Clerks Taking Questions

soapy
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by soapy » Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:55 pm

Curious about any insights current/former clerks may have to application strategy with the new hiring plan. I am hoping for a COA position and applying broadly, but naturally there are some that I would prefer over others.
That being said, I am guessing I should just send out all my apps on the first day that we are allowed to and go with whatever sticks?

lolwat
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by lolwat » Wed Jun 05, 2019 5:02 pm

soapy wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:55 pm
Curious about any insights current/former clerks may have to application strategy with the new hiring plan. I am hoping for a COA position and applying broadly, but naturally there are some that I would prefer over others.
That being said, I am guessing I should just send out all my apps on the first day that we are allowed to and go with whatever sticks?
I'd say yes. I'm not entirely sure how the hiring plan works this time, but if it's anything like the one in place during my time, pretty much all of the hiring for judges on the plan is going to happen at around the same time frame, so there's no practical way to stagger your applications without being at an extreme disadvantage for any you didn't apply to on the first day.

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CS1775
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by CS1775 » Sat Jun 08, 2019 11:20 am

Aye or nay on mentioning a CALI for Professional Responsibility (required ethics, MPRE class) in a clerkship cover letter? State judges if it makes any difference (course was based on the Model Rules).

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MJB
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by MJB » Sat Jun 08, 2019 12:22 pm

CS1775 wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2019 11:20 am
Aye or nay on mentioning a CALI for Professional Responsibility (required ethics, MPRE class) in a clerkship cover letter? State judges if it makes any difference (course was based on the Model Rules).
I’d probably just put it on your resume and omit it from the cover letter unless you have something unusually interesting and relevant to say about that experience.

lolwat
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by lolwat » Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:06 pm

CS1775 wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2019 11:20 am
Aye or nay on mentioning a CALI for Professional Responsibility (required ethics, MPRE class) in a clerkship cover letter? State judges if it makes any difference (course was based on the Model Rules).
CALI awards are fine to mention in general; it's never bad to point out subtly that you got the highest grade in a class. But they generally don't mean a whole lot unless it's specific practice area based. Your overall GPA will already tell the story better than one grade in one class.

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Nony
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by Nony » Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:58 pm

MJB wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2019 12:22 pm
CS1775 wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2019 11:20 am
Aye or nay on mentioning a CALI for Professional Responsibility (required ethics, MPRE class) in a clerkship cover letter? State judges if it makes any difference (course was based on the Model Rules).
I’d probably just put it on your resume and omit it from the cover letter unless you have something unusually interesting and relevant to say about that experience.
Ditto.

Don’t rehash your resume on your cover letter.

Saami
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by Saami » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:15 pm

Should I avoid taking any seminars?

Saami
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by Saami » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:28 pm

Also, I was one letter grade off from making Stone Scholar. How screwed am I when it comes to getting a clerkship? The only non-elective 1L course I didn't get a B/B+ in was Civ Pro (A-). And I'm sure a U.S. federal judge will totally care about my A in International Law... Someone kill me.

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Nony
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by Nony » Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:21 pm

1) seminars are fine. Don’t take, say, all seminars, or too many that are, say, “Law and Literature” or otherwise sound really fluffy. But overall they’re fine, especially if you can show how the subject fits your interests or the like. Different judges like different things, so for every judge who thinks seminars are “fluff” there’s probably another judge who likes that it’s a chance for you to write something.

2) I have no idea where you fall on the curve/what Stone Scholar is, but there are lots of judges who hire for lots of things, and plenty will be happy to see an A and don’t care what class it’s in. Chill.

Saami
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by Saami » Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:35 pm

Nony wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:21 pm
1) seminars are fine. Don’t take, say, all seminars, or too many that are, say, “Law and Literature” or otherwise sound really fluffy. But overall they’re fine, especially if you can show how the subject fits your interests or the like. Different judges like different things, so for every judge who thinks seminars are “fluff” there’s probably another judge who likes that it’s a chance for you to write something.

2) I have no idea where you fall on the curve/what Stone Scholar is, but there are lots of judges who hire for lots of things, and plenty will be happy to see an A and don’t care what class it’s in. Chill.
Stone Scholar is approximately Top 30% at Columbia (3.41 GPA or above). I'm just pissed because I was on track for it last semester, but this semester I didn't do as well and now I'm afraid I've jeopardized some of my future goals (like clerking). Sorry for sounding dramatic. This year has just been a wild ride and I hate how law school grades are calculated. Do judges understand that grades are somewhat BS? My two best grades were in classes that had strict word limits on exams, so my slow typing didn't hold me back. Though maybe judges want clerks who can type 100WPM lol.

