, 2022 10:56 am

Chokenhauer wrote:
Sun May 08, 2022 10:21 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 8:48 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 5:30 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 4:03 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 10:08 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 1:44 am
Title says it all. I had mediocre grades from a T6, no law review. If I clerk for 2 years at the district court and/or state appellate level with a couple years of work experience will any circuit judges consider my app? Assume I can get good LORs from judges and bosses.
Your odds improve with the work experience but nothing will fully make up for the mediocre grades. That said, I know someone who had mediocre grades at NYU and no law review but is a very dynamic, likeable person and she leveraged personal connections to get a third circuit clerkship after several years in biglaw after getting no interviews during 3L. So what you’re describing does happen.
Question: What are considered mediocre grades at a T14? I anticipate graduating with around a 3.65 to 3.7, secondary journal, and a district court clerkship lined up after graduation. Not part of fed soc or any extracurricular group for that matter. Although I had a lot of luck with interviews and offers with district judges, I'm not getting much traction with COA judges apart from a few screeners that didn't pan out. Like OP, I'm also wondering whether I should continue applying with the mindset that things may not pan out and I can try again after a few years of work experience.
At NYU/CLS, 3.65-3.7 is solidly Top 25% but not Top 10%. So I would not call that mediocre at all. Mediocre would be below median, so like 3.33 or lower.

You have a shot at a CoA clerkship with a 3.65 coming from a T6 with work experience, especially if you apply very broadly including in random places like Wyoming, Iowa, etc.
Ehhh I think you're underestimating the competitiveness of CA8, CA10, etc. unless maybe if you have serious ties or a serious connection. There are judges who are willing to go down to top 25% at HYSC for a local, but it's much tougher to see that working out for a non-HYSC student with no connection to the area. There's just no reason to hire that person over the valedictorian of Iowa or CU or a clerk for a local DJ.

I think a district court clerkship is a significant plus for a lot of judges though, especially if your DJ is well-connected and goes to bat, so it's worth applying.
I second this. Barring connections or a local DJ clerkship, things get significantly harder. But there are quite a few judges in those circuit that prefer the lower ranked school valedictorian to someone at a T14 without any connection.
One data point: I got a non-DC/9th/2nd circuit clerkship slated to begin one year after graduation with me doing NYC biglaw for the intervening year. I interviewed during 3L. I had a 3.7 coming from NYU/CLS with law review and no local ties. And I know of several cum laude but not magna from NYU and stone but not kent from CLS that are in the same position. So it is possible and does happen.

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Re: Do Circuit Court Judges Dip in Grades Hiring 2-3 Years Out?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 09, 2022 12:00 pm

Possible, sure, but when reviewing applications we always looked hard at grades, no matter how long someone had been out. Did it matter less if they'd been practicing for three years? Perhaps at the margins, but just because you've been practicing doesn't mean you're any good whereas grades are an easier metric to assess.

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Re: Do Circuit Court Judges Dip in Grades Hiring 2-3 Years Out?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 09, 2022 12:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 12:00 pm
Possible, sure, but when reviewing applications we always looked hard at grades, no matter how long someone had been out. Did it matter less if they'd been practicing for three years? Perhaps at the margins, but just because you've been practicing doesn't mean you're any good whereas grades are an easier metric to assess.
They measure how much shit a student can regurgitate from their outline in 3-4 hours while typing like a madman. Why is that a better metric of a quality applicant than someone whose successfully practiced for a few years?

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Re: Do Circuit Court Judges Dip in Grades Hiring 2-3 Years Out?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 09, 2022 12:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 12:44 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 12:00 pm
Possible, sure, but when reviewing applications we always looked hard at grades, no matter how long someone had been out. Did it matter less if they'd been practicing for three years? Perhaps at the margins, but just because you've been practicing doesn't mean you're any good whereas grades are an easier metric to assess.
They measure how much shit a student can regurgitate from their outline in 3-4 hours while typing like a madman. Why is that a better metric of a quality applicant than someone whose successfully practiced for a few years?
It's hard to tell if someone truly "successfully" practiced. Also, I would argue that law school exams are a better barometer of skill in a clerkship than being a junior associate law firm minion mindlessly doing doc review and drafting email correspondence for senior associates.

