Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Career Advice?

I currently have a job at an immigration mill. I do criminal unemployedvagabond02/22/19
Can you supply any more details about the clerkship-who will toooldtocare02/22/19
Working under a judge. 6 months trial period, then 1.5 yea unemployedvagabond02/22/19
I would like to comment on the following statement: "I don't guyingorillasuit02/22/19
I'd take the clerkship. The reasoning: 1. It is a recogniz toooldtocare02/22/19
Your situation sounds exactly like my old firm. I would bet tombrady1202/22/19
Seems like a tough call. Do you have others depending on yo wutwutwut02/22/19
P.S. on that impostor syndrome. For those who have it, it n wutwutwut02/22/19
Perhaps it will take the pressure off a bit to realize that catwoman33302/22/19
Thanks everyone for your advice. I'm going to take the clerk unemployedvagabond02/26/19
Try to get in touch with the judge's previous clerk(s) for a toooldtocare02/26/19
"if I didn't take it I couldn't stand myself," ++++++++++ catwoman33302/26/19
Thank you. I don't take offense. I'm definitely tighly wound unemployedvagabond02/26/19
Most lawyers are "tightly wound"...LOL. May I suggest a catwoman33302/26/19
unemployedvagabond (Feb 22, 2019 - 3:17 pm)

I currently have a job at an immigration mill. I do criminal, mainly small misdemeanor crime, family law, and a bit of civil. My main background is criminal law. Almost 4 years out of law school.

I currently have an offer for a state clerkship (civil). Its temporary with a chance of becoming permanent. Its a bit more money and better benefits.

I'm kinda lost on what to do. The place I'm at is pretty laid back but also kinda crazy. I like my coworkers.

I want to take the clerkship, but I'm worrying I'm going to suck at it and going to regret leaving my current firm if it doesnt work out.

Any recommendations, advice. Thanks.

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toooldtocare (Feb 22, 2019 - 3:36 pm)

Can you supply any more details about the clerkship-who will you be working for/doing what/how long the temporary part and how good are chances of it becoming permanent?
Other stuff: are benefits/commute better/worse?

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unemployedvagabond (Feb 22, 2019 - 4:20 pm)

Working under a judge. 6 months trial period, then
1.5 year extension. After that you can apply for a fulltime post. Odds of getting seem like a roll of the dice. The job seems to consist of writing the responses to motions in civil.

The benefits are medical is included which I don't currently have. Commute is a bit longer for clerkship but not that much.

My current job alternates between very chill and clusterf*ck. Previous two supervisors quit and im in charge currently of this department, which is just me. I've longed for the clerkship, this past year whenever things have really sucked at the firm. I've had to do a little bit of every field of law. Thrown to the wolves. Now that I have the clerkship, I'm second guessing whether I can hack it.

I don't think I'm a great litigator, so I don't think i have a long future doing crim/family. People have said they like my writing. I think i have a bad case of impostor syndrome. Nearly 4 years out and I still dont feel like an attorney.

Sorry for ranting and raving. I just don't have that many people i can talk to about this.

Current salary is 70k. No loans.

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guyingorillasuit (Feb 22, 2019 - 4:50 pm)

I would like to comment on the following statement: "I don't think I'm a great litigator, so I don't think i have a long future doing crim/family. People have said they like my writing. I think i have a bad case of impostor syndrome. Nearly 4 years out and I still dont feel like an attorney."

I assure you that most lawyers who litigate are not "great litigators". Maybe 10% are good, and maybe 1% are great. I count myself among neither. We still do okay.

If people say they like your writing, you are off to a great start. You are not supposed to be a great talker in court after 4 years. Wait another 20 years or so, and you will be surprised. Please keep in mind that 4 years out, you are are still what we call a "baby lawyer", and you are not even expected to know anything, honestly. As long as you have integrity and work ethic, that is all that can be expected of you. Much of what we do comes from decades of experience. I am only now passing the "baby lawyer" stage, and beginning to mentor others. I only now realize how little I know, and it is a truly humbling experience. My point is, 4 years out, you have no idea what litigation is, and whether you will be good at it or not. That is normal.

Most litigation jobs alternate between chill and cluster, unless your job is all cluster. I don't know if any of this helps.

