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 federal judicial clerkships begins in the summer prior to the student's 2L year. Students interested in state judicial clerkships should prepare to apply in the fall of their 3L year. Recent grads may also apply for clerkships.
There is no one deadline for applications. 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.uscourts.gov/ and follow the instructions to create a username, password, and profile in order to submit applications.
If you are a 1L 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 more information on applying to judicial clerkships, see our Judicial Clerkship Manual.
For a listing of Texas state courts and information on their clerk programs, visit http://www.txcourts.gov/. You can access the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals at http://www.txcourts.gov/cca, and the Texas Supreme Court at http://www.txcourts.gov/supreme.
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.