When to apply for clerkships/what classes to take? Forum

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When to apply for clerkships/what classes to take?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Aug 14, 2023 11:22 am

Hello everyone! I'm a rising 2L at a T14 and definitely interested in getting a federal clerkship after law school (though I'm slowly realizing just how competitive they are). Ideally I'd like to clerk right out of law school, but would be open to working for 1-2 years and then clerking. I'd mostly be going for a COA clerkship or a competitive/semi-competitive district court. And I'm definitely liberal, but would be open to clerking for a conservative judge. So, two questions:

1. When should I start applying? It seems like the common timeline is to get application materials together during the summer after 2L and then apply using OSCAR. So, should I be doing anything before that? Applying to judges now who don't use the plan? Make sure I send an application throughout 2L to any judge who has just recently been confirmed? Would it be bad to apply to anyone with just 1/1.5 years of grades?

2. How should I decide what classes to take during the latter half of law school? To me, it feels like there are four main concerns here: (1) taking classes that judges will want to see before you clerk (Fed Courts, Evidence, etc...), (2) taking classes with easier curves to boost grades as much as possible, (3) taking classes with "clouty" professors who are well-known and that may impress a judge, and (4) taking classes with professors who will really go to bat for you and email/call a judge when you apply. How should I weigh these 4 concerns when choosing classes?

Thank you! Any input is greatly appreciated. I genuinely can't tell whether I'm being too neurotic stressing about this before starting 2L, or if my peers are way ahead of me and I should be thinking about this right now.

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Re: When to apply for clerkships/what classes to take?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Aug 14, 2023 11:48 am

1. Which tier of T14
2. What are your current grades
3. Do you have ties to any district/circuit you’ll apply to
4. Do you have any plus factors not mentioned (URM, impressive pre law experiences, etc.)
5. Do you have any good recommenders already lined up
6. Are you on law review

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Re: When to apply for clerkships/what classes to take?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Aug 14, 2023 12:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2023 11:48 am
1. Which tier of T14
2. What are your current grades
3. Do you have ties to any district/circuit you’ll apply to
4. Do you have any plus factors not mentioned (URM, impressive pre law experiences, etc.)
5. Do you have any good recommenders already lined up
6. Are you on law review
1. HYS
2. Above median, but definitely not top 10%. Grades are probably top 25-40%? Hard to tell, but definitely above median.
3. No serious connections other than geography. I'm interested in applying for the District Court in the district where I grew up my entire life, as well as the one where I go to law school. Both pretty competitive, but less so than SDNY.
4. Nope! No plus factors.
5. Nope! Wasn't great at getting to know professors during 1L, so my current plan is to make heavy efforts to get close with professors during 2L.
6. Nope! E-board of two secondaries, but no law review.

Thanks for the help :)

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Re: When to apply for clerkships/what classes to take?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Aug 14, 2023 9:04 pm

Seems like a stretch to go for circuit or competitive district if you’re at Harvard but I’m at a T6 so maybe someone from HYS can better advise

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Re: When to apply for clerkships/what classes to take?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Aug 14, 2023 9:13 pm

You're in the running for a clerkship, but I think you need to re-evaluate your goals and apply more broadly as you are vastly underestimating the competitiveness of the clerkship game. Outside of the top 25% at any school either than Yale is not going to really cut it for competitive districts and COA. The key thing you need to know is that if you're serious about this and want it to be after you graduate or 1-2 years after you graduate you need to apply very broadly in districts.

As far as classes to take, here are some classes that are typically not required that my chambers wanted to see: Evidence, Criminal Procedure, Federal Courts, Corporations, Admin Law. Then we also wanted most of your transcript to be other BLLs and while it is ok to have Shakespeare and the law type classes, you should really limit those to once a semester if anything. My judge honestly didn't want to see any of those classes period because his view was you can read Shakespeare on your own time. I do think on the spectrum of judges who close read transcripts he was one of the more sticklers, but a lot of the clerks and judges are going to look for something approximating what I just wrote.

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Re: When to apply for clerkships/what classes to take?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Aug 14, 2023 9:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2023 9:13 pm
You're in the running for a clerkship, but I think you need to re-evaluate your goals and apply more broadly as you are vastly underestimating the competitiveness of the clerkship game. Outside of the top 25% at any school either than Yale is not going to really cut it for competitive districts and COA. The key thing you need to know is that if you're serious about this and want it to be after you graduate or 1-2 years after you graduate you need to apply very broadly in districts.

