Am I Competitive for a Clerkship? Please help! Forum

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Am I Competitive for a Clerkship? Please help!

Post by DCLawyer5544 » Wed Sep 06, 2023 10:37 am

Good morning!

I am wondering whether I am competitive for a clerkship, particularly since I am a few years out of law school.

I graduated from a top 5 law school in 2017 (average grades). I transferred to that law school from a top 30 law school (top 10 percent grades). I have worked at the same v20 law firm for the past six years.

I have never applied for a clerkship. I planned on going into public/private international law, and did for a couple of years, before realizing that domestic litigation was my gig. I stumbled my way into several SCOTUS cases, including on the merits, and several cases at various circuit courts (with a few notable victories!). In so stumbling, I realized I really love and thrive in appellate work. But my firm doesn't have a dedicated appellate practice, and when I have applied to appellate practices at other firms, they generally want clerks or former clerks.

So, I'm thinking about applying. Any thoughts are super welcome!

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Re: Am I Competitive for a Clerkship? Please help!

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Sep 07, 2023 2:09 am

Competitive? Hard to say. If it were just based on your academic record you wouldn't be, but plenty of judges like work experience, and having substantive appellate work experience is unusual. If you're interested, you might as well put together recommendations and writing samples and then get on OSCAR and apply.

Are you committed to private practice in the long run? You might look for work in state SG offices. Even in your current practice, you might be able to focus your pro bono efforts on appellate work.

For post-clerkship hiring, it's also hard to say. You aren't a typical candidate, and you'd be coming in at a senior associate level, nominally able to run your own cases, etc., but with less experience in the practice group you're targeting. Don't count on a clerkship opening doors all on its own—there are still going to be questions/concerns you'd need to overcome. Aside from asking here, it would probably be worth pounding the pavement to do informational interviews with appellate practitioners to get their guidance on planning a transition from your particular starting point. Especially if you have a particular market you're aiming for.


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Re: Am I Competitive for a Clerkship? Please help!

Post by gaddockteeg » Thu Sep 07, 2023 12:30 pm

You are competitive but you should apply very widely and broadly. Clerkship hiring is largely just based on the preferences of the specific judge. They will all value different things.

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