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Re: Do Circuit Court Judges Dip in Grades Hiring 2-3 Years Out?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 09, 2022 12:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 12:47 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 12:44 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 12:00 pm
Possible, sure, but when reviewing applications we always looked hard at grades, no matter how long someone had been out. Did it matter less if they'd been practicing for three years? Perhaps at the margins, but just because you've been practicing doesn't mean you're any good whereas grades are an easier metric to assess.
They measure how much shit a student can regurgitate from their outline in 3-4 hours while typing like a madman. Why is that a better metric of a quality applicant than someone whose successfully practiced for a few years?
It's hard to tell if someone truly "successfully" practiced. Also, I would argue that law school exams are a better barometer of skill in a clerkship than being a junior associate law firm minion mindlessly doing doc review and drafting email correspondence for senior associates.
True. I suppose I have a different perspective since I'm not in biglaw. I've done a lot of substantive research and writing in my first year of practice and I'd hope that a judge would see that as more indicative of my potential as a clerk than my B in Torts and Crim during my 1L year.

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Re: Do Circuit Court Judges Dip in Grades Hiring 2-3 Years Out?

Post by nixy » Mon May 09, 2022 1:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 12:44 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 12:00 pm
Possible, sure, but when reviewing applications we always looked hard at grades, no matter how long someone had been out. Did it matter less if they'd been practicing for three years? Perhaps at the margins, but just because you've been practicing doesn't mean you're any good whereas grades are an easier metric to assess.
They measure how much shit a student can regurgitate from their outline in 3-4 hours while typing like a madman. Why is that a better metric of a quality applicant than someone whose successfully practiced for a few years?
Grades being an “easier” metric doesn’t mean they’re a “better” metric in the sense of identifying the best possible clerk. It’s just hard to measure what practice means. (Kind of like how it’s harder to compare UGPAs across schools vs comparing LSAT scores.) And the reality is that judges can often choose candidates with both practice experience and great grades.

All that said, for the OP who wants to aim for COA after doing state appellate/federal district court clerkships, if you can impress your judges with your ability and they recommend you to COA judges they know, that can go a very long way. I think most COA judges would look favorably on a recommendation from a judge they respect saying that you were great.

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Re: Do Circuit Court Judges Dip in Grades Hiring 2-3 Years Out?

Post by Chokenhauer » Mon May 09, 2022 6:28 pm

nixy wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 1:59 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 12:44 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 12:00 pm
Possible, sure, but when reviewing applications we always looked hard at grades, no matter how long someone had been out. Did it matter less if they'd been practicing for three years? Perhaps at the margins, but just because you've been practicing doesn't mean you're any good whereas grades are an easier metric to assess.
They measure how much shit a student can regurgitate from their outline in 3-4 hours while typing like a madman. Why is that a better metric of a quality applicant than someone whose successfully practiced for a few years?
Grades being an “easier” metric doesn’t mean they’re a “better” metric in the sense of identifying the best possible clerk. It’s just hard to measure what practice means. (Kind of like how it’s harder to compare UGPAs across schools vs comparing LSAT scores.) And the reality is that judges can often choose candidates with both practice experience and great grades.

All that said, for the OP who wants to aim for COA after doing state appellate/federal district court clerkships, if you can impress your judges with your ability and they recommend you to COA judges they know, that can go a very long way. I think most COA judges would look favorably on a recommendation from a judge they respect saying that you were great.
Agreed. As someone lacking the traditional metrics, having the judge I clerked for go to bat for me was indispensable.

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Re: Do Circuit Court Judges Dip in Grades Hiring 2-3 Years Out?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 09, 2022 7:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 8:48 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 5:30 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 4:03 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 10:08 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 1:44 am
Title says it all. I had mediocre grades from a T6, no law review. If I clerk for 2 years at the district court and/or state appellate level with a couple years of work experience will any circuit judges consider my app? Assume I can get good LORs from judges and bosses.
Your odds improve with the work experience but nothing will fully make up for the mediocre grades. That said, I know someone who had mediocre grades at NYU and no law review but is a very dynamic, likeable person and she leveraged personal connections to get a third circuit clerkship after several years in biglaw after getting no interviews during 3L. So what you’re describing does happen.
Question: What are considered mediocre grades at a T14? I anticipate graduating with around a 3.65 to 3.7, secondary journal, and a district court clerkship lined up after graduation. Not part of fed soc or any extracurricular group for that matter. Although I had a lot of luck with interviews and offers with district judges, I'm not getting much traction with COA judges apart from a few screeners that didn't pan out. Like OP, I'm also wondering whether I should continue applying with the mindset that things may not pan out and I can try again after a few years of work experience.
At NYU/CLS, 3.65-3.7 is solidly Top 25% but not Top 10%. So I would not call that mediocre at all. Mediocre would be below median, so like 3.33 or lower.

