Judicial Clerkship Information

alumni at courthouse

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. Although the selection process is competitive, opportunities to clerk exist in the federal and state trial and appellate courts, in administrative courts, and in some international courts and tribunals. A post-graduate judicial clerk might serve as an "elbow clerk" — one of usually one to three law clerks assigned work exclusively with an individual judge (such as a law clerk to a State of New Jersey Superior Court Family Law Division Judge, to a state court appellate judge such as the Chief Judge of the Connecticut Supreme Court, or to a federal magistrate or district judge in any United States District Court)—or as  a "pool" clerk, as part of a group of clerks who handle the work of several judges sitting in a particular court (such as a law clerk for the Connecticut Superior Court Judicial Branch or with the New York State Appellate Division, 3rd Department Legal Research Staff).

The time to apply for a clerkship varies and depends on the type of clerkship and court. For some state courts and judges, law clerk applications should be submitted in the spring of your second year (third, if you are evening student). Others courts request applications be submitted over the summer following your second year (third, if you are evening) and through the fall of your final law school year. Most (although not all) federal judges post clerkship opportunities on 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). Although federal judges may now begin posting post-graduate opportunities for students as early as the summer after your first year of law school, many opportunities continue to be posted throughout your second, and into your third year and following graduation.

For information about specific law clerk openings for individual federal judges, you will need to create an account on OSCAR and check it regularly.  OSCAR allows you to file your application online, and your recommenders to directly place their letters of recommendation in your online files. Judges can then review and manage law clerk applications online. Each applicant must create his/her own profile, select judges, upload documents, and have his/her recommenders upload their recommendations. 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 CCPD for the username and password, which is updated annually.  In addition, the CCPD also receives listings for clerkship opportunities for students and graduates from time to time, so if you are interested in clerking after law school, make sure to frequently check the job listings on Symplicity.

For more information about judicial clerkship opportunities and for help with the application process, please contact CCPD Director, Public Sector Careers, Elyse Diamond (ediamond@law.pace.edu).