Getting Fired or Let Go From Clerkship

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Re: Getting Fired or Let Go From Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 03, 2018 11:41 am

Wild Card wrote:Why don't you out the fucking judge? Is this some kind of pretentious inner circle bullshit you're pulling? Stop abusing the anon function.


While I don't think this is an abuse of the anon function at all--and certainly didn't intend any "pretentious inner circle bullshit"--the SDNY judge being referred to is almost certainly Judge Berman.

See: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 0#p6719400

http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 5#p9682138

No personal experience with him at all.

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Re: Getting Fired or Let Go From Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 04, 2018 8:28 pm

Speaking from immediate personal experience, I can assure you that there is life after leaving a clerkship early.

The key is having a clear, intelligible explanation for why things did not work out with the judge. Being fired, in my opinion, is *significantly less preferable* to leaving on your own terms. You'll have to report being fired/let go on virtually any job application in the future, so avoiding that is a generally preferable bet.

What I would recommend is reaching out to a trusted mentor and explaining the situation; failing that, consider contacting someone at your future firm (maybe a partner you hit it off with?) and taking their temperature about how things would be perceived.

This is not the end of the world (though I sure as hell thought it was). In fact, reclaiming some autonomy over the situation will probably do you a world of good.

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Re: Getting Fired or Let Go From Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 07, 2018 11:44 am

can the above anon somehow their the experience on talking to the partner and how he pulled it off. any chance you can contact me without either of us outing each other?

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Re: Getting Fired or Let Go From Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 01, 2018 6:16 pm

If this happens to you, but the official file reflects a resignation, is it something that you have to disclose on Character and Fitness if the form asks if you have been fired or asked to resign "for cause"?

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Re: Getting Fired or Let Go From Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:This is pretty unheard of, but it does happen. A couple of ideas:


Fourth, you might simply hire a writing coach. I know it can be costly, but the problem in a clerkship is likely that you're writing is incoherent. That's likely an organizational thing that can be fixed by simply learning the structure of legal writing. Nipping this in the bud now might save your legal career down the road.


Have you done this? If so, do you have someone you'd recommend? I'd be interested in this. I'm not the OP btw.

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Re: Getting Fired or Let Go From Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:12 am

This thread makes me scared of clerking.

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Re: Getting Fired or Let Go From Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 05, 2018 6:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:This thread makes me scared of clerking.


This is rare—maybe not as rare as some folks who have posted think, but even if it happens more than most of us think that doesn't mean it happens often. In two years of clerking I never firsthand heard of this happening to anyone. Every now and then you might hear a whisper that some judge or other once fired a clerk in the distant past, but there's barely even a handful that anyone claims have fired more than one (though there are a couple out there with truly awful reputations (not on my courts)). Given the wide range of abilities and personalities among even top-performing law students (yes, it's possible to be a top-performing law student and an awful clerk, not to mention an awful human being) and the limitations of clerkship applications and a short interview, I'd be shocked if most judges didn't at some point fire at least one clerk. Even if that were true, firings could still be, and I believe are, quite rare.

My experience is limited to circuit courts. Based on a couple of the comments, maybe firing is more common on district courts, where it's harder to circumvent a clerk that isn't working out. With more clerks and fewer cases, circuit court judges can do more to work around a problematic clerk. But again, that wouldn't mean it happens often at the district court level.

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Re: Getting Fired or Let Go From Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 07, 2018 4:56 pm

Are you sure your Judge may fire you? I would not quit, and I would ask the Judge straight up if she is thinking of firing you, because I asked my Judge that question. He was shocked. I would ask for ways to improve too.

I can empathize with you. My clerkship has been difficult. The reason why I asked my Judge if he was going to fire me is because all he did was complain about the work I produced. However, he makes minor changes to the opinions I write for him. I feel he exaggerates my “mistakes.” It has been a miserable experience, leading me to question what I have ever been told I am good at and whether I should change careers. It is important for a young attorney to find his or her identity. A judge’s opinion of you is paramount. I appreciate constructive criticism, but you also need to know your strengths. His staff is cruel. Bullies. But I will not quit as much as I want to and as difficult as it is. Hang in there if you can, and Tak to your Judge.


Anonymous User wrote:Hi all, I'm wondering about people who have gotten fired from a clerkship and how they've managed afterwards. My Judge has sat me down a few times and told me that my work is not what s/he expected. I think we fundamentally disagree about a lot of things too. I've essentially been on probation for a month or two but I think my time is running out. I have received hints from other people in chambers that the Judge has considered letting me go.

Should I just quit before I get fired? I don't think the Judge wants to ruin my career but s/he doesn't want to work together anymore. Am I just screwed? How will this hurt my job prospects? Do I need to tell my firms (or other future employers) what happened if the Judge doesn't proactively reach out to them?

I just haven't heard about a lot of people getting fired and I don't know what to do or how best to control the damage of this. I don't think I can salvage the situation to be honest (and not sure I want to work with someone who does not want to work with me).

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Re: Getting Fired or Let Go From Clerkship

Postby tier4_partner » Sun Jul 08, 2018 1:18 pm

To be completely honest. It sounds like you’re the problem. Not the judge. When a partne, supervisor, judge has an established style - they don’t have to adjust to their underling. The associate, employee or clerk has to adjust to them. There is an important lesson to be learned here - you’re a junior lawyer and you have a lot to learn. And your style doesn’t matter very much just yet. One day it will. But not right now. Do what you can to adjust to the rhythm of the judge and avoid losing the job. As a young partner at a large mid-sized firm - i would not consider hiring someone fired during a clerkship.



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