Where Am I Competitive for a District Clerkship? Forum

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Where Am I Competitive for a District Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jun 01, 2024 7:00 pm

Any ideas on where I'd be competitive? I don't have specific geographic constraints but prefer East Coast and to be in as major a district as I can land that will have some long-term career value/prestige for post-clerkship jobs in NYC. The dream would be SDNY/EDNY, NDIL, CA courts, but they're likely out of reach. Beyond knowing I'm not competitive for the top districts, I'm having some trouble figuring out what the "next best options" are where I'll be competitive.

I've tried getting answers from my school's clerkship office, but they haven't been too helpful. I applied last year as a 2L and struck out after only one interview but I admittedly had too narrow of an application strategy which held me back. Just graduated and going for it again. Strong preference for '25-26 but would consider beyond that.

- T14
- 3.7 final GPA (cum laude)
- Law Review with published note
- Prior internship with district judge
- Intramural moot court participant
- Good LOR, but probably not next-level amazing
- Doubtful I can wrangle any LOR writers into making calls
- Some work experience prior to law school (nothing special)
- Litigation at V15 firm (NYC)

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Re: Where Am I Competitive for a District Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 03, 2024 11:57 am

I would apply broadly for 25-26. I clerked on a district court in a secondary city (think atlanta, new orleans, miami) and our offerees were often 2Ls who were top 10% at t6 (e.g. 3.75+ at NYU) or just below magna at HLS. We also often hired for their second year out of law school, which is pretty standard at competitive district courts (secondary cities and top-tier cities), so the fact that you're applying as a 3L doesn't really give you an advantage for 25-26 because you'll only have 1 year of experience, same as those applying on plan. So for 25-26, I would apply quite broadly, including flyovers outside of secondary cities. for later years, I think you can be more selective and just keep it to the secondary cities and other places you want to be.

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Re: Where Am I Competitive for a District Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 03, 2024 8:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2024 11:57 am
I would apply broadly for 25-26. I clerked on a district court in a secondary city (think atlanta, new orleans, miami) and our offerees were often 2Ls who were top 10% at t6 (e.g. 3.75+ at NYU) or just below magna at HLS. We also often hired for their second year out of law school, which is pretty standard at competitive district courts (secondary cities and top-tier cities), so the fact that you're applying as a 3L doesn't really give you an advantage for 25-26 because you'll only have 1 year of experience, same as those applying on plan. So for 25-26, I would apply quite broadly, including flyovers outside of secondary cities. for later years, I think you can be more selective and just keep it to the secondary cities and other places you want to be.
Agree with this. But at the same time, I'd encourage you to apply to judges on your top preferred districts, too. And consider delaying your clerkship date, especially if you're mainly interested in district. Maybe not so much SDNY, which is GPA competitive top to bottom, but even NDIL/CDCA/NDCA/EDNY have judges that don't care too much about GPA if you apply with work experience and significant extracurriculars (like a good published note).

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Re: Where Am I Competitive for a District Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 04, 2024 9:21 am

That’s a pretty median federal clerkship app tbh.

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Re: Where Am I Competitive for a District Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 04, 2024 10:31 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2024 8:18 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2024 11:57 am
I would apply broadly for 25-26. I clerked on a district court in a secondary city (think atlanta, new orleans, miami) and our offerees were often 2Ls who were top 10% at t6 (e.g. 3.75+ at NYU) or just below magna at HLS. We also often hired for their second year out of law school, which is pretty standard at competitive district courts (secondary cities and top-tier cities), so the fact that you're applying as a 3L doesn't really give you an advantage for 25-26 because you'll only have 1 year of experience, same as those applying on plan. So for 25-26, I would apply quite broadly, including flyovers outside of secondary cities. for later years, I think you can be more selective and just keep it to the secondary cities and other places you want to be.
Agree with this. But at the same time, I'd encourage you to apply to judges on your top preferred districts, too. And consider delaying your clerkship date, especially if you're mainly interested in district. Maybe not so much SDNY, which is GPA competitive top to bottom, but even NDIL/CDCA/NDCA/EDNY have judges that don't care too much about GPA if you apply with work experience and significant extracurriculars (like a good published note).
I'm OP. By delaying, are you suggesting waiting until '26-27 or would I need to wait until '27-28? And am I correct to assume that I should be on applying to those places now as they become available? Also, any suggestions for who in those districts are less GPA determinative or how to find them? Sorry for so many followups.

