Quitting Clerkship After 2 months

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nativtracker

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Quitting Clerkship After 2 months

Postby nativtracker » Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:58 pm

So.. not sure how to approach this. But I am seriously contemplating quitting my current clerkship. For a little background info, SLS grad who went straight into a federal district clerkship. As a personal aside, and to give you the full picture as it might be affecting my decision making process, my LD girlfriend broke up with me the day I started my new job. I currently live in this city alone and do not know anyone else. So there's all that. Maybe some hints of depression.

That said, I really don't enjoy litigation. I don't see myself having a future as a prosecutor or Biglaw litigator. I reel at writing briefs and doing legal research. During oral arguments I cringe at the thought of being counsel behind the podium and have no desire every to be there. I would much rather be doing corporate private equity, IPOs, or related work. I am just trying to figure out the repercussions of quitting now and going into Biglaw now with my current firm who would allow the transition from litigation to corporate immediately. That is, from 60k in a job where I see no future, to 220k in a job I am somewhat interested and excited about. My friends are telling me to tough it out. My parents are supportive either way. So honestly, Im in need of unbiased opinions. Thanks.

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Re: Quitting Clerkship After 2 months

Postby Splurgles23 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:05 pm

nativtracker wrote:So.. not sure how to approach this. But I am seriously contemplating quitting my current clerkship. For a little background info, SLS grad who went straight into a federal district clerkship. As a personal aside, and to give you the full picture as it might be affecting my decision making process, my LD girlfriend broke up with me the day I started my new job. I currently live in this city alone and do not know anyone else. So there's all that. Maybe some hints of depression.

That said, I really don't enjoy litigation. I don't see myself having a future as a prosecutor or Biglaw litigator. I reel at writing briefs and doing legal research. During oral arguments I cringe at the thought of being counsel behind the podium and have no desire every to be there. I would much rather be doing corporate private equity, IPOs, or related work. I am just trying to figure out the repercussions of quitting now and going into Biglaw now with my current firm who would allow the transition from litigation to corporate immediately. That is, from 60k in a job where I see no future, to 220k in a job I am somewhat interested and excited about. My friends are telling me to tough it out. My parents are supportive either way. So honestly, Im in need of unbiased opinions. Thanks.


Just so you know a few of the consequences of quitting, it will be a very bad look for not only you, but also for SLS. I know of a judge who does not hire from a certain school because this judge had two bad experiences with clerks hired from that school over the course of a few years; based on those experiences, that school's no longer on this judge's (highly selective and sought-after) radar. SLS, like other top schools, is aware of these dynamics. So you'll risk a serious fall out if you quit this prematurely, for these reasons.

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Re: Quitting Clerkship After 2 months

Postby floatie » Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:32 pm

nativtracker wrote:So.. not sure how to approach this. But I am seriously contemplating quitting my current clerkship. For a little background info, SLS grad who went straight into a federal district clerkship. As a personal aside, and to give you the full picture as it might be affecting my decision making process, my LD girlfriend broke up with me the day I started my new job. I currently live in this city alone and do not know anyone else. So there's all that. Maybe some hints of depression.

That said, I really don't enjoy litigation. I don't see myself having a future as a prosecutor or Biglaw litigator. I reel at writing briefs and doing legal research. During oral arguments I cringe at the thought of being counsel behind the podium and have no desire every to be there. I would much rather be doing corporate private equity, IPOs, or related work. I am just trying to figure out the repercussions of quitting now and going into Biglaw now with my current firm who would allow the transition from litigation to corporate immediately. That is, from 60k in a job where I see no future, to 220k in a job I am somewhat interested and excited about. My friends are telling me to tough it out. My parents are supportive either way. So honestly, Im in need of unbiased opinions. Thanks.


Are you absolutely sure that you'll be happier in a corporate practice? Did you have a chance to do substantive corporate work while you were a summer associate (or at any other time)? I ask mainly because corporate work can really suck somtimes, just like litigation. If you're planning on switching to corporate simply because you don't love litigation right now, don't do that.

