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Author Topic: 1st Year Clerkships?  (Read 3175 times)

jd2b06

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1st Year Clerkships?
« on: January 07, 2006, 03:15:52 AM »
I've always heard that you're supposed to complete your first year with flying colors and then come summer get an awesome clerkship with a judge for the summer.  This is sort of a three part question: 

Does this apply to anyone no matter what field of law they want to enter? 

Are clerkships a blanket good thing to do? 

What are some other things you can do besides clerkships with judges? 

texas1

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Re: 1st Year Clerkships?
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2006, 10:15:41 AM »
I've always heard that you're supposed to complete your first year with flying colors and then come summer get an awesome clerkship with a judge for the summer.  This is sort of a three part question: 

Does this apply to anyone no matter what field of law they want to enter? 

Are clerkships a blanket good thing to do? 

What are some other things you can do besides clerkships with judges? 

Most judicial internships are sought in Feb...so don't wait too long...also at my T3 school I was told that the judge that looks to us for interns, looks hard at pre-law performance as well...

BigTex

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Re: 1st Year Clerkships?
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2006, 06:20:38 PM »
Are clerkships a blanket good thing to do? 

The impression i get is that a post-graduation clerkship with an appellate federal judge is prestigious (many firms give you a bonus for having performed such a clerkship). However, I don't think summer internships after 1L are nearly as prestigious. From my interviewing with various federal district court judges, you're mainly going to be dealing with hand written habeas corpus petitions from pro-se inmates. Not exactly the highest level of legal analysis. Apparently, judges get tons of these petitions and tend to dump them off on 1L summer interns. Contrast this with a post-grad clerkship where you're actually working on cases that matter (i.e. claimant is represented by an attorney so there might actually be a worthy legal argument to wrangle with). However, i've heard that some of these hand written habeas corpus petitions are amusing and can make for an entertaining summer internship.

Melinda

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Re: 1st Year Clerkships?
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2006, 08:16:22 PM »
BigTex- Did you get an offer? 

I spent most of the week interviewing with federal dist. ct judges.  They differed in what I would be doing.  The spectrum was from busy work as you described, to externs that actually get to write opinions that are often published.  No offers yet, but I should be hearing next week.  In the area I applied I was told by career services to be competitive you should apply Dec 1, which worked out b/c I had my interviews lined up while I was home for winter break.  Although I know the area where my law school is located judges don't accept applications until Feb 1.  My reasons for applying are a genuine interest in the federal court system after working in state court prior to law school.  Also I would like to be exposed to many areas of law and improve my research & writing skills.  I hope it will also make me more competitive for a post-grad clerkship.

Good luck.

BigTex

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Re: 1st Year Clerkships?
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2006, 01:53:23 PM »
Looks like we had a similar strategy. I sent out a gazillion resumes, cover letters, and writing samples on the day we were first allowed to do so by my school (Dec. 1). That ended up with a ton of rejection letters, but a few interviews over the holidays as well. So far, one federal district court offer, one state supreme court offer (i cast a wide net), and waiting for the results of a couple of law firm interviews and fed dstrct crt judges.

Hope your fishing nets round up some fish!

BigTex- Did you get an offer? 

I spent most of the week interviewing with federal dist. ct judges.  They differed in what I would be doing.  The spectrum was from busy work as you described, to externs that actually get to write opinions that are often published.  No offers yet, but I should be hearing next week.  In the area I applied I was told by career services to be competitive you should apply Dec 1, which worked out b/c I had my interviews lined up while I was home for winter break.  Although I know the area where my law school is located judges don't accept applications until Feb 1.  My reasons for applying are a genuine interest in the federal court system after working in state court prior to law school.  Also I would like to be exposed to many areas of law and improve my research & writing skills.  I hope it will also make me more competitive for a post-grad clerkship.

Good luck.


Melinda

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Re: 1st Year Clerkships?
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2006, 04:55:11 PM »
Tex- congrats on the state supreme court.  My net was wide, but focused.  I applied to 30+ fed dist ct judges in 2 counties on Dec 1.  No offers yet or rejections.  I will probably get some rejections today b/c I took my mail off hold.  Before break I got a few "talk to us after grades" letters.  I got my first grade today (B+) so I am hoping for more of those.  I have a back up of working for my old office at the city atty's office if nothing pans out. 

dft

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Re: 1st Year Clerkships?
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2006, 06:17:31 PM »
Pardon my ignorance, but how are there 30+ fed dist court judges in 2 counties, and is a state supreme court clerkship more prestigious than a federal district court clerkship (I assume it is, but I had never thought about this before)?

Texas

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Re: 1st Year Clerkships?
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2006, 10:07:26 PM »
Pardon my ignorance, but how are there 30+ fed dist court judges in 2 counties, and is a state supreme court clerkship more prestigious than a federal district court clerkship (I assume it is, but I had never thought about this before)?

From what I've gathered by surfing the pecking order is:

SCOTUS, Fed. Appellate, Fed Dist., State Supreme, State Appellate, State District...

But if you plan to stay in-state then State Supreme should serve you well unless you want to focus on Fed. issues. Bonus tend to be higher for Fed and even higher for SCOTUS...

giraffe205

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Re: 1st Year Clerkships?
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2006, 10:13:59 PM »
If you're looking to be an extern for the summer, it really doesn't matter if you worked for state or fed'l court. Even if you want to be a fed'l law clerk once you graduate, no one will look at your 1L summer experience and give it too much weight. The purpose of your 1L summer is to give you something to talk about w/ the interview during OCI.

I'd look to work w/ a great judge. Like many of you have said, they can either just give you busy work, like updating the books, or you can be doing the same work that the law clerks do. In fact, early in summer, several externs have to take over calendar b/c the law clerks are out studying for the bar.

dft

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Re: 1st Year Clerkships?
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2006, 11:12:02 PM »
That's actually what I thought it was, until I saw the last couple posts which seemed to suggest otherwise (state supreme being above fed dist).

I may actually decide to be a SCOTUS clerk.

jk

Pardon my ignorance, but how are there 30+ fed dist court judges in 2 counties, and is a state supreme court clerkship more prestigious than a federal district court clerkship (I assume it is, but I had never thought about this before)?

From what I've gathered by surfing the pecking order is:

SCOTUS, Fed. Appellate, Fed Dist., State Supreme, State Appellate, State District...

But if you plan to stay in-state then State Supreme should serve you well unless you want to focus on Fed. issues. Bonus tend to be higher for Fed and even higher for SCOTUS...