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Re: Where Am I Competitive for a District Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 04, 2024 3:00 pm

I would reconsider your confidence that no one will make calls for you, especially if it is just based on the idea that you are not super close with the recommenders and you feel that the ask is burdensome. DId you ask them about calls? One way to make this a less heavy ask is to identify a few judges who are good fits for you in particular, and explain your reasoning to the recommenders. This is especially true if you're not applying to the same judges as everyone else at your school.

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Re: Where Am I Competitive for a District Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 04, 2024 10:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2024 9:21 am
That’s a pretty median federal clerkship app tbh.
Facts. I’m doing a clerkship in a competitive district (EDPA/EDVA) and even our intern offers mostly go to T14 students with cum-laude or higher grades or straight As from one of the local schools. For clerkship applicants, we get so many amazing candidates that my judge has us focus on the interest section (given that the applicants meet his three reqs: T-14 with a very strong preference for T-6; at least cum laude grades; an A in either civ pro or fed courts - preferably both)

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Re: Where Am I Competitive for a District Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 04, 2024 11:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2024 10:31 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2024 8:18 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2024 11:57 am
I would apply broadly for 25-26. I clerked on a district court in a secondary city (think atlanta, new orleans, miami) and our offerees were often 2Ls who were top 10% at t6 (e.g. 3.75+ at NYU) or just below magna at HLS. We also often hired for their second year out of law school, which is pretty standard at competitive district courts (secondary cities and top-tier cities), so the fact that you're applying as a 3L doesn't really give you an advantage for 25-26 because you'll only have 1 year of experience, same as those applying on plan. So for 25-26, I would apply quite broadly, including flyovers outside of secondary cities. for later years, I think you can be more selective and just keep it to the secondary cities and other places you want to be.
Agree with this. But at the same time, I'd encourage you to apply to judges on your top preferred districts, too. And consider delaying your clerkship date, especially if you're mainly interested in district. Maybe not so much SDNY, which is GPA competitive top to bottom, but even NDIL/CDCA/NDCA/EDNY have judges that don't care too much about GPA if you apply with work experience and significant extracurriculars (like a good published note).
I'm OP. By delaying, are you suggesting waiting until '26-27 or would I need to wait until '27-28? And am I correct to assume that I should be on applying to those places now as they become available? Also, any suggestions for who in those districts are less GPA determinative or how to find them? Sorry for so many followups.
Tbh I dont think you get a serious look with your current app with most judges on those districts right now. But 3-4 years of big law experience might move the needle. And my sense is, generally speaking, former FPDs or other public interest background judges tend to be less GPA focused, and more focused on career goals, experience & community service. Former AUSA/boutique/biglaw judges tend to care more about the GPA and other credentials, again very generally speaking. Also, some minority judges care a lot about hiring URM students.

