What should I do - PLEASE HELP re clerkship advice. Forum

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What should I do - PLEASE HELP re clerkship advice.

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jan 18, 2024 6:08 pm

Hi all,

I am currently a 3L at Penn. I am in a bit of a conundrum and would like some advice. I am from Northern California and have an associate position lined up at a v10. For professional reasons, I believe clerking would be good for my career in litigation.

I have an interview lined up with a judge from the EDPA for 2024-2025. I would be honored to clerk for the judge. However, for both professional and personal reasons, I believe a clerkship with a judge from EDCA, NDCA, SDCA, and/or CDCA would all be better for me. I want to stay in California long-term and I believe these 4 districts are considered more prestigious than EDPA anyway.

My question is: would it be stupid for me to not do the interview/not take the clerkship with the judge from the EDPA and pursue a clerkship with a California judge instead? Theoretically, I would be able to do both as the judge from EDPA is 2024-2025, but I don't want to do two district clerkships in a row. Ideally, I would like to clerk with a judge from any of those four districts, but I am worried I am not nearly competitive enough.

Here is some information about me regarding stats.

Expected to graduate anywhere between a 3.77-3.82, either magna or just right outside of it.
Have taken/will take all the core clerkship classes, and will have only taken two seminars the entirety of my law school semesters.
No patent experience (as I heard that may be important for NDCA)
No real special prior work experience (assume KJD as it gets)

ANY advice would be appreciated. Thank you!

Also - does the fact I would be clerking right away versus in 2025 (California) change the calculus?

Need to know: do I stand a chance at California clerkships and should I apply there? Or, am I stupid to not take an EDPA clerkship (assuming interview goes well and I get it).

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Re: What should I do - PLEASE HELP re clerkship advice.

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 23, 2024 8:41 pm

A lot of this comes down to your risk profile.

It's mostly impossible to predict a person's ability to secure a particular clerkship based on their school and grades. Clerkship hiring is not like law school admissions. Article III judges do what they want. Frequently they hire on the basis of fit, which can be highly unpredictable. And, because clerkship classes are so small, even many people who fit the judge's profile end up getting passed over.

If you want to clerk and you have an interview on EDPA, you have a great opportunity. Particularly if you aren't graduating at the very top of the class at a very top school (you aren't).

If you don't really want to clerk early in your career (or if you only want to do so on a California District Court), then by all means cancel the interview. It's possible that you get an interview in California and end up getting hired. But it's probably more likely that you wind up empty handed, at least for now. If so, you can always try again a few years into practice.

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Re: What should I do - PLEASE HELP re clerkship advice.

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 23, 2024 9:13 pm

If you really don't want to clerk in EDPA and only want to clerk in California, you can cancel your EDPA interview and just go after CA. You're allowed to want that. You run a serious risk of not getting a clerkship in CA, though - not b/c you're not qualified, just b/c it's very very hard to predict which clerkship a qualified candidate will get (except maybe if you have a particularly strong connection to a specific judge). And the fact that you applied to EDPA in the first place suggests you'd rather clerk not in California than not at all.

There are judges who prefer candidates with work experience, and so you may have a better shot in California down the road a few years, but again, it's not purely an issue of qualifications.

I also think that you're overstating the professional difference between the 4 CA districts and EDPA. Yes, all else being equal, a clerkship in the location you want to practice is better than elsewhere, but clerking elsewhere is better than not clerking. As for personal reasons, is your V10 in California? Because if so, and you'll be going back there anyway, where you clerk is less important here.

So I'd say take the EDPA interview and take it if offered, but that's me.

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Re: What should I do - PLEASE HELP re clerkship advice.

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 23, 2024 9:31 pm

I think this decision comes down to how likely you are to get a California clerkship. You should have some intel on this already - presumably you've spoken with your law school's clerkship office, who can give you the numbers. Probably you also carpet bombed California with applications. Did you get any bites? If you have a reason to be confident (maybe you have a recommender with close ties to judges in CA), you could walk away from the E.D. Pa. clerkship.

But I don't think there's any guarantee you'll get a California clerkship. For ND/CD CA, your credentials put you in the game. But absent some reason to take you off the pile, the odds of getting the clerkship are low just because there are so many facially plausible candidates. I don't know what ED / SD CA are like, or how they will be viewed in the market. (ED PA is a well-regarded clerkship in NYC / DC, though obviously not DDC/SDNY/EDNY). And it's worth clerking once, the brass ring stays with you forever - and unfortunately our profession cares about that. So take the money and run, in my opinion.

