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Is clerking a scam?

Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:56 am
by riot
I feel like I have heard about way more bad experiences than good experiences from my law school friends about their clerkships.

Re: Is clerking a scam?

Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:18 am
by heythatslife
You're looking the same population that signs up to work for free on law reviews so probably yes

But seriously, the majority of people I know seem to have enjoyed it though (but not universally)

Re: Is clerking a scam?

Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 6:05 am
by Nony
I don’t think the potential for shitty experiences makes clerking a scam, but then, I drank the koolaid.

Re: Is clerking a scam?

Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 7:43 am
by MJB
No, but mileage varies a lot.

Re: Is clerking a scam?

Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:51 am
by lolwat
The quality of the clerkship depends on the judge and on whether you like the type of work that clerking entails... so it can vary.

Re: Is clerking a scam?

Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:24 am
by ggocat
Like most jobs, I imagine, worker satisfaction depends heavily on the quality of the manager.

Re: Is clerking a scam?

Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:43 am
by jeff chiles
I agree that I hear way more horror stories than positive stories from classmates. I think a third of my friends who clerked left early or moved to a different judge, but these are all state clerkships and not federal so idk if that’s what people talk about when they promote clerking.

Re: Is clerking a scam?

Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:06 pm
by Nony
Yeah, I think the thing with judges is that when they’re good, the experience is great, but if a judge isn’t good, it’s TERRIBLE. There’s not a lot of truly meh middle ground.

Re: Is clerking a scam?

Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:17 pm
by MJB
ggocat wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:24 am
Like most jobs, I imagine, worker satisfaction depends heavily on the quality of the manager.
Dialed up to 11, given how small a working environment chambers is and how unfettered judges are within it.

Re: Is clerking a scam?

Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:15 pm
by lolwat
I mean, who knows I guess. It could be that there are just a lot more "horrible to work for" federal judges now than there was roughly 10 years ago when I started applying for clerkships. And there are so many new appointees now it's really YMMV because there's not enough info about them to go around. At least back in my day if I dug around enough I could generally find some info on specific judges that were horrible to work for (e.g. Kozinski) and judges who took really good care of their clerks (e.g. Smith on 5th Circuit).
jeff chiles wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:43 am
I agree that I hear way more horror stories than positive stories from classmates. I think a third of my friends who clerked left early or moved to a different judge, but these are all state clerkships and not federal so idk if that’s what people talk about when they promote clerking.
I think there's probably more variation in the state systems and less info about their reputations to go around as well, compared to federal.

Re: Is clerking a scam?

Posted: Mon Nov 02, 2020 1:11 pm
by Story
For federal clerkships, I don’t think they are a scam. My perception may be skewed because I think a lot of people with bad experiences have an interest it not badmouthing their judge.

Even if a judge is a bad boss, the clerkship may still be worth the resume boost. As long as the judge is not actively hated and disrespected in the community.

I’m not saying you should always clerk for a judge known to be a bad boss. I’m just trying to let you know there are downsides that MIGHT be outweighed by upsides.