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Author Topic: Clerkship chances?  (Read 4456 times)

SJ228

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Clerkship chances?
« on: February 23, 2008, 09:21:07 PM »
I am trying to figure out if I have any shot at a federal district court clerkship. Is there a board or blog like the transfer students page with numbers and school rank ect?

I am in the top 8% at a low T2. Secondary journal, no chances at publication, extern for a federal district court during 2L year, nothing too special.

Any thoughts? Is anyone else thinking about applying? It seems like a lot of work!

Felsen

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Re: Clerkship chances?
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2008, 10:32:25 PM »
Your school's career services office should keep track of statistics on this.  They may even be able to tell you the names of a few judges who like to hire from your school.

Your chances are probably worse if there are other top schools in your region.  E.g. if you are near New York City and going for a court in New York, you'll likely have more problems competing with New York, Columbia, Cornell, etc. students than if you are at University of Nebraska looking at a Nebraska/Kansas/South Dakota court.  Again, your school should be able to clue you in on such details.

My school's career services has also suggested that more borderline students go ahead and consider the Federal Magistrate Judges, Bankruptcy Judges, and State Courts.  They are typically easier to get into, but can still be good experiences.

I am certainly thinking about applying, though I admit it is a tough choice.  I know one guy from school who landed a district court clerkship, and he says that firms that dismissed him out of hand before are now trying to keep contact and make offers.  He hasn't even graduated and started clerking yet.  So there does appear to be some good benefits for job prospects.

Lawbster

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Re: Clerkship chances?
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2008, 11:36:31 PM »
Check with your career services, they will (if they're worth anything) have stats on previous students, clerkships, etc. I'm doubtful about it though. Certainly you're not looking at SDNY or something.

Try to get your grades up, study more, whatever. Try to be top 5%.

Unfortunately, you're only on a secondary journal. Do you at least have a senior staff position?

Fed District is pretty tough in many areas. I know some people who got clerkships with lower grades, no journal/moot court, but they went to state courts.

Good luck!

SJ228

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Re: Clerkship chances?
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2008, 12:24:40 AM »
Unfortunately, you're only on a secondary journal. Do you at least have a senior staff position?

Thanks for the replies. I do live in a pretty desired area, so thats why Im trying to be realistic.

I did talk to career services already. They say that I am a good candidate. I am taking that with a grain of salt though. According to them, 5 people got federal clerkships this year.

I have thought about magistrate judges or state clerkships, but the firm that I am (hopefully) going to doesn't give clerkship bonuses or anything for them. I also don't know if they will still guarantee you an offer after that year.

As far as journal stuff goes, board interviews are coming up soon. Is there anything else that I could do between now and Aug (besides work on my grades) to increase my chances?


FreddyPharkas

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Re: Clerkship chances?
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2008, 12:29:27 AM »
Unfortunately, you're only on a secondary journal. Do you at least have a senior staff position?

Thanks for the replies. I do live in a pretty desired area, so thats why Im trying to be realistic.

I did talk to career services already. They say that I am a good candidate. I am taking that with a grain of salt though. According to them, 5 people got federal clerkships this year.

I have thought about magistrate judges or state clerkships, but the firm that I am (hopefully) going to doesn't give clerkship bonuses or anything for them. I also don't know if they will still guarantee you an offer after that year.

As far as journal stuff goes, board interviews are coming up soon. Is there anything else that I could do between now and Aug (besides work on my grades) to increase my chances?



Try to get published if possible. It helps. Applying to a lot of judges helps.

If you're hellbent on clerking, there are other options. Many more people recently are working at a firm, then clerking after a year or two. Judges apparently love that b/c they get someone with experience rather than another fresh grad whom they have to train for 6 months to work for 6 months.

Also, I have known people that didn't do as well as they wanted in school so ended up doing a state clerkship, federal district the next year, and then circuit the next year. Pretty good route if you want to teach.

Oh, and don't get me wrong on grades, yours are excellent. However, I think the difference between top 8% and top 5% is like the difference between top 12% and top 10%. It's only a small jump, but I think it puts you in a different category. That's just what I have heard though.

Good luck!

AntoniusBlock

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Re: Clerkship chances?
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2008, 08:58:14 PM »
FreddyPharkas:

Just out off curiosity, did the people you know who went that route do state Supreme Court clerkships or state appellate court clerkships for their original one?

vaplaugh

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Re: Clerkship chances?
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2008, 09:19:05 PM »
FreddyPharkas:

Just out off curiosity, did the people you know who went that route do state Supreme Court clerkships or state appellate court clerkships for their original one?

Or, *GASP* state trial level clerkships?

GA-fan

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Re: Clerkship chances?
« Reply #7 on: February 29, 2008, 10:09:48 AM »
To the OP:
I'd guess your chances are good, but not great, for getting a clerkship. I'd encourage you to start doing research for a professor, or volunteering for edits on your journal. Send out a few hundred clerkship apps to the middle of nowhere and be prepared to move anywhere you get one. If you're willing to move to south alabama, western carolina, or south dakota, I think your chances improve dramatically. as someone else said, don't rule out magistrates and bankruptcy judges.

AntoniusBlock

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Re: Clerkship chances?
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2008, 08:39:25 PM »
FreddyPharkas:

Just out off curiosity, did the people you know who went that route do state Supreme Court clerkships or state appellate court clerkships for their original one?

Or, *GASP* state trial level clerkships?
No need for the smart reply...I was asking a simple question.  The only reason I didn't mention trial court clerkships is that very few judges in my state offer them.

vaplaugh

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Re: Clerkship chances?
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2008, 10:02:47 PM »
FreddyPharkas:

Just out off curiosity, did the people you know who went that route do state Supreme Court clerkships or state appellate court clerkships for their original one?

Or, *GASP* state trial level clerkships?
No need for the smart reply...I was asking a simple question.  The only reason I didn't mention trial court clerkships is that very few judges in my state offer them.

Sarcasm = not my best quality.

Just wanted to bring up the idea because people can jump from those to federal or state supreme, as well.