Intern: 2 or 3 credits, 2L and 3L students
Extern: Up to 12 credits, 3L students only
The Judicial Clinic places students to serve as “interns” or part-time clerks, typically for 2 or 3 credits. (Third year students may elect the “externship” program, in which they serve in a clerkship capacity for up to 35 hours a week for 12 credits.) Judicial Clinic students will improve their skills in legal analysis, research and writing as they carry out legal research and draft opinions on pending cases. In addition, the Judicial Clinic provides a unique perspective on court procedure and practice and on the process of judicial dispute resolution. This field experience is accompanied by the Judicial Process class which should be taken concurrently or following the clinical experience.
Course: Judicial Process (2 cr., graded, Fall & Spring) allows students to place their judicial clinic experiences in a broader context, and to explore their insights about courts in greater depth. The class looks at “how judges make decisions.” These inquiries may include exploration of effective advocacy techniques, the roles of trial and appellate courts, the standard of review, techniques for good opinion writing, the politics of decision-making, the selection of judges, the effects of judicial socialization, and alternatives to the adversary dispute resolution process. Grades may be based upon a paper or final examination, class presentations and class participation. The course is best taken concurrently or immediately following placement.
OR Legal Writing for Judicial Clerks and Interns (3 cr., graded, Summer) provides students with significant experience researching, writing, and editing judicial opinions. It is designed for students who are interested in becoming judicial law clerks or judicial externs. It may also be of interest to students who plan an active trial or appellate practice. Topics may include: the trial and appellate process, the role of judicial clerks in the courtroom and chambers, ethical considerations for judges and their clerks, the process of writing bench memos and opinions, judicial selection and clerk selection, the development and role of a record, judicial decision making, and the role of the judge at each stage of a case.
Placements (usually 2 or 3 cr., P/F, Fall, Spring, & Summer):
- U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals
- U.S. District Court
- Utah Supreme Court
- Utah Court of Appeals
- Utah District Courts (2 credits)
- Utah District Juvenile Courts (2 credits)
- U.S. Bankruptcy Court
- U. S. Immigration Court
- U.S. Social Security Administration Office of Disability Adjudication & Review (ALJ)
- Utah Labor Commission (ALJ)
- Utah State Tax Commission (ALJ)
Placement & Registration: Students must complete the Clinical Program Application form and submit the required documents with the application. Registration in the Judicial Clinic is conditional on being placed with a judge. After being placed with judges, students will then be enrolled in the clinic. Students may rank their court placement preferences; supervising judges make the final selections. Students can then register online for the Judicial Process course once placed.
An application through the College of Law constitutes a commitment to participate if selected. Withdrawal should only occur in unforeseen emergencies.
A few judges accept applications directly to their chambers and do not participate in our joint application process. If a student applies directly to one of these judges, the student should not apply to the Clinical Program for the joint application process, but apply at any time to the following judges. If you are accepted by one of the following judges complete the Clinical Program Application to be enrolled in the clinic:
- Judge Robert Shelby, Judge Clark Waddoups and Judge Dale A. Kimball, U.S. District Court
- Justice Thomas Lee, Utah Supreme Court
- U.S. Immigration Court
LAW 7940-001: Judicial Process
- Fall: Fridays 8:35 – 10:35 am, taught by Judge Michele Christiansen
- Spring: Wednesdays 3:15-5:15 pm, taught by Professor Bonnie Mitchell
LAW 7854-001: Legal Writing Judicial Clerks & Interns
- Summer: Mon. – Thurs. 5:30 – 7:30 pm, Professor Louisa Heiny
LAW 7950-001: Judicial Clinic Every Semester ( 2-12 credits)