As judicial clerkship junkies know, today’s the day! What day, you ask? Why, it’s application day, if your judge participates in the Federal Law Clerk Hiring Plan.
What Can You Do to Improve Your Chances of a Clerkship?
At this point, your application is in. There’s nothing you can do about what’s in it.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s time to rest on your laurels! You can still improve your chances of getting the clerkship you want.
There are two main things you can do now to improve your chances:
- Call in every possible favor. I know you hate networking and asking for favors, but this is not the time to be shy. Brainstorm every possible person who might be able to reach out to a judge on your behalf. Did you work with someone over the summer who seemed friendly and well connected? Pick up the phone and call this person right now to see if they have any ideas about reaching out to judges. Have you discussed what your recommenders are willing to do to help you out? If you don’t already have a plan, go see them today. Are they willing to email or call your top choices? Do you have any friend or family connections you can put to use? Has anyone from your law school clerked for your top choice judges? Sure, it’s uncomfortable at times, but anything you can do to make your application stand out from the pack is critically important. Think about how many applications are sitting on the average judge’s desk right now. Do you want to be at the bottom of that pile, or at the top? Time is of the essence here, so get on it!
- Prepare a strategy for scheduling interviews. Assuming you’re a competitive clerkship applicant, your phone is going to start ringing this Friday with interview offers. Let these go to voicemail, at least initially! You need at least a few minutes to sort out how many interviews you’ll need to schedule, and with whom. Keep in mind that offers are made quickly once interviews start (often on the spot), so you want to schedule your highest preference interviews early in the day, if possible. If you’ve already answered three calls and scheduled interviews with these judges, you might not end up with the order you want. So, call back relatively soon, but don’t feel compelled to answer the phone just because it’s ringing. Give yourself time to evaluate your options. (That being said, you should know — before Friday — what your preferences are, so you’re ready to act when the time comes. If you’re not sure what judges are your top choices, or what city you’d prefer, figure this out in the next few days so you’re ready to go.)
Above all, don’t panic! This is just the opening round, and you’ll have lots of chances to apply for clerkships if things don’t work out initially.
Best of luck, and stay tuned for more clerkship “how to” content. Next up, we’ll talk about how to prepare for clerkship interviews.
— – —
Are you on our mailing list? Sign up now and we’ll send you lots of great stuff, totally free!
More advice on clerkship applications:
- The Most Critical Thing to Do Before Your Judicial Clerkship Interview
- How to Ace Your Judicial Clerkship Interviews
You might also find this helpful: Judicial Clerkships 101.
Looking for some help to do your best in law school? Find out about our law school tutoring options.