5 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Letters of Recommendation for Clerkship Applications (and Beyond!)

5 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Letters of Recommendation for Clerkship Applications (and Beyond!)Please welcome guest writer Kelsey Russell, a recent clerk for the Chief Judge of the Southern District of New York, to discuss how to get letters of recommendations, an important aspects of clerkships applications.

If you are considering a judicial clerkship, you are likely well aware that your letters of recommendation are an essential component of your application.

As someone who decided to apply for a clerkship pretty late in the game, getting quality recommendations felt like a tall order. Many of my classmates had already taken advantage of opportunities such as research assistant positions, which led to relationships with professors who, in turn, could write personalized recommendations. By the fall of 3L year, no single professor stood out in my mind as a natural recommender. So I started brainstorming: Should I start with the professor who gave me my highest grade? Or the professor who ran my pro bono project? What about employers prior to law school? Given that I was trying to compile my materials in relatively short order, I was also working against the clock. [Read more…]

What’s Your Brand?

Interview stand out personal brand

Please welcome back Keri Clapp, professor and tutor for the Law School Toolbox and Bar Exam Toolbox, to discuss establishing, developing, and promoting your personal brand in a competitive legal environment.

Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts? Lexis or WestLaw? Washington Post or Wall Street Journal? You probably have a quick response to each of these questions based on not just on specific experiences, but also on how you identify the brand of each of these products.

Take coffee, for example. Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts both sell coffee, but have distinct and differentiated brand attributes. These successful businesses have spent a lot of time and money deciding on their target customer profile; their marketing efforts—from packaging to product to location—are primarily directed to what that customer base will appreciate. This type of strategy doesn’t get derailed because some people will get coffee at home or at the gas station convenience store; a well-differentiated brand does not try to be all things to all people.

In a competitive legal market, spending some time creating and marketing your personal brand is a strong move. What qualities do you want to project when you meet someone? What attributes do you want to jump out on your resume? In sum, what do you want people to associate with you when they hear your name? [Read more…]

I Didn’t Get a Clerkship! Now What?

Fairuz AbdullahToday, we’re thrilled to welcome back Fairuz Abdullah, Associate Director for Public Interest and Clerkship Programs at UC-Hastings School of Law. In Fairuz’s first post, she talked about what the future holds for 2L applicants. Now she’s back to address a question on many minds — what should you do if you didn’t immediately get a clerkship offer when the window opened for 2L applicants?

Without further ado, here’s Fairuz.

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What Does the Future Look Like for Rising 2L Judicial Clerkship Applicants?

Fairuz AbdullahAs long-time readers of The Girl’s Guide know, we’re huge proponents of judicial clerkships. But the world has gotten a lot more complex since most of our original clerkship content was published. The hiring plan is a mess, and no one’s quite sure what’s going on.

That’s why we’re so thrilled to have Fairuz Abdullah, Associate Director for Public Interest and Clerkship Programs at UC-Hastings School of Law, here to talk about 2L clerkship hiring!

Without further ado, here’s Fairuz.

Since the Federal Law Clerk Hiring Plan crashed and burned earlier this year, there is uncertainty about what judges will do starting today when rising 2Ls can begin submitting applications to judges through the Online System of Application and Review, better known as OSCAR.

Word on the street is that judges will most likely be sipping Mai Tais on a beach during the August vacation season rather than reviewing clerkship applications from 2Ls.

However, judges have posted quite a few openings with 2016 start dates which means that regardless of whether they are expecting it or not, they will receive applications from 2Ls.

[Read more…]

Feeling a Little Unprepared for Practice?

Faith PincusIf you’re feeling a little unprepared for practice (despite three years of law school!) or are thinking about clerking or starting your own business, today’s interview is for you.

We’re talking with Faith Pincus, former law clerk and lawyer turned entrepreneur. She runs a variety of businesses you’ll learn more about below, all designed to help you transition to practice and stay current on the law!

Without further ado…

Alison: I’m a 3L and I’m graduating soon. I don’t feel like I’m that well prepared to actually practice law! What advice do you have on how I can get up to speed, quickly?

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Things I Learned from My Judge

JudgeWhen I started work as a law clerk, I assumed I’d learn about trial practice and explore some new areas of law. That turned out to be true.

What I didn’t realize was that I’d get some really great life advice along the way.

[Read more…]

The One Question That Will Improve Any Résumé

Light bulbWe can talk all day about résumé formatting, or what should be included, but there’s really only one question you should be asking (repeatedly) to make your résumé shine for any occasion.

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Judicial Clerkships: Is Clerking Really All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

Supreme Court hallwayIn general, clerking is a great job!

One NALP study found that a remarkable 97% of judicial clerks would still opt to clerk, if they could go back in time and make the choice again.

It is important to understand, however, that there are potential downsides, as with any situation where a small number of people work closely together!

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Judicial Clerkships: I Didn’t Get a Clerkship, Now What?

No Entry SignApplying for a clerkship can be one of the most fraught experiences of law school. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.

You’re Not Alone

Plenty of talented, well-qualified people apply for clerkships each year, and come up empty handed.

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Judicial Clerkships: What Actually Happens at a Clerkship Interview?

Exploding BombAfter the chaos of setting up your interview schedule, going to the actual interviews should be rather relaxing!

Or not. Judges can be intimidating people.

[Read more…]