You have a shot at a CoA clerkship with a 3.65 coming from a T6 with work experience, especially if you apply very broadly including in random places like Wyoming, Iowa, etc.
Ehhh I think you're underestimating the competitiveness of CA8, CA10, etc. unless maybe if you have serious ties or a serious connection. There are judges who are willing to go down to top 25% at HYSC for a local, but it's much tougher to see that working out for a non-HYSC student with no connection to the area. There's just no reason to hire that person over the valedictorian of Iowa or CU or a clerk for a local DJ.

I think a district court clerkship is a significant plus for a lot of judges though, especially if your DJ is well-connected and goes to bat, so it's worth applying.
I think top 25% at S or Y is competitive for nearly all of the judges in 5, 6, 10, 11 etc.

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Re: Do Circuit Court Judges Dip in Grades Hiring 2-3 Years Out?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 09, 2022 7:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 7:00 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 8:48 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 5:30 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 4:03 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 10:08 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 1:44 am
Title says it all. I had mediocre grades from a T6, no law review. If I clerk for 2 years at the district court and/or state appellate level with a couple years of work experience will any circuit judges consider my app? Assume I can get good LORs from judges and bosses.
Your odds improve with the work experience but nothing will fully make up for the mediocre grades. That said, I know someone who had mediocre grades at NYU and no law review but is a very dynamic, likeable person and she leveraged personal connections to get a third circuit clerkship after several years in biglaw after getting no interviews during 3L. So what you’re describing does happen.
Question: What are considered mediocre grades at a T14? I anticipate graduating with around a 3.65 to 3.7, secondary journal, and a district court clerkship lined up after graduation. Not part of fed soc or any extracurricular group for that matter. Although I had a lot of luck with interviews and offers with district judges, I'm not getting much traction with COA judges apart from a few screeners that didn't pan out. Like OP, I'm also wondering whether I should continue applying with the mindset that things may not pan out and I can try again after a few years of work experience.
At NYU/CLS, 3.65-3.7 is solidly Top 25% but not Top 10%. So I would not call that mediocre at all. Mediocre would be below median, so like 3.33 or lower.

You have a shot at a CoA clerkship with a 3.65 coming from a T6 with work experience, especially if you apply very broadly including in random places like Wyoming, Iowa, etc.
Ehhh I think you're underestimating the competitiveness of CA8, CA10, etc. unless maybe if you have serious ties or a serious connection. There are judges who are willing to go down to top 25% at HYSC for a local, but it's much tougher to see that working out for a non-HYSC student with no connection to the area. There's just no reason to hire that person over the valedictorian of Iowa or CU or a clerk for a local DJ.

I think a district court clerkship is a significant plus for a lot of judges though, especially if your DJ is well-connected and goes to bat, so it's worth applying.
I think top 25% at S or Y is competitive for nearly all of the judges in 5, 6, 10, 11 etc.
Agree. My flyover CoA judge’s barometer for Yalies is more Hs than Ps. That’s it. Probably the same for Harvard and Stanford too. Then for Columbia, Chi, NYU, Penn, UVA, Michigan, and Berkeley, applicants would typically have to be Top 10% with law review. But even there, the judge makes exceptions occasionally for people the judge really likes. There simply aren't enough local school valedictorians applying every year to make the remaining slots more competitive.

