CCN Clerkship Question

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ClerkshipQ1987

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CCN Clerkship Question

Postby ClerkshipQ1987 » Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:11 pm

I graduated from NYU/CLS two years ago and have found the clerkship office kind of unhelpful. I was really hoping that TLS could give me some insight.

I finished with so-so grades (around a 3.45) and was not on law review. I was the Executive Editor of a secondary journal, interned at the SDNY USAO, served on the executive board of a public interest student org (if that matters), and worked as an RA to a fairly prominent professor. My letters should be pretty good: one from the professor I worked for; one from a Fed Courts professor I wrote the model answer for; and the last from a visiting professor I had my 1L year (got an A) and who I helped with his study of poverty/criminal justice reform. (I grew up below the poverty line in upstate NY and I expect this professor will reference that if it benefits me at all.) Doubt it matters but Ivy undergrad, with three years at a housing rights org in Buffalo before law school.

At a V20 firm in NYC doing litigation now, but really hope to transition to gov't work one day.

I understand that SDNY/EDNY are out, but do I have any shot at a district court clerkship in a large city? Or a Circuit clerkship virtually anywhere in the country?

AUSAorBust

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Re: CCN Clerkship Question

Postby AUSAorBust » Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:54 am

My understanding (just from looking at the wikipedia page on law school curves) is that Columbia has an estimated media of 3.4 and NYU has am estimated median between 3.17 and 3.25, so, depending on which school you are at, you could either be just around median or somewhat higher.

Having clerked at both the circuit court and district court levels in some out of the way places and helped hire clerks, I think it's unlikely that you would get a circuit court position, even if you are geographically flexible, if you are at Columbia. But if you're really willing to go anywhere, you might be able to get a bite with a district court somewhere.

I'm not sure where a 3.4ish put you in the class at NYU so I won't make a prediction on that.

soxfan122

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Re: CCN Clerkship Question

Postby soxfan122 » Wed Mar 13, 2019 1:58 pm

Does below median with work experience mean no chance at district courts?

AUSAorBust wrote:My understanding (just from looking at the wikipedia page on law school curves) is that Columbia has an estimated media of 3.4 and NYU has am estimated median between 3.17 and 3.25, so, depending on which school you are at, you could either be just around median or somewhat higher.

Having clerked at both the circuit court and district court levels in some out of the way places and helped hire clerks, I think it's unlikely that you would get a circuit court position, even if you are geographically flexible, if you are at Columbia. But if you're really willing to go anywhere, you might be able to get a bite with a district court somewhere.

I'm not sure where a 3.4ish put you in the class at NYU so I won't make a prediction on that.

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HillandHollow

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Re: CCN Clerkship Question

Postby HillandHollow » Wed Mar 13, 2019 2:23 pm

ClerkshipQ1987 wrote:I graduated from NYU/CLS two years ago and have found the clerkship office kind of unhelpful. I was really hoping that TLS could give me some insight.

I finished with so-so grades (around a 3.45) and was not on law review. I was the Executive Editor of a secondary journal, interned at the SDNY USAO, served on the executive board of a public interest student org (if that matters), and worked as an RA to a fairly prominent professor. My letters should be pretty good: one from the professor I worked for; one from a Fed Courts professor I wrote the model answer for; and the last from a visiting professor I had my 1L year (got an A) and who I helped with his study of poverty/criminal justice reform. (I grew up below the poverty line in upstate NY and I expect this professor will reference that if it benefits me at all.) Doubt it matters but Ivy undergrad, with three years at a housing rights org in Buffalo before law school.

At a V20 firm in NYC doing litigation now, but really hope to transition to gov't work one day.

I understand that SDNY/EDNY are out, but do I have any shot at a district court clerkship in a large city? Or a Circuit clerkship virtually anywhere in the country?


District Court in a large city: yes.

AUSAorBust

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Re: CCN Clerkship Question

Postby AUSAorBust » Wed Mar 13, 2019 3:16 pm

soxfan122 wrote:Does below median with work experience mean no chance at district courts?

AUSAorBust wrote:My understanding (just from looking at the wikipedia page on law school curves) is that Columbia has an estimated media of 3.4 and NYU has am estimated median between 3.17 and 3.25, so, depending on which school you are at, you could either be just around median or somewhat higher.

Having clerked at both the circuit court and district court levels in some out of the way places and helped hire clerks, I think it's unlikely that you would get a circuit court position, even if you are geographically flexible, if you are at Columbia. But if you're really willing to go anywhere, you might be able to get a bite with a district court somewhere.

I'm not sure where a 3.4ish put you in the class at NYU so I won't make a prediction on that.


Depending on school, I wouldn't say no chance. I dont think the district judge I worked for would be interested, but you never know. Someone might bite.

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Re: CCN Clerkship Question

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 13, 2019 6:55 pm

I don't think EDNY is necessarily out if you'd have a couple of years BigLaw experience by the time you clerk. Some of the judges are very grade-selective but others who value experience might be willing to take a look if you can get your recommenders to put in a word on your behalf. I knew NYU alums who clerked for Azrack, Donnelly, Block, and Vitaliano with median/slightly above median grades, although I don't know whether they had an additional hook. There are probably others. DNJ is definitely a possibility for NYU as well, and I'm sure from Columbia too.

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Wild Card

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Re: CCN Clerkship Question

Postby Wild Card » Thu Mar 21, 2019 2:42 pm

If you're from Upstate, why not clerk for the NDNY, which I'm sure would be delighted to have an NYU grad who's also a native?

3.45 is top 40%, which is excellent. Your post is thinly veiled brag.

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Re: CCN Clerkship Question

Postby QContinuum » Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:10 pm

Wild Card wrote:If you're from Upstate, why not clerk for the NDNY, which I'm sure would be delighted to have an NYU grad who's also a native?

