Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Another year of the judicial clerkship market: maybe the last one under the current system?

Another year, more bad behavior by judges hiring clerks: Judges Compete for Law Clerks on a Lawless Terrain. (Banning cell phones in courthouses is clearly cruel and unusual punishment for law students on the clerkship job market...)

"Based on rules that were intended to curtail shenanigans, judges hiring for the 2012 season were supposed to begin interviewing third-year law students no earlier than Thursday, Sept. 15 at 10 a.m. But somehow, at the federal courthouse in downtown Manhattan, most of the interviews — and job offers— had already concluded by 9:45 a.m.

"Indeed, hoping to leapfrog their peers, most judges actually began interviewing hours (if not days or months) earlier. Many made so-called exploding offers, forcing candidates to accept or decline a job offer on the spot (and it’s a “Godfather”-style offer: one they can’t really refuse). Some judges extended offers by phone, which is even more nerve-racking for students because cellphones are not allowed at many courthouses. At the Manhattan courthouse, anxious young applicants in stiff new shoes were darting in and out of the building all day, checking and rechecking their phones with the security guard, just so they could listen to their voice mail between interviews.

"They had, after all, heard the warning tale of an unlucky student from the year before, who didn’t answer the phone because he was on a flight to another interview. The story ends with two voice mails: the first offering a job, and the second revoking it."

Here's a version of that latter story that emerged from interviews we summarized in our 2007 paper:
“I received the offer via voicemail while I was in flight to my second interview. The judge actually left three messages.
First, to make the offer.
Second, to tell me that I should respond soon.
Third, to rescind the offer.
It was a 35 minute flight.”

Will this be the last year that judges, law students, and law schools nominally adhere to the regime of post Labor Day dates?

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