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Re: Do Circuit Court Judges Dip in Grades Hiring 2-3 Years Out?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 09, 2022 9:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 7:00 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 8:48 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 5:30 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 4:03 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 10:08 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 1:44 am
Title says it all. I had mediocre grades from a T6, no law review. If I clerk for 2 years at the district court and/or state appellate level with a couple years of work experience will any circuit judges consider my app? Assume I can get good LORs from judges and bosses.
Your odds improve with the work experience but nothing will fully make up for the mediocre grades. That said, I know someone who had mediocre grades at NYU and no law review but is a very dynamic, likeable person and she leveraged personal connections to get a third circuit clerkship after several years in biglaw after getting no interviews during 3L. So what you’re describing does happen.
Question: What are considered mediocre grades at a T14? I anticipate graduating with around a 3.65 to 3.7, secondary journal, and a district court clerkship lined up after graduation. Not part of fed soc or any extracurricular group for that matter. Although I had a lot of luck with interviews and offers with district judges, I'm not getting much traction with COA judges apart from a few screeners that didn't pan out. Like OP, I'm also wondering whether I should continue applying with the mindset that things may not pan out and I can try again after a few years of work experience.
At NYU/CLS, 3.65-3.7 is solidly Top 25% but not Top 10%. So I would not call that mediocre at all. Mediocre would be below median, so like 3.33 or lower.

You have a shot at a CoA clerkship with a 3.65 coming from a T6 with work experience, especially if you apply very broadly including in random places like Wyoming, Iowa, etc.
Ehhh I think you're underestimating the competitiveness of CA8, CA10, etc. unless maybe if you have serious ties or a serious connection. There are judges who are willing to go down to top 25% at HYSC for a local, but it's much tougher to see that working out for a non-HYSC student with no connection to the area. There's just no reason to hire that person over the valedictorian of Iowa or CU or a clerk for a local DJ.

I think a district court clerkship is a significant plus for a lot of judges though, especially if your DJ is well-connected and goes to bat, so it's worth applying.
I think top 25% at S or Y is competitive for nearly all of the judges in 5, 6, 10, 11 etc.
Different poster. I think this understates the competitiveness of flyover clerkships. If you apply broadly from the top 25% at Y/S you may get some 6th Circuit clerkship, but it won't be with a conservative feeder (Sutton, Thapar, Kethledge, Larsen, maybe Murphy) or leading liberal (Cole, Moore, Clay, maybe Stranch). Ditto the other circuits, although some (like the 8th Circuit) are more grade flexible than others (like the 5th Circuit).

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Re: Do Circuit Court Judges Dip in Grades Hiring 2-3 Years Out?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 09, 2022 9:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 9:33 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 7:00 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 8:48 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 5:30 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 4:03 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 10:08 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 1:44 am
Title says it all. I had mediocre grades from a T6, no law review. If I clerk for 2 years at the district court and/or state appellate level with a couple years of work experience will any circuit judges consider my app? Assume I can get good LORs from judges and bosses.
Your odds improve with the work experience but nothing will fully make up for the mediocre grades. That said, I know someone who had mediocre grades at NYU and no law review but is a very dynamic, likeable person and she leveraged personal connections to get a third circuit clerkship after several years in biglaw after getting no interviews during 3L. So what you’re describing does happen.
Question: What are considered mediocre grades at a T14? I anticipate graduating with around a 3.65 to 3.7, secondary journal, and a district court clerkship lined up after graduation. Not part of fed soc or any extracurricular group for that matter. Although I had a lot of luck with interviews and offers with district judges, I'm not getting much traction with COA judges apart from a few screeners that didn't pan out. Like OP, I'm also wondering whether I should continue applying with the mindset that things may not pan out and I can try again after a few years of work experience.
At NYU/CLS, 3.65-3.7 is solidly Top 25% but not Top 10%. So I would not call that mediocre at all. Mediocre would be below median, so like 3.33 or lower.

You have a shot at a CoA clerkship with a 3.65 coming from a T6 with work experience, especially if you apply very broadly including in random places like Wyoming, Iowa, etc.
Ehhh I think you're underestimating the competitiveness of CA8, CA10, etc. unless maybe if you have serious ties or a serious connection. There are judges who are willing to go down to top 25% at HYSC for a local, but it's much tougher to see that working out for a non-HYSC student with no connection to the area. There's just no reason to hire that person over the valedictorian of Iowa or CU or a clerk for a local DJ.

