Over the past few days, we’ve received numerous emails from our readers asking about the fate of the Clerkship Scramble. This website, a popular read among the clerkship-crazed (we count ourselves in this camp), went offline sometime last week, on or about July 4. If you go to its former address, you’ll encounter this message: “Sorry, the blog at clerkshipscramble.blogspot.com has been removed. This address is not available for new blogs.” The site archives are gone, and they don’t seem to be available via Google Cache either (at least not on a comprehensive basis).
The Clerkship Scramble has been gone for just about a week, and readers already miss it. Fans have described it to us as “very useful,” “a promising site that filled a much-needed information gap,” “the best unofficial resource for law students applying to clerkships,” and “so good!” The site maintained data about clerkship placement rates by law school, compiled rankings of Supreme Court feeder judges, offered advice about the application process, and broke clerkship-related news (such as Georgetown Law’s decision to abandon the Law Clerk Hiring Plan).
So what happened to the Clerkship Scramble?
Alas, it’s not clear. Over at Top Law Schools, posters are discussing the subject, but in somewhat restrained fashion — perhaps due to a moderator’s request that they “keep speculation/discuss[ion] to a minimum,” apparently accompanied by deletion of postings that cross the line. (We have no such restriction in these pages; discuss and speculate to your heart’s content, or send us your tips.)
Here’s some background from a reader who alerted us to the site’s disappearance:
[T]his thread on Top-Law-Schools was [originally] called “Re: Announcing The Clerkship Scramble, a clerkship data resource”:
[T]he name of that thread has disappeared, which means it has been edited by the original poster. The original poster is “G.T.L. Rev.” And it looks like he/she “was” a regular poster on that site.
Looks like GTL Rev has purged all of his posts on the TLS, has taken down the clerkship site, and has gave only vague reasons for doing so. Here is the thread that discusses his/her “abrupt departure.”
A TLS poster who claims to be the writer behind the Clerkship Scramble, aka “G.T.L. Rev.,” posted this statement on the thread:
Hey everyone, sorry for the abrupt departure – I did not mean to be mysterious about it. Lately I have not had time to maintain the site they way I wanted to, and have become a little burned out as well (facing the same questions again and again, etc.). So I decided a clean break was the best way to move on.
I really enjoyed the discussion here. I will miss it. It was very gratifying to see so many fellow posters succeed in their clerkship applications and to play a small part in that. As for the blog, I am working on handing the content over to others so it will continue to be useful. The project was a community-wide effort, after all. Without your tips and permission from the mods to promote the site here it would not have been possible. Best of luck to all of you!
I can relate to blogger burnout, having written thousands of posts over the past eight years (since my first post on Underneath Their Robes, on June 5, 2004). So I could understand a decision by the site’s author to step away from the blog for a while. But that’s not what G.T.L. Rev. did.
Instead, G.T.L. Rev. pulled the entire site offline, including the very useful archives. He claimed in his TLS posting that he is “working on handing the content over to others so it will continue to be useful,” so hopefully the historical content will be coming back. But, as one reader wrote to us, “I don’t understand why he needed to remove the blog during the transition [to new management].”
Word on the street — entirely speculative, of course — is that G.T.L. Rev. either recently obtained a clerkship or is in the process of applying for clerkships, and is worried about his (or her) cyber trail. I’m not sure if this concern justifies deletion of the site. While judges can and often do restrict what their law clerks say and do during their clerkships, in terms of blogging and other social media usage, what a person does before a clerkship — and certainly what a person does before even accepting the clerkship — strikes me as none of the judge’s business.
But given how keen the competition for clerkships is these days, with judges enjoying the luxury of choosing from hundreds of applicants when hiring their clerks, I can understand why an aspiring clerk might want to scrub his background of anything remotely
interesting controversial, or anything suggesting potential indiscretion. It’s also possible that G.T.L. Rev. received a clerkship offer, informed the judge about the Clerkship Scramble, and was then ordered by the judge to kill the site (or transfer it to a new writer).
Hopefully the Scramble will return — and soon. It was used not just by law students and young lawyers applying for clerkships, but even by career services personnel at law schools. As one of them wrote to us:
I found the site to have some inaccuracies, but it was the only public forum I knew of to share information about which federal judges were on-Plan or off. During this time when the Plan seems to be in jeopardy, we need all the information we can get. These are challenging times in clerkship land — for student applicants and for law schools.
Very, very true. If you have information about the Clerkship Scramble and its mysterious author, feel free to share it with us. Thanks.
Announcing The Clerkship Scramble, a clerkship data resource [Top Law Schools]
Clerks, taking questions for a bit [Top Law Schools]
Earlier: The Law Clerk Hiring Plan, R.I.P.