As to double-clerking: outside of the $, it's not an awful idea. Skipping the first year of associate work is great. And if you're moving to California later, then a clerkship on ND / CD might be a great way to switch markets, or just take a break after a few years of grinding.

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Re: What should I do - PLEASE HELP re clerkship advice.

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 23, 2024 10:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2024 9:31 pm
I think this decision comes down to how likely you are to get a California clerkship. You should have some intel on this already - presumably you've spoken with your law school's clerkship office, who can give you the numbers. Probably you also carpet bombed California with applications. Did you get any bites? If you have a reason to be confident (maybe you have a recommender with close ties to judges in CA), you could walk away from the E.D. Pa. clerkship.

But I don't think there's any guarantee you'll get a California clerkship. For ND/CD CA, your credentials put you in the game. But absent some reason to take you off the pile, the odds of getting the clerkship are low just because there are so many facially plausible candidates. I don't know what ED / SD CA are like, or how they will be viewed in the market. (ED PA is a well-regarded clerkship in NYC / DC, though obviously not DDC/SDNY/EDNY). And it's worth clerking once, the brass ring stays with you forever - and unfortunately our profession cares about that. So take the money and run, in my opinion.

As to double-clerking: outside of the $, it's not an awful idea. Skipping the first year of associate work is great. And if you're moving to California later, then a clerkship on ND / CD might be a great way to switch markets, or just take a break after a few years of grinding.
Penn's clerkship office does not provide intel or much in the way of numbers, as a general rule.

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Re: What should I do - PLEASE HELP re clerkship advice.

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 24, 2024 8:29 am

I don't think anyone in our 3L class at Penn got a California clerkship. It's insanely hard to land a CA, NY, or DDC/DC Cir. federal clerkship from Penn for multiple reasons which have been explained on another thread. I would take the EDPA interview and see what happens unless you logistically cannot stay in Penn for another year.

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Re: What should I do - PLEASE HELP re clerkship advice.

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jan 25, 2024 5:59 pm

Take the interview. Staying in Philly another year is way better than having to uproot after settling down in your biglaw role. No professional difference between EDPA and whatever else. People way overrate differences in district quality.

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Re: What should I do - PLEASE HELP re clerkship advice.

Post by thegamer123 » Sun Jan 28, 2024 12:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2024 8:29 am
I don't think anyone in our 3L class at Penn got a California clerkship. It's insanely hard to land a CA, NY, or DDC/DC Cir. federal clerkship from Penn for multiple reasons which have been explained on another thread. I would take the EDPA interview and see what happens unless you logistically cannot stay in Penn for another year.
Whats the other thread that explains why its hard to get one from Penn?

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Re: What should I do - PLEASE HELP re clerkship advice.

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jan 28, 2024 1:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2024 8:29 am
I don't think anyone in our 3L class at Penn got a California clerkship. It's insanely hard to land a CA, NY, or DDC/DC Cir. federal clerkship from Penn for multiple reasons which have been explained on another thread. I would take the EDPA interview and see what happens unless you logistically cannot stay in Penn for another year.
Several people got CDCA clerkships in ‘23. Some didn’t have graduation honors. CA is not the same as the others listed.

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Re: What should I do - PLEASE HELP re clerkship advice.

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jan 28, 2024 8:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2024 1:01 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2024 8:29 am
I don't think anyone in our 3L class at Penn got a California clerkship. It's insanely hard to land a CA, NY, or DDC/DC Cir. federal clerkship from Penn for multiple reasons which have been explained on another thread. I would take the EDPA interview and see what happens unless you logistically cannot stay in Penn for another year.
Several people got CDCA clerkships in ‘23. Some didn’t have graduation honors. CA is not the same as the others listed.
Penn placed someone in each of those courts this year, I think.

Still - I would take the interview.

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Re: What should I do - PLEASE HELP re clerkship advice.

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jan 28, 2024 11:12 pm

Take the interview. There are a rare set of truly competitive candidates that can try to game the system and pick and choose. You (as most of us are) are not in that group and you risk getting nothing.

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Re: What should I do - PLEASE HELP re clerkship advice.

Post by Wild Card » Fri Feb 02, 2024 8:40 pm

EDPA is fine. You don't have the luxury of choice. Furthermore, you're not guaranteed the get the job. My judge interviewed a dozen dandidates for each opening.

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