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toooldtocare (Feb 22, 2019 - 4:58 pm)

I'd take the clerkship. The reasoning:
1. It is a recognized risk, but where you're at doesn't sound very good. Disorganized law firms, particularly where supervisors quit regularly, have a tendency to disappear. Yeah, the big bosses do ok, but they rarely let the worker bees know when things are going south. Your current situation sounds like a mess, willing to take any case that comes in the door. And the lack of supervision is troubling, too. It seems you've got doubts about the long-term viability of your firm.
2. The judicial people want to hire you, so have some faith in yourself. And working as a civil clerk can be easily explained on your resume if you don't like it-"wanted exposure to civil" or "wanted to have a chance working for a judge to see things from that perspective" etc etc. And you will be in a new area of law, so you will learn something.
3. And the people I know who worked as clerks made a point of getting to know the lawyers appearing in court. It's a good way to informally network, without looking like you're networking. And if you get along with the judge-and you want to get along with the judge-that's a big plus; many judges like to brag about how they helped their clerk get job x; that can be you.
4. But finally-are you single? If so, it's your decision, but if you're married, you'd better have a long talk with your spouse, explaining all the pro and con arguments and giving them a chance to add their 2 cents.

It's never easy to change jobs, so feeling uneasy about the whole process is to be expected.

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tombrady12 (Feb 22, 2019 - 5:57 pm)

Your situation sounds exactly like my old firm. I would bet your current place of employment is heading south. My advice? Jump ship.

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wutwutwut (Feb 22, 2019 - 4:48 pm)

Seems like a tough call. Do you have others depending on your salary (spouse/kids)?


If not, I'd lean toward taking the clerkship and making it work through the probationary periods and getting to permanent. Still a close call, though.


But from what you've written, it doesn't sound like the current firm is long-term sustainable for you in any event. You can look for something else, but you've already got that something else in hand.

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wutwutwut (Feb 22, 2019 - 4:54 pm)

P.S. on that impostor syndrome. For those who have it, it never seems to go away. For years I've been wondering when someone will wake up and realize I'm not worth what they're paying me.

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catwoman333 (Feb 22, 2019 - 11:21 pm)

Perhaps it will take the pressure off a bit to realize that ALL jobs in life--like most decisions--are essentially "crapshoots": i.e., they may or may not work out to your liking....:-).

That said, a clerkship with a judge--even a short stint with a state judge--would look more impressive on a resume than just a legal "mill". And if you impress the judge, even if not permanently hired, you could use the judge as a reference (and networking with other attorneys in that office) to help you obtain a post-clerkship job.

Your most revealing comment: "I've longed for the clerkship.." IMO, you already know the answer; you just need to trust your instinct and go for it. But make sure to leave your current employer on good terms (if possible) and with ample notice. If you're on great terms with your current boss, you might even be bold enough to ask for a 6 month leave of absence, pitching the clerkship as a great chance to improve/upgrade skills that would benefit their firm should they allow you to return afterwards. I know...that's a rare strategy and option, but it has been known to happen.

Good luck with your choice and future path!!

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unemployedvagabond (Feb 26, 2019 - 2:38 pm)

Thanks everyone for your advice. I'm going to take the clerkship. There's no future in the law firm I'm at. I could probably coast here for awhile but I'm not really going to grow. The boss and co-workers are nice but it's a shady place. I guess I've just gotten used to being there and have gotten stuck in a rut. I've said I want the clerkship, if I didn't take it I couldn't stand myself, and there is a slim, a not zero possibility, of a future there. Any tips to prepare? Should I start reading the code of civil procedure? Thank you.

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toooldtocare (Feb 26, 2019 - 3:01 pm)

Try to get in touch with the judge's previous clerk(s) for any insight they have to offer. That will make transitioning easier.
And why not-start reading the civil pro code.

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catwoman333 (Feb 26, 2019 - 3:21 pm)

"if I didn't take it I couldn't stand myself,"

++++++++++++++

I realize you didn't solicit personal advice, but I can't help but notice that you seem VERY (excessively) hard on yourself. It's only one job in your life's journey; whether it works out or not, it shouldn't define (or wreck) your self-esteem!

Please don't be offended but I suggest you might benefit from some counseling tips (career or MH) to learn how to better relax and get some long term perspective that will help you better handle, reduce life's routine stresses.

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unemployedvagabond (Feb 26, 2019 - 3:45 pm)

Thank you. I don't take offense. I'm definitely tighly wound. I have been trying to read some Stoicism. Unfortunately, it hasn't sunk in very deep. I probably should get some counseling one of these days.

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catwoman333 (Feb 26, 2019 - 6:13 pm)

Most lawyers are "tightly wound"...LOL.

May I suggest a few tips that have worked for me: meditation, massage, spending time outdoors every day (just walking in a park or hiking if near a trail), unplugging and listening to relaxing music, and--my favorite--floating (or swimming) in a swimming pool.

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