If, at the end of your clerkship, you find that you would much rather be in a corporate practice, you won't be the first (or last) clerk to make that switch. Compared to recovering from your quitting your clerkship, switching into a corporate group post-clerkship is a much, much smaller obstacle.

Also - it sounds like you might have some underlying mental health issues. A breakup is a big deal, and it can really cloud your judgment (trust me, I've been there). You might want to talk to a therapist and resolve those issues (or at least start getting treatment) before making a decision like this.

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Re: Quitting Clerkship After 2 months

Postby BlackAndOrange84 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:46 pm

Tough it out. You made a commitment to this judge to work for a year. Quitting will affect the judge and your co-clerks. It's hard to find someone qualified on short notice for an abbreviated term. And it's a bad look for you (and yes, your school). And yes, get at least counseling. One perk of federal employment is that the health insurance is pretty decent. Take advantage of it. And try to socialize with the other clerks in the courthouse.

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Re: Quitting Clerkship After 2 months

Postby dvlthndr » Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:05 am

It sounds like you are having a rough patch and are taking it out on your job. I would stick this out if you can. Quitting will have negative effects on your judge, other clerks, SLS, etc. Frankly, I'm surprised that your future firm would knowingly encourage you to quit and move practice groups.

Get some therapy. Socialize with some co-clerks. Maybe try meetup groups or other activities.

nixy

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Re: Quitting Clerkship After 2 months

Postby nixy » Fri Sep 20, 2019 7:19 am

Agree with all the above. I think too that finishing your clerkship isn’t going to make it harder/worse to get into corporate than if you quit now - if you can get a commitment from your firm that you can switch, the clerkship isn’t going to make things worse (they obviously already know you’re doing one). So you are likely to cause more harm to your career - in pissing off the judge - leaving than by staying. Admittedly in corporate you may never need that judge in your corner, but you do never know.

If it really gets down to your mental health and staying is actually harmful to you, that’s one thing. But just disliking it (especially where there’s no indication your judge is a bad boss or the experience is objectively bad), I would try to stick it out. And maybe see how early your replacement is willing to come on board.

Pennoyer v. Meh

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Re: Quitting Clerkship After 2 months

Postby Pennoyer v. Meh » Fri Sep 20, 2019 1:32 pm

You also have the opportunity to use this clerkship to apply to other firms' corporate practices, rather than just taking your current firm at its word that you'll be able to switch.

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Re: Quitting Clerkship After 2 months

Postby NoLongerALurker » Fri Sep 20, 2019 2:59 pm

Don't do it. Grind through this. You got this. You'll regret it even harder and it will make everything feel even worse in hindsight if you don't grind this one out. I believe in you!

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Re: Quitting Clerkship After 2 months

Postby QContinuum » Fri Sep 20, 2019 3:06 pm

I would add that quitting may have a negative impact even at OP's summer firm. Even if HR is willing to let OP start a year early, seniors who find out about OP's abbreviated clerkship (and they will... people talk) may come away with a bad impression.

It's one thing to consider quitting early if the judge is abusive. But I would never support quitting a clerkship early just because one doesn't like litigation. Not liking litigation is a good reason to not apply to a clerkship, or decline a clerkship offer, but it's a no-good, awful, very bad reason to quit a clerkship early.

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Re: Quitting Clerkship After 2 months

Postby Wild Card » Fri Sep 20, 2019 3:34 pm

I can't tell whether this some sort of sadistic humblebrag.

nativtracker

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Re: Quitting Clerkship After 2 months

Postby nativtracker » Fri Sep 20, 2019 3:49 pm

No OP here. Definitely not a sadistic humblebrag. I know I've very fortunate to be where I am. I just don't feel the work to be inspiring. I don't feel drawn to it. Clerking is just so lonely. The days drag on and its hard to get to work. I try to motivate myself but its hard to pull myself together. I'm definitely aware there is some mental health issues going on. A few weeks ago I just started crying the the cafeteria. Sometimes I just go into a bathroom or on the terrace and cry. I'm trying to figure out why I feel this way and what it is. Its certainly been difficult. It just feels like there is so much pressure. I don't really know what I'm doing. I feel so woefully underprepared. I don't know, I decided that at a minimum, to just take it a day at a time and reevaluate everyday. IF anyone else has better suggestions, please let me know.

