Clerking in Alaska

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Clerking in Alaska

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 15, 2015 3:49 pm

What kinds of opportunities would one have coming out of a 1 year clerkship on the Supreme Court or in the Court of Appeals? I've heard it is quite prestigious, but I was hoping to hear more about it.

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Re: Clerking in Alaska

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:11 pm

bump

QContinuum

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Re: Clerking in Alaska

Postby QContinuum » Tue Sep 18, 2018 10:07 pm

I have no specific knowledge of the legal market in Alaska, but coming at this in a "lower-48" sense, I don't think an AK Supreme Court clerkship is considered particularly prestigious. Probably comparable to any other "small state" Supreme Court clerkship.

It's possible to be an Alaska-based 9th Circuit CoA clerk. That would certainly be very prestigious.

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Pneumonia

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Re: Clerking in Alaska

Postby Pneumonia » Tue Sep 18, 2018 10:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What kinds of opportunities would one have coming out of a 1 year clerkship on the Supreme Court or in the Court of Appeals? I've heard it is quite prestigious, but I was hoping to hear more about it.


The Alaska Supreme Court has done a really good job of cultivating the impression that they are prestigious. Not sure about "quite" prestigious though. They are more prestigious than most other state high courts, but that doesn't mean your opportunities are any better than from those courts. I don't think the AK CoA has any pull though...

Maybe the best you could hope for is better opportunities to clerk for certain CA9 judges. I don't think many firms are actively recruiting from state supreme courts, including AK's.

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Re: Clerking in Alaska

Postby BlackAndOrange84 » Wed Sep 19, 2018 3:44 am

I met a guy who clerked on the SSC and went on to a "run-of-the-mill" COA clerkship. I'm pretty sure that speaks to his credentials to begin with, rather than any additional bump from having clerked on Alaska's SSC. He went on to do ordinary Biglaw lit.

I'll say this: I don't think I'd do the intermediate court unless I was planning on sticking around Alaska. The SSC is a unique clerkship experience (seriously, the couple of people I know who have done it (another did a fed judge in Alaska) have very cool stories). I agree that it's probably a cut above a random SSC, but I don't think it'll give you much of a resume bump in the abstract.

nixy

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Re: Clerking in Alaska

Postby nixy » Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:29 am

What I’ve always heard about the Alaska SSC is that it’s sought-after because Alaska has so little established law, and that therefore the SSC gets lots of interesting cases (many things are cases of first impression there), and consequently the judges can afford to be quite selective and you need good credentials to have a shot. (I’m sure too the idea of spending a year in Alaska has quite a bit of appeal to a lot of people.) Probably because it’s quite selective, clerks go on to good jobs, although it may well be that that’s based on their pre-existing qualifications rather than their clerkship experience.

(But I think this is largely the case for most people - a clerkship is great but in most cases isn’t going to magically transform you into a wholly different, more desirable candidate.)

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Re: Clerking in Alaska

Postby QContinuum » Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:23 am

nixy wrote:What I’ve always heard about the Alaska SSC is that it’s sought-after because Alaska has so little established law, and that therefore the SSC gets lots of interesting cases (many things are cases of first impression there)


But - and forgive me for my ignorance - wouldn't the same (lack of caselaw) be true of other small/sparsely populated Western states, like Hawaii or Montana or Idaho? Or even one of the U.S. territories (although I can see how a territorial SC experience might be considered "less applicable" to mainland practice)? I'm not getting why AK is unique in not having reams of caselaw precedent.

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Re: Clerking in Alaska

Postby redtalun » Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:50 am

As bizarre as it sounds, Alaska has a biglaw market (in contrast to MT, ID, etc.), with a focus on energy and natural resources. Many Seattle firms have a small satellite office in ANC to serve these clients, and clerking on Alaska SSC would give you an edge for both ANC and SEA offices

nixy

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Re: Clerking in Alaska

Postby nixy » Wed Sep 19, 2018 2:34 pm

That’s just what I’d always heard. Alaska is a much newer state than any of the others than Hawaii, and Hawaii has a lot more people (and arguably has had more for much longer). The next youngest state is a good 49 years older, even if sparsely populated.

Could certainly be myth, though. It’s just what I’d heard that justified the level of students they recruit (it’s pretty competitive to get).



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