As far as classes to take, here are some classes that are typically not required that my chambers wanted to see: Evidence, Criminal Procedure, Federal Courts, Corporations, Admin Law. Then we also wanted most of your transcript to be other BLLs and while it is ok to have Shakespeare and the law type classes, you should really limit those to once a semester if anything. My judge honestly didn't want to see any of those classes period because his view was you can read Shakespeare on your own time. I do think on the spectrum of judges who close read transcripts he was one of the more sticklers, but a lot of the clerks and judges are going to look for something approximating what I just wrote.
Same for my flyover chambers. Take real law classes and learn. We heavily discounted good grades with soft classes

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Re: When to apply for clerkships/what classes to take?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Aug 14, 2023 10:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2023 9:04 pm
Seems like a stretch to go for circuit or competitive district if you’re at Harvard but I’m at a T6 so maybe someone from HYS can better advise
HLS grad. Circuit and competitive district are both doable from cum laude (even without HLR) at HLS but it's no guarantee and you need to apply broadly in terms of start date and geography to maximize your chances.

A lot of this depends on where OP is in terms of grades. Top 40% is typically ~3.65 and top 25% is probably around a ~3.8low. Close to 3.65, it's going to be kinda unrealistic. Close to a 3.8, going to be doable.

---

2L class selection and grades are going to be particularly important for you.

- Need to take fed courts (or sign up for first semester 3L so its on the application transcript) with either Goldsmith or Fallon, Evidence (doesn't matter with who) and Admin (same).

- Other classes are more fungible and should balance BLL with seminar. Anything with Lazarus or Klarman can be good for LOR purposes. Appellate Advocacy is a good j-term class since it gets you a writing sample and Wolfman is great. Conflicts with Sachs is hard and competitive but looks good. Conflicts with Singer is a free H. CCL with Clary is good. Practitioner classes (Gershengorn, McCraw, Raul) are often easy Hs and it seems like the practitioners are more down to call for students than profs.

Being liberal complicates things - from what I gather from friends, a decent number of the Biden appointees are not all that interested in hiring people that lacks "pluses." If you are serious about applying to conservatives, keep liberal signals off your resume, take some classes indicating at least an academic interest in originalism and maybe have a recommender who skews right.

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Re: When to apply for clerkships/what classes to take?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 15, 2023 8:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2023 10:00 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2023 9:04 pm
Seems like a stretch to go for circuit or competitive district if you’re at Harvard but I’m at a T6 so maybe someone from HYS can better advise
HLS grad. Circuit and competitive district are both doable from cum laude (even without HLR) at HLS but it's no guarantee and you need to apply broadly in terms of start date and geography to maximize your chances.

A lot of this depends on where OP is in terms of grades. Top 40% is typically ~3.65 and top 25% is probably around a ~3.8low. Close to 3.65, it's going to be kinda unrealistic. Close to a 3.8, going to be doable.

---

2L class selection and grades are going to be particularly important for you.

- Need to take fed courts (or sign up for first semester 3L so its on the application transcript) with either Goldsmith or Fallon, Evidence (doesn't matter with who) and Admin (same).

- Other classes are more fungible and should balance BLL with seminar. Anything with Lazarus or Klarman can be good for LOR purposes. Appellate Advocacy is a good j-term class since it gets you a writing sample and Wolfman is great. Conflicts with Sachs is hard and competitive but looks good. Conflicts with Singer is a free H. CCL with Clary is good. Practitioner classes (Gershengorn, McCraw, Raul) are often easy Hs and it seems like the practitioners are more down to call for students than profs.

Being liberal complicates things - from what I gather from friends, a decent number of the Biden appointees are not all that interested in hiring people that lacks "pluses." If you are serious about applying to conservatives, keep liberal signals off your resume, take some classes indicating at least an academic interest in originalism and maybe have a recommender who skews right.
HLS grad clerking for a liberal and a conservative judge here — just wanted to say that this is stellar advice as I agree with all of it. Would add advanced administrative law as a good seminar. Also corporations as a blackletter.

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Re: When to apply for clerkships/what classes to take?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 15, 2023 3:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2023 10:00 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2023 9:04 pm
Seems like a stretch to go for circuit or competitive district if you’re at Harvard but I’m at a T6 so maybe someone from HYS can better advise
HLS grad. Circuit and competitive district are both doable from cum laude (even without HLR) at HLS but it's no guarantee and you need to apply broadly in terms of start date and geography to maximize your chances.

