Most interesting/weirdest districts? Forum

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Most interesting/weirdest districts?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Mar 01, 2024 1:13 am

So we talk a lot about the most prestigious districts, etc. Which ones have the weirdest dockets/most unique experiences?

I was thinking SD Tex in Brownsville/Laredo, WD Tex in Del Rio/Eagle Pass, ND Okla., ED Okla., etc. all stuck out to me as having potentially very odd dockets where a clerk would have some truly wild experiences, but are there any other dockets y'all can think of that are particularly unique?

Edit: Ooooh, is the answer D-NM/D-Ariz.? Reservations galore + border issues? I mean, PHX or ABQ are probably less interesting places to be than Del Rio/Brownsville/Tulsa/Muskogee, but the workload may make up for it.

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Re: Most interesting/weirdest districts?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Mar 01, 2024 6:50 am

Aren’t ND/ED Oklahoma just flooded with cases post-McGirt? Not sure if those would be that interesting per se, since they’re usually just state law issues that happened on Indian country.

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Re: Most interesting/weirdest districts?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Mar 01, 2024 1:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2024 1:13 am
So we talk a lot about the most prestigious districts, etc. Which ones have the weirdest dockets/most unique experiences?

I was thinking SD Tex in Brownsville/Laredo, WD Tex in Del Rio/Eagle Pass, ND Okla., ED Okla., etc. all stuck out to me as having potentially very odd dockets where a clerk would have some truly wild experiences, but are there any other dockets y'all can think of that are particularly unique?

Edit: Ooooh, is the answer D-NM/D-Ariz.? Reservations galore + border issues? I mean, PHX or ABQ are probably less interesting places to be than Del Rio/Brownsville/Tulsa/Muskogee, but the workload may make up for it.
Depends a lot on what you think is weird or interesting, particularly whether you mean interesting facts or interesting legal concepts. If you mean "dramatic facts," a friend of mine clerked in ABQ and saw reservation cases involving violent crime, including homicides, which they found really interesting (and sad), but if by interesting you mean "complex financial litigation" or "significant tech matters," then D NM or D AZ aren't going to do much for you. And border districts tend to have a high volume of the very same kinds of cases/issues over and over again, which doesn't tend to be very interesting factually or conceptually (though a clerk probably wouldn't do much with them since the judge doesn't need much help on such routine stuff).

Some of it will also just be luck of the draw. At one of my clerkships, a previous clerk didn't see a single trial during their term just b/c none ended up going during the term. I know another clerk who ended up on a death penalty case involving a guy who escaped from prison and killed a bunch of people in a couple of states, which I suspect not a lot of clerks encounter, but you can't control for that.

And the dramatic facts cases often don't involve a lot of complex/sophisticated law, if that's what you mean by wild/unique.

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Re: Most interesting/weirdest districts?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Mar 01, 2024 1:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2024 1:30 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2024 1:13 am
So we talk a lot about the most prestigious districts, etc. Which ones have the weirdest dockets/most unique experiences?

I was thinking SD Tex in Brownsville/Laredo, WD Tex in Del Rio/Eagle Pass, ND Okla., ED Okla., etc. all stuck out to me as having potentially very odd dockets where a clerk would have some truly wild experiences, but are there any other dockets y'all can think of that are particularly unique?

Edit: Ooooh, is the answer D-NM/D-Ariz.? Reservations galore + border issues? I mean, PHX or ABQ are probably less interesting places to be than Del Rio/Brownsville/Tulsa/Muskogee, but the workload may make up for it.
Depends a lot on what you think is weird or interesting, particularly whether you mean interesting facts or interesting legal concepts. If you mean "dramatic facts," a friend of mine clerked in ABQ and saw reservation cases involving violent crime, including homicides, which they found really interesting (and sad), but if by interesting you mean "complex financial litigation" or "significant tech matters," then D NM or D AZ aren't going to do much for you. And border districts tend to have a high volume of the very same kinds of cases/issues over and over again, which doesn't tend to be very interesting factually or conceptually (though a clerk probably wouldn't do much with them since the judge doesn't need much help on such routine stuff).

