OSCAR Database Q&A

The online system for Clerkship Application and Review (OSCAR) will be available to rising 3L students on Thursday, May 26.  Starting that day, students interested in federal judicial clerkships may use the OSCAR system website to research judges and apply for clerkships: https://oscar.uscourts.gov/index.php?_subtab=appreg.

1.)    How do I know if a judge is accepting applications?

In the image above, item 1 shows judges who do NOT participate in OSCAR.  These judges have not registered for OSCAR and do not have an account.  They are grayed out in the Judges List and have no further information associated with their entries—which doesn’t necessarily mean they are not accepting applications at all, but it does mean that they are not doing it via OSCAR.  Contact their chambers or PDO for more information on those judges.

Item 2 shows participating judges who do not currently have positions posted.  These judges have OSCAR accounts but do not have positions available at this time.  In some cases, a judge may maintain an OSCAR account specifically to advertise that they are NOT accepting applications.  Clicking on these entries will only allow you to view the judge’s OSCAR profile.  However, you will not be able to create an application packet.

Item 3 shows an OSCAR participating judge who does have a position available.  When a judge has a position posted, you will be able to see the details shown below the judge’s name as you can see from the image above.

1.)    How can I conduct an advanced searched based upon specific criteria (i.e. geography, judge type, application method, etc.)?

Use the “Advanced Search” tool.  This tool allows you to narrow your focus and view only those listings relevant to your interests.  The advanced search tab can be accessed under the “Judges” tab.


2.)    There are so many judges to apply for!  How do I keep track of the information I’ve already viewed as I continue to search for open positions?

Create a folder!  Applicants can manage their clerkship positions by filing them into folders, either one at a time or in batches (i.e. circuit, California, one-year term, etc.).  Simply check the box next to the Judge’s name and select “Copy to New Folder” or “Copy to Existing Folder” in the batch options menu if you’ve already created one.  To copy individual positions to a specific folder, click on the folder icon under available clerkships and select the folder in which the position should be stored.

3.)    I found the Judge(s) I would like to apply for.  What’s next?

Get your documents ready and start building your application.  Click on the paper icon to the left of the Judge’s last name.  Then, click on “Clerkship Details”.  Some judges will have two or more positions available.  Choose the one you want to apply for and click on “view & apply”.  This will bring you to a screen which will list all of the details you need to apply, as well as the position details.  Please note that until May 26, students will not have access to apply for a clerkship through OSCAR.  If a Judge is NOT accepting applications online, compile your application outside of the OSCAR system and submit the materials to the judge per their preferred application method (i.e. email, FAX, or mail).  PDO can help cover part of your mailing fees if you must apply outside of the OSCAR system.  For more information, see Anneliese or Jaclyn.   If you can apply online, you will be able to “build an application”.  You must have previously uploaded the required documents, and make sure they are labeled correctly!

4.)    What about my recommenders?  How do I know if they’ve uploaded their letters into the OSCAR system?  Can I use the same recommendation letter for all of my applications?  Can my recommender still submit a letter even after the closing date?

Once you begin building an application online, your recommenders will receive an Evite from OSCAR.  However, the recommender will not receive the Evite invitation until you, the applicant, create a DRAFT application with the recommender associated.  Remember that each time you create an application you generate additional recommendation requests from your recommenders.  You will need to contact your recommender and ask them to log back into the system and upload additional letters.  Your recommender may submit a letter up to 30 days after the application has closed.  The Judge will see a “letter pending” status when they view your application.

5.)    What other OSCAR deadlines should I be aware of?

As mentioned before, you will be unable to apply for clerkships through OSCAR until May 26.   This does NOT mean that you cannot prepare your application materials early, or work with your recommenders in order to ensure that their letters are finalized and uploaded into the system.  On September 6, OSCAR will release the applications to the individual judges who participate in this system, and beginning September 9, judges may begin to contact applicants to schedule interviews.  Interviews will be held and offers extended beginning September 15.