A lot of this depends on where OP is in terms of grades. Top 40% is typically ~3.65 and top 25% is probably around a ~3.8low. Close to 3.65, it's going to be kinda unrealistic. Close to a 3.8, going to be doable.

---

2L class selection and grades are going to be particularly important for you.

- Need to take fed courts (or sign up for first semester 3L so its on the application transcript) with either Goldsmith or Fallon, Evidence (doesn't matter with who) and Admin (same).

- Other classes are more fungible and should balance BLL with seminar. Anything with Lazarus or Klarman can be good for LOR purposes. Appellate Advocacy is a good j-term class since it gets you a writing sample and Wolfman is great. Conflicts with Sachs is hard and competitive but looks good. Conflicts with Singer is a free H. CCL with Clary is good. Practitioner classes (Gershengorn, McCraw, Raul) are often easy Hs and it seems like the practitioners are more down to call for students than profs.

Being liberal complicates things - from what I gather from friends, a decent number of the Biden appointees are not all that interested in hiring people that lacks "pluses." If you are serious about applying to conservatives, keep liberal signals off your resume, take some classes indicating at least an academic interest in originalism and maybe have a recommender who skews right.
OP here. Thank you so much for the great advice--as you guessed it, I'm at Harvard. Two more questions if you have the time:

1. I'm signed up for a clinic w/ corresponding class next semester, so my next semester schedule is 2 BLL classes, 1 Clinic, and 1 Clinic class. How do judges view clinics? Would I be better off dropping the clinic and going for 3 BLL classes and 1 seminar?

2. Would clerking even be a good idea if it's not at a competitive district/CoA? I already have a BL position secured and am hoping to do the standard BL route. Will try for partner, but obviously I have no idea if that's an environment I'll thrive in and making partner just seems unrealistic. So would foregoing that salary for a year (or two) still be a good idea, even if it's not one of the more "competitive" clerkships?

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Re: When to apply for clerkships/what classes to take?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 15, 2023 8:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Aug 15, 2023 3:48 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2023 10:00 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2023 9:04 pm
Seems like a stretch to go for circuit or competitive district if you’re at Harvard but I’m at a T6 so maybe someone from HYS can better advise
HLS grad. Circuit and competitive district are both doable from cum laude (even without HLR) at HLS but it's no guarantee and you need to apply broadly in terms of start date and geography to maximize your chances.

A lot of this depends on where OP is in terms of grades. Top 40% is typically ~3.65 and top 25% is probably around a ~3.8low. Close to 3.65, it's going to be kinda unrealistic. Close to a 3.8, going to be doable.

---

2L class selection and grades are going to be particularly important for you.

- Need to take fed courts (or sign up for first semester 3L so its on the application transcript) with either Goldsmith or Fallon, Evidence (doesn't matter with who) and Admin (same).

- Other classes are more fungible and should balance BLL with seminar. Anything with Lazarus or Klarman can be good for LOR purposes. Appellate Advocacy is a good j-term class since it gets you a writing sample and Wolfman is great. Conflicts with Sachs is hard and competitive but looks good. Conflicts with Singer is a free H. CCL with Clary is good. Practitioner classes (Gershengorn, McCraw, Raul) are often easy Hs and it seems like the practitioners are more down to call for students than profs.

Being liberal complicates things - from what I gather from friends, a decent number of the Biden appointees are not all that interested in hiring people that lacks "pluses." If you are serious about applying to conservatives, keep liberal signals off your resume, take some classes indicating at least an academic interest in originalism and maybe have a recommender who skews right.
OP here. Thank you so much for the great advice--as you guessed it, I'm at Harvard. Two more questions if you have the time:

1. I'm signed up for a clinic w/ corresponding class next semester, so my next semester schedule is 2 BLL classes, 1 Clinic, and 1 Clinic class. How do judges view clinics? Would I be better off dropping the clinic and going for 3 BLL classes and 1 seminar?

