Should I interview?

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Securestay
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2018 3:02 pm

Should I interview?

Post by Securestay » Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:08 pm

Stats: T20, top 10% grades, LR, biglaw SA but no-offered.

I've been applying very broadly to clerkships, and one federal district judge asked to interview. The district is nowhere near where I can imagine myself ending up, and is in a flyover location. Given that I started applying in the beginning of August, this seems to be a relatively early response. Although I'd rather clerk in a district closer to where I am now, I'm thinking that I should take whatever I can get. I figure I could live almost anywhere if it's just for one year.

Is there any reason I shouldn't do the interview?

lawman84
Posts: 1173
Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:51 pm

Re: Should I interview?

Post by lawman84 » Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:51 pm

Based on your situation, I'd recommend taking the interview unless you are absolutely unwilling to live in that location for a year or the judge has a reputation for being a bad boss. My reasoning why is that while you got an interview request early, there's no guarantee that an avalanche of requests are on their way. I am a D. Ct. clerk, and I can tell you from reviewing applications that there are a lot of very qualified people applying for clerkships. And I am not clerking in a major market. You could get another five to ten interviews in more preferable locations, or you could get maybe only one or two more interviews. You never know.

Further, getting an interview isn't the same as getting an offer. Even if you don't get the job, going through with the interview will help you prepare for the next one. Most judges interview 3 to 5 people for each slot that's available. Some interview more. Some interview less. You don't know your odds (unless they told you). Finally, what's the worst case scenario here? You land a D. Ct. clerkship in a location you don't love? I don't see that hurting you.

Like I said, though, I'd check up on the judge if you haven't. Try to make sure he or she is a good boss.

Securestay
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2018 3:02 pm

Re: Should I interview?

Post by Securestay » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:19 pm

lawman84 wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:51 pm
Based on your situation, I'd recommend taking the interview unless you are absolutely unwilling to live in that location for a year or the judge has a reputation for being a bad boss. My reasoning why is that while you got an interview request early, there's no guarantee that an avalanche of requests are on their way. I am a D. Ct. clerk, and I can tell you from reviewing applications that there are a lot of very qualified people applying for clerkships. And I am not clerking in a major market. You could get another five to ten interviews in more preferable locations, or you could get maybe only one or two more interviews. You never know.

Further, getting an interview isn't the same as getting an offer. Even if you don't get the job, going through with the interview will help you prepare for the next one. Most judges interview 3 to 5 people for each slot that's available. Some interview more. Some interview less. You don't know your odds (unless they told you). Finally, what's the worst case scenario here? You land a D. Ct. clerkship in a location you don't love? I don't see that hurting you.

Like I said, though, I'd check up on the judge if you haven't. Try to make sure he or she is a good boss.
Thanks, that's great advice and I intend to do the interview. How would I know if the judge is a good boss, though? I have no idea where to start about that judge's reputation.

anonymous32r23r32

Re: Should I interview?

Post by anonymous32r23r32 » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:52 pm

Also, like sometimes locations you think are flyover and you won't like, you will actually love. Go see the place first. It might not be as terrible as you are imagining. (Or it could be worse).

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MJB
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Re: Should I interview?

Post by MJB » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:52 pm

If all else fails, you can try cold-calling former clerks if you can find any on the internet - I never had a problem getting one to talk to me, even absent anything in common, for interview prep. (Bonus: if you end up wanting the job, doing prep can help you look conscientious.) You can't really ask directly if the judge is a good boss, but you might get an opportunity to read between the lines in some of their answers.

lawman84
Posts: 1173
Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:51 pm

Re: Should I interview?

Post by lawman84 » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:03 pm

MJB wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:52 pm
If all else fails, you can try cold-calling former clerks if you can find any on the internet - I never had a problem getting one to talk to me, even absent anything in common, for interview prep. (Bonus: if you end up wanting the job, doing prep can help you look conscientious.) You can't really ask directly if the judge is a good boss, but you might get an opportunity to read between the lines in some of their answers.
Yep. This advice is correct. Use google and LinkedIn to see if you can find a former clerk or two to speak with over the phone. Gauge how enthusiastic they are about their judge and experience. Also, if you know anybody or have alumni who clerked in the same courthouse, see if they have any insights on the judge.

FridayNightLights
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:50 pm

Re: Should I interview?

Post by FridayNightLights » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:03 pm

MJB wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:52 pm
If all else fails, you can try cold-calling former clerks if you can find any on the internet - I never had a problem getting one to talk to me, even absent anything in common, for interview prep. (Bonus: if you end up wanting the job, doing prep can help you look conscientious.) You can't really ask directly if the judge is a good boss, but you might get an opportunity to read between the lines in some of their answers.
I did this for an interview I had a while back when I was in pretty much the same situation as you OP and I found it useful. I don't necessarily agree with the idea that you can't ask if the judge is a good boss--you honestly can, but if you're hesitant to be so direct you can just ask how it was like working for the judge and the former clerk will almost surely give you the same answer as he/she would've to the original Q.

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

Re: Should I interview?

Post by lolwat » Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:16 am

I've lived in a small pile of places that I never thought I'd end up in--and they've all been just fine for a summer or, in the case of my clerkship, for a year. You'd be amazed how quickly a year passes and how much you can find to do in a year (even if you don't think you could last much longer than that). Also, federal clerkships are pretty portable. Other than clerkships in the specific district in which you're practicing (e.g., clerking in CDCA if you're practicing in LA), I find people generally first see that you clerked for a federal district court judge, and only as sort of an afterthought that your clerkship was in xyz district.

So far looking back in my relatively short career, my judge has probably been the best person I've worked for so far. And I've worked for a lot of really awesome people since my clerkship. I think every other judge in that courthouse gets pretty good "reviews" from their clerks too. I'm sure there are some horrible judges out there, but it seems like the ones in flyover districts are often just a little more laid back because they're often not being crushed with gigantic caseloads that some other overworked/understaffed districts have.

But yeah, to find out more about the judge, just find some former clerks to talk to.

AnonClerk

Re: Should I interview?

Post by AnonClerk » Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:40 pm

lolwat wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:16 am
I've lived in a small pile of places that I never thought I'd end up in--and they've all been just fine for a summer or, in the case of my clerkship, for a year. You'd be amazed how quickly a year passes and how much you can find to do in a year (even if you don't think you could last much longer than that). Also, federal clerkships are pretty portable. Other than clerkships in the specific district in which you're practicing (e.g., clerking in CDCA if you're practicing in LA), I find people generally first see that you clerked for a federal district court judge, and only as sort of an afterthought that your clerkship was in xyz district.

So far looking back in my relatively short career, my judge has probably been the best person I've worked for so far. And I've worked for a lot of really awesome people since my clerkship. I think every other judge in that courthouse gets pretty good "reviews" from their clerks too. I'm sure there are some horrible judges out there, but it seems like the ones in flyover districts are often just a little more laid back because they're often not being crushed with gigantic caseloads that some other overworked/understaffed districts have.

But yeah, to find out more about the judge, just find some former clerks to talk to.
Backing this take 100%. I'm clerking in a small town (<100,000) in a place I never thought I'd live and it's been a great experience, all in all.

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