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Re: Quitting Clerkship After 2 months

Postby york1614 » Fri Sep 20, 2019 4:13 pm

I'm sorry that you're dealing with all of this right now, OP. You seem to be very self-aware about what's going on, including that it would be worthwhile to seek some counseling. Despite what everyone says about clerkships, I know that during stretches of my two, I was similarly unmotivated, uninspired, and found it hard to make it into work. And I don't think I was dealing with any particularly developed mental-health issues at the time--sometimes it's just the job.

I second the ideas others have shared re: socializing. Additionally, one thing that helped me during the second clerkship was talking to my judge. Obviously this won't work for everyone, but if your judge is the type of person you think would be open to you sharing a bit of what's going on, he or she might be able to help. If they're the type of person you think you could share this with, he or she at the very least will likely cut you some slack while you're working through things.

All that said, I agree 100% with others who have said that you should stick this out, especially if the main reason you'd leave is because you don't want to litigate. I might be giving myself more credit than I should, but I like to think I'm a pretty empathetic and understanding person. But if an associate joined the firm I'm at after quitting a clerkship 2 months in, I would definitely be skeptical of that person--whether in corporate, litigation, or elsewhere.

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Re: Quitting Clerkship After 2 months

Postby sirggscott » Fri Sep 20, 2019 4:21 pm

nativtracker wrote:No OP here. Definitely not a sadistic humblebrag. I know I've very fortunate to be where I am. I just don't feel the work to be inspiring. I don't feel drawn to it. Clerking is just so lonely. The days drag on and its hard to get to work. I try to motivate myself but its hard to pull myself together. I'm definitely aware there is some mental health issues going on. A few weeks ago I just started crying the the cafeteria. Sometimes I just go into a bathroom or on the terrace and cry. I'm trying to figure out why I feel this way and what it is. Its certainly been difficult. It just feels like there is so much pressure. I don't really know what I'm doing. I feel so woefully underprepared. I don't know, I decided that at a minimum, to just take it a day at a time and reevaluate everyday. IF anyone else has better suggestions, please let me know.


I sympathize because I understand disliking your clerkship and the impact that your personal issues are having on your work and general outlook right now. The best approach, as others have said, is to finish the rest of your commitment and then transition back to your current firm or to a new firm in a role that will let you experience other practice areas. In the meantime, focus on delivering professional and appropriate work product that meets your obligations and try to work towards a few projects to fill up your time in the evening/weekends (writing an article and picking up a new hobby by enrolling in something like a photography or painting course at a local community centre might help).

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Re: Quitting Clerkship After 2 months

Postby nixy » Fri Sep 20, 2019 4:37 pm

I actually really like research and writing, and spending time by myself, and even so some days even I absolutely felt isolated and uninspired and missed human contact. Chambers can be very small and not always very social.

But you also mentioned not knowing what you’re doing and feeling unprepared, and that’s also a totally real and legitimate thing. There’s a big learning curve to clerking, and some judges are much better than others about sort of on-ramping you.

I agree that if your judge seems open to this, try talking to them - some judges are very committed to mentoring their clerks and want to know how to support you. Admittedly, some aren’t. Is there a career clerk or other term clerk? I know some judges frown on discussing your work with even their other clerks (I have never understood why, but I’m not the judge), but if not, they might help you feel more in control. Similarly, reach out about doing a clerk happy hour with other clerks in the courthouse? Or lunch? Again, assuming your judge is okay with such a thing (some aren’t).

Also, as goofy and cliched as it sounds, can you go out and meet people outside of work? Join a sports league, take an art class, go hear bands, etc? Having a social world outside of work would likely help you get through the days better. (I suck at doing this myself and met very few locals while I was clerking, but it is something I regret.)

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Re: Quitting Clerkship After 2 months

Postby lavarman84 » Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:51 pm

nixy wrote:I actually really like research and writing, and spending time by myself, and even so some days even I absolutely felt isolated and uninspired and missed human contact. Chambers can be very small and not always very social.

