Clerks Taking Questions

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MJB
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Clerks Taking Questions

Post by MJB » Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:29 am

Might as well get this ball rolling.
Last edited by MJB on Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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emkay625
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Re: Clerk(s?) Taking Questions

Post by emkay625 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:52 pm

Former clerk here. I'll answer as well, so feel free to remove the ?

: D

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MJB
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Re: Clerk(s?) Taking Questions

Post by MJB » Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:44 pm

emkay625 wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:52 pm
Former clerk here. I'll answer as well, so feel free to remove the ?

: D
So edited. Now all we need are some questions!

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necho2
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by necho2 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 5:55 pm

This isn't a question, but I think it's hilarious that for a significant number of localities, the step up from JSP-11 to JSP-12 (which I think you can clear in a year of practice), can be significantly more than the 10k biglaw pay increase. I guess you really still lose when bonuses are added in, but it's funny that the bump tends to be 3-5k more.

To add in a related question- what do you guys think of clerking immediately after v. 1-2 years out?

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Bearlyalive
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by Bearlyalive » Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:18 pm

For applications, is there any benefit to have more than one professor call a judge? Trying to decide how to allocate calls.

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MJB
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by MJB » Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:23 pm

necho2 wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 5:55 pm
This isn't a question, but I think it's hilarious that for a significant number of localities, the step up from JSP-11 to JSP-12 (which I think you can clear in a year of practice), can be significantly more than the 10k biglaw pay increase. I guess you really still lose when bonuses are added in, but it's funny that the bump tends to be 3-5k more.

To add in a related question- what do you guys think of clerking immediately after v. 1-2 years out?
I applied and clerked after a few years practicing. I found a little bit of experience helpful to appreciate chambers life, and I think I was a better clerk and got more out of it, too. I also think it made me a more competitive candidate because my work experience augmented my resume, which was decent but mostly plain vanilla. I wasn't in biglaw, though, so my experience may have been atypical.

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MJB
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by MJB » Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:55 pm

Bearlyalive wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:18 pm
For applications, is there any benefit to have more than one professor call a judge? Trying to decide how to allocate calls.
I'd probably only do that if each prof knows the judge, and maybe not even then (if you've got limited calls). A call from someone the judge doesn't know probably isn't going to move the needle much more than a good letter of recommendation.

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par283
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by par283 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:11 pm

How do you know if you're a competitive applicant? Are there certain benchmarks in terms of ranking for school and class placement? I would love to clerk but don't know what I need to do in Law School to set myself up to get one.

lawman84
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by lawman84 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:35 pm

par283 wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:11 pm
How do you know if you're a competitive applicant? Are there certain benchmarks in terms of ranking for school and class placement? I would love to clerk but don't know what I need to do in Law School to set myself up to get one.
It's going to depend on the law school. Looking at your school's federal clerkship percentage on LST should give you some idea of where you stand, but even then, you might be more competitive than expected if you have something in your background or the right connection. It definitely helps to have influential professors (or friends) in your corner.

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MJB
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by MJB » Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:29 pm

lawman84 wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:35 pm
par283 wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:11 pm
How do you know if you're a competitive applicant? Are there certain benchmarks in terms of ranking for school and class placement? I would love to clerk but don't know what I need to do in Law School to set myself up to get one.
It's going to depend on the law school. Looking at your school's federal clerkship percentage on LST should give you some idea of where you stand, but even then, you might be more competitive than expected if you have something in your background or the right connection. It definitely helps to have influential professors (or friends) in your corner.
Yeah, it's much more idiosyncratic than something like biglaw interviewing. Your chances will usually improve with a higher ranked law school, better grades, flagship journal (everything you'd expect), but it's tough to give specifics. Fortunately, you'll want to try to get many of those things anyway, and it's not really cost prohibitive to apply if you're even marginally competitive. (FWIW, I think good writing skills, close relationships with professors, and being well-rounded and affable tend to be particularly important for clerkships, maybe moreso than for other legal jobs.)

