Judicial Clerkships and Externships

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Judicial Clerkships - Term (Up to Four Years)

Judicial term law clerks are usually selected up to 12 months before the actual clerkship begins. Those interested in applying for a clerkship position should apply on-line at www.oscar.uscourts.gov. The salary for these positions varies according to legal work experience gained following receipt of the JD degree. To identify the required documents to be included in the application packet, go to the OSCAR website and select the judge(s) for whom you would like to apply. Please be aware that written materials are not returnable to the applicant. Critical dates for submitting applications are also listed on the OSCAR website. Law clerks will typically enter on duty between August and September of each year.

Applicants are not to contact judges' chambers regarding the status of an application. However, if an applicant has been interviewed by a judge and subsequently accepts a position with another judicial officer, the applicant should contact the chambers in which he or she is under consideration to advise the judge that he or she has accepted another position and is withdrawing his or her application.

Magistrate Judge Law Clerks

The duties of a law clerk to a magistrate judge are similar to those of a law clerk to a district judge. Law clerks to magistrate judges may be classified as term law clerks or career law clerks. Term law clerks can serve up to four years in the judiciary, whereas career law clerks have positions that are expected to last more than four years, and are therefore eligible for retirement benefits. The salary for these positions varies according to legal work experience gained following receipt of the JD degree.

Individuals interested in working as a law clerk to a magistrate judge should monitor the Court’s website or its Jobline (see contact information below) to learn of any vacancies as they become available throughout the year. Applicants may also search for magistrate judge clerkship opportunities at www.oscar.uscourts.gov. Those interested in applying for a position as a law clerk to a magistrate judge should submit applications and other required documentation as listed on the vacancy announcement or as described on the OSCAR website. Applicants should not contact judges' chambers regarding the status of an application. Please be aware that application materials are not returnable to the applicant.

Pro Se Staff Attorneys/ Death Penalty Staff Attorneys

Pro Se and Death Penalty Staff Attorney positions are usually full-time, career positions and become available only upon the departure of a staff attorney or through the allocation of new positions by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Therefore, those interested in seeking such positions should monitor the Court's website or its Jobline (see contact information below) in the event an opening occurs. The salary for these positions varies according to experience. Applications for these positions are made through the Human Resources Department of the U.S. District Court. Applications should include the Job Announcement vacancy number, which is listed on the Court's website and mentioned in the Jobline recording.

Externships

Externship terms are typically served in the summer, fall, or spring.  A law student interested in an externship with the Court should check with his or her law school to see whether it has an externship program in coordination with the Court.  Interested individuals may also submit an application packet directly to the chambers of the judge(s).  The packet should include:

    a) a cover letter;
    b) a resume;
    c) undergraduate and law school grades (if available); and
    d) a writing sample, not longer than ten pages.

Applications are accepted up to six months in advance of the semester for which the student is applying. Interviews are typically scheduled and held by a judge's law clerks, and offers are usually made at the time of the interview or shortly thereafter. Applicants are not to contact judges' chambers regarding the status of an application. However, if an applicant has interviewed with a judge and subsequently accepts a position with another judicial officer, the applicant should contact the chambers in which he or she is under consideration to advise the judge that he or she has accepted another position and is withdrawing his or her application.

Contact Information

U.S. District Court Jobline: (213) 894-2904

U.S. Courts Law Clerk Opportunities: www.oscar.uscourts.gov.