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Re: Where Am I Competitive for a District Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jun 05, 2024 1:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2024 11:38 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2024 10:31 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2024 8:18 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2024 11:57 am
I would apply broadly for 25-26. I clerked on a district court in a secondary city (think atlanta, new orleans, miami) and our offerees were often 2Ls who were top 10% at t6 (e.g. 3.75+ at NYU) or just below magna at HLS. We also often hired for their second year out of law school, which is pretty standard at competitive district courts (secondary cities and top-tier cities), so the fact that you're applying as a 3L doesn't really give you an advantage for 25-26 because you'll only have 1 year of experience, same as those applying on plan. So for 25-26, I would apply quite broadly, including flyovers outside of secondary cities. for later years, I think you can be more selective and just keep it to the secondary cities and other places you want to be.
Agree with this. But at the same time, I'd encourage you to apply to judges on your top preferred districts, too. And consider delaying your clerkship date, especially if you're mainly interested in district. Maybe not so much SDNY, which is GPA competitive top to bottom, but even NDIL/CDCA/NDCA/EDNY have judges that don't care too much about GPA if you apply with work experience and significant extracurriculars (like a good published note).
I'm OP. By delaying, are you suggesting waiting until '26-27 or would I need to wait until '27-28? And am I correct to assume that I should be on applying to those places now as they become available? Also, any suggestions for who in those districts are less GPA determinative or how to find them? Sorry for so many followups.
Tbh I dont think you get a serious look with your current app with most judges on those districts right now. But 3-4 years of big law experience might move the needle. And my sense is, generally speaking, former FPDs or other public interest background judges tend to be less GPA focused, and more focused on career goals, experience & community service. Former AUSA/boutique/biglaw judges tend to care more about the GPA and other credentials, again very generally speaking. Also, some minority judges care a lot about hiring URM students.
OP again. That's rough, but good to know and thanks for answering. Unless I'm doing it as a stepping stone to PI/gov when my foot is already out the door (which I've considered), I was hoping not to have to wait that long given the massive earnings cut. Do you think I'd be competitive in a secondary city for '26-27? Or would I really only be competitive for something in a flyover until 3-4 years out? Also, in your experience, do you think anyone in NYC even cares about a district clerkship in Atlanta, New Orleans, or Miami, at least to the extent where the long-term career benefits outweigh just staying in the general workforce for another year?

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Re: Where Am I Competitive for a District Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 10, 2024 6:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2024 1:34 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2024 11:38 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2024 10:31 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2024 8:18 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2024 11:57 am
I would apply broadly for 25-26. I clerked on a district court in a secondary city (think atlanta, new orleans, miami) and our offerees were often 2Ls who were top 10% at t6 (e.g. 3.75+ at NYU) or just below magna at HLS. We also often hired for their second year out of law school, which is pretty standard at competitive district courts (secondary cities and top-tier cities), so the fact that you're applying as a 3L doesn't really give you an advantage for 25-26 because you'll only have 1 year of experience, same as those applying on plan. So for 25-26, I would apply quite broadly, including flyovers outside of secondary cities. for later years, I think you can be more selective and just keep it to the secondary cities and other places you want to be.
Agree with this. But at the same time, I'd encourage you to apply to judges on your top preferred districts, too. And consider delaying your clerkship date, especially if you're mainly interested in district. Maybe not so much SDNY, which is GPA competitive top to bottom, but even NDIL/CDCA/NDCA/EDNY have judges that don't care too much about GPA if you apply with work experience and significant extracurriculars (like a good published note).
I'm OP. By delaying, are you suggesting waiting until '26-27 or would I need to wait until '27-28? And am I correct to assume that I should be on applying to those places now as they become available? Also, any suggestions for who in those districts are less GPA determinative or how to find them? Sorry for so many followups.
Tbh I dont think you get a serious look with your current app with most judges on those districts right now. But 3-4 years of big law experience might move the needle. And my sense is, generally speaking, former FPDs or other public interest background judges tend to be less GPA focused, and more focused on career goals, experience & community service. Former AUSA/boutique/biglaw judges tend to care more about the GPA and other credentials, again very generally speaking. Also, some minority judges care a lot about hiring URM students.
OP again. That's rough, but good to know and thanks for answering. Unless I'm doing it as a stepping stone to PI/gov when my foot is already out the door (which I've considered), I was hoping not to have to wait that long given the massive earnings cut. Do you think I'd be competitive in a secondary city for '26-27? Or would I really only be competitive for something in a flyover until 3-4 years out? Also, in your experience, do you think anyone in NYC even cares about a district clerkship in Atlanta, New Orleans, or Miami, at least to the extent where the long-term career benefits outweigh just staying in the general workforce for another year?
Also depends a bit on where you went to school. Assuming not T6 because you said T14. A 3.7 at Mich puts you pretty close to Order of the Coif, iirc. A 3.7 at Cornell or NU puts you in the top 30% which is not nearly as impressive.

