Chances of a judicial clerkship? Forum

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Chances of a judicial clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 16, 2022 5:40 pm

My career office hasn't been responsive and I'm looking for advice. I have a low 3.2 at a T-14 (think of the last half), and I've recently started to apply for clerkships. Do I even have a chance, though? I've been applying to anything available in OSCAR and what the clerkship office lists for states I'm interested in living in. I've worked in lit since my 1L summer, with clinic my 2L year and I'm staying on clinic again this year. I worked in lit at a midsized firm this past summer. Any stories of success landing a clerkship below median, on secondary journal? Would I have a chance after working for a year or 2 at a firm? I was told to look at magistrate but I'm not sure if I'm competitive

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Re: Chances of a judicial clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 16, 2022 5:45 pm

So you're a 3L right? Number one concern is trying to kill it and get that gpa above median if that is possible. More to your question. Do you have any connections to non-competitive "fly-over" districts. I.e. did you grow in Nebraska or something? If so, use that connection and apply to district courts. Would also add that you should not, in your position, overlook state trial or intermediate appellate courts and federal magistrates because 1) they can be great clerkships and 2) help you stand out and get a federal district clerkship. If I had to guess, circuit clerkships are going to be nigh impossible but I truly think you have a non-zero chance at magistrate/state trial/intermediate appellate.

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Re: Chances of a judicial clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 16, 2022 6:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Sep 16, 2022 5:45 pm
So you're a 3L right? Number one concern is trying to kill it and get that gpa above median if that is possible. More to your question. Do you have any connections to non-competitive "fly-over" districts. I.e. did you grow in Nebraska or something? If so, use that connection and apply to district courts. Would also add that you should not, in your position, overlook state trial or intermediate appellate courts and federal magistrates because 1) they can be great clerkships and 2) help you stand out and get a federal district clerkship. If I had to guess, circuit clerkships are going to be nigh impossible but I truly think you have a non-zero chance at magistrate/state trial/intermediate appellate.
Yeah, 3L now. This year I'm only taking classes that aren't curved and after running numbers, I think it's possible to graduate with a mid to high 3.3, which should place me barely at median I think. My GPA has gone up since the first semester, but not much since I've taken evidence, federal jurisdiction, admin, and other curved classes for my 2L (I should've known better...). I have ties to 3 "fly-over" states but I've only seen one listing for a magistrate in one so far. I'm applying to other districts in non-popular states, I'm not being picky. I'm targeting magistrate and district courts, and I'll continue to search for state clerkships, thanks for the advice. I'm trying to get realistic advice/expectations, I'm hoping for a district or federal magistrate but I'm not sure if it can work out, but thank you for your input

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Re: Chances of a judicial clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 16, 2022 6:31 pm

Have you considered clerking for magistrate? I know they are less GPA heavy. Could do one year with mag and its a great way to get district court.

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Re: Chances of a judicial clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 16, 2022 6:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Sep 16, 2022 6:31 pm
Have you considered clerking for magistrate? I know they are less GPA heavy. Could do one year with mag and its a great way to get district court.
I'm hoping that the path you suggested works out. I do have a question, if you or anyone else can help: can I apply to magistrate judges that require 3 years of grades?