I think a district court clerkship is a significant plus for a lot of judges though, especially if your DJ is well-connected and goes to bat, so it's worth applying.
I think top 25% at S or Y is competitive for nearly all of the judges in 5, 6, 10, 11 etc.
Different poster. I think this understates the competitiveness of flyover clerkships. If you apply broadly from the top 25% at Y/S you may get some 6th Circuit clerkship, but it won't be with a conservative feeder (Sutton, Thapar, Kethledge, Larsen, maybe Murphy) or leading liberal (Cole, Moore, Clay, maybe Stranch). Ditto the other circuits, although some (like the 8th Circuit) are more grade flexible than others (like the 5th Circuit).
I don't think this is true, at least at Y. You might not end up with a conservative feeder--but may very well end up with Larsen, Murphy, or any of the liberals.

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Re: Do Circuit Court Judges Dip in Grades Hiring 2-3 Years Out?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 09, 2022 9:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 9:33 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 7:00 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 8:48 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 5:30 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 4:03 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 10:08 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 1:44 am
Title says it all. I had mediocre grades from a T6, no law review. If I clerk for 2 years at the district court and/or state appellate level with a couple years of work experience will any circuit judges consider my app? Assume I can get good LORs from judges and bosses.
Your odds improve with the work experience but nothing will fully make up for the mediocre grades. That said, I know someone who had mediocre grades at NYU and no law review but is a very dynamic, likeable person and she leveraged personal connections to get a third circuit clerkship after several years in biglaw after getting no interviews during 3L. So what you’re describing does happen.
Question: What are considered mediocre grades at a T14? I anticipate graduating with around a 3.65 to 3.7, secondary journal, and a district court clerkship lined up after graduation. Not part of fed soc or any extracurricular group for that matter. Although I had a lot of luck with interviews and offers with district judges, I'm not getting much traction with COA judges apart from a few screeners that didn't pan out. Like OP, I'm also wondering whether I should continue applying with the mindset that things may not pan out and I can try again after a few years of work experience.
At NYU/CLS, 3.65-3.7 is solidly Top 25% but not Top 10%. So I would not call that mediocre at all. Mediocre would be below median, so like 3.33 or lower.

You have a shot at a CoA clerkship with a 3.65 coming from a T6 with work experience, especially if you apply very broadly including in random places like Wyoming, Iowa, etc.
Ehhh I think you're underestimating the competitiveness of CA8, CA10, etc. unless maybe if you have serious ties or a serious connection. There are judges who are willing to go down to top 25% at HYSC for a local, but it's much tougher to see that working out for a non-HYSC student with no connection to the area. There's just no reason to hire that person over the valedictorian of Iowa or CU or a clerk for a local DJ.

I think a district court clerkship is a significant plus for a lot of judges though, especially if your DJ is well-connected and goes to bat, so it's worth applying.
I think top 25% at S or Y is competitive for nearly all of the judges in 5, 6, 10, 11 etc.
Different poster. I think this understates the competitiveness of flyover clerkships. If you apply broadly from the top 25% at Y/S you may get some 6th Circuit clerkship, but it won't be with a conservative feeder (Sutton, Thapar, Kethledge, Larsen, maybe Murphy) or leading liberal (Cole, Moore, Clay, maybe Stranch). Ditto the other circuits, although some (like the 8th Circuit) are more grade flexible than others (like the 5th Circuit).
How can this be squared with the fact that both Gorsuch and Brown Jackson managed to clerk on SCOTUS without being in the top 10% of their class at HLS? They were both cum laude, not magna cum laude. Also, it's commonly accepted that Kavanaugh wasn't top 10% at YLS grades-wise, but he managed a SCOTUS clerkship too.

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Re: Do Circuit Court Judges Dip in Grades Hiring 2-3 Years Out?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 09, 2022 10:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 9:45 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 9:33 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 7:00 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 8:48 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 5:30 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 4:03 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 10:08 am


Your odds improve with the work experience but nothing will fully make up for the mediocre grades. That said, I know someone who had mediocre grades at NYU and no law review but is a very dynamic, likeable person and she leveraged personal connections to get a third circuit clerkship after several years in biglaw after getting no interviews during 3L. So what you’re describing does happen.
Question: What are considered mediocre grades at a T14? I anticipate graduating with around a 3.65 to 3.7, secondary journal, and a district court clerkship lined up after graduation. Not part of fed soc or any extracurricular group for that matter. Although I had a lot of luck with interviews and offers with district judges, I'm not getting much traction with COA judges apart from a few screeners that didn't pan out. Like OP, I'm also wondering whether I should continue applying with the mindset that things may not pan out and I can try again after a few years of work experience.
At NYU/CLS, 3.65-3.7 is solidly Top 25% but not Top 10%. So I would not call that mediocre at all. Mediocre would be below median, so like 3.33 or lower.

