marlowsvatek

New Clerk on the Block: Final Thoughts

Just six months ago, I was a baby law school graduate with very little practical legal experience. Although I’m still trying to find my footing, I’ve learned so much since then, both personally and professionally, about how to be an effective lawyer. In this post, I’ll share what I’m taking away from this experience and give you some final reflections on clerking. I came into this clerkship with several goals: to work closely with a judge, to improve my research and writing skills, to see attorneys in action, to gain a deeper understanding of how judges decide cases, to become…

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marlowsvatek

New Clerk on the Block: How to Deal with Burnout in Your First Legal Job

Last weekend I fulfilled one of my life goals: I ran a half marathon. My boyfriend and I had been training for the race for a couple of months, and we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We had both suffered physical pain during training, and we often found ourselves hobbling down the stairs the day after a long run. We also knew that we would likely encounter the mental obstacle that runners call “the wall”—that moment in a long run when negative thoughts flood your mind, finishing the race seems impossible, and the urge to quit becomes overwhelming.…

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marlowsvatek

New Clerk on the Block: Learning to Manage

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a law clerk is working with law student externs. I truly enjoy guiding externs through their legal research and writing assignments, watching their skills improve over time, and serving as a mentor to help them achieve great things even after they leave our chambers. When supervised effectively, externs can also lighten the workload for law clerks. But supervising law students is also one of the most challenging parts of being a new attorney. And, unfortunately, law school doesn’t teach you how to be a good manager. In fact, it turns out that…

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marlowsvatek

New Clerk on the Block: Conquering Your Oratory Fears

I open the door at the back of the courtroom and try to walk to the jury box as quietly as possible. The lawyers look up at me from their yellow legal pads, but they quickly realize I’m not the main attraction they’ve been waiting for. As I arrive at the jury box, the courtroom deputy says “all rise” as the judge follows in behind him and makes his way up to the bench. For the next hour or so, I will watch as these lawyers present their arguments to the court. I’ve already read the briefs and prepared a…

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marlowsvatek

New Clerk on the Block: The Perks of Being a Clerk

I am only a couple of months into my clerkship, and I am already convinced it is absolutely the best legal job out there for young attorneys. You’ve heard a lot about the value of a clerkship from a resume standpoint, but you might be wondering whether the day-to-day of being a clerk is all it’s cracked up to be. Well I’m here to convince you! Here are my 4 perks of being a clerk:    1. You Get to See the Bigger Picture As a clerk, I get to see how cases evolve over time, the litigation strategy involved, and…

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marlowsvatek

New Clerk on the Block: How to Start Your First Post-Grad Legal Job Off on the Right Foot

Many of you will be starting your first post-graduation legal job in the fall. And while there’s plenty of advice out there for young lawyers about how to get your first legal job after graduation, there isn’t much practical advice about what to do during your first few weeks on the job to get up to speed quickly. In this post, I’ll share some of my tips based on my own experience completing the first couple of weeks of my clerkship.   1. Do your homework. Okay, so this technically happens before you start, but it’s just as important. Before…

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marlowsvatek

New Clerk on the Block: Reflecting on Three Years of Law School

Three years, 6 papers, 25 final exams, and 280 hours of clinical work have finally culminated in this: graduation.* Law students enjoy complaining about law school. We wear our worst cold calls and our most tedious cite checks as badges of honor. 3Ls advise their 1L mentees that they just need to “survive” the dreaded 1L year. And I’ve overheard law students try to out-busy each other with how little sleep they got because of a paper deadline or an upcoming exam. When you view law school through this lens, graduating seems like the light at the end of a…

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marlowsvatek

New Clerk on the Block: Feeling Like a Fraud?

“The beauty of the impostor syndrome is you vacillate between extreme egomania and a complete feeling of: ‘I’m a fraud! Oh God, they’re on to me! I’m a fraud!’ So you just try to ride the egomania when it comes and enjoy it, and then slide through the idea of fraud.” – Tina Fey I’ve mentioned that the clerkship application process can be somewhat serendipitous, and I’ve encouraged you to embrace that unpredictability (rather than letting it drive you crazy). I’ve re-learned firsthand this month that things always find a way of falling into place, even at the last minute.…

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marlowsvatek

New Clerk on the Block: The Application Process—Have a Plan (Just Kidding, There is No Plan!)

I love having a plan. Checklists and spreadsheets make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside (especially if they’re color-coded!). And since I was little my favorite time of year has always been when I get to buy a fresh new planner and fill it up with all my activities. So when I went on vacation to Peru for spring break last month, I brought a detailed, color-coded itinerary with me. I spent a decent chunk of my 3L free time carefully perusing (see what I did there?) travel blogs, hostel reviews, and train schedules. In short, I researched and…

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marlowsvatek

New Clerk on the Block: If the Presidential Candidates Were Clerkships

So my last post persuaded you, and you’ve decided that you want to clerk. Congratulations! Now let’s get to work. I know that the process can seem daunting. After all, there is a lot of reflection and preparation that goes into the clerkship application process. But I’m here as your guide, and I’m so excited to share in this journey with you! First things first: What kind of clerkship are you interested in? When it comes to clerkships, one size doesn’t fit all. In this post, I’ve enlisted the help of some fabulous clerks to describe their experiences. And, in…

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