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par283
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by par283 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:47 pm

Thanks guys! I know it's a broad question. I'm in a lot of T1 schools (WUSTL, Emory, ND, GW, W+L) but don't have a realistic shot at T14, so I'm trying to get as much info about clerking as I can prior to making a decision on schools. I wasn't sure if clerking was a t14 or bust sort of thing or if it's possible to get by doing well at schools in the T15-T35 range. Appreciate the input!

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MJB
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by MJB » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:06 pm

par283 wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:47 pm
Thanks guys! I know it's a broad question. I'm in a lot of T1 schools (WUSTL, Emory, ND, GW, W+L) but don't have a realistic shot at T14, so I'm trying to get as much info about clerking as I can prior to making a decision on schools. I wasn't sure if clerking was a t14 or bust sort of thing or if it's possible to get by doing well at schools in the T15-T35 range. Appreciate the input!
Definitely not impossible, but probably even more important to build and lean on relationships and connections. Good luck!

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m052310
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by m052310 » Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:21 am

Do most chambers ask for a specific type of writing sample (objective, persuasive, ect.) or is there a recommended type they are looking for most often?

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MJB
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by MJB » Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:58 am

m052310 wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:21 am
Do most chambers ask for a specific type of writing sample (objective, persuasive, ect.) or is there a recommended type they are looking for most often?
It's rare for chambers to ask for a particular type of writing sample. They generally just expect you to use your best judgment (though I've seen some judges ask specifically for academic, non-academic, or non-legal writing). I'd pick as good a proxy for chambers work as you can, so probably something objective because it's closest to what most chambers writing is like - you're usually not trying to advocate for a particular outcome, and it's important that you're able to fairly evaluate arguments opposing your recommendation.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by beep » Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:10 pm

Alumni clerks: how the heck did you arrange it? I was pretty indifferent to clerking while in LS but now am thinking about applying. But the prospect of applying for a new job that I won't start until two years from now, probably in a different place, at a time that is likely not going to be very convenient for my lease, after relocating with my SO once already, seems impossible. It feels like the only way I could swing it is if I found something in the district I'm currently living in and that was like a last-minute posting to start within the next few months, but I have not seen any of those unicorns pop up.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by cantdecide » Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:34 pm

What’s the etiquette for attempting to switch firms post-clerkship? If you accepted a big law offer after 2L summer, and then clerk immediately after graduation, is it ‘ok’ to send apps/interview with other firms? Are firms generally aware that you might back out and go somewhere else, or is it considered poor taste to not go where you accepted an offer?

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MJB
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by MJB » Sun Jan 28, 2018 4:42 pm

beep wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:10 pm
Alumni clerks: how the heck did you arrange it? I was pretty indifferent to clerking while in LS but now am thinking about applying. But the prospect of applying for a new job that I won't start until two years from now, probably in a different place, at a time that is likely not going to be very convenient for my lease, after relocating with my SO once already, seems impossible. It feels like the only way I could swing it is if I found something in the district I'm currently living in and that was like a last-minute posting to start within the next few months, but I have not seen any of those unicorns pop up.
It sucks - there's really no way around it. I was fortunate in that my first job was for a limited term anyway, so either way I would have at least needed to change jobs. It ended up being a crosscountry move to clerk, but I was fortunate to have a partner who viewed the whole thing as an adventure.

I think the few years' lead time can be nice b/c you get some time to plan, but it's really tough once you get established and have someone else you need to coordinate with. Definitely apply locally and leverage any connections you have to avoid the move if you can. It also doesn't sound like you're hellbent on clerking, so maybe that's the right approach for you (granted, I don't know what's available where you are)? And, of course, you can always apply and then decline an interview if you realize you really don't want to move, so you can still apply more broadly if you want to test the waters.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by Nony » Sun Jan 28, 2018 5:07 pm

cantdecide wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:34 pm
What’s the etiquette for attempting to switch firms post-clerkship? If you accepted a big law offer after 2L summer, and then clerk immediately after graduation, is it ‘ok’ to send apps/interview with other firms? Are firms generally aware that you might back out and go somewhere else, or is it considered poor taste to not go where you accepted an offer?
Yes, it's okay to apply elsewhere. Firms totally realize that you will do this, and it's not in poor taste to ditch the place you accepted.