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Re: Where Am I Competitive for a District Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jun 12, 2024 2:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2024 6:16 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2024 1:34 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2024 11:38 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2024 10:31 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2024 8:18 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2024 11:57 am
I would apply broadly for 25-26. I clerked on a district court in a secondary city (think atlanta, new orleans, miami) and our offerees were often 2Ls who were top 10% at t6 (e.g. 3.75+ at NYU) or just below magna at HLS. We also often hired for their second year out of law school, which is pretty standard at competitive district courts (secondary cities and top-tier cities), so the fact that you're applying as a 3L doesn't really give you an advantage for 25-26 because you'll only have 1 year of experience, same as those applying on plan. So for 25-26, I would apply quite broadly, including flyovers outside of secondary cities. for later years, I think you can be more selective and just keep it to the secondary cities and other places you want to be.
Agree with this. But at the same time, I'd encourage you to apply to judges on your top preferred districts, too. And consider delaying your clerkship date, especially if you're mainly interested in district. Maybe not so much SDNY, which is GPA competitive top to bottom, but even NDIL/CDCA/NDCA/EDNY have judges that don't care too much about GPA if you apply with work experience and significant extracurriculars (like a good published note).
I'm OP. By delaying, are you suggesting waiting until '26-27 or would I need to wait until '27-28? And am I correct to assume that I should be on applying to those places now as they become available? Also, any suggestions for who in those districts are less GPA determinative or how to find them? Sorry for so many followups.
Tbh I dont think you get a serious look with your current app with most judges on those districts right now. But 3-4 years of big law experience might move the needle. And my sense is, generally speaking, former FPDs or other public interest background judges tend to be less GPA focused, and more focused on career goals, experience & community service. Former AUSA/boutique/biglaw judges tend to care more about the GPA and other credentials, again very generally speaking. Also, some minority judges care a lot about hiring URM students.
OP again. That's rough, but good to know and thanks for answering. Unless I'm doing it as a stepping stone to PI/gov when my foot is already out the door (which I've considered), I was hoping not to have to wait that long given the massive earnings cut. Do you think I'd be competitive in a secondary city for '26-27? Or would I really only be competitive for something in a flyover until 3-4 years out? Also, in your experience, do you think anyone in NYC even cares about a district clerkship in Atlanta, New Orleans, or Miami, at least to the extent where the long-term career benefits outweigh just staying in the general workforce for another year?
Also depends a bit on where you went to school. Assuming not T6 because you said T14. A 3.7 at Mich puts you pretty close to Order of the Coif, iirc. A 3.7 at Cornell or NU puts you in the top 30% which is not nearly as impressive.
It's in the latter category. Not close to Coif.

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Re: Where Am I Competitive for a District Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jun 12, 2024 8:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2024 1:34 pm
Also, in your experience, do you think anyone in NYC even cares about a district clerkship in Atlanta, New Orleans, or Miami, at least to the extent where the long-term career benefits outweigh just staying in the general workforce for another year?
Government tends to value clerkships regardless. Most AUSAs I know have clerked, and it’s probably 50/50 whether they’ve clerked in a district anywhere near where they’ve ended up working. USAOs just like to know that you have that experience. Sure, there are probably some clerkships that shine especially bright, but it’s a good credential regardless of where.

That said, I don’t know about SDNY/EDNY specifically (though I also don’t think every AUSA there has clerked in that district). And of course you may not be interested in a USAO - just commenting since you mentioned stepping stone to PI/gov.