You have a shot at a CoA clerkship with a 3.65 coming from a T6 with work experience, especially if you apply very broadly including in random places like Wyoming, Iowa, etc.
Ehhh I think you're underestimating the competitiveness of CA8, CA10, etc. unless maybe if you have serious ties or a serious connection. There are judges who are willing to go down to top 25% at HYSC for a local, but it's much tougher to see that working out for a non-HYSC student with no connection to the area. There's just no reason to hire that person over the valedictorian of Iowa or CU or a clerk for a local DJ.

I think a district court clerkship is a significant plus for a lot of judges though, especially if your DJ is well-connected and goes to bat, so it's worth applying.
I think top 25% at S or Y is competitive for nearly all of the judges in 5, 6, 10, 11 etc.
Different poster. I think this understates the competitiveness of flyover clerkships. If you apply broadly from the top 25% at Y/S you may get some 6th Circuit clerkship, but it won't be with a conservative feeder (Sutton, Thapar, Kethledge, Larsen, maybe Murphy) or leading liberal (Cole, Moore, Clay, maybe Stranch). Ditto the other circuits, although some (like the 8th Circuit) are more grade flexible than others (like the 5th Circuit).
How can this be squared with the fact that both Gorsuch and Brown Jackson managed to clerk on SCOTUS without being in the top 10% of their class at HLS? They were both cum laude, not magna cum laude. Also, it's commonly accepted that Kavanaugh wasn't top 10% at YLS grades-wise, but he managed a SCOTUS clerkship too.
Cum laude grads somewhat regularly land SCOTUS in unusual circumstances. All three justices had somewhat unusual circumstances.

NMG was a Marshall Scholar and clerked for Byron White, who was (a) retired and (b) from Denver. “Rhodes/Marshall” and “from my hometown” are mega-pluses for most judges, and retired justices tend to be a tad less selective (see: AMK’s post-retirement hires).

Kavanaugh was originally not a serious SCOTUS clerk candidate, but landed an immediate-start spot with Kozinski because Alex Azar quit in murky circumstances, and Kozinski landed him SCOTUS.

Jackson is the least unusual—as a Black woman who was cum laude at HLS, magna at Harvard undergrad, and a national forensics champion in high school, she was a very, very strong SCOTUS candidate.

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Re: Do Circuit Court Judges Dip in Grades Hiring 2-3 Years Out?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 09, 2022 10:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 9:41 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 9:33 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 7:00 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 8:48 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 5:30 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 4:03 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 10:08 am


Your odds improve with the work experience but nothing will fully make up for the mediocre grades. That said, I know someone who had mediocre grades at NYU and no law review but is a very dynamic, likeable person and she leveraged personal connections to get a third circuit clerkship after several years in biglaw after getting no interviews during 3L. So what you’re describing does happen.
Question: What are considered mediocre grades at a T14? I anticipate graduating with around a 3.65 to 3.7, secondary journal, and a district court clerkship lined up after graduation. Not part of fed soc or any extracurricular group for that matter. Although I had a lot of luck with interviews and offers with district judges, I'm not getting much traction with COA judges apart from a few screeners that didn't pan out. Like OP, I'm also wondering whether I should continue applying with the mindset that things may not pan out and I can try again after a few years of work experience.
At NYU/CLS, 3.65-3.7 is solidly Top 25% but not Top 10%. So I would not call that mediocre at all. Mediocre would be below median, so like 3.33 or lower.

You have a shot at a CoA clerkship with a 3.65 coming from a T6 with work experience, especially if you apply very broadly including in random places like Wyoming, Iowa, etc.
Ehhh I think you're underestimating the competitiveness of CA8, CA10, etc. unless maybe if you have serious ties or a serious connection. There are judges who are willing to go down to top 25% at HYSC for a local, but it's much tougher to see that working out for a non-HYSC student with no connection to the area. There's just no reason to hire that person over the valedictorian of Iowa or CU or a clerk for a local DJ.

