D. Ct. Clerkship with few/no trials

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D. Ct. Clerkship with few/no trials

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:11 pm

I have an interview set up with a district court judge, but in talking with former clerks many of them have mentioned that the judge has few trials and most said there was not a single civil trial during their clerkship. One of the current clerks that I know personally confirmed this is the case: she had done one criminal trial in her time there, there had been no civil trials, and she didn't think she'd have another one before her clerkship ended. She also said one previous clerk left without doing a single trial. She said the clerkship was almost entirely drafting memo/orders.

Is this a red flag, or is this more common than I think it is? Everything else seems like a good fit, and I'm not the most competitive candidate so I wouldn't want to let a district court clerkship opportunity just pass by. I'm also planning to go in to litigation, but don't have a strong desire to be at a trial boutique or anything like that---I think I find motion practice more interesting at this point.

Any thoughts?

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Elston Gunn

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Re: D. Ct. Clerkship with few/no trials

Postby Elston Gunn » Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I have an interview set up with a district court judge, but in talking with former clerks many of them have mentioned that the judge has few trials and most said there was not a single civil trial during their clerkship. One of the current clerks that I know personally confirmed this is the case: she had done one criminal trial in her time there, there had been no civil trials, and she didn't think she'd have another one before her clerkship ended. She also said one previous clerk left without doing a single trial. She said the clerkship was almost entirely drafting memo/orders.

Is this a red flag, or is this more common than I think it is? Everything else seems like a good fit, and I'm not the most competitive candidate so I wouldn't want to let a district court clerkship opportunity just pass by. I'm also planning to go in to litigation, but don't have a strong desire to be at a trial boutique or anything like that---I think I find motion practice more interesting at this point.

Any thoughts?

I’m a little confused about why a particular judge would not have trials. Is s/he a senior judge that chooses not to do trials or something?

In any case, it is not unusual to go through a clerkship without being there primary clerk on a trial, and it’s still great experience and resume line, so I would not worry about it.

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mjb447

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Re: D. Ct. Clerkship with few/no trials

Postby mjb447 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 5:42 pm

That doesn't seem alarming to me. Trials really aren't that common, and you're totally at the mercy of whether the parties decide to settle/plead.

lavarman84

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Re: D. Ct. Clerkship with few/no trials

Postby lavarman84 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:12 pm

It's normal. Trials are rare. Civil trials are even rarer.

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Re: D. Ct. Clerkship with few/no trials

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:17 am

Totally normal. I clerked in one of the busiest districts in the country. We had six trials during my one-year clerkship, which was way above average for the judge, and all were criminal.

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HillandHollow

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Re: D. Ct. Clerkship with few/no trials

Postby HillandHollow » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:01 am

My judge didn't have a civil trial during my entire clerk term, nor the term before mine. There was one set to go to trial shortly after my term, but I don't know if it did or will go. We did have one criminal trial during my term, and I think one the term before.

Most civil cases settle or are otherwise disposed of before they reach trial, so it really isn't that crazy for a term to not have one. Also, the majority of litigation is pre-trial and discovery related, so the clerkship is still very relevant, even without an actual trial. In my district, clerks would send word around if they had a trial happening, so that everyone could come watch.

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Re: D. Ct. Clerkship with few/no trials

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 14, 2019 8:33 pm

It often varies from one year to another. I'm close to ten months into my two-year clerkship with a senior district judge, and I've already had five criminal jury trials, including two white collar criminal trials. By contrast, my co-clerk is about to complete her two-year clerkship and has only had one civil jury trial and no criminal trials. Either way, clerking is great experience and, obviously, a great line on the resume.



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