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CS1775
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by CS1775 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:20 am

Saami wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:35 pm
Nony wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:21 pm
1) seminars are fine. Don’t take, say, all seminars, or too many that are, say, “Law and Literature” or otherwise sound really fluffy. But overall they’re fine, especially if you can show how the subject fits your interests or the like. Different judges like different things, so for every judge who thinks seminars are “fluff” there’s probably another judge who likes that it’s a chance for you to write something.

2) I have no idea where you fall on the curve/what Stone Scholar is, but there are lots of judges who hire for lots of things, and plenty will be happy to see an A and don’t care what class it’s in. Chill.
Stone Scholar is approximately Top 30% at Columbia (3.41 GPA or above). I'm just pissed because I was on track for it last semester, but this semester I didn't do as well and now I'm afraid I've jeopardized some of my future goals (like clerking). Sorry for sounding dramatic. This year has just been a wild ride and I hate how law school grades are calculated. Do judges understand that grades are somewhat BS? My two best grades were in classes that had strict word limits on exams, so my slow typing didn't hold me back. Though maybe judges want clerks who can type 100WPM lol.
You're probably sick of hearing this, but it depends on the judge. If a judge was a T14 valedictorian, Order of the Coif, Law Review, Moot Court, and racked up like 300+ hours of pro bono work, that judge probably will be more stringent in grades requirement. If a judge used to be a public defender or a prosecutor and wasn't a BigLaw gunner (with similarly un-BigLaw grades), they're probably less concerned with grades and more concerned about job performance.

The two judges I have internship experience with cared more about my ability to get the job done well rather than grades but I'm not gunning for SDNY. You can probably find a Federal judge out there who'll accept say Top 32% from Columbia, you may just need to broaden your search and maybe talk to your law school's alumni relations people to find such a judge.

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MJB
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by MJB » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:16 am

Saami wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:15 pm
Should I avoid taking any seminars?
I agree with Nony. You don't want to go overboard, but seminars can help give your application a little flavor if you're otherwise a pretty plain vanilla candidate. A judge trying to get a sense of who you are, which is usually what the interview focuses on, is more likely to ask (genuinely) about why you took Law and Literature than why you took Federal Courts or Evidence. Balance is key.

As to your other questions, you're not screwed in any sense. You'll be out of the running for some judges, but there are plenty who might still give your application a look, especially if you've got other experience demonstrating your ability to do the work. (This probably goes without saying, but I'd keep a lid on the "law school grades are BS" perspective during the process - not-quite-stellar grades are more easily overcome than the perception that you deal with setbacks poorly.)

lolwat
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by lolwat » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:17 am

Seminars are fine. You take enough classes in law school before graduation to have some "fluff" while still taking all of the important classes. I took several fluff classes (along with a clinic and moot court which gave credit) and still took Fed Courts, Evidence, and most of the other substantive classes too.

Not making a certain scholar or GPA cut isn't the death of your prospects. You're at Columbia, you have a shot, period. You should apply broadly and talk to your career people to see if they've got any leads on judges who aren't quite as stringent on grades.

I understand the frustration (and that this is a forum where people generally feel free to vent) but I'd get rid of the attitude about grades being BS. It's just whiny and the type of stuff people say when they don't get the grades they wanted. You really don't want that when you're looking at applying to stuff. (Edit: scooped, but keeping this here because it's important.)

Saami
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by Saami » Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:51 pm

Thank you all for the advice. Sorry for being whiny.

Question

Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by Question » Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:43 pm

Does it matter if I swap out a recommender for my OSCAR application? About a month ago, I sent in paper apps with Recommenders A, B, and C. I'm monitoring OSCAR as listings open up, and one just recently came up. I applied to this judge previously in a paper application. Would it matter if my OSCAR application, one week later, is A, B, and D?

I'm asking because recommender D is a recent addition and I believe a stronger recommendation than C.

lolwat
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by lolwat » Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:40 am

Question wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:43 pm
Does it matter if I swap out a recommender for my OSCAR application? About a month ago, I sent in paper apps with Recommenders A, B, and C. I'm monitoring OSCAR as listings open up, and one just recently came up. I applied to this judge previously in a paper application. Would it matter if my OSCAR application, one week later, is A, B, and D?

