lolwat wrote:OP here:
Is top 20% at a lower T13 even competitive enough for a circuit? I have basically been assuming no chance at those and a limited chance at a fed district court...
I'd probably say it's on the low end of competitive, and a lot will depend on luck and connections. Outside of the most competitive judges/circuits there are plenty of judges who start looking at other things--preference for specific law schools, ties to places, stuff like that.
I agree with this and that it depends largely on the judge hiring and the way you interview.
I know people who got federal clerkships that went to third tier law schools and they weren't top students. They weren't even in the top 10% (if I recall, grade cut-off was top third). They also were not on law review. The clerkships were in flyover cities. In both instances, the Judges they clerked for graduated from their law school and had a preference for its students.