But you also mentioned not knowing what you’re doing and feeling unprepared, and that’s also a totally real and legitimate thing. There’s a big learning curve to clerking, and some judges are much better than others about sort of on-ramping you.

I agree that if your judge seems open to this, try talking to them - some judges are very committed to mentoring their clerks and want to know how to support you. Admittedly, some aren’t. Is there a career clerk or other term clerk? I know some judges frown on discussing your work with even their other clerks (I have never understood why, but I’m not the judge), but if not, they might help you feel more in control. Similarly, reach out about doing a clerk happy hour with other clerks in the courthouse? Or lunch? Again, assuming your judge is okay with such a thing (some aren’t).

Also, as goofy and cliched as it sounds, can you go out and meet people outside of work? Join a sports league, take an art class, go hear bands, etc? Having a social world outside of work would likely help you get through the days better. (I suck at doing this myself and met very few locals while I was clerking, but it is something I regret.)


Well, that's extraordinarily weird. It shocks me that some judges wouldn't want you discussing your work with your coclerk(s) or meeting with other clerks for happy hours or lunches.

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Re: Quitting Clerkship After 2 months

Postby nixy » Fri Sep 20, 2019 11:19 pm

lavarman84 wrote:
nixy wrote:I actually really like research and writing, and spending time by myself, and even so some days even I absolutely felt isolated and uninspired and missed human contact. Chambers can be very small and not always very social.

But you also mentioned not knowing what you’re doing and feeling unprepared, and that’s also a totally real and legitimate thing. There’s a big learning curve to clerking, and some judges are much better than others about sort of on-ramping you.

I agree that if your judge seems open to this, try talking to them - some judges are very committed to mentoring their clerks and want to know how to support you. Admittedly, some aren’t. Is there a career clerk or other term clerk? I know some judges frown on discussing your work with even their other clerks (I have never understood why, but I’m not the judge), but if not, they might help you feel more in control. Similarly, reach out about doing a clerk happy hour with other clerks in the courthouse? Or lunch? Again, assuming your judge is okay with such a thing (some aren’t).

Also, as goofy and cliched as it sounds, can you go out and meet people outside of work? Join a sports league, take an art class, go hear bands, etc? Having a social world outside of work would likely help you get through the days better. (I suck at doing this myself and met very few locals while I was clerking, but it is something I regret.)


Well, that's extraordinarily weird. It shocks me that some judges wouldn't want you discussing your work with your coclerk(s) or meeting with other clerks for happy hours or lunches.

I should probably clarify that I've only heard of one judge who didn't want their clerks talking to each other about their work (and they had a bunch of other unconventionally strict rules so would never call them representative), but I think it's slightly more common for a judge to want their clerks to keep to themselves? My impression was that it was an old-school approach. I don't think it's close to the majority at this point, but I think the attitude is out there.

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Re: Quitting Clerkship After 2 months

Postby TheLorax » Sat Sep 21, 2019 11:42 am

maybe try therapy. good news is you only have 10 months to go.
Last edited by QContinuum on Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Outed for anon abuse.

lavarman84

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Re: Quitting Clerkship After 2 months

Postby lavarman84 » Sat Sep 21, 2019 1:11 pm

nixy wrote:
lavarman84 wrote:
nixy wrote:I actually really like research and writing, and spending time by myself, and even so some days even I absolutely felt isolated and uninspired and missed human contact. Chambers can be very small and not always very social.

But you also mentioned not knowing what you’re doing and feeling unprepared, and that’s also a totally real and legitimate thing. There’s a big learning curve to clerking, and some judges are much better than others about sort of on-ramping you.

I agree that if your judge seems open to this, try talking to them - some judges are very committed to mentoring their clerks and want to know how to support you. Admittedly, some aren’t. Is there a career clerk or other term clerk? I know some judges frown on discussing your work with even their other clerks (I have never understood why, but I’m not the judge), but if not, they might help you feel more in control. Similarly, reach out about doing a clerk happy hour with other clerks in the courthouse? Or lunch? Again, assuming your judge is okay with such a thing (some aren’t).

