Prepare to Apply Early for Judicial Clerkships

For the last few years, approximately 10 percent of each graduating class at S.J. Quinney has done post-graduate judicial clerkships.   Given the current economy, judicial clerkships are going to be very competitive this year.  If you are not sure if you would like to do a judicial clerkship, come listen to current clerks describe their experience at the “Clerks on Clerkships” panel tomorrow – Wednesday March 9 – at 12:15 in Room 107.

If you are a 2L, you should begin assembling your applications now and be prepared to apply soon.   Some federal judges may begin accepting paper applications before OSCAR opens, so let Professor Wildermuth or PDO know if you are considering a federal clerkship!  A special workshop for 2L’s covering the specifics of judicial clerkship applications will be presented by Professor Amy Wildermuth on Friday, April 8, 12:15-1:15 in the Borchard Conference Room.

Listed below are some of the top reasons why students should consider a judicial clerkship, according to Professor Wildermuth, who presented an introductory workshop on judicial clerkships last week.  For her handout and PowerPoint presentation on the topic, see the judicial clerkships material in the Document Library on Symplicity.

Top Reasons to Do a Judicial Clerkship

1.  You learn lots of interesting things! You will be exposed to lots of different areas of the law and the knowledge you acquire will make you a better attorney.  You will improve your legal research and writing skills, which will be the crux of what you do as a judicial clerk.  Finally, you will learn how chambers operate, a very valuable asset.

2.  Potential monetary bonus. Many firms allow you to defer your post-graduate job for a year while you do a judicial clerkship.  When you do join the firm (generally larger, national firms), you may be given a signing bonus for completing the clerkship and/or credit towards seniority-based associate compensation.

3.  Personal relationships with the judge and fellow clerks. The connections you make during your clerkship will enhance the rest of your legal career.  This is a great opportunity for professional networking, and you will also likely develop a mentor relationship with your judge.

4.  It will prepare you for your future legal opportunities. For example, if you plan to practice patent litigation, doing a Federal Circuit clerkship will give you specialized experience with patent law.  Likewise, if you are interested in bankruptcy, a clerkship with a bankruptcy judge is invaluable.  Doing a clerkship can also make you a stronger candidate for many jobs, including competitive fellowships.

5.  It buys you time if you are not sure what you want to do after law school. Doing a clerkship allows you to see the work of practicing attorneys.  You may discover that you enjoy an area of the law that you had no idea you would be interested in.