Unsure Whether To Keep Applying/Interviewing for Clerkships Forum

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Unsure Whether To Keep Applying/Interviewing for Clerkships

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 13, 2022 10:11 am

Hello! I know this isn't 100% the best place to ask this question, but since there are basically zero places online to ask advice about legal academia, I figure I'd try here since my dilemma involves clerkships.

I graduated law school back in 2021, and have been doing a PI fellowship since then in my interest area. My ultimate goal is legal academia. I've published a few pieces (my latest being an article in a T25 law review), and have a few more in the works. During 2022-23, I'll be clerking on a federal district court.

I've been gearing up to apply for academic fellowships this fall, all of which would begin in the fall of 2023. I'll be pretty much blanket applying to all the big ones (think Climenko, Bigelow, Sharswood, etc.). I have a good deal of support from my recommenders, and while I don't have a PhD I think my research agenda will be pretty sound by the time I apply. All in all, I'm pretty excited to get my name out there, even if the chances of getting one of the fellowships is low.

However, I also have federal appellate and SSC applications out there for the 2023-24 term, many of which I applied to months ago and have kinda forgotten about. And, because of my desire to do an academic fellowship, I've started to think that I don't really want to try for a second clerkship.

This morning, though, I received an offer to interview for to clerk for a justice on a pretty prestigious SSC (NYCOA/MSJC/NJSC level), and I'm not sure what to do. Like, if I were to interview and get it, that'd mean I'd have to delay my attempt to get an academic fellowship by another year. And that'd be another year of moving to a random location only to move once the clerkship is over. At the same time, I think it may be stupid to turn down a potential good opportunity like this only because I want to gun for academic fellowships a few months from now? I don't know. I have no one to really talk to about this at the moment and I'm so torn on what to do.


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Re: Unsure Whether To Keep Applying/Interviewing for Clerkships

Post by nixy » Mon Jun 13, 2022 11:37 am

I think this is mostly a personal decision; there are pros/cons to both options. How would you feel/what would you do if you turned down the SSC clerkship (if offered of course) and then didn’t get a fellowship?

One thing is that the fellowships come round again every year, so it’s not either/or - it’s apply now or apply later. I can’t see taking another year to do the clerkship as hurting your fellowship applications and it might give you the opportunity to get some more publications (as well as the usual benefits of a SSC clerkship).

That said, if you don’t want to move around anymore and aren’t interested, I think it’s fair to pass, as long as you have an alternate backup plan for if the fellowship doesn’t happen.

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Re: Unsure Whether To Keep Applying/Interviewing for Clerkships

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 21, 2022 9:40 am

Thanks for the advice, nixy. I think I'm leaning toward not doing the clerkship, but curious to see if anyone else has thoughts.

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