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Career & Professional Development Center

Judicial clerkship application season is open!

January 28, 2013

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Judicial clerkship application season is here and the Carer & Processional Development Center has resources to help you. Students apply to these positions in the spring and summer before their final year and in the early fall of their final year.

What clerks do.

Judicial clerks work hand-in-hand with judges making sure the courtroom functions smoothly, and depending on the level of the Court help review court filings, summarize pleadings to the judge, and draft opinions.  Clerks learn about the fine details of the trial and appellate processes from behind the bench; they lend influence to the judge’s decision; and they have fun while they are doing it (sometimes a little more than others.)  Perhaps most importantly, they build the skills that will propel their career forward, and they gain the respect and mentorship of a judge.  Clerks serve in state and federal trial and appellate courts, administrative law hearings, in specialized courts like the bankruptcy courts and tax courts, and in some states in specialized courts hearing commercial disputes or water law issues.  For a full discussion, see the Judicial Clerkship web page.

Important dates.

  • Now: Many judges do not follow the Federal Clerkship Hiring Plan, and are recruiting now for post-graduate judicial clerkships. Although only 3Ls can currently submit applications online, 2Ls can register for an online account and search current judicial clerkship positings and submit paper applications directly to hiring judges. 
  • April 15, 20132L & 3E applications due to the Oregon Supreme Court, Oregon Court of Appeals, and Oregon Tax Court for clerkships beginning August 2014.  View the position description on the CPDC’s job position website, #33428. 
  • August 19, 2013:  3L Application date for federal judges following the Judicial Clerkship Hiring Plan –online applications must be complete before this date, paper applications must get to judges on this date. Judges may contact 3L applicants for interviews starting September 3, and may interview and make offers beginning September 9.

Do this NOW!

  1. Schedule a meeting with Erin Snyder (, who advises students seeking judicial clerkships. Erin can offer advice about where to apply for judicial clerkships, what to consider when pulling together your application materials, and connect you to the resources available to judicial clerkship applicants. 
  2. Read the Judicial Clerkships Manual (L&C login required).
  3. Ask professors and work supervisors to write letters of recommendation; for most clerkships you will need two or three.  Make requests as early as possible.
  4. Start polishing your writing sample. Need help?  Contact one of the Legal Writing Specialists.
  5. Interested in an state court other than Oregon?  Check application dates in the Guide to State Judicial Clerkship Procedures (get the online password or paper version in CPDC Office.)
  6. Interested in federal clerkships?  If you are a 2L or 3L, register for OSCAR, the online application and notification system, now
  7. Begin putting together applications—for most you need cover letter, resume, writing sample, transcript (law and undergraduate), and 2 to 3 recommendation letters.
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