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Author Topic: Clerkship chances  (Read 1406 times)

BJWriter26

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Clerkship chances
« on: April 06, 2011, 01:03:32 AM »
I'm a URM on law review at a top 3 school.  Do you know what grades one generally needs to be eligible for federal appellate and district-level clerkships?

john4040

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Re: Clerkship chances
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2011, 06:30:34 AM »
I'm a URM on law review at a top 3 school.  Do you know what grades one generally needs to be eligible for federal appellate and district-level clerkships?

Top 3 school meaning Harvard, Yale, or Stanford?  Also, can you determine, approximately, how you rank in your class?

Dougie95

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Re: Clerkship chances
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2011, 12:11:30 PM »
I'm also a URM on LR (top 3 as well, w/officer position).  I'd say I'm probably somewhere in the mid-range of the class.  Any thoughts on my chances?

john4040

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Re: Clerkship chances
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2011, 01:08:57 PM »
I'm also a URM on LR (top 3 as well, w/officer position).  I'd say I'm probably somewhere in the mid-range of the class.  Any thoughts on my chances?

HYS, URM, Law Review (assuming, by "law review," you're referring to the primary journal), and ~ 50% in class rank?  I would say, assuming that you have good interview skills, applied broadly, and have good recs; your chances at an average district court clerkship are likely decent (my guess would be at least 50%).  Chances at top district court (NDIL, SDNY, SD/CD Cal, DDC) are nil.  Chances at a top COA (2nd / D.C. / 9th) are nil.  You do have an outside chance at other less-selective COAs, though.

Although the past two years have been particularly brutal for recent grads seeking clerkships (the poor economy caused clerks to stay an additional year and an influx of off-plan graduate applicants), clerkship hiring for new grads is on the rebound.  If I were you, I would apply as broadly as possible (to both Oscar and non-Oscar judges) and target URM judges.

Dougie95

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Re: Clerkship chances
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2011, 01:25:10 PM »
Cool, thanks.  Have any thoughts on chances for 1st Cir. (or D. Mass., D.R.I, or D.N.H. for that matter)?

john4040

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Re: Clerkship chances
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2011, 02:20:10 PM »
Cool, thanks.  Have any thoughts on chances for 1st Cir. (or D. Mass., D.R.I, or D.N.H. for that matter)?

Depends on which judge.  I'd say you have no chance with Boudin, but can't really say as to the others.  Your school (assuming you go to HYS) should have a good grasp on the rank needed to secure clerkships from all of these judges.

A.

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Re: Clerkship chances
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2011, 09:27:34 AM »
I think you should apply broadly.  Since you have a class rank, I'm assuming you don't go to Yale.  In my experience, though this has probably changed since I was applying in the fall of 2007, it was fairly easy for URMs on the Journal to get clerkships as long as they applied broadly.  I imagine the same would hold true for H and S.  Of course, times have changed since then, but I still think you can probably find a good clerkship if you apply broadly.  If not, work for a year or two and try again (and let judges know in your cover letter that you're willing to be considered a year out as well).

Thane Messinger

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Re: Clerkship chances
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2011, 02:34:11 AM »
I think you should apply broadly.  Since you have a class rank, I'm assuming you don't go to Yale.  In my experience, though this has probably changed since I was applying in the fall of 2007, it was fairly easy for URMs on the Journal to get clerkships as long as they applied broadly.  I imagine the same would hold true for H and S.  Of course, times have changed since then, but I still think you can probably find a good clerkship if you apply broadly.  If not, work for a year or two and try again (and let judges know in your cover letter that you're willing to be considered a year out as well).

Would certainly agree.  Also, at this level the decisions are not automated, nor even particularly linear.  Your stats put you in the running.  Once you're in the judge's chambers, it's pretty much a fresh start from there.  I can recommend two sources for this latter hurdle.  Insider's Guide to Getting a Big Firm Job has several excellent sections on this (and interviewing with a judge is not all that dissimilar from interviewing for a firm or other law job).  Also, Morten Lund's first book, on practice, will be a good look into the mind of an appellate judge, times two.  His book on memos will be even more important once you start your clerkship.

To emphasize A's point, don't not apply because you think it's a long shot, if it's a reasonable shot and it's a judge or office you would like to serve.  If so, make that known, and go for it!

Best of luck,

Thane.