Some of it will also just be luck of the draw. At one of my clerkships, a previous clerk didn't see a single trial during their term just b/c none ended up going during the term. I know another clerk who ended up on a death penalty case involving a guy who escaped from prison and killed a bunch of people in a couple of states, which I suspect not a lot of clerks encounter, but you can't control for that.

And the dramatic facts cases often don't involve a lot of complex/sophisticated law, if that's what you mean by wild/unique.
I really mean more out-of-the-norm, especially for someone who is (unfortunately) likely going to spend most of his career doing financial/tech litigation. So anything that gives a very different experience/caseload I would strongly consider.

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Re: Most interesting/weirdest districts?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Mar 01, 2024 1:49 pm

Not weird (and certainly not interesting IMO), but the number of patent cases in Delaware sounds like a uniquely miserable experience for anyone not looking to go into patent law. Also true (though to a more limited extent) for EDTX and that one judge in WDTX.

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Re: Most interesting/weirdest districts?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Mar 01, 2024 2:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2024 1:35 pm
I really mean more out-of-the-norm, especially for someone who is (unfortunately) likely going to spend most of his career doing financial/tech litigation. So anything that gives a very different experience/caseload I would strongly consider.
I guess then I'd say look for a region that's completely different from where you're going to work long-term. Borders, reservations, natural resources, just general socio-economic stuff. Maritime stuff in coastal states. Hawaii's not a great example b/c people always want to be there for the setting, but I'm sure there are Hawaii-specific issues that come up there that you don't see in SDNY, for instance.

That said, it's a little bit like there isn't really any "law of the horse." You're going to run into the basics anywhere - contracts, torts, property, criminal law, etc. If you will find contracts with a ski resort more interesting than contracts with a deli, work out west in ski country. But it will be the same basic legal analysis.

But also, why are you going to spend your career working on subjects that you describe as "unfortunate"?

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Re: Most interesting/weirdest districts?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Mar 01, 2024 2:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2024 2:46 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2024 1:35 pm
I really mean more out-of-the-norm, especially for someone who is (unfortunately) likely going to spend most of his career doing financial/tech litigation. So anything that gives a very different experience/caseload I would strongly consider.
I guess then I'd say look for a region that's completely different from where you're going to work long-term. Borders, reservations, natural resources, just general socio-economic stuff. Maritime stuff in coastal states. Hawaii's not a great example b/c people always want to be there for the setting, but I'm sure there are Hawaii-specific issues that come up there that you don't see in SDNY, for instance.

That said, it's a little bit like there isn't really any "law of the horse." You're going to run into the basics anywhere - contracts, torts, property, criminal law, etc. If you will find contracts with a ski resort more interesting than contracts with a deli, work out west in ski country. But it will be the same basic legal analysis.

But also, why are you going to spend your career working on subjects that you describe as "unfortunate"?
Ended up doing general commercial lit at a firm, and if I stay with it I'll be doing the "unfortunate" work I was talking about. Not a fan, want to get out to do something more interesting--so finding something categorically different by clerking on a district that has a markedly different caseload than what I'd be dealing with at my firm seems like it would, at the very least, give me a chance to see some parts of law I haven't experienced and give me credibility for a potential pivot if I end up liking the field/place I clerk.

Even if I don't end up doing native/immigration/criminal law, I'd appreciate something radically distinct.

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Re: Most interesting/weirdest districts?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Mar 05, 2024 5:59 pm

I clerked in a district court in a territory and would call it interesting - high percentage of criminal cases on the docket, criminal cases with interesting fact patterns just by nature of being in a geographically & culturally different setting, a lot of unformed 'state'-level law on diversity cases, unique jurisdictional questions based on how the territorial government is set up.

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Re: Most interesting/weirdest districts?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Mar 08, 2024 12:58 pm

To me, a border jurisdiction clerkship (El Paso, Del Rio, Brownsville) would be exceptionally boring because the docket is overwhelmingly one type of issue. I would also avoid districts that have a large number of prisons, state or federal, because that creates a huge volume of prisoner lit--especially if there isn't a big city in the district to drive commercial litigation that will balance the docket out.

