Both federal and state judges offer judicial clerkships for a one or two year period that begin in August/ September after the student graduates law school. The application process for judicial clerkships begins early in the fall of the student's 3L year. Recent grads may also apply for clerkships.
There is no one deadline for applications, although students are encouraged to submit their applications as soon as prior to June 28, the first date judges may receive applications on the federal law clerk hiring plan, due to the volume of applications judges typically receive. State clerkship applications are done on a court by court basis. Students should check with the courts in the locations they're interested in to determine if the court offers a clerkship and, if so, what materials are required and when the application deadline is. Most federal judges accept clerkship applications online through the OSCAR judicial clerkship application system. Interested students should go to https://oscar.symplicity.com and follow the instructions to create a username, password, and profile in order to submit applications. Federal judges abide by the Federal Judges Law Clerk Hiring Plan.
Our 2013 Judicial Clerkship Manual gives detailed information on applying for state and federal judicial clerkships, including how to determine if a judicial clerkship is right for you, advice on interviewing, lists of resources to help you in your application process, and examples of cover letters for judicial clerkships.
Rising 3Ls interested in federal judicial clerkships should consult our handout, Steps for Applying for a Federal Judicial Clerkship.
If you are a rising 2L interested in judicial clerkships, you should begin thinking about your writing sample and recommenders now. Most judges require a writing sample and at least one letter of recommendation. For a writing sample, you should use what best represents your writing style and skills. Remember that judicial clerkships heavily involve legal research and writing, so it will be important to show the judge that you can write well and persuasively. For your recommenders, choose someone who can speak to your character and abilities, such as a professor or an employer.
Most judges will also want you to write a cover letter explaining your interest in the court. It is very important to make your cover letter as strong as possible to attract the judge's attention. The Career Services Office has a number of resources devoted to writing cover letters. If you need more help or would like your cover letter reviewed, please make an appointment with a Career Services counselor.
For a listing of Texas state courts and information on their clerk programs, visit http://www.courts.state.tx.us. You can access the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals at http://www.cca.courts.state.tx.us, and the Texas Supreme Court at http://www.supreme.courts.state.tx.us.
For a searchable listing of state court clerk openings, you may access the Guide to State Judicial Clerkships, covering judicial clerkships in all states, at http://forms.vermontlaw.edu/career/guides/. Please contact Career Services for the username and password to access the guide.
The Clerkship Notification Blog has constantly updated information on the hiring status of judges in circuit, district, state, magistrate, and bankruptcy courts.