On Monday I started a state circuit court clerkship after a year of working in private practice. Admittedly this is a non-traditional route, as judicial clerks at the circuit court level are typically new law school grads. Clerking after working was not my original plan, but the best laid plans of mice and men (and young lawyers) oft go awry.
I was told more than a few times that I was crazy for leaving a job in this economy, but I’m sure that clerking after a year of working is the right plan for me. The pay is different, but there are tradeoffs – I’m not waiting for the red light of doom to blink on my Blackberry and I don’t live life in six-minute increments.
I’ve only been on the job three days and I’ve already learned quite a bit. As a practicing attorney, I never realized how many moving (literally, during Tuesday’s earthquake) parts there are in the courthouse and how many important, hard-working players there are behind the scenes.
Over the next year, I hope to absorb as much as I can so that I can be a more effective and well-rounded lawyer on the other end of this clerkship. Perhaps I’ll get answers to some burning questions I developed in private practice: How does the clerk’s office work? How do I tactfully remind a judge about an outstanding motion? What magic words should I use to always have a judge rule in my favor? Okay, maybe there isn’t an answer to that last one, but if there is, I’ll be sure to let my fellow young lawyers know.