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Re: Where Am I Competitive for a District Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jun 12, 2024 9:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2024 1:34 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2024 11:38 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2024 10:31 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2024 8:18 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2024 11:57 am
I would apply broadly for 25-26. I clerked on a district court in a secondary city (think atlanta, new orleans, miami) and our offerees were often 2Ls who were top 10% at t6 (e.g. 3.75+ at NYU) or just below magna at HLS. We also often hired for their second year out of law school, which is pretty standard at competitive district courts (secondary cities and top-tier cities), so the fact that you're applying as a 3L doesn't really give you an advantage for 25-26 because you'll only have 1 year of experience, same as those applying on plan. So for 25-26, I would apply quite broadly, including flyovers outside of secondary cities. for later years, I think you can be more selective and just keep it to the secondary cities and other places you want to be.
Agree with this. But at the same time, I'd encourage you to apply to judges on your top preferred districts, too. And consider delaying your clerkship date, especially if you're mainly interested in district. Maybe not so much SDNY, which is GPA competitive top to bottom, but even NDIL/CDCA/NDCA/EDNY have judges that don't care too much about GPA if you apply with work experience and significant extracurriculars (like a good published note).
I'm OP. By delaying, are you suggesting waiting until '26-27 or would I need to wait until '27-28? And am I correct to assume that I should be on applying to those places now as they become available? Also, any suggestions for who in those districts are less GPA determinative or how to find them? Sorry for so many followups.
Tbh I dont think you get a serious look with your current app with most judges on those districts right now. But 3-4 years of big law experience might move the needle. And my sense is, generally speaking, former FPDs or other public interest background judges tend to be less GPA focused, and more focused on career goals, experience & community service. Former AUSA/boutique/biglaw judges tend to care more about the GPA and other credentials, again very generally speaking. Also, some minority judges care a lot about hiring URM students.
OP again. That's rough, but good to know and thanks for answering. Unless I'm doing it as a stepping stone to PI/gov when my foot is already out the door (which I've considered), I was hoping not to have to wait that long given the massive earnings cut. Do you think I'd be competitive in a secondary city for '26-27? Or would I really only be competitive for something in a flyover until 3-4 years out? Also, in your experience, do you think anyone in NYC even cares about a district clerkship in Atlanta, New Orleans, or Miami, at least to the extent where the long-term career benefits outweigh just staying in the general workforce for another year?
Yes, absolutely. Anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong.

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Re: Where Am I Competitive for a District Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jun 12, 2024 11:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2024 9:05 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2024 1:34 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2024 11:38 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2024 10:31 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2024 8:18 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2024 11:57 am
I would apply broadly for 25-26. I clerked on a district court in a secondary city (think atlanta, new orleans, miami) and our offerees were often 2Ls who were top 10% at t6 (e.g. 3.75+ at NYU) or just below magna at HLS. We also often hired for their second year out of law school, which is pretty standard at competitive district courts (secondary cities and top-tier cities), so the fact that you're applying as a 3L doesn't really give you an advantage for 25-26 because you'll only have 1 year of experience, same as those applying on plan. So for 25-26, I would apply quite broadly, including flyovers outside of secondary cities. for later years, I think you can be more selective and just keep it to the secondary cities and other places you want to be.
Agree with this. But at the same time, I'd encourage you to apply to judges on your top preferred districts, too. And consider delaying your clerkship date, especially if you're mainly interested in district. Maybe not so much SDNY, which is GPA competitive top to bottom, but even NDIL/CDCA/NDCA/EDNY have judges that don't care too much about GPA if you apply with work experience and significant extracurriculars (like a good published note).
I'm OP. By delaying, are you suggesting waiting until '26-27 or would I need to wait until '27-28? And am I correct to assume that I should be on applying to those places now as they become available? Also, any suggestions for who in those districts are less GPA determinative or how to find them? Sorry for so many followups.
Tbh I dont think you get a serious look with your current app with most judges on those districts right now. But 3-4 years of big law experience might move the needle. And my sense is, generally speaking, former FPDs or other public interest background judges tend to be less GPA focused, and more focused on career goals, experience & community service. Former AUSA/boutique/biglaw judges tend to care more about the GPA and other credentials, again very generally speaking. Also, some minority judges care a lot about hiring URM students.
OP again. That's rough, but good to know and thanks for answering. Unless I'm doing it as a stepping stone to PI/gov when my foot is already out the door (which I've considered), I was hoping not to have to wait that long given the massive earnings cut. Do you think I'd be competitive in a secondary city for '26-27? Or would I really only be competitive for something in a flyover until 3-4 years out? Also, in your experience, do you think anyone in NYC even cares about a district clerkship in Atlanta, New Orleans, or Miami, at least to the extent where the long-term career benefits outweigh just staying in the general workforce for another year?
Yes, absolutely. Anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong.
To echo… once you clerk (wherever that is), you’ll see why district prestige is overrated.

