A judicial clerkship is a one-year or two-year experience in which you work closely with a sitting judge conducting research and drafting orders, memoranda, and, in some instances, first drafts of court opinions.
A judicial clerkship can enhance your career in a number of ways. A clerkship will develop your professional and job skills; because you will be working closely with an expert legal writer, researcher, and thinker, a judge, you will see your skills in these areas grow exponentially. In addition, you will gain insights from a judge’s perspective, insights that will allow you to avoid errors other lawyers make and to understand what judges most appreciate from the lawyers who appear before them. You also will be adding a prestige appointment to your resume, and you will gain a respected professional reference whose name is respected in the community. In other words, a clerkship can advance your legal career like no other experience can.
Bowen traditionally hosts an educational seminar focusing on judicial clerkship opportunities each spring. Judicial law clerks from federal, state and local courts share their perspectives with the student body. To support the application process and encourage student applications, Career Services also surveys all Arkansas-related federal chambers (including the Eighth Circuit) as well as local chambers that regularly hire judicial law clerks to determine their hiring plans for the upcoming graduating class. That information is made available in Symplicity’s Document Library and emailed in late May or early June to all members of the graduating class.
Though there are several resources that can help you to explore the judicial law clerk experience, a few are being highlighted here.
Helpful Resources Available Online or through Career Services
OSCAR, the Online System for Clerkship Applications and Review, from the U.S. Administrative Office of the Courts lists the current federal judges in U.S. courts across all Jurisdictions. OSCAR is the best overall source for information on federal judicial clerkships. A real advantage is that each chambers has the ability to post current openings in the system. You can also obtain information here about federal salaries and benefits.
The Arkansas Judiciary website provides information on all state courts.
Career Services subscribes to Vermont Law School’s “The Guide to State Judicial Clerkship Procedures.” Click on “Access the Guide.” User name and password are in Symplicity under Announcements.
Books to Borrow from Career Services
Judicial Clerkships: A Practical Guide by Dunnewold, Honetschlager and Tofte (Book)
Behind the Bench: The Guide to Judicial Clerkships by Debra M. Strauss, Esq (Book)