Can someone tell me what cklerkships are all about? Like, what do you do, how much do they pay, where do they help you go?
My husband is currently working as a clerk for an appellate judge. The work he does seems really interesting. Basically, clerks are a judge's assistants/lawyers.
When the judge is assigned to hear cases, the clerks read the briefs and research the arguments the lawyers for each party have made. They write memos for the judge summarizing the arguments and outlining the clerk's own view of the merits of each argument and the case as a whole. The judge uses this info to get a basic view of the case, and to identify points in question that he/she can ask about during oral argument. (Remember, this is an appellate clerkship, where the judge can take an active role in questioning the lawyers; a trial-court clerkship would likely be different.)
After the judge hears the case and has decided how to vote, the clerks help with writing and editing drafts of the opinion. Clerks also keep up with the decisions of other judges on the court and monitor them for things that might interest the judge they work for.
A clerkship usually lasts 1 year; a few judges like to hire clerks for 2 years. Clerkships are considered prestigious, especially at the Circuit Court level, and they can help you get better private-sector jobs. Sometimes firms offer higher signing bonuses for people who have done a clerkship, and some firms recruit among clerks at a court the way they do at law schools.
A clerk is a government employee, and gets paid on a government wage scale. It's enough to live at a decent middle-class level, but not nearly enough to start making a dent in those student loans. But it's short-term, and it helps your long-term salary prospects, so it's not financially difficult like taking a permanent government or public-interest job would be.