S.D. Fla. has always struck me as kind of cool because Miami is a center of so much international business. A big-city district like E.D. Pa., which will have a ton of crime and also a busy complex civil docket, is going to be a good clerkship but not as overwhelmingly competitive as an S.D.N.Y.

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Re: Most interesting/weirdest districts?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Mar 08, 2024 2:07 pm

WD TN and ED LA both have interesting dockets. Maritime cases, lots of gang action up and down the river to STL and connections with Chi. ED LA might have a few more fun corruption cases as well. Both Memphis and NOLA are extremely interesting cities in their own right as well. You'll also get neat music cases from both- maybe not quite as much as Nashville, but still a good amount.

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Re: Most interesting/weirdest districts?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Mar 11, 2024 1:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2024 1:13 am
So we talk a lot about the most prestigious districts, etc. Which ones have the weirdest dockets/most unique experiences?

I was thinking SD Tex in Brownsville/Laredo, WD Tex in Del Rio/Eagle Pass, ND Okla., ED Okla., etc. all stuck out to me as having potentially very odd dockets where a clerk would have some truly wild experiences, but are there any other dockets y'all can think of that are particularly unique?

Edit: Ooooh, is the answer D-NM/D-Ariz.? Reservations galore + border issues? I mean, PHX or ABQ are probably less interesting places to be than Del Rio/Brownsville/Tulsa/Muskogee, but the workload may make up for it.
D-Arizona is really interesting, ND Olka (where I'm from) is interesting too

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Re: Most interesting/weirdest districts?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Mar 13, 2024 10:03 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2024 2:07 pm
WD TN and ED LA both have interesting dockets. Maritime cases, lots of gang action up and down the river to STL and connections with Chi. ED LA might have a few more fun corruption cases as well. Both Memphis and NOLA are extremely interesting cities in their own right as well. You'll also get neat music cases from both- maybe not quite as much as Nashville, but still a good amount.
Former EDLA clerk, agreeing with the above poster! I would add any Louisiana federal district court would offer a similarly unique experience. For one, LA uses civil law, relevant for federal diversity cases/supplemental jx. Also, admiralty/maritime was brand new to me. I had to work on vessel seizures, which is the equivalent of a TRO. And finally, there were tons of guns and drug criminal cases if you have the stomach for it.

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Re: Most interesting/weirdest districts?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Mar 25, 2024 1:39 am

DNM clerk with nothing but good things to say about the experience. First, it's neither exceptionally boring or "all one type of issue"- illegal re-entry cases never actually go to trial. In fact, clerks have a much greater opportunity than in most districts to be part of factually interesting criminal trials given that both proximity to the border and the number of reservations in NM provide so many federal "hooks" for what would otherwise be state law offenses. Civil... eh. It varies.

Also, most of the judges range from good to great bosses, with Browning and some of the COA judges serving as notable exceptions. Lastly, it's objectively the most beautiful contiguous state (applications from our Four Corners neighbors will be considered for the title but ultimately rejected).

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Re: Most interesting/weirdest districts?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Mar 25, 2024 8:54 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2024 1:39 am
DNM clerk with nothing but good things to say about the experience. First, it's neither exceptionally boring or "all one type of issue"- illegal re-entry cases never actually go to trial. In fact, clerks have a much greater opportunity than in most districts to be part of factually interesting criminal trials given that both proximity to the border and the number of reservations in NM provide so many federal "hooks" for what would otherwise be state law offenses. Civil... eh. It varies.

Also, most of the judges range from good to great bosses, with Browning and some of the COA judges serving as notable exceptions. Lastly, it's objectively the most beautiful contiguous state (applications from our Four Corners neighbors will be considered for the title but ultimately rejected).
What makes the COA judges not great to clerk for? I’ve heard good things about Carson and Baldock.

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Re: Most interesting/weirdest districts?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Mar 25, 2024 6:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2024 8:54 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2024 1:39 am
DNM clerk with nothing but good things to say about the experience. First, it's neither exceptionally boring or "all one type of issue"- illegal re-entry cases never actually go to trial. In fact, clerks have a much greater opportunity than in most districts to be part of factually interesting criminal trials given that both proximity to the border and the number of reservations in NM provide so many federal "hooks" for what would otherwise be state law offenses. Civil... eh. It varies.