I think a district court clerkship is a significant plus for a lot of judges though, especially if your DJ is well-connected and goes to bat, so it's worth applying.
I think top 25% at S or Y is competitive for nearly all of the judges in 5, 6, 10, 11 etc.
Different poster. I think this understates the competitiveness of flyover clerkships. If you apply broadly from the top 25% at Y/S you may get some 6th Circuit clerkship, but it won't be with a conservative feeder (Sutton, Thapar, Kethledge, Larsen, maybe Murphy) or leading liberal (Cole, Moore, Clay, maybe Stranch). Ditto the other circuits, although some (like the 8th Circuit) are more grade flexible than others (like the 5th Circuit).
I don't think this is true, at least at Y. You might not end up with a conservative feeder--but may very well end up with Larsen, Murphy, or any of the liberals.
If you’re at Yale, too 25%, *and in Fed Soc* you might land Larsen or Murphy, sure, but that’s just a specific application of the general principle that YLS Fed Soc students are super-special snowflakes the normal laws of gravity often do not apply to on the clerkship market.

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Re: Do Circuit Court Judges Dip in Grades Hiring 2-3 Years Out?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 09, 2022 10:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 7:00 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 8:48 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 5:30 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 4:03 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 10:08 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 1:44 am
Title says it all. I had mediocre grades from a T6, no law review. If I clerk for 2 years at the district court and/or state appellate level with a couple years of work experience will any circuit judges consider my app? Assume I can get good LORs from judges and bosses.
Your odds improve with the work experience but nothing will fully make up for the mediocre grades. That said, I know someone who had mediocre grades at NYU and no law review but is a very dynamic, likeable person and she leveraged personal connections to get a third circuit clerkship after several years in biglaw after getting no interviews during 3L. So what you’re describing does happen.
Question: What are considered mediocre grades at a T14? I anticipate graduating with around a 3.65 to 3.7, secondary journal, and a district court clerkship lined up after graduation. Not part of fed soc or any extracurricular group for that matter. Although I had a lot of luck with interviews and offers with district judges, I'm not getting much traction with COA judges apart from a few screeners that didn't pan out. Like OP, I'm also wondering whether I should continue applying with the mindset that things may not pan out and I can try again after a few years of work experience.
At NYU/CLS, 3.65-3.7 is solidly Top 25% but not Top 10%. So I would not call that mediocre at all. Mediocre would be below median, so like 3.33 or lower.

You have a shot at a CoA clerkship with a 3.65 coming from a T6 with work experience, especially if you apply very broadly including in random places like Wyoming, Iowa, etc.
Ehhh I think you're underestimating the competitiveness of CA8, CA10, etc. unless maybe if you have serious ties or a serious connection. There are judges who are willing to go down to top 25% at HYSC for a local, but it's much tougher to see that working out for a non-HYSC student with no connection to the area. There's just no reason to hire that person over the valedictorian of Iowa or CU or a clerk for a local DJ.

I think a district court clerkship is a significant plus for a lot of judges though, especially if your DJ is well-connected and goes to bat, so it's worth applying.
I think top 25% at S or Y is competitive for nearly all of the judges in 5, 6, 10, 11 etc.
This definitely isn’t true—a large proportion of judges on 5, 6, and 11 are very grade-selective by any standard. 8 and 10 less so, but a good number of the judges there have very strong local ties preferences—like I wouldn’t be surprised if Melloy took a straight Ps YLS student as long as they were from Dubuque.

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Re: Do Circuit Court Judges Dip in Grades Hiring 2-3 Years Out?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 09, 2022 10:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 9:45 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 9:33 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 7:00 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 8:48 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 5:30 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 4:03 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 10:08 am


Your odds improve with the work experience but nothing will fully make up for the mediocre grades. That said, I know someone who had mediocre grades at NYU and no law review but is a very dynamic, likeable person and she leveraged personal connections to get a third circuit clerkship after several years in biglaw after getting no interviews during 3L. So what you’re describing does happen.
Question: What are considered mediocre grades at a T14? I anticipate graduating with around a 3.65 to 3.7, secondary journal, and a district court clerkship lined up after graduation. Not part of fed soc or any extracurricular group for that matter. Although I had a lot of luck with interviews and offers with district judges, I'm not getting much traction with COA judges apart from a few screeners that didn't pan out. Like OP, I'm also wondering whether I should continue applying with the mindset that things may not pan out and I can try again after a few years of work experience.
At NYU/CLS, 3.65-3.7 is solidly Top 25% but not Top 10%. So I would not call that mediocre at all. Mediocre would be below median, so like 3.33 or lower.

