True story: A top student from a top law school interviews with a well-known, well-regarded judge on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The judge, Paul Niemeyer, clearly impressed, offers him a clerkship on the spot. But the student says he has interviews later in the week for the D.C. Circuit and the 9th Circuit. He asks this judge if, er, well, he could wait until after those interviews to make a decision.

“If I give them an offer and they say, ‘I’m going to wait until I see someone in D.C.,’ that’s fine. The risk you run is, I’m going to keep interviewing, and if I find someone acceptable, I’m going to proceed,” explains Niemeyer, before continuing on with his story, which in the year since its first telling has been recast as a parable for law clerk hopefuls.

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