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Re: Where Am I Competitive for a District Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jun 13, 2024 4:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2024 9:05 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2024 1:34 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2024 11:38 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2024 10:31 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2024 8:18 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2024 11:57 am
I would apply broadly for 25-26. I clerked on a district court in a secondary city (think atlanta, new orleans, miami) and our offerees were often 2Ls who were top 10% at t6 (e.g. 3.75+ at NYU) or just below magna at HLS. We also often hired for their second year out of law school, which is pretty standard at competitive district courts (secondary cities and top-tier cities), so the fact that you're applying as a 3L doesn't really give you an advantage for 25-26 because you'll only have 1 year of experience, same as those applying on plan. So for 25-26, I would apply quite broadly, including flyovers outside of secondary cities. for later years, I think you can be more selective and just keep it to the secondary cities and other places you want to be.
Agree with this. But at the same time, I'd encourage you to apply to judges on your top preferred districts, too. And consider delaying your clerkship date, especially if you're mainly interested in district. Maybe not so much SDNY, which is GPA competitive top to bottom, but even NDIL/CDCA/NDCA/EDNY have judges that don't care too much about GPA if you apply with work experience and significant extracurriculars (like a good published note).
I'm OP. By delaying, are you suggesting waiting until '26-27 or would I need to wait until '27-28? And am I correct to assume that I should be on applying to those places now as they become available? Also, any suggestions for who in those districts are less GPA determinative or how to find them? Sorry for so many followups.
Tbh I dont think you get a serious look with your current app with most judges on those districts right now. But 3-4 years of big law experience might move the needle. And my sense is, generally speaking, former FPDs or other public interest background judges tend to be less GPA focused, and more focused on career goals, experience & community service. Former AUSA/boutique/biglaw judges tend to care more about the GPA and other credentials, again very generally speaking. Also, some minority judges care a lot about hiring URM students.
OP again. That's rough, but good to know and thanks for answering. Unless I'm doing it as a stepping stone to PI/gov when my foot is already out the door (which I've considered), I was hoping not to have to wait that long given the massive earnings cut. Do you think I'd be competitive in a secondary city for '26-27? Or would I really only be competitive for something in a flyover until 3-4 years out? Also, in your experience, do you think anyone in NYC even cares about a district clerkship in Atlanta, New Orleans, or Miami, at least to the extent where the long-term career benefits outweigh just staying in the general workforce for another year?
Yes, absolutely. Anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong.
seconding. It's bizarre how many people think otherwise. Less litigation focused firms might not care as much but places serious about litigation will care about a district court clerkship regardless of district. at serious litigation shops, the difference between any district court clerkship and another year of junior practice is massive
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Jun 13, 2024 4:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Where Am I Competitive for a District Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jun 13, 2024 4:46 pm

duplicate

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Re: Where Am I Competitive for a District Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jun 13, 2024 6:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2024 4:45 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2024 9:05 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2024 1:34 pm
Also, in your experience, do you think anyone in NYC even cares about a district clerkship in Atlanta, New Orleans, or Miami, at least to the extent where the long-term career benefits outweigh just staying in the general workforce for another year?
Yes, absolutely. Anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong.
seconding. It's bizarre how many people think otherwise. Less litigation focused firms might not care as much but places serious about litigation will care about a district court clerkship regardless of district. at serious litigation shops, the difference between any district court clerkship and another year of junior practice is massive
Yeah, it kills me how many people seem to think that if you don’t clerk in NYC or DC, or maybe SF or LA, the experience has no benefit.

(signed, someone who has never lived in any of those places)

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Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Where Am I Competitive for a District Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jun 13, 2024 6:20 pm

TBH, getting to clerk in like South Dakota or Alaska for a year could be really cool and a good way to differentiate yourself from the pack--at the very least you're likely to have some wild stories at the end.