3.45 is top 40%, which is excellent. Your post is thinly veiled brag.

I don't think it's necessarily "thinly veiled brag." Most CN grads don't target NDNY. The loudest voices will likely be the most competitive applicants, who're gonna be shooting for SDNY and 2/9/D.C. CoA.

Agree that OP stands a solid chance at EDNY (especially with a few years' experience), NDNY (especially given their ties), DNJ, and DConn. (And other comparable districts if OP is geographically flexible/willing to leave NY).

ClerkshipQ1987

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Re: CCN Clerkship Question

Postby ClerkshipQ1987 » Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:24 pm

Thanks for all of the advice everyone.

A few people mentioned that EDNY/NJ might be possible, assuming work experience. Can someone speak to the ideal amount of work experience to get before applying? I'm definitely willing to apply more broadly than this though.

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Re: CCN Clerkship Question

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 28, 2019 5:11 pm

I don't disagree with what others have written here, but I suggest you apply all SDNY and EDNY judges that you're interested in.

The clerkship process is a lot more random than it seems. Although it's true that judges in more traditionally competitive districts (and circuits) are more grade conscious, some judges in those districts are notably less grade conscious than others. And your application may be picked out of the pile for many reasons: A professor may call chambers to advocate for you, something on your resume may grab the judge's attention, etc. It doesn't hurt to try.

As for work experience, you have to consider not when you're your applying but what year you're applying for. Some SDNY, for example, judges hire many years out (at least for alumni; I understand the process has changes recently for current students), so even if you apply now, you may have work experience by the time you apply. That's something that you can note in your cover letter: "After law school, I plan to [go to X firm or whatever], and by [X] term, I will have [X years of work experience]."

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Re: CCN Clerkship Question

Postby GoneSouth » Sat Mar 30, 2019 12:09 pm

ClerkshipQ1987 wrote:Thanks for all of the advice everyone.

A few people mentioned that EDNY/NJ might be possible, assuming work experience. Can someone speak to the ideal amount of work experience to get before applying? I'm definitely willing to apply more broadly than this though.


No such thing as an ideal amount of work experience to get before applying because you can apply to the same judge multiple times if you don't get an interview the first time.

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Re: CCN Clerkship Question

Postby jbagelboy » Fri Apr 05, 2019 11:14 pm

Lots of district court clerkships would be accessible to you if you applied and took the time to make the proper inquiries with judges. Just not in the cities you might prefer (Manhattan, San Francisco, Los Angeles, DC).

Median or low stone at CLS can certainly get a federal clerkship with a year or two of biglaw litigation experience - I’ve seen it plenty of times. You will just have to be geographically flexible (which few CLS grads are). Helps if you are willing to cold email/work faculty connections with recent nominees.

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Re: CCN Clerkship Question

Postby ClerkshipQ1987 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:35 pm

jbagelboy wrote:Lots of district court clerkships would be accessible to you if you applied and took the time to make the proper inquiries with judges. Just not in the cities you might prefer (Manhattan, San Francisco, Los Angeles, DC).

Median or low stone at CLS can certainly get a federal clerkship with a year or two of biglaw litigation experience - I’ve seen it plenty of times. You will just have to be geographically flexible (which few CLS grads are). Helps if you are willing to cold email/work faculty connections with recent nominees.


In your experience, jbagelboy, what district court clerkships do people with median/low Stone grades end up with?

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Re: CCN Clerkship Question

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 09, 2019 1:51 pm

ClerkshipQ1987 wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:Lots of district court clerkships would be accessible to you if you applied and took the time to make the proper inquiries with judges. Just not in the cities you might prefer (Manhattan, San Francisco, Los Angeles, DC).

Median or low stone at CLS can certainly get a federal clerkship with a year or two of biglaw litigation experience - I’ve seen it plenty of times. You will just have to be geographically flexible (which few CLS grads are). Helps if you are willing to cold email/work faculty connections with recent nominees.


In your experience, jbagelboy, what district court clerkships do people with median/low Stone grades end up with?


you're basically out for SDNY/EDNY/DDC+ areas excepting some connection, but otherwise there's no like, magic formula to clerkship applications - judges are idiosyncratic in their hiring processes. maybe one judge in EDTX is well-known to a prof at HLS and has an interesting PD background and so he only hires students from this HLS clinic, while another judge who sits in the same courthouse doesn't get those applications and would jump at the chance to hire a CCN student. I have a friend with high Stone grades who got no bites at Chancery despite having strong recs from CLS profs. his grades apparently made him a shoo-in, but his V10 2L SA firm was disliked by a number of the judges.

all this is to say: apply broadly. which sounds unhelpful but like, frankly is the only good advice if you want to clerk and don't have a transcript which is competitive for the particularly desirable clerkships (ie, you might end up "settling"). I'd think it'd be worthwhile, for starters, to blanket DNJ, DConn, EDPA? you have nothing to lose except the time/cost of an application.

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Re: CCN Clerkship Question

Postby TFALAWL » Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:41 pm

jbagelboy wrote:Lots of district court clerkships would be accessible to you if you applied and took the time to make the proper inquiries with judges. Just not in the cities you might prefer (Manhattan, San Francisco, Los Angeles, DC).

Median or low stone at CLS can certainly get a federal clerkship with a year or two of biglaw litigation experience - I’ve seen it plenty of times. You will just have to be geographically flexible (which few CLS grads are). Helps if you are willing to cold email/work faculty connections with recent nominees.


So much this! I clerk in a district within the 6CA's jurisdiction. We receive surprisingly few CCN applications, though, oddly enough, plenty from everywhere else. It really appears that New Yorkers have an aversion to smaller cities ;)



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