The process of getting a judicial clerkship isn’t for the faint of heart. Most students who seek a post graduate clerkship tend to opt for the federal clerkship option. However, the federal clerkship process has changed quite a bit over the last few years making it more difficult for students to obtain. The federal clerkship process used to be a lot more streamlined, with a specific application submission date in September and a specific interview date about a week later for all selected applicants. The streamlined nature of this process took some pressure off of the applicants. It essentially provided applicants with a one stop shop to get their applications in.
Today the process isn’t as orderly. As more judges began recruiting outside of the slated interview period, the Federal Law Clerk Hiring Plan was eliminated a few year ago. Judges now mostly determine their own recruitment and hiring schedule. This new plan has provided a lot more flexibility for the judges, but puts a lot more work on you, the applicant. Having a variety of interview and hiring schedules means that applicants need to be a lot more vigilant in their efforts to secure a position. However, the plan may also be returning soon. There is a two-year pilot program going into place, so judges can now opt in to a return of the Federal Law Clerk Hiring Plan. So how do you graduate from law school with a coveted clerkship offer in hand? I won’t lie to you, it’s not easy. But giving the tips below a try may at least give you an orderly guide to work with in a process that’s no longer super regimented.