2. Would clerking even be a good idea if it's not at a competitive district/CoA? I already have a BL position secured and am hoping to do the standard BL route. Will try for partner, but obviously I have no idea if that's an environment I'll thrive in and making partner just seems unrealistic. So would foregoing that salary for a year (or two) still be a good idea, even if it's not one of the more "competitive" clerkships?
If your goal is partner just clerk somewhere for a year. I really don't think biglaw firms make partnership decisions based on the prestigiousness of someone's clerkship. One is more than enough and a second one will have diminishing value and also give you less time to build connections. Your grades dont really give you the leeway to only apply for competitive clerkships, I would just apply to a bunch and (hopefully) snag one and then when you enter your law firm, hit the ground running and really kill it and build the necessary connections for partnership.

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Re: When to apply for clerkships/what classes to take?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Aug 16, 2023 8:32 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Aug 15, 2023 3:48 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2023 10:00 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2023 9:04 pm
Seems like a stretch to go for circuit or competitive district if you’re at Harvard but I’m at a T6 so maybe someone from HYS can better advise
HLS grad. Circuit and competitive district are both doable from cum laude (even without HLR) at HLS but it's no guarantee and you need to apply broadly in terms of start date and geography to maximize your chances.

A lot of this depends on where OP is in terms of grades. Top 40% is typically ~3.65 and top 25% is probably around a ~3.8low. Close to 3.65, it's going to be kinda unrealistic. Close to a 3.8, going to be doable.

---

2L class selection and grades are going to be particularly important for you.

- Need to take fed courts (or sign up for first semester 3L so its on the application transcript) with either Goldsmith or Fallon, Evidence (doesn't matter with who) and Admin (same).

- Other classes are more fungible and should balance BLL with seminar. Anything with Lazarus or Klarman can be good for LOR purposes. Appellate Advocacy is a good j-term class since it gets you a writing sample and Wolfman is great. Conflicts with Sachs is hard and competitive but looks good. Conflicts with Singer is a free H. CCL with Clary is good. Practitioner classes (Gershengorn, McCraw, Raul) are often easy Hs and it seems like the practitioners are more down to call for students than profs.

Being liberal complicates things - from what I gather from friends, a decent number of the Biden appointees are not all that interested in hiring people that lacks "pluses." If you are serious about applying to conservatives, keep liberal signals off your resume, take some classes indicating at least an academic interest in originalism and maybe have a recommender who skews right.
OP here. Thank you so much for the great advice--as you guessed it, I'm at Harvard. Two more questions if you have the time:

1. I'm signed up for a clinic w/ corresponding class next semester, so my next semester schedule is 2 BLL classes, 1 Clinic, and 1 Clinic class. How do judges view clinics? Would I be better off dropping the clinic and going for 3 BLL classes and 1 seminar?

2. Would clerking even be a good idea if it's not at a competitive district/CoA? I already have a BL position secured and am hoping to do the standard BL route. Will try for partner, but obviously I have no idea if that's an environment I'll thrive in and making partner just seems unrealistic. So would foregoing that salary for a year (or two) still be a good idea, even if it's not one of the more "competitive" clerkships?
(1) Clinic + corresponding class is fine and both will be good GPA boosters + practical experience, but make sure you are balancing it out with BLL. I don't think you need to go 3/1. 2/2 is fine, especially if one of the BLL is fed courts. Not sure how judges look at clinics, imagine it's viewed the same as a seminar.

(2) This balancing is actually why I forwent clerking immediately out of school. Am doing lit at a top DC firm but didnt get on plan bites to COA/competitive districts and decided a flyover clerkship probably didnt justify the salary drop and the risk that I would have to downgrade firms (if the firm didn't take clerks back). Will apply after a few years practice

I think it is ultimately a personal decision. I think I might have be more likely to do a flyover clerkship right out of school if I didnt have debt. But I do, so.

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Re: When to apply for clerkships/what classes to take?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Aug 17, 2023 10:10 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Aug 15, 2023 8:02 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Aug 15, 2023 3:48 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2023 10:00 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2023 9:04 pm
Seems like a stretch to go for circuit or competitive district if you’re at Harvard but I’m at a T6 so maybe someone from HYS can better advise
HLS grad. Circuit and competitive district are both doable from cum laude (even without HLR) at HLS but it's no guarantee and you need to apply broadly in terms of start date and geography to maximize your chances.

A lot of this depends on where OP is in terms of grades. Top 40% is typically ~3.65 and top 25% is probably around a ~3.8low. Close to 3.65, it's going to be kinda unrealistic. Close to a 3.8, going to be doable.

---

2L class selection and grades are going to be particularly important for you.