Also, as goofy and cliched as it sounds, can you go out and meet people outside of work? Join a sports league, take an art class, go hear bands, etc? Having a social world outside of work would likely help you get through the days better. (I suck at doing this myself and met very few locals while I was clerking, but it is something I regret.)


Well, that's extraordinarily weird. It shocks me that some judges wouldn't want you discussing your work with your coclerk(s) or meeting with other clerks for happy hours or lunches.

I should probably clarify that I've only heard of one judge who didn't want their clerks talking to each other about their work (and they had a bunch of other unconventionally strict rules so would never call them representative), but I think it's slightly more common for a judge to want their clerks to keep to themselves? My impression was that it was an old-school approach. I don't think it's close to the majority at this point, but I think the attitude is out there.


Yeah, I couldn't say. I have never heard of it. But that doesn't mean anything. I can only say that none of the judges in my courthouse on the D. Ct. had that rule, nor did my circuit judge.

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Re: Quitting Clerkship After 2 months

Postby nativtracker » Sun Sep 22, 2019 11:07 pm

OP here. Talked to my firm and they are going to give the bonus and let me do corporate when I come back. Got a therapist. I think the hardest thing for me is the long distance breakup in a new city with no friends. Might consider talking to the judge. I think its hard because in a long distance breakup, you just instantly want to be close to that person to make things better. So there is just an instinctual desire to want to leave everything. I was really counting on her support and our shared vision of the future. Now all of that is gone. I also think I'm at that age in my life where I want things like a relationship, to be a cute instagram couple, a family, all of that. I get scared with the world of biglaw coming up because when will i have time for these things? I feel like I'll close my eyes and i'll be 40 and alone. Life is rough sometimes, but hoping someday, this will all seem like a distance memory and i'll be stronger for it.

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Re: Quitting Clerkship After 2 months

Postby QContinuum » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:32 pm

nativtracker wrote:OP here. Talked to my firm and they are going to give the bonus and let me do corporate when I come back. Got a therapist. I think the hardest thing for me is the long distance breakup in a new city with no friends. Might consider talking to the judge. I think its hard because in a long distance breakup, you just instantly want to be close to that person to make things better. So there is just an instinctual desire to want to leave everything. I was really counting on her support and our shared vision of the future. Now all of that is gone. I also think I'm at that age in my life where I want things like a relationship, to be a cute instagram couple, a family, all of that. I get scared with the world of biglaw coming up because when will i have time for these things? I feel like I'll close my eyes and i'll be 40 and alone. Life is rough sometimes, but hoping someday, this will all seem like a distance memory and i'll be stronger for it.

Kudos on getting a therapist. That's a hugely important first step. Also, in case the therapist doesn't work out after a few sessions, don't feel like you're stuck with him/her. Not every therapist will be a good fit for every patient.

I know it's (much!) easier said than done, but also try not to worry too much about your relationship status. Even if you were to meet your dream man/woman today, you wouldn't be ready to start dating them so soon post-breakup. Give yourself the luxury of rediscovering yourself as a single person. And remember, it's much better to be single than to be in a bad relationship.

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Re: Quitting Clerkship After 2 months

Postby SBIguy » Thu Sep 26, 2019 11:00 pm

I'm sure I'll get bashed as an a-hole but here it goes.

It's pretty sad you can't stick to a commitment for a year. I'm not sure what kind of adversity you have or have not faced in your life, but tossing out your word because you don't like the job or your SO broke up with you, it screams pampered and immaturity. And yes I use your "word" because a clerkship is not a typical job. Hundreds of people applied for the job you accepted, a job you promised a FEDERAL judge you'd perform for a year.

I cannot disagree more with the other posters. I really hate when older attorneys knock on Gen z and millennials but people like you are the reason why. Take this opportunity to prove to yourself that you can overcome adversity for another 10 months and I'd bet you'd leave the clerkship a stronger and more well-rounded person.

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Re: Quitting Clerkship After 2 months

Postby QContinuum » Fri Sep 27, 2019 3:51 pm

SBIguy wrote:I'm sure I'll get bashed as an a-hole but here it goes.