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whiskeyandcupcakes
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by whiskeyandcupcakes » Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:13 pm

Sorry if these have been answered before on that other law school forum's boards:

(1) How much does having a district court clerkship lined up help an applicant's chances for circuits? I am assuming it it helps some but that there are also plenty of applicants applying for a second clerkship so it is far from unique. For clerks on a COA, was a prior clerkship more significantly valued than, say, other work experience (or law review or whatever other credentials mattered in your chambers)? Or, was it just on par with other types of experience?

(2) Also, if a district court clerk gets an interview for a COA while clerking, are most judges okay with the clerk taking a day off to travel to the interview? (I know judges vary widely in their vacation policies, but I would also imagine job interviews are viewed differently than vacations).

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MJB
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by MJB » Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:34 pm

whiskeyandcupcakes wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:13 pm
Sorry if these have been answered before on that other law school forum's boards:

(1) How much does having a district court clerkship lined up help an applicant's chances for circuits? I am assuming it it helps some but that there are also plenty of applicants applying for a second clerkship so it is far from unique. For clerks on a COA, was a prior clerkship more significantly valued than, say, other work experience (or law review or whatever other credentials mattered in your chambers)? Or, was it just on par with other types of experience?

(2) Also, if a district court clerk gets an interview for a COA while clerking, are most judges okay with the clerk taking a day off to travel to the interview? (I know judges vary widely in their vacation policies, but I would also imagine job interviews are viewed differently than vacations).
(1) Quite a bit generally (as usual, individual judges vary), and I'd say more than normal work experience or most other credentials. You're reviewing d.ct. decisions, so theoretically there's less of a learning curve if you've been on a d.ct., and you probably learned how to function in a chambers environment. It's one of the closest proxies there is to COA work, so it's great to have the line on your resume, and it's even better if your d.ct. judge will accept a call and talk about you in glowing terms.

(2) It was okay anywhere I clerked. It sounds like we both think judges would generally be more understanding about interviews than other days out of the office (they know that you need a job after your clerkship ends, and that's the only good way to find one). Still, I can imagine a judge not liking it. That might be a good thing to ask a career staffer if you don't want to bring it to the judge directly initially.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by ExBiglawAssociate » Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:32 pm

beep wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:10 pm
Alumni clerks: how the heck did you arrange it? I was pretty indifferent to clerking while in LS but now am thinking about applying. But the prospect of applying for a new job that I won't start until two years from now, probably in a different place, at a time that is likely not going to be very convenient for my lease, after relocating with my SO once already, seems impossible. It feels like the only way I could swing it is if I found something in the district I'm currently living in and that was like a last-minute posting to start within the next few months, but I have not seen any of those unicorns pop up.
Just send apps unless chambers says not to on OSCAR.

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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by BearCat » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:04 am

Application question: If I'm interning for a federal judge and all of my work is with the clerks, would it be better to ask a clerk for a rec, or get one from the judge?

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emkay625
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by emkay625 » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:29 am

IPeeLaw wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:04 am
Application question: If I'm interning for a federal judge and all of my work is with the clerks, would it be better to ask a clerk for a rec, or get one from the judge?
Many judges won't write rec letters, but will serve as a reference. Just FYI.

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Lavitz
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by Lavitz » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:30 pm

emkay625 wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:29 am
IPeeLaw wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:04 am
Application question: If I'm interning for a federal judge and all of my work is with the clerks, would it be better to ask a clerk for a rec, or get one from the judge?
Many judges won't write rec letters, but will serve as a reference. Just FYI.
And I don't believe I've ever seen a rec letter written by a clerk. I certainly would feel weird if any of my interns asked me to write one.

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ChutzpahSaxa15
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by ChutzpahSaxa15 » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:30 pm

0L here. To what extent are clerkship prospects determined by prestige of the law school you attend? And is it more of a self-driven app process or is it really important to have a super competent career office behind you?

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