2L’s: Are You Considering a Judicial Clerkship?

In upcoming issues of the Career Brief we will run a series about judicial clerkships, including tips from current judicial clerks and 3L students who have secured clerkships.  PDO will also host several workshops about judicial clerkships, beginning with a presentation by Professor Amy Wildermuth on “What Why and How of Judicial Clerkships” on March 3.  Save the date!

Below are some quick facts about judicial clerkships:

  • This term refers to a post-graduate position working with a judge, usually for a term of one or two years.  Some judges may employ “permanent” or “career” clerks.
  • What do judicial clerks do?  The core responsibility is legal research and writing under the supervision of the judge.

In their own words … read on for some benefits Quinney students see in doing a judicial clerkship:

“I decided to clerk after doing a judicial clinic and seeing how beneficial inside training and understanding of the court process would further my career.” (current 3L)

“I decided to do a clerkship after talking to several attorneys who clerked after law school and found it to be an extremely valuable experience.  Several of them have told me that it’s a fantastic way to gain practical skills, improve your writing abilities, and get an ‘insider’ perspective of the way our court system works.  It’s also no secret that clerkships are somewhat prestigious in the eyes of potential employers and may also be a great way to expand your network in the legal community. “ (current 3L)

“I wanted to do a clerkship because of the invaluable experience I will receive.  I know that my writing and analytical skills will improve.  I have been told that I will receive tutoring on what judges look for and how they decide cases.  Also, I think my practice will improve because I will be reading motions and briefs every day.”  (current 3L)

“I have always been very interested in the appellate process, so a clerkship seemed like a great fit for me.  I was very interested in strengthening my writing skills, thinking critically about novel legal issues, and learning more about the judicial system.  I took Professor McConnell’s Supreme Court simulation seminar, which taught me about writing opinions and what it means to be a good oral advocate.  I really enjoyed the course, and it motivated me to pursue more of the same type of work.”  (current judicial clerk)

“I decided that I wanted to do a clerkship after participating in the judicial clinic.  I see it as a great experience to be able to see what goes on behind the scenes and what goes into judicial decision making.  Also, I think it will help to improve my writing.”  (current 3L)