- Need to take fed courts (or sign up for first semester 3L so its on the application transcript) with either Goldsmith or Fallon, Evidence (doesn't matter with who) and Admin (same).

- Other classes are more fungible and should balance BLL with seminar. Anything with Lazarus or Klarman can be good for LOR purposes. Appellate Advocacy is a good j-term class since it gets you a writing sample and Wolfman is great. Conflicts with Sachs is hard and competitive but looks good. Conflicts with Singer is a free H. CCL with Clary is good. Practitioner classes (Gershengorn, McCraw, Raul) are often easy Hs and it seems like the practitioners are more down to call for students than profs.

Being liberal complicates things - from what I gather from friends, a decent number of the Biden appointees are not all that interested in hiring people that lacks "pluses." If you are serious about applying to conservatives, keep liberal signals off your resume, take some classes indicating at least an academic interest in originalism and maybe have a recommender who skews right.
OP here. Thank you so much for the great advice--as you guessed it, I'm at Harvard. Two more questions if you have the time:

1. I'm signed up for a clinic w/ corresponding class next semester, so my next semester schedule is 2 BLL classes, 1 Clinic, and 1 Clinic class. How do judges view clinics? Would I be better off dropping the clinic and going for 3 BLL classes and 1 seminar?

2. Would clerking even be a good idea if it's not at a competitive district/CoA? I already have a BL position secured and am hoping to do the standard BL route. Will try for partner, but obviously I have no idea if that's an environment I'll thrive in and making partner just seems unrealistic. So would foregoing that salary for a year (or two) still be a good idea, even if it's not one of the more "competitive" clerkships?
If your goal is partner just clerk somewhere for a year. I really don't think biglaw firms make partnership decisions based on the prestigiousness of someone's clerkship. One is more than enough and a second one will have diminishing value and also give you less time to build connections. Your grades dont really give you the leeway to only apply for competitive clerkships, I would just apply to a bunch and (hopefully) snag one and then when you enter your law firm, hit the ground running and really kill it and build the necessary connections for partnership.
That's interesting, because it seems like a LOT of the lit partners at my firm have had prestigious clerkships. Perhaps individuals who obtain those clerkships are just, on average, more likely to have what it takes to make partner. And they definitely can't hurt.

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Re: When to apply for clerkships/what classes to take?

Post by jotarokujo » Thu Aug 17, 2023 11:44 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Aug 15, 2023 8:02 pm


If your goal is partner just clerk somewhere for a year. I really don't think biglaw firms make partnership decisions based on the prestigiousness of someone's clerkship. One is more than enough and a second one will have diminishing value and also give you less time to build connections. Your grades dont really give you the leeway to only apply for competitive clerkships, I would just apply to a bunch and (hopefully) snag one and then when you enter your law firm, hit the ground running and really kill it and build the necessary connections for partnership.
I agree very strongly with this.

as to clinic vs black letter, black letter generally looks better to judges but taking 8 credits of clinic is far from "too much" clinic if you're taking two black letters that semester as well

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Re: When to apply for clerkships/what classes to take?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Aug 17, 2023 2:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Aug 17, 2023 10:10 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Aug 15, 2023 8:02 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Aug 15, 2023 3:48 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2023 10:00 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2023 9:04 pm
Seems like a stretch to go for circuit or competitive district if you’re at Harvard but I’m at a T6 so maybe someone from HYS can better advise
HLS grad. Circuit and competitive district are both doable from cum laude (even without HLR) at HLS but it's no guarantee and you need to apply broadly in terms of start date and geography to maximize your chances.

A lot of this depends on where OP is in terms of grades. Top 40% is typically ~3.65 and top 25% is probably around a ~3.8low. Close to 3.65, it's going to be kinda unrealistic. Close to a 3.8, going to be doable.

---

2L class selection and grades are going to be particularly important for you.

- Need to take fed courts (or sign up for first semester 3L so its on the application transcript) with either Goldsmith or Fallon, Evidence (doesn't matter with who) and Admin (same).

- Other classes are more fungible and should balance BLL with seminar. Anything with Lazarus or Klarman can be good for LOR purposes. Appellate Advocacy is a good j-term class since it gets you a writing sample and Wolfman is great. Conflicts with Sachs is hard and competitive but looks good. Conflicts with Singer is a free H. CCL with Clary is good. Practitioner classes (Gershengorn, McCraw, Raul) are often easy Hs and it seems like the practitioners are more down to call for students than profs.

