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I have been offered a clerkship with a state court of appeals. Will taking that position enhance my marketability? Currently I am a 2L, top 10%, in a second-tier law school. Thanks for your help.
It depends. As discussed below, a state court clerkship will generally enhance your marketability
if you are planning on working in the state where you are clerking. Nevertheless, the value of a clerkship should not necessarily be something that you view as a tool to make you marketable. Most importantly, the skills and insight you will acquire during your clerkship will be something that should help you throughout your career
A state court clerkship is likely to make you marketable if you are considering working in the state where you will be clerking.
It is useful to examine the different types of clerkships
. Each type of clerkship has its advantages and disadvantages. In order to help you understand the role a clerkship will have in your marketability, the differences between federal and state clerkships are analyzed below.
At the Federal level, the order of prestige of clerkships is typically: (1) the Supreme Court, (2) circuit (appellate) clerkships, (3) federal district court (trial court) clerkships, (4) clerkships with United States magistrates (who do a lot of the "grunt work" for federal district court judges). There are also several specialized courts (such as Federal Tax Courts) that are of approximately the same prestige level as federal district court clerkships.
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Harrison Barnes does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for attorneys and law students each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can attend anonymously and ask questions about your career, this article, or any other legal career-related topics. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom
Harrison also does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for law firms, companies, and others who hire attorneys each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom
You can browse a list of past webinars here: Webinar Replays
You can also listen to Harrison Barnes Podcasts here: Attorney Career Advice Podcasts
You can also read Harrison Barnes' articles and books here: Harrison's Perspectives
Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.
Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.
To read more career and life advice articles visit Harrison's personal blog.