You have a shot at a CoA clerkship with a 3.65 coming from a T6 with work experience, especially if you apply very broadly including in random places like Wyoming, Iowa, etc.
Ehhh I think you're underestimating the competitiveness of CA8, CA10, etc. unless maybe if you have serious ties or a serious connection. There are judges who are willing to go down to top 25% at HYSC for a local, but it's much tougher to see that working out for a non-HYSC student with no connection to the area. There's just no reason to hire that person over the valedictorian of Iowa or CU or a clerk for a local DJ.

I think a district court clerkship is a significant plus for a lot of judges though, especially if your DJ is well-connected and goes to bat, so it's worth applying.
I think top 25% at S or Y is competitive for nearly all of the judges in 5, 6, 10, 11 etc.
Different poster. I think this understates the competitiveness of flyover clerkships. If you apply broadly from the top 25% at Y/S you may get some 6th Circuit clerkship, but it won't be with a conservative feeder (Sutton, Thapar, Kethledge, Larsen, maybe Murphy) or leading liberal (Cole, Moore, Clay, maybe Stranch). Ditto the other circuits, although some (like the 8th Circuit) are more grade flexible than others (like the 5th Circuit).
How can this be squared with the fact that both Gorsuch and Brown Jackson managed to clerk on SCOTUS without being in the top 10% of their class at HLS? They were both cum laude, not magna cum laude. Also, it's commonly accepted that Kavanaugh wasn't top 10% at YLS grades-wise, but he managed a SCOTUS clerkship too.
There's a difference between narrowly missing top 10% and being at the 25% line. The justices had strong recs, unique plus factors, and they all got lucky breaks (like Kavanaugh clerking for Kozinski after a classmate quit midyear). I'd also guess that competition for regional feeders has increased to keep up with the SCOTUS signing bonus. A year in Alabama sounds better with $400,000 at the other end.

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Re: Do Circuit Court Judges Dip in Grades Hiring 2-3 Years Out?

Post by jdoeman1234567 » Tue May 10, 2022 10:43 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 1:44 am
Title says it all. I had mediocre grades from a T6, no law review. If I clerk for 2 years at the district court and/or state appellate level with a couple years of work experience will any circuit judges consider my app? Assume I can get good LORs from judges and bosses.
Based on the data I've seen from my (Non-HYSC) school, it seems like a good number of circuit judges are willing to dip in grades for DJ clerks. Not necessarily down to median, but I see a lot of cum laude grads (and some with no honors) landing circuit court clerkships after their district clerkships. If you really want appellate, I'd recommend shooting for a two year DJ clerkship. These are usually less competitive and after two years at the district level, you probably have a shot in the circuit where your DJ sits if your district judge is well connected and willing to go to bat for you. And you can ask the DJ for help after about 6-8 months into that clerkship and try to line up a circuit clerkship for right after.

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Re: Do Circuit Court Judges Dip in Grades Hiring 2-3 Years Out?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri May 13, 2022 10:20 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 12:58 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 12:47 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 12:44 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 12:00 pm
Possible, sure, but when reviewing applications we always looked hard at grades, no matter how long someone had been out. Did it matter less if they'd been practicing for three years? Perhaps at the margins, but just because you've been practicing doesn't mean you're any good whereas grades are an easier metric to assess.
They measure how much shit a student can regurgitate from their outline in 3-4 hours while typing like a madman. Why is that a better metric of a quality applicant than someone whose successfully practiced for a few years?
It's hard to tell if someone truly "successfully" practiced. Also, I would argue that law school exams are a better barometer of skill in a clerkship than being a junior associate law firm minion mindlessly doing doc review and drafting email correspondence for senior associates.
True. I suppose I have a different perspective since I'm not in biglaw. I've done a lot of substantive research and writing in my first year of practice and I'd hope that a judge would see that as more indicative of my potential as a clerk than my B in Torts and Crim during my 1L year.
This would probably help if you have a great writing sample from your work to back up your skill/substantive work. Most biglaw applicants don't, so they submit law school samples (if they've been out 1-2 years), which gives little insight into their practice ability, which means we're back to looking at grades as a central piece of the app.

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