Being liberal complicates things - from what I gather from friends, a decent number of the Biden appointees are not all that interested in hiring people that lacks "pluses." If you are serious about applying to conservatives, keep liberal signals off your resume, take some classes indicating at least an academic interest in originalism and maybe have a recommender who skews right.
OP here. Thank you so much for the great advice--as you guessed it, I'm at Harvard. Two more questions if you have the time:

1. I'm signed up for a clinic w/ corresponding class next semester, so my next semester schedule is 2 BLL classes, 1 Clinic, and 1 Clinic class. How do judges view clinics? Would I be better off dropping the clinic and going for 3 BLL classes and 1 seminar?

2. Would clerking even be a good idea if it's not at a competitive district/CoA? I already have a BL position secured and am hoping to do the standard BL route. Will try for partner, but obviously I have no idea if that's an environment I'll thrive in and making partner just seems unrealistic. So would foregoing that salary for a year (or two) still be a good idea, even if it's not one of the more "competitive" clerkships?
If your goal is partner just clerk somewhere for a year. I really don't think biglaw firms make partnership decisions based on the prestigiousness of someone's clerkship. One is more than enough and a second one will have diminishing value and also give you less time to build connections. Your grades dont really give you the leeway to only apply for competitive clerkships, I would just apply to a bunch and (hopefully) snag one and then when you enter your law firm, hit the ground running and really kill it and build the necessary connections for partnership.
That's interesting, because it seems like a LOT of the lit partners at my firm have had prestigious clerkships. Perhaps individuals who obtain those clerkships are just, on average, more likely to have what it takes to make partner. And they definitely can't hurt.
I wonder if part of this is that is used to me much, much less common for judges to require work experience and so competitive judges were more available to students right after school

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Re: When to apply for clerkships/what classes to take?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Aug 17, 2023 8:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Aug 17, 2023 10:10 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Aug 15, 2023 8:02 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Aug 15, 2023 3:48 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2023 10:00 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2023 9:04 pm
Seems like a stretch to go for circuit or competitive district if you’re at Harvard but I’m at a T6 so maybe someone from HYS can better advise
HLS grad. Circuit and competitive district are both doable from cum laude (even without HLR) at HLS but it's no guarantee and you need to apply broadly in terms of start date and geography to maximize your chances.

A lot of this depends on where OP is in terms of grades. Top 40% is typically ~3.65 and top 25% is probably around a ~3.8low. Close to 3.65, it's going to be kinda unrealistic. Close to a 3.8, going to be doable.

---

2L class selection and grades are going to be particularly important for you.

- Need to take fed courts (or sign up for first semester 3L so its on the application transcript) with either Goldsmith or Fallon, Evidence (doesn't matter with who) and Admin (same).

- Other classes are more fungible and should balance BLL with seminar. Anything with Lazarus or Klarman can be good for LOR purposes. Appellate Advocacy is a good j-term class since it gets you a writing sample and Wolfman is great. Conflicts with Sachs is hard and competitive but looks good. Conflicts with Singer is a free H. CCL with Clary is good. Practitioner classes (Gershengorn, McCraw, Raul) are often easy Hs and it seems like the practitioners are more down to call for students than profs.

Being liberal complicates things - from what I gather from friends, a decent number of the Biden appointees are not all that interested in hiring people that lacks "pluses." If you are serious about applying to conservatives, keep liberal signals off your resume, take some classes indicating at least an academic interest in originalism and maybe have a recommender who skews right.
OP here. Thank you so much for the great advice--as you guessed it, I'm at Harvard. Two more questions if you have the time:

1. I'm signed up for a clinic w/ corresponding class next semester, so my next semester schedule is 2 BLL classes, 1 Clinic, and 1 Clinic class. How do judges view clinics? Would I be better off dropping the clinic and going for 3 BLL classes and 1 seminar?