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Re: Chances of a judicial clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 16, 2022 7:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Sep 16, 2022 6:19 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Sep 16, 2022 5:45 pm
So you're a 3L right? Number one concern is trying to kill it and get that gpa above median if that is possible. More to your question. Do you have any connections to non-competitive "fly-over" districts. I.e. did you grow in Nebraska or something? If so, use that connection and apply to district courts. Would also add that you should not, in your position, overlook state trial or intermediate appellate courts and federal magistrates because 1) they can be great clerkships and 2) help you stand out and get a federal district clerkship. If I had to guess, circuit clerkships are going to be nigh impossible but I truly think you have a non-zero chance at magistrate/state trial/intermediate appellate.
Yeah, 3L now. This year I'm only taking classes that aren't curved and after running numbers, I think it's possible to graduate with a mid to high 3.3, which should place me barely at median I think. My GPA has gone up since the first semester, but not much since I've taken evidence, federal jurisdiction, admin, and other curved classes for my 2L (I should've known better...). I have ties to 3 "fly-over" states but I've only seen one listing for a magistrate in one so far. I'm applying to other districts in non-popular states, I'm not being picky. I'm targeting magistrate and district courts, and I'll continue to search for state clerkships, thanks for the advice. I'm trying to get realistic advice/expectations, I'm hoping for a district or federal magistrate but I'm not sure if it can work out, but thank you for your input
Don't wait for postings for said flyover mags. See if you can send paper/email apps and note connection in cover letter.

Also don't apply to mags that require 3 years of letters grades. If they explicitly have that requirement they have it for a reason and your app isn't strong enough to be disregarding explicit instructions (very few people's are).

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Re: Chances of a judicial clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 16, 2022 7:36 pm

Research state courts in states you have ties to. Ideally you have connections there you can work, or at least alums you can cold call to ask for advice on state court clerkships. I think you’d be competitive for state intermediate appellate court clerkships even if not SSCs.

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Re: Chances of a judicial clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 16, 2022 8:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Sep 16, 2022 7:36 pm
Research state courts in states you have ties to. Ideally you have connections there you can work, or at least alums you can cold call to ask for advice on state court clerkships. I think you’d be competitive for state intermediate appellate court clerkships even if not SSCs.
I suspect SSCs is going to be hard even with local connections. OP should still apply (OP should also apply to District judges and hell even COAs—zero cost), but to the extent he/she can use connections I'd focus on magistrates and state trial/intermediate appellate.

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Re: Chances of a judicial clerkship?

Post by jotarokujo » Sat Sep 17, 2022 12:57 pm

you are have a decent shot at magistrates if you apply broadly, including places where you don't have ties and for two year terms

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Re: Chances of a judicial clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Oct 04, 2022 11:59 pm

OP here. I just wanted to thank everyone for the suggestions. I didn't think of cold-emailing courts where I have ties, and this tip's been very helpful. I'll try to provide an update. Hopefully, this thread helps someone in a similar position as mine down the line. I've seen some good results so far, which is encouraging

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Re: Chances of a judicial clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Oct 05, 2022 10:58 am

I’m just going to share my stats/characteristics to give people hope:

1) non-t-14, but in top 30;

2) not top 1/3 and my school does not go lower than that, but Dean’s List for 3 semesters (once each year);

3) did not use any professor as recs. I had my a) my former managing partner (who I did substantial work for) b) my mentor/ prior supervising attorney who is now a Judge; c) my current d.Ct. Judge;

4) solid writer (think top brief at law school competitions; cali legal writing classes; published in numerous journals; won several legal writing awards) BUT not law review;

5) okay interviewer - but certainly have messed up in the past. I find that if I over prepare, then I do worse. I also try to talk less and really listen to the interviewer’s questions. I may have more experience when answering substantive questions. But I do not dance around my answers.

6) non-urm

7) I would say I have little to no connections - family is not in politics (or has the ability to influence politics). No friends or family in the law. Come from working middle class.

Results: dct clerkship in my region with a Judge who will be around for a while (not SDNY or a super competitive district, but not in the middle of nowhere)

Appellate clerkship in my goal region with a Judge who will be around for awhile. (Not DC, 2nd, competitive 9th spots, nor a true feeder). But my Judge was my first interview and I was offered relatively early, so I withdrew all my apps.

Don’t give up. Apply everywhere you are comfortable going.

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Re: Chances of a judicial clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Oct 05, 2022 11:15 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Oct 05, 2022 10:58 am
3) b) my mentor/ prior supervising attorney who is now a Judge; c) my current d.Ct. Judge;

7) I would say I have little to no connections
hmm...

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