I'm not gonna bash you, but I am puzzled why a law student is charging in here, guns blazing, recklessly attacking TLSers with far more career experience left and right. And in your very first post on TLS, no less. I mean, we're a welcoming community, but maybe have some tact? Or at least, maybe try not to be the reason "older attorneys knock on Gen z and millenials", as someone put it earlier ITT?

SBIguy wrote:Hundreds of people applied for the job you accepted, a job you promised a FEDERAL judge you'd perform for a year.

Nice emphasis on the word "FEDERAL." I suppose you mean to suggest you'd back OP reneging on a commitment to a state judge?

SBIguy wrote:I cannot disagree more with the other posters.

Everyone else ITT has told OP to stick out the year. So by "cannot disagree more," you mean to say you believe OP should quit early?

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Re: Quitting Clerkship After 2 months

Postby nixy » Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:35 pm

SBIguy wrote:I'm sure I'll get bashed as an a-hole but here it goes.

It's pretty sad you can't stick to a commitment for a year. I'm not sure what kind of adversity you have or have not faced in your life, but tossing out your word because you don't like the job or your SO broke up with you, it screams pampered and immaturity. And yes I use your "word" because a clerkship is not a typical job. Hundreds of people applied for the job you accepted, a job you promised a FEDERAL judge you'd perform for a year.

I cannot disagree more with the other posters. I really hate when older attorneys knock on Gen z and millennials but people like you are the reason why. Take this opportunity to prove to yourself that you can overcome adversity for another 10 months and I'd bet you'd leave the clerkship a stronger and more well-rounded person.

Yeah, I'm really confused by this, because I don't think a single soul in this thread suggested that the OP quit, so I'm not sure what you're disagreeing with? I may get bashed as an a-hole, but it sounds a little like you're so upset at the idea of someone quitting because you wanted a clerkship and didn't get one.

Also, "overcome adversity" sounds a little bit like "tough it out rather than talking to a professional/therapist," which seems like a bad approach to mental health.

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Re: Quitting Clerkship After 2 months

Postby lavarman84 » Sat Sep 28, 2019 1:01 am

SBIguy wrote:I'm sure I'll get bashed as an a-hole but here it goes.

It's pretty sad you can't stick to a commitment for a year. I'm not sure what kind of adversity you have or have not faced in your life, but tossing out your word because you don't like the job or your SO broke up with you, it screams pampered and immaturity. And yes I use your "word" because a clerkship is not a typical job. Hundreds of people applied for the job you accepted, a job you promised a FEDERAL judge you'd perform for a year.

I cannot disagree more with the other posters. I really hate when older attorneys knock on Gen z and millennials but people like you are the reason why. Take this opportunity to prove to yourself that you can overcome adversity for another 10 months and I'd bet you'd leave the clerkship a stronger and more well-rounded person.


Yeah, you'll get bashed as an a-hole, but not for the reasons you think. People here aren't encouraging OP to quit. However, you attacking OP for coming here to seek out advice is counterproductive. People are encouraging OP to stick it out and see somebody to work through the issues and get his/her mental health in order. Your post isn't helping. It isn't constructive. Maybe read the thread more closely before going off half-cocked.

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Re: Quitting Clerkship After 2 months

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 28, 2019 7:40 pm

OP, fellow SLS alum here who went through similar things during my first year of biglaw -- long-term relationship breakup, onslaught of work very early on with people going on leave, etc. I began applying for different jobs (on the firm computer) about 5 months in and came so close to quitting law on several occasions.

Things will get better. The good news is that you only have 10 months left. I set my target quit date at my first bonus payout, and I worked with that in mind. Things got much better, and I'm still at my firm actually. Even though I did not quit, having a target date made things so much better.

One more thing I would recommend (I know you're a federal employee and federal law sucks) is taking CBD oil if you can buy it where you are. My mental health improved substantially once I started.

At the end of the day, this job is just a stepping stone in your career, and you are almost 20% of the way there. Hang in there. You can do it.



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