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Judicial Clerkship Information
Judicial clerkships provide an excellent transition from law school to legal practice. Many former clerks regard their clerkships as the highlight of their professional careers. Opportunities to clerk exist at all levels in the federal courts, state courts, for administrative law judges, and with international courts and tribunals. Clerkship types include an "elbow clerk" — one of usually one to three law clerks assigned to an individual judge (such as a law clerk to a federal district judge or to a justice of the New York Court of Appeals)—and a "pool" clerk, who handles the work of several different judges such as the law clerks in the Superior Court of Connecticut or in the Central Legal Research Bureau of the New York Court of Appeals.
The time to apply for a clerkship varies and depends on the type of clerkship. For some state courts, law clerk applications should be submitted in the spring of your second year (third, if you are evening student). A number of state courts start reviewing applications on July 1. Others request submission of applications in September of your final law school year. The Federal Law Clerk Hiring Plan, which Pace Law School supports, provides the day after Labor Day (of your final law school year) as the start date for the receipt of law clerk applications by federal judges. Note: Law school graduates are not bound to the Federal Law Clerk Hiring Plan.
For information about specific law clerk openings for individual federal judges, check OSCAR (the Online System for Clerkship Application and Review - a centralized resource for notice of available clerkships, clerkship application information, and law clerk employment information). The Federal Law Clerk Information System is a database on the website of the Federal Judiciary on which judges can list their openings, hiring timetables and application requirements. It is an excellent source, but does not include all federal openings as it covers only those judges who input their information. Most federal judges accept clerkship applications through OSCAR, which is an online system for clerkship application and review. OSCAR allows you to file your application online, and for your recommenders to directly place their letters of recommendation in your online files. Judges can then review and manage law clerk applications online. Each student applying must create his/her own profile, select judges, upload documents, and have his/her recommenders upload their recommendations. To create an account, go to OSCAR. Note that not all judges accept online clerkship applications through OSCAR. Through Pace Law School’s online recruiting system, Symplicity, you can access a list of all federal judges and their addresses, from which you can then create a mail merge.
To learn more about the application process (and deadlines) for state court clerkships, see the Guide to State Judicial Clerkship Procedures. To access the entire publication and selected state information, click on "Judicial Clerkship Guide"; click on "Access the Guide"; click on "Complete Guide” or a specific state. Please ask the Career Center for the username and password.
In addition, the Center receives many listings for clerkships and if you are interested in clerking after law school, make sure to frequently check the job listings on Symplicity.