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judicial clerkship

Legal Job Search Strategies: Judicial Clerkship

Obtaining a judicial clerkship can be a valuable experience to include on a legal resume. Judicial clerkships typically teach research and writing skills, usually at appellate-level courts, and provide exposure to the courtroom, usually at the trial level.  There are federal clerkships  and state clerkships. Federal clerkships are considered more prestigious than state clerkships, but both provide great opportunities to develop legal research, writing, and lawyering skills.

Legal Job Search Strategies: Judicial Clerkship

Law students searching for a summer job opportunity or a job after graduation should look to a judicial clerkship as an option. Summer opportunities usually run a typical summer, while clerkships after law school usually last one or two years.

Here are some simple steps for law students looking for a judicial clerkship.

1. Seek advice.

The application process can be long and confusing, so having someone to guide you through the process will make a big difference.

Talk to your career advisor at school. Career services at any school is there is help you navigate the confusing process of job searching in the legal field, so use them as a tool. In addition, if you know someone who worked or is working as a clerk, ask them for advice on how to proceed.

If you do not have a good source for guidance, judicialclerkships.com is also a helpful forum that provides advice on the clerking process.

2. Gather all your materials.

Typical application documents for a judicial clerkship include:

  • resume,
  • writing sample(s),
  • letter of recommendation(s), and
  • cover letter(s).

Make sure to edit these documents thoroughly for any mistakes.

JD Advising is here to help with advice and editing any application materials.

3. Apply!

As much as you hope for a job to land in your lap, that rarely happens. So, the best way to get a clerkship is to start applying!

Search for federal opportunities.

Federal courts usually have their clerkship openings posted online:

  • United States Courts: This site has postings for all different jobs in courts across the U.S.
  • Oscar: This website’s design is specifically for judicial clerkships, but also lists staff attorney and judge positions. After making an account, you can upload resumes, cover letters, transcripts, and even request recommendations from professors. You can search for jobs, and also opt in to receive daily or weekly email notifications of new postings.

Look to state courts.

While federal court positions usually are more prestigious, opportunities at the state court level also are valuable. What state you wish to work in will dictate where to search for a job.

Vermont Law School’s Judicial Clerkship Guide lists the application procedures for each state court. Cornell Law School published the username and password for this site on its list of resources.

Watch out for more tips and strategies from JD Advising on legal writing, research, and editing; resume and interviewing tips; working for a firm; and, starting a law firm.