Do I have any shot at D.Ct (Illinois, Michigan, Indiana)

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Do I have any shot at D.Ct (Illinois, Michigan, Indiana)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:51 pm

Hey all..

T14, 3.3, secondary journal, 3 years WE at big city DA office.

I know I'm completely shut out of Chicago but what about the other districts in the state and surrounding states?

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Re: Do I have any shot at D.Ct (Illinois, Michigan, Indiana)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:38 am

can I get some love? btw, i'm post grad and in my 3 year of WE in a big city DA office currently.

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Re: Do I have any shot at D.Ct (Illinois, Michigan, Indiana)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:01 pm

First, you should definitely apply, and do so as broadly as you're comfortable. You never know what judges are looking for. Neither do I (outside of the judge I clerked for).

In general, it's hard to see how you'd stand out in the applicant pile. T14 gets you a closer look, but 3.3 GPAs are a dime a dozen. Secondary journal is meh without EdBoard. DA work experience in general is meh, but maybe your office/section has a good rep. That said, flyover states (especially smaller cities) don't always get a ton of apps, and T14 gets you a foot in the door. Make sure your writing sample and LoRs are excellent, see if your profs have any connections to the bench. IMHO, your best bet is to keep an eye out for judges who hire late or who need to fill a last-minute vacancy - one of the benefits of applying post-grad is being able to jump on those opportunities.

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Re: Do I have any shot at D.Ct (Illinois, Michigan, Indiana)

Postby Pure Applesauce » Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:15 pm

Would consider WD and ED of ky too if I were you.

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Re: Do I have any shot at D.Ct (Illinois, Michigan, Indiana)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:29 pm

Pure Applesauce wrote:Would consider WD and ED of ky too if I were you.


New to clerkship process, so sorry if this is a dumb question - are ED/WD KY generally considered less competitive? Would I be in play with ~top 1/4 from MVP and decent ties?

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Re: Do I have any shot at D.Ct (Illinois, Michigan, Indiana)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:47 pm

I'm clerking in one of the above. I don't think you'd get off the stack unless you have strong recommenders and a good reason for being in the specific district. If you do, you'd probably get an interview. My judge routinely trashes T14 applications when he can't figure out why they're applying in the district.

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Re: Do I have any shot at D.Ct (Illinois, Michigan, Indiana)

Postby SpiffySpaceman » Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:00 pm

My understanding of E.D./W.D. Ky. was that Judge Thapar was essentially a feeder judge at the district court level (in E.D. Ky.). He'd routinely send folks to CoA judges (Judge Sutton being a big one, I think), often en route to the Supreme Court (Thapar=>Sutton=>SCotUS was not uncommon, I think). To the extent E.D./W.D. Ky. were "more competitive" than other semi-flyover districts, he was the reason. Now that he's on the Sixth Circuit, though, I can't imagine the Kentucky districts are more competitive than, say, S.D. Ohio, S.D. Iowa, D. Colo., or W.D. Mo., to give a smattering of other semi-flyover spots (i.e., places with cities of varying sizes, decent caseloads, and a spread of district judges, despite being outside the standard big city districts).

As a consequence, top 1/4 at MVP is not disqualifying at all. In fact, the issue will, if anything, likely be area ties. I'm in a district like those listed above, was top 1/4 at DNB (if we're making that a trio now?), and my judge is pretty big on local connections. The judges in my district, as a general rule, will take take folks from the top 1/4 of the local T30 over a person in the top 1/4 at a T14 who doesn't have area connections. As such, if you have connections, make them clear pretty much anywhere and everywhere you can. If you want to practice in Kentucky, say so in the cover letter. If you grew up in Lexington or wherever, mention that. If you have helped coach your high school debate team in Frankfort since graduating, put that in your resume for the application (at the bottom, not as work experience).

To the judges in my district, connection/preference to the nearby-but-out-of-district big city is a second-best to connection to the district-state, but still much better than a NY/DC/SF/LA connection. Consequently, Chicago-preference may be enough to count as an "area connection" for a E.D./W.D. Ky. judge, but it's probably a case-by-case thing.

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Re: Do I have any shot at D.Ct (Illinois, Michigan, Indiana)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:38 pm

SpiffySpaceman wrote:My understanding of E.D./W.D. Ky. was that Judge Thapar was essentially a feeder judge at the district court level (in E.D. Ky.). He'd routinely send folks to CoA judges (Judge Sutton being a big one, I think), often en route to the Supreme Court (Thapar=>Sutton=>SCotUS was not uncommon, I think). To the extent E.D./W.D. Ky. were "more competitive" than other semi-flyover districts, he was the reason. Now that he's on the Sixth Circuit, though, I can't imagine the Kentucky districts are more competitive than, say, S.D. Ohio, S.D. Iowa, D. Colo., or W.D. Mo., to give a smattering of other semi-flyover spots (i.e., places with cities of varying sizes, decent caseloads, and a spread of district judges, despite being outside the standard big city districts).

As a consequence, top 1/4 at MVP is not disqualifying at all. In fact, the issue will, if anything, likely be area ties. I'm in a district like those listed above, was top 1/4 at DNB (if we're making that a trio now?), and my judge is pretty big on local connections. The judges in my district, as a general rule, will take take folks from the top 1/4 of the local T30 over a person in the top 1/4 at a T14 who doesn't have area connections. As such, if you have connections, make them clear pretty much anywhere and everywhere you can. If you want to practice in Kentucky, say so in the cover letter. If you grew up in Lexington or wherever, mention that. If you have helped coach your high school debate team in Frankfort since graduating, put that in your resume for the application (at the bottom, not as work experience).

To the judges in my district, connection/preference to the nearby-but-out-of-district big city is a second-best to connection to the district-state, but still much better than a NY/DC/SF/LA connection. Consequently, Chicago-preference may be enough to count as an "area connection" for a E.D./W.D. Ky. judge, but it's probably a case-by-case thing.


MVP anon from above. Thanks for this - will definitely emphasize my ties in applications.

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Re: Do I have any shot at D.Ct (Illinois, Michigan, Indiana)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm clerking in one of the above. I don't think you'd get off the stack unless you have strong recommenders and a good reason for being in the specific district. If you do, you'd probably get an interview. My judge routinely trashes T14 applications when he can't figure out why they're applying in the district.


FWIW, I'm clerking in a district adjacent to one of ED/WD KY and my judge could not care less about ties to this city, district, state, or region.

The lessons here are that you should (1) play up local ties where you have them, but (2) apply broadly because you don't know what each judge is looking for.




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