Christine Schleppegrell

Leverage Your Judicial Clerkship for a Successful Private Sector Career: Your Financial Year in Review

At the close of the calendar year bar association practice groups and industry networking organizations often host a “year in review” event. These presentations look back at significant events in the past year and sometimes offer predictions for the New Year. It can’t hurt to do the same with your personal finances and professional goals. The most important part of this exercise: recognizing where the two intersect. It’s always a good idea to keep track of your personal finances on a monthly basis. Even if this means making rough estimates of your take-home pay and large, fixed expenses such as…

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Christine Schleppegrell

Leverage Your Judicial Clerkship for a Successful Private Sector Career: Closing out the Billable Year and Staying Busy during the Holidays

Now that you are nearly fully adjusted to private practice life it’s time to close out the billable year. Many firms end their billable year in November. As soon as you start at a firm it is wise to ask the following (first check your offer letter for answers to these questions): (1) what is the billable hour expectation; (2) are my hours prorated since I started mid-year; (3) when does the billable year end; and (4) am I eligible for a bonus even though I started mid-year.Perhaps your firm only gives bonuses to associates who are with the firm…

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Christine Schleppegrell

Leverage Your Judicial Clerkship for a Successful Private Sector Career: Reconnecting, Giving Back, and Developing Business

Now that you’ve successfully completed your first month or so of firm life it’s time to reconnect with people you may have met while clerking or as a student. In addition, now that you’re in a position to do so, it’s time to give back to those organizations and individuals who helped you obtain your dream job. Maintaining professional relationships throughout your career is very important, as is finding a mentor early on. Reconnecting Surely you remember the days of informational interviews over lunch or coffee with those busy attorneys you wanted to be. Well now is the time to…

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Christine Schleppegrell

Leverage Your Judicial Clerkship for a Successful Private Sector Career: Training the Incoming Clerk

As summer rolls around you are likely preparing to transition to private practice come the end of your term. You may be at various stages in your job search and hiring usually slows down in the next few months. In turn, court filings are usually lower from June through August with an uptick in September. During this time try to accomplish a few things: time your exit with the new clerk’s start date, formulate a training program, and follow up with the new clerk. The goal is to provide the judge with a smooth transition from one clerk to the…

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Christine Schleppegrell

Leverage Your Judicial Clerkship for a Successful Private Sector Career: Tips for Managing Summer Externs

Tips for Clerks Types of Assignments: Before your externs arrive think about the types of assignments you plan to give them. If your chambers does not have a standard practice of giving certain work to externs, then choose items from a calendar or entire calendars that involve general litigation concepts externs may have already encountered in law school. Alternatively, you can assign discrete tasks (checking notice and service) that are part of a more complicated calendar. Training: Consider setting up one or two formal training sessions to walk through the process of analyzing a motion or completing an assigned task.…

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Christine Schleppegrell

Leverage Your Judicial Clerkship for a Successful Private Sector Career: Clerks Who Publish, Part II

This post continues our discussion from last month on publishing an article during a judicial clerkship. Tenth, submit your cover letter and article after going through several iterations.  If you are running behind or there has been a major change in the law ask the publisher if s/he will consider you for the next submission deadline. This works best with monthly publications and might not work with law reviews, some of which only accept articles twice a year. Eleventh, be productive while waiting. You will have more fun with the publication process if you view it as just that, an…

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Christine Schleppegrell

Leverage Your Judicial Clerkship for a Successful Private Sector Career: Clerks Who Publish, Part I

Jumping off of the theme of using your time wisely during your judicial clerkship and closing gaps in your resume, this month’s post details the process for getting published. If you have never published before this may seem like a daunting task. However, it’s a great opportunity if you do not have law review experience or the “publications” section of your resume is blank/nonexistent. The time is right! While attorneys in private practice probably have it better in terms of publishers to choose from and opportunities to co-author with a partner, judicial clerks have time on their side.Because navigating the…

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Christine Schleppegrell

Leverage Your Judicial Clerkship for a Successful Private Sector Career: Book Review

You might find yourself with a little more time than you would otherwise have in private practice. I say “might” because every clerkship is different since every Judge has a unique way of managing his or her case load. Some clerks will work longer hours than private practice attorneys; however, most will not. If you are a term clerk and just started in the fall, the job search is not immediately pressing. Should you find yourself with some down time there are two good books I recommend picking up: one to help you with long-term financial planning and a second…

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Christine Schleppegrell

Leverage Your Judicial Clerkship for a Successful Private Sector Career: The Organized Law Clerk: Lists to Keep

Last month I covered how to join local networking groups in order to leverage your clerkship into a promising private sector career. This month I discuss how to start preparing early for the impending job search.During your clerkship you will surely become acquainted with the nuances of litigation and will no doubt expand your knowledge of substantive law. Although your mind may be caught up in complex legal issues, it is important to focus on how your day to day tasks tie into your long-term career plan. Maintaining the lists discussed below will help you organize your job search and…

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Christine Schleppegrell

Leverage Your Judicial Clerkship for a Successful Private Sector Career: Build and Maintain Your Professional Network

Currently clerking or considering a judicial clerkship in hopes of landing a stellar firm job? Wondering how to apply the skills developed during your clerkship in a law firm setting? Confused about how to network and plant the seeds for a job opportunity while respecting confidentiality boundaries? If any of these questions piqued your interest then stay tuned for advice on how to transform your time in chambers into a successful career as a practicing attorney. As a newly licensed attorney who practiced briefly before starting a term clerkship in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, I provide a unique perspective on how…

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