chances at a district court clerkship?

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chances at a district court clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 11, 2018 10:52 pm

hi guys,

I'm a T6 graduate, graduated in 2016. I did well my first year and a half, had about a 3.6, but then my grades tanked. I graduated with just over a 3.3.

I applied to district court clerkships a few months ago/am still applying on an ongoing basis for this year and next year.

I haven't received any interviews and my question is whether that's likely for 2018 or even 2019 anymore. I've applied to about a hundred judges on OSCAR.

my application has everything--journal, moot court, work experience. great letters. I even did a clerkship already--an appellate clerkship, albeit abroad last year. my whole resume is litigation as well. the only thing is my grades aren't so hot in my last year and a half, in large part because I got a B in a year long clinic (not sure if judges distinguish between classes and clinic).

I'm told there are hundreds of positions out there but they require paper apps/they aren't listed on OSCAR. I'm wiling to apply to all of those/am in the process of preparing paper apps now.

do I have a shot at a district court clerkship somewhere? I'm willing to clerk anywhere for any judge. I struck out at OCI as a 2L and a clerkship seems one of the few ways I can get my foot in at the door at a big law firm still (because I didn't summer, big law firms won't consider it it seems).

I'd appreciate any considered advice I can get. thanks all.

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Re: chances at a district court clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:02 am

Current D. Ct. clerk.

I think that you might have a hard time with federal clerkships, but I wouldn't give up hope completely. Your problem, in my mind, is twofold. One, your grades aren't great. A school's prestige can make up for a lot but people are always wary of hiring people who didn't do well in law school. Second, you don't have any firm experience. Firm experience, personally, acts sort of like a quality control on a candidate. If a person worked at a firm for two years or so you know that they must at least satisfy a base level of competency (and be able to to handle the hours).

My advice would be to apply for state appellate and state supreme court clerkships in regions that you'd be willing to work in afterwards. Additionally, apply to as many federal magistrate and federal district court judges that take applications by mail as you can. Good luck.

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Rowinguy2009

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Re: chances at a district court clerkship?

Postby Rowinguy2009 » Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:06 am

Two questions: (1) What are you currently doing job-wise and (2) what was your final class rank in school?

I agree with the poster above, I think you have a chance but it's a slimmer one (your answers to the two questions above will help to determine how slim).

Also, hiring for 2018 is pretty much finished - I would say your chances at getting a 2018 spot are almost zero (of course, if you see an opening for a 2018 position go ahead and apply). If you've been applying for a couple months then you at least timed your applications right for 2019 positions.

It's a frustrating process - keep at it. If you have any ties to particular areas of course target those areas as much as possible, and highlight the relevant ties.

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Re: chances at a district court clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 12, 2018 4:19 pm

If you're truly flexible, keep applying. Someone will take you eventually with your credentials.

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Re: chances at a district court clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:01 pm

OP here.

thanks for the encouragement everybody. I understand it's going to be hard but I'll keep trying.

rowinguy2009: my school doesn't rank so I don't know where I fell. but I'm guessing and have been told my GPA is average/I'm likely in the middle of the class.

as for what I'm doing right now: that's the issue. I'm currently unemployed, after having finished my clerkship last november. I'm currently RA'ing for a professor remotely, which is on my resume/is unpaid but isn't listed as unpaid on my resume. I'm trying to build my resume up for a litigation position at a firm, so I'm reluctant to keep on doing public interest, which is what my whole resume is.

is there work experience that would be advisable for me to get this year, assuming I'm shooting for 2019 now and not 2018, that would increase my chances, but isn't private practice? given, again, my difficulty in obtaining a position at a firm (and my goal of using a district court clerkship itself as a means to private practice).

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Re: chances at a district court clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here.

thanks for the encouragement everybody. I understand it's going to be hard but I'll keep trying.

rowinguy2009: my school doesn't rank so I don't know where I fell. but I'm guessing and have been told my GPA is average/I'm likely in the middle of the class.

as for what I'm doing right now: that's the issue. I'm currently unemployed, after having finished my clerkship last november. I'm currently RA'ing for a professor remotely, which is on my resume/is unpaid but isn't listed as unpaid on my resume. I'm trying to build my resume up for a litigation position at a firm, so I'm reluctant to keep on doing public interest, which is what my whole resume is.

is there work experience that would be advisable for me to get this year, assuming I'm shooting for 2019 now and not 2018, that would increase my chances, but isn't private practice? given, again, my difficulty in obtaining a position at a firm (and my goal of using a district court clerkship itself as a means to private practice).

I'm shocked that you didn't manage to find anything during the entire term of your previous clerkship.

Depending on how long you've been unemployed for, you should consider spending virtually every minute applying for clerkships and other jobs. If you're flexible/desperate, you might even consider magistrate judges. But in addition to that, you should apply broadly to firm jobs and do that for a year before clerking. Bottom line is to apply for anything and everything. Your career office might have some leads. Keep hustling.

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Re: chances at a district court clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:26 pm

If you're willing to clerk anywhere, no harm in applying everywhere.

You're outside of good-shot territory, but plenty of median T6 people land federal clerkships. Since you've already graduated, keep an eye out for last-minute and off-cycle gigs that current students and people with inflexible commitments can't apply to. Your best shot (besides persistence + blind luck + time) at getting your application pulled would probably come from scrounging some connection with a judge or enlisting your recommenders to make a few select calls.

I clerked/am clerking at a COA and an SSC, and would second the above about SSCs. Just know that (1) many SSCs are just as competitive as less-competitive district courts (2) the credential carries far more weight in state than out, and (3) as with off-the-beaten-path district courts, you need to do your homework on individual judges. Have former clerks gone to firms you'd be happy with? Does the judge have some other obvious connection to those firms? etc.

Good luck!



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