Friday, September 12, 2008

Some Quick, Or Not So Quick, Thoughts on The Federal Clerkship Circuit

Stuck here in a hotel room in the middle of nowhere, I'm pretty bored. There's hardly any entertainment: I've gone through my webpages faster than a four-class Tuesday, hotel tv sucks, and that only leaves watching the lines of people fill up on gas that was a dollar cheaper when I left for my interview this morning.

The last few days of travel have been exhausting. I got up at 4am to fly out on Thursday morning and adjusting for my time zone I will get up at 3:15am my time to fly home tomorrow. It is getting hard to feign energy and enthusiasm.

I hate the snow, it snows here. Strike one. It's pretty here. Plus one. I'm torn on living here for a year or two, bottom line. Let me back up.

My interview went well today. Even though I got tag teamed by not one, but two, federal judges today, it went well. I didn't really get any zingers. The judges had obviously reviewed my application packet, because they did not feel the need to ask me questions about my resume (it was just assumed that I was qualified). Overall, I liked both judges a lot. I think it would be great to work with them, they are jovial and brilliant. After my interview, when the judge explained that the law clerk plays a substantial part in writing the opinions and scholarly articles that this judge likes to publish, it became clear why I was chosen to interview: the judge and I think a lot alike and have similar writing styles. This makes me feel good. During the interview the judge told me, after briefly reading over my writing sample again, that I should look at a piece of his. I'm so bored today that I did. Again, I think the judge is brilliant and I would learn a lot working from him. Not to mention, he is the kind of guy who feels like a judge. That is to say, he could serve one day as judge, retire and everyone would always call him judge, just because it feels right.

I ponder what life would be like as a law clerk. I imagine it to be lonely. There is a reason my potential office was so nice and full of fancy electronics. Then again, it could be a period to be Jeffersonian--devote a year or two of my life to my books (reading, brushing up on my latin, learn some more Greek mythology, find myself, and write the elusive Great American Novel). I imagine it to be full of dinners by myself editing something and people watching (which is what the last two dinners and lunches have been like). A clerkship means uprooting myself from family, friends, and everything I know to move to a place that does not feel like home, but is comfortable. On one hand, that is fine, I'm social, I will meet some people. On the other, I have no incentive: everything here would be ephemeral. You know what I mean, Vern?

Related, I hate the federal hiring plan. I had to turn down a clerkship interview which I would have preferred to take today's interview, because I had already committed. If you aren't familiar with the hiring plan, judges hire and interview at the same time and hire on a rolling basis, giving "exploding" offers which one cannot refuse (not in that way). I call it Law Clerk's Dilemma (any game theorists out there?).

1 comment:

Guy Fawkes said...

Resident game theorist here. What do you want to know?