Also, most of the judges range from good to great bosses, with Browning and some of the COA judges serving as notable exceptions. Lastly, it's objectively the most beautiful contiguous state (applications from our Four Corners neighbors will be considered for the title but ultimately rejected).
What makes the COA judges not great to clerk for? I’ve heard good things about Carson and Baldock.
Based on the best/worst judges to clerk for thread, Holmes is one, because he works you overly hard and is mean (there's a reference to throwing a chair). Not sure if there are others.

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Re: Most interesting/weirdest districts?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Mar 25, 2024 7:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2024 6:46 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2024 8:54 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2024 1:39 am
DNM clerk with nothing but good things to say about the experience. First, it's neither exceptionally boring or "all one type of issue"- illegal re-entry cases never actually go to trial. In fact, clerks have a much greater opportunity than in most districts to be part of factually interesting criminal trials given that both proximity to the border and the number of reservations in NM provide so many federal "hooks" for what would otherwise be state law offenses. Civil... eh. It varies.

Also, most of the judges range from good to great bosses, with Browning and some of the COA judges serving as notable exceptions. Lastly, it's objectively the most beautiful contiguous state (applications from our Four Corners neighbors will be considered for the title but ultimately rejected).
What makes the COA judges not great to clerk for? I’ve heard good things about Carson and Baldock.
Based on the best/worst judges to clerk for thread, Holmes is one, because he works you overly hard and is mean (there's a reference to throwing a chair). Not sure if there are others.
I assumed the original post was talking about the NM ones (Carson, Kelly, Baldock, and Hartz). But looking back at it, I see I made an assumption. Still curious what those four are like.

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Re: Most interesting/weirdest districts?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Mar 25, 2024 8:37 pm

DNM anon here- I did mean the COA judges in NM, and was mostly referring to the fact that the Hartz clerks when I was there were not having a good time. Carson seems like a decent boss depending on your priors, Kelly seems half checked out, and Baldock is supposedly a good boss but I somehow never met any of his clerks.

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Re: Most interesting/weirdest districts?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Mar 26, 2024 6:12 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2024 7:08 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2024 6:46 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2024 8:54 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2024 1:39 am
DNM clerk with nothing but good things to say about the experience. First, it's neither exceptionally boring or "all one type of issue"- illegal re-entry cases never actually go to trial. In fact, clerks have a much greater opportunity than in most districts to be part of factually interesting criminal trials given that both proximity to the border and the number of reservations in NM provide so many federal "hooks" for what would otherwise be state law offenses. Civil... eh. It varies.

Also, most of the judges range from good to great bosses, with Browning and some of the COA judges serving as notable exceptions. Lastly, it's objectively the most beautiful contiguous state (applications from our Four Corners neighbors will be considered for the title but ultimately rejected).
What makes the COA judges not great to clerk for? I’ve heard good things about Carson and Baldock.
Based on the best/worst judges to clerk for thread, Holmes is one, because he works you overly hard and is mean (there's a reference to throwing a chair). Not sure if there are others.
I assumed the original post was talking about the NM ones (Carson, Kelly, Baldock, and Hartz). But looking back at it, I see I made an assumption. Still curious what those four are like.
Oh no, that was my bad, I assumed they meant 10th Cir generally but your reading makes more sense.

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Re: Most interesting/weirdest districts?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Mar 27, 2024 11:59 am

Biased towards my own experience, but I'm going to throw DNV into the mix. Same situation with many western states in that there's lots of federal land, meaning a wider variety of crimes are now "federal" crimes, with the added element of Las Vegas. Beyond the fact that the types of businesses in Vegas tend to attract litigation, the number of people visiting from other states/countries leads to lots of interesting fact patterns in diversity suits.

Of course, that last part is true for any district that sees lots of tourism, but when combined with the particular type of tourism happening in Vegas plus the federal land, I think DNV stands out.

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