2. Would clerking even be a good idea if it's not at a competitive district/CoA? I already have a BL position secured and am hoping to do the standard BL route. Will try for partner, but obviously I have no idea if that's an environment I'll thrive in and making partner just seems unrealistic. So would foregoing that salary for a year (or two) still be a good idea, even if it's not one of the more "competitive" clerkships?
If your goal is partner just clerk somewhere for a year. I really don't think biglaw firms make partnership decisions based on the prestigiousness of someone's clerkship. One is more than enough and a second one will have diminishing value and also give you less time to build connections. Your grades dont really give you the leeway to only apply for competitive clerkships, I would just apply to a bunch and (hopefully) snag one and then when you enter your law firm, hit the ground running and really kill it and build the necessary connections for partnership.
That's interesting, because it seems like a LOT of the lit partners at my firm have had prestigious clerkships. Perhaps individuals who obtain those clerkships are just, on average, more likely to have what it takes to make partner. And they definitely can't hurt.
At my V10 law firm scrolling through the partners a lot didn't clerk and the ones who did often did not do it in a very prestigious area.

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Re: When to apply for clerkships/what classes to take?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Aug 18, 2023 1:25 pm

Nothing in particular to add, just wanted to say the advice in this thread is generally excellent, which isn't always the case. OP, you are getting some very good input from all my fellow anons!

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Re: When to apply for clerkships/what classes to take?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Aug 18, 2023 7:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Aug 18, 2023 1:25 pm
Nothing in particular to add, just wanted to say the advice in this thread is generally excellent, which isn't always the case. OP, you are getting some very good input from all my fellow anons!
OP here--this is great to know! And thank you for your input as well :)

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Re: When to apply for clerkships/what classes to take?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Aug 21, 2023 5:26 pm

[/quote]

- Other classes are more fungible and should balance BLL with seminar.
[/quote]

What does this mean? 2/2 is ok?

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Re: When to apply for clerkships/what classes to take?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 22, 2023 2:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2023 5:26 pm
- Other classes are more fungible and should balance BLL with seminar.
[/quote]

What does this mean? 2/2 is ok?
[/quote]

2/2 is fine so long as your BLL grades arent noticeably worse than your seminar grades. Getting two Ps a DS and an H does not look good if the two Ps are in your 2 BLLs, but I'm sure you knew this already.

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Re: When to apply for clerkships/what classes to take?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 22, 2023 4:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Aug 22, 2023 2:55 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2023 5:26 pm
- Other classes are more fungible and should balance BLL with seminar.
What does this mean? 2/2 is ok?
[/quote]

2/2 is fine so long as your BLL grades arent noticeably worse than your seminar grades. Getting two Ps a DS and an H does not look good if the two Ps are in your 2 BLLs, but I'm sure you knew this already.
[/quote]

Also depends a bit on the difficult of the BLL. 2/2 is more fine when the 2 BLL are admin and fedcourts (don't do this) as opposed to like 2 credit evidence and conflicts with Singer

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Re: When to apply for clerkships/what classes to take?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 22, 2023 4:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Aug 22, 2023 4:37 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Aug 22, 2023 2:55 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2023 5:26 pm
- Other classes are more fungible and should balance BLL with seminar.
What does this mean? 2/2 is ok?
2/2 is fine so long as your BLL grades arent noticeably worse than your seminar grades. Getting two Ps a DS and an H does not look good if the two Ps are in your 2 BLLs, but I'm sure you knew this already.
[/quote]

Also depends a bit on the difficult of the BLL. 2/2 is more fine when the 2 BLL are admin and fedcourts (don't do this) as opposed to like 2 credit evidence and conflicts with Singer
[/quote]

Yeesh, yeah, don't do admin and fed courts together. And that's from someone who did 4/0 for all of 2L and 3L fall. Split those two up unless you're a current 3L who hasn't taken them yet and doesn't have good options for splitting them between fall and spring.

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Re: When to apply for clerkships/what classes to take?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 20, 2024 12:51 am

Does anyone know the lowdown on Conflicts with Sachs? I am on the waitlist and am curious about whether it's helpful for clerkships/practice and how competitive it is.

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Re: When to apply for clerkships/what classes to take?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 20, 2024 12:51 am

Does anyone know the lowdown on Conflicts with Sachs? I am on the waitlist and am curious about whether it's helpful for clerkships/practice and how competitive it is.

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Re: When to apply for clerkships/what classes to take?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 20, 2024 6:31 am

I had Sachs for Civ pro and knew several people who took his conflicts. I heard Sachs is generally a good recommender. His class is challenging because he assigns lots of readings and grades cold calls. He seems to be giving out a fair number of DSs. His class can be competitive because it attracts a lot of fed soc gunners.

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Re: When to apply for clerkships/what classes to take?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue May 21, 2024 1:33 pm

Sachs is a very good and well-connected rec writer, especially for judges on the right

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