Anonymous User
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Re: Where Am I Competitive for a District Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jun 13, 2024 6:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2024 6:20 pm
TBH, getting to clerk in like South Dakota or Alaska for a year could be really cool and a good way to differentiate yourself from the pack--at the very least you're likely to have some wild stories at the end.
Yes exactly. Particularly if you have the "credentials" to back it up. A top 10% T14 who clerked in Alaska is a compelling candidate with a unique story to tell in interviews.

A lot of lawyers get overly obsessed with following some sort of ideal path of what a good candidate looks like to the point of hyper specifity. It's as if they don't go to Yale and clerk for the DC Circuit or SDNY it's over for them, they'll never be a success.

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Where Am I Competitive for a District Clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jun 13, 2024 10:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2024 4:45 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2024 9:05 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2024 1:34 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2024 11:38 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2024 10:31 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2024 8:18 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2024 11:57 am
I would apply broadly for 25-26. I clerked on a district court in a secondary city (think atlanta, new orleans, miami) and our offerees were often 2Ls who were top 10% at t6 (e.g. 3.75+ at NYU) or just below magna at HLS. We also often hired for their second year out of law school, which is pretty standard at competitive district courts (secondary cities and top-tier cities), so the fact that you're applying as a 3L doesn't really give you an advantage for 25-26 because you'll only have 1 year of experience, same as those applying on plan. So for 25-26, I would apply quite broadly, including flyovers outside of secondary cities. for later years, I think you can be more selective and just keep it to the secondary cities and other places you want to be.
Agree with this. But at the same time, I'd encourage you to apply to judges on your top preferred districts, too. And consider delaying your clerkship date, especially if you're mainly interested in district. Maybe not so much SDNY, which is GPA competitive top to bottom, but even NDIL/CDCA/NDCA/EDNY have judges that don't care too much about GPA if you apply with work experience and significant extracurriculars (like a good published note).
I'm OP. By delaying, are you suggesting waiting until '26-27 or would I need to wait until '27-28? And am I correct to assume that I should be on applying to those places now as they become available? Also, any suggestions for who in those districts are less GPA determinative or how to find them? Sorry for so many followups.
Tbh I dont think you get a serious look with your current app with most judges on those districts right now. But 3-4 years of big law experience might move the needle. And my sense is, generally speaking, former FPDs or other public interest background judges tend to be less GPA focused, and more focused on career goals, experience & community service. Former AUSA/boutique/biglaw judges tend to care more about the GPA and other credentials, again very generally speaking. Also, some minority judges care a lot about hiring URM students.
OP again. That's rough, but good to know and thanks for answering. Unless I'm doing it as a stepping stone to PI/gov when my foot is already out the door (which I've considered), I was hoping not to have to wait that long given the massive earnings cut. Do you think I'd be competitive in a secondary city for '26-27? Or would I really only be competitive for something in a flyover until 3-4 years out? Also, in your experience, do you think anyone in NYC even cares about a district clerkship in Atlanta, New Orleans, or Miami, at least to the extent where the long-term career benefits outweigh just staying in the general workforce for another year?
Yes, absolutely. Anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong.
seconding. It's bizarre how many people think otherwise. Less litigation focused firms might not care as much but places serious about litigation will care about a district court clerkship regardless of district. at serious litigation shops, the difference between any district court clerkship and another year of junior practice is massive
OP here again. Thats good to know. I'll say that my curiosity was motivated by very mixed conversations with partners at my firm as a summer associate. One said that clerking is great no matter where you're at and is always worth doing. Another said it only moves the needle from a career standpoint if you're SDNY/EDNY/DNJ, though can still be beneficial on a skills/personal level. A third said while the major districts are preferred, its still worth doing if you're in an urban area that sees the types of cases firms handle, but not so much if you're in Wyoming or another place that doesn't have as many large firm litigants. Mixed signals make it hard to know what the best way of approaching it is.

I also know more than a few NY biglaw partners/firms are heavily focused on prestige, and I've seen other threads on here that have said NY firms don't really care about anything outside the NYC metro area, so I was (am) a bit worried thats true. Good to hear some another perspectives on it!

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