I'm asking because recommender D is a recent addition and I believe a stronger recommendation than C.
I doubt they'd notice, but, even if they do, it's probably not a big deal.

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RoyalHollow
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by RoyalHollow » Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:31 pm

Question wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:43 pm
Does it matter if I swap out a recommender for my OSCAR application? About a month ago, I sent in paper apps with Recommenders A, B, and C. I'm monitoring OSCAR as listings open up, and one just recently came up. I applied to this judge previously in a paper application. Would it matter if my OSCAR application, one week later, is A, B, and D?

I'm asking because recommender D is a recent addition and I believe a stronger recommendation than C.
Am a clerk, and I recently saw an app with an "Updated on..." note on someone's recommendation letter. I thought, "Huh, never seen that before" then I read the application exactly the same way I would have anyways.

When it's something like this, I make a conscious decision to assume it was for a applicant's benefit (they obtained a stronger recommendation late in the process) instead of detriment (someone decided they would no longer be a recommender).

Why are you applying both in paper and on OSCAR though?

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MJB
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by MJB » Fri Jun 14, 2019 2:44 pm

Question wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:43 pm
Does it matter if I swap out a recommender for my OSCAR application? About a month ago, I sent in paper apps with Recommenders A, B, and C. I'm monitoring OSCAR as listings open up, and one just recently came up. I applied to this judge previously in a paper application. Would it matter if my OSCAR application, one week later, is A, B, and D?

I'm asking because recommender D is a recent addition and I believe a stronger recommendation than C.
This is fine. Even if they notice, all they'll know for now is that you got four people to recommend you. If you get an interview, they might ask you to clarify, but it sounds like there's nothing of concern to address.

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CS1775
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by CS1775 » Fri Jun 28, 2019 3:24 pm

Question about redaction. For a writing sample from a case still in litigation, how do you properly redact names?

My writing sample has:

"The defendant"
Three cops - I'm thinking "P1", "P2", and "P3"
Two complainants - thinking "C1" and "C2"

I also intend to explain all this in the writing sample cover letter. The application requires two writing samples and my first one is all set. This is my second sample.

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beep
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by beep » Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:54 pm

0. I assume you have permission to use it despite the fact that the case is ongoing. If you don't, go ask, and then put in your cover letter that the samples are used with permission from...

1. I used a sample from a case with a restricted record and just noted that I had replaced the client's identifying information with generic terms for privacy.

2. Would probably say Officer A, Complainant B, etc., rather than P1/C1/etc. Just reads a little better. But doesn't really matter.

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CS1775
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by CS1775 » Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:57 pm

beep wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:54 pm
0. I assume you have permission to use it despite the fact that the case is ongoing. If you don't, go ask, and then put in your cover letter that the samples are used with permission from...
..
Yes, this is not an issue.

lolwat
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by lolwat » Fri Jun 28, 2019 8:46 pm

I agree with using like "Officer 1" rather than "P1" as it reads better to me but everything else seems fine

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CS1775
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by CS1775 » Fri Jun 28, 2019 9:07 pm

Ok, follow-up. Bracket in the redactions or no brackets? I bracketed in the redactions in my first sample.

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RoyalHollow
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by RoyalHollow » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:30 pm

CS1775 wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 9:07 pm
Ok, follow-up. Bracket in the redactions or no brackets? I bracketed in the redactions in my first sample.
I think some will advise that brackets are appropriate, but as a reviewer I find them irritating. Especially because these kind of redactions end up being all over the document, clouding it with endless brackets. If your cover letter makes it clear that you are using generic terms for the parties, then I don't think you NEED the brackets.

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MJB
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Re: Clerks Taking Questions

Post by MJB » Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:29 am

CS1775 wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 9:07 pm
Ok, follow-up. Bracket in the redactions or no brackets? I bracketed in the redactions in my first sample.
I don't think it matters too much (i.e., I probably wouldn't bother modifying your first sample), but I agree that brackets are unnecessary here and make it more difficult to read your sample. You want your substantive analysis and your writing style to be front-and-center, and unnecessary clutter like this makes it difficult to assess those things, especially considering the "quick look" that many chambers will give your sample. (FWIW, I tended to use generic names like "Officer Smith" or "Mr. Jones" rather than using number or letter designations for similar reasons, but I've seen it done successfully both ways.)

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