Value of non-elite district court clerkship

Post Reply
guesty

Value of non-elite district court clerkship

Post by guesty » Thu Aug 02, 2018 1:54 pm

I'm top 10% at a lower T13 and wondering how wide I should cast my net.

I'm interested in clerking mainly because of the credential it adds to my resume for future biglaw, boutique, and government jobs. I definitely think clerking would be interesting and would enjoy the experience, but I am not sure I would want to sacrifice the salary and year of experience at a firm if it wouldn't really benefit me. I understand the practical benefit of seeing how cases move through the courts and understanding what good lawyering looks like from inside chambers, so if that alone is worth it let me know.

That said, what value does a clerkship in say Sacramento/Detroit/Austin type cities add for biglaw (both out of school and as a lateral), boutiques, and big fed? (For firm work, preferred market is one of DC/NYC/Chi/SF, so I these clerkships wouldn't be in the same district where I practice). If I didn't end up at a biglaw firm I am interested in out of OCI, will a clerkship in one of these spots make me a significantly more attractive candidate to them?

Thank you!

lawman84
Posts: 1116
Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:51 pm

Re: Value of non-elite district court clerkship

Post by lawman84 » Thu Aug 02, 2018 3:36 pm

A clerkship will make you more attractive and give you another bite at the apple if you have the credentials for those firms. However, it's going to hold the most value if you'll be practicing where you clerk. Also, keep in mind that "non-elite" clerkships in desirable cities are still difficult to get.

For example, Austin only has two active D. Ct. Judges right now. Yeakel hires one clerk each year for a two-year term, Pitman hires two, and Sparks will likely hire one at most with his reduced caseload. To my knowledge, Nowlin no longer hires term clerks because of how small his caseload is. Now, Trump will appoint a third active judge which will likely add 1 or 2 more slots at some point in the future. That means there are a maximum of 4 slots now and 6 slots in the future each year in Austin. With how desirable Austin is, it's a long shot to get one of those job, especially with UT-Austin in town.

bruh
Posts: 596
Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:04 pm

Re: Value of non-elite district court clerkship

Post by bruh » Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:12 am

guesty wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 1:54 pm
I'm top 10% at a lower T13 and wondering how wide I should cast my net.

I'm interested in clerking mainly because of the credential it adds to my resume for future biglaw, boutique, and government jobs. I definitely think clerking would be interesting and would enjoy the experience, but I am not sure I would want to sacrifice the salary and year of experience at a firm if it wouldn't really benefit me. I understand the practical benefit of seeing how cases move through the courts and understanding what good lawyering looks like from inside chambers, so if that alone is worth it let me know.

That said, what value does a clerkship in say Sacramento/Detroit/Austin type cities add for biglaw (both out of school and as a lateral), boutiques, and big fed? (For firm work, preferred market is one of DC/NYC/Chi/SF, so I these clerkships wouldn't be in the same district where I practice). If I didn't end up at a biglaw firm I am interested in out of OCI, will a clerkship in one of these spots make me a significantly more attractive candidate to them?

Thank you!
I personally think this reason alone is worth doing a district court clerkship, especially in cities like Sacramento, Detroit, and Austin. And I do think boutiques and the federal government would value a clerkship in one of these cities over not having one at all.

AUSA anon

Re: Value of non-elite district court clerkship

Post by AUSA anon » Fri Aug 03, 2018 7:38 am

FWIW, all the newer AUSAs I know have clerked - and frequently no where near where they're actually working - so if your future bigfed plans include AUSA, a clerkship anywhere is of value.

Also, I think LSL/TSL are way too obsessed with rankings and finding fine distinctions where none exist. Yes, there are some especially major districts that probably have a little more wow factor - SDNY, EDNY, EDVA, DDC, NDCA, maybe CDCA and NDIL, simply because they are in huge cities where lots of people want to live and therefore are especially hard to get. But that doesn't mean other district court clerkships are somehow not worth it. They are all hard to get and they are all valuable experience and being in Sacramento or Detroit doesn't change that in any way.

(To the extent one district court clerkship is "better" or "more prestigious" than another, it's much more going to be about who the judge is, who they know, and what they can do for you, and that is completely individual to the specific judge and has very little to do with where they sit.)

User avatar
MJB
Posts: 261
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:26 pm

Re: Value of non-elite district court clerkship

Post by MJB » Fri Aug 03, 2018 8:48 am

Generally agree with the takes here - I don't think absolutely everyone should try to clerk just for the sake of clerking, but it's hard to deny that
(1) litigation and anything like it/adjacent to it involves persuading judges and their staff, and seeing how things look from the other side is invaluable; and (2) even clerkships in less competitive districts get hundreds of applications and are difficult and often somewhat random to land.

lolwat
Posts: 489
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:06 am

Re: Value of non-elite district court clerkship

Post by lolwat » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:32 am

Clerkship will help regardless of where you clerked (as long as it's a federal clerkship). Clerking in the district you'd be practicing is obviously best but beyond that there are little differences. A lot of judges in the "less competitive" districts can sometimes be harder for a generic T13 grad to land because they may prefer the top 1-2 students from local schools instead.

User avatar
los_blancos_v2
Posts: 117
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2018 12:47 am

Re: Value of non-elite district court clerkship

Post by los_blancos_v2 » Mon Oct 01, 2018 12:58 am

AUSA anon wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 7:38 am
FWIW, all the newer AUSAs I know have clerked - and frequently no where near where they're actually working - so if your future bigfed plans include AUSA, a clerkship anywhere is of value.

Also, I think LSL/TSL are way too obsessed with rankings and finding fine distinctions where none exist. Yes, there are some especially major districts that probably have a little more wow factor - SDNY, EDNY, EDVA, DDC, NDCA, maybe CDCA and NDIL, simply because they are in huge cities where lots of people want to live and therefore are especially hard to get. But that doesn't mean other district court clerkships are somehow not worth it. They are all hard to get and they are all valuable experience and being in Sacramento or Detroit doesn't change that in any way.

(To the extent one district court clerkship is "better" or "more prestigious" than another, it's much more going to be about who the judge is, who they know, and what they can do for you, and that is completely individual to the specific judge and has very little to do with where they sit.)
Cosign all of this.

Non-elite anon clerk

Re: Value of non-elite district court clerkship

Post by Non-elite anon clerk » Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:38 pm

I don’t know if clerking at flyover districts will add to your resume’s “prestige,” but clerking at any level will teach you lots. And the year of experience I had clerking in a non-elite chambers taught me more than if I had just done regular first-year stuff.

lolwat
Posts: 489
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:06 am

Re: Value of non-elite district court clerkship

Post by lolwat » Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:31 am

Non-elite anon clerk wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:38 pm
I don’t know if clerking at flyover districts will add to your resume’s “prestige,” but clerking at any level will teach you lots. And the year of experience I had clerking in a non-elite chambers taught me more than if I had just done regular first-year stuff.
Eh. If you're going into litigation, it generally does add to "prestige" as long as your resume is otherwise competitive. It just doesn't help if, for example, you ended up with a flyover clerkship when you're median at some random local TTT because your family has connections with that judge or whatever. In the usual circumstances when I'm looking at resumes, a federal clerkship is a federal clerkship, the only exception being a boost if you're clerking in the district or circuit in which you'd be practicing. So I generally pay attention to CASCT/9th Circuit and to a lesser extent CDCA and NDCA, but beyond that, the circuit/district doesn't matter to me and any clerkship is infinitely better than no clerkship. Only if you've been out for like 10+ years with extremely relevant experience does that really change (e.g., if we're looking for someone with particular expertise in X area of the law).

But that's just me.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests