Many law students believe, incorrectly, that a prestigious clerkship (typically, a federal appeals court or Supreme Court) is a prerequisite to an academic career. Again, this used to be true, but the situation now is more complicated. At lower-ranked schools, fancy clerkships still carry a lot of weight. But at more elite schools with a strong emphasis on scholarship, fancy clerkships are neither necessary nor sufficient to land a teaching job. A Supreme Court or very prestigious appellate clerkship, like very high grades, may help you get your foot in the door at more elite schools. But you can get your foot in the door just as well (and in many cases better) at such schools by writing really good work and getting strong support from faculty here and elsewhere. Once your foot is in the door, the credential of a clerkship will not matter much for many schools, compared to whether you have something interesting to say in a scholarly vein. On the other hand, as noted below, having some sort of practical experience before teaching may be advantageous, and you may decide that clerking is a more attractive option than others.