Law School Discussion

Trial level judicial clerkships

Trial level judicial clerkships
« on: February 19, 2008, 11:27:52 AM »
I'm interested in getting a trial court clerkship for a term after graduation.  I've contacted the courts I'm interested in and they say the process is very informal, and done on a judge by judge basis with no centralized application method.

My question is, does it look bad to just fire off letters and resumes to every judge on the Court?  Obviously, I will tailor the letters but it seems like a bad way to convey interest.

Any suggestions?

Re: Trial level judicial clerkships
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2008, 12:46:05 PM »
I think that approach would be fine, although not ideal. It would be better to have a professor introduce you to the judge, or at least recommend you. But my sense is that state trial courts are very grateful to have law students interested in clerking for them. It would be really great experience for anyone who intends to be a local litigator. Good luck.

Re: Trial level judicial clerkships
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2008, 12:51:44 PM »
For what it's worth, any letters you send will first land on the desk of the judge's current clerk, and he'll probably only give a handful of them to the judge, so I wouldn't personally worry about offending the judges by applying to a lot of them since most of them will never see your application anyway.

On a similar note, and this is merely friendly advice which you can feel free to ignore, I would not recommend applying across the board at the trial level because a good deal of those judges will be talentless bozos. If I were in your shoes, I would dig up the contact info on trial lawyers in the area that you want to clerk in. If they're alumni, great. If they're your uncle's old college roommate, good enough. Worst case, if you have no connection, you could just blindly email public defenders or somesuch. Any competent lawyer that practices regularly in that court will know pretty well which judges are the good judges and which ones are less likely to be of help to you. State trial courts don't have much prestige, so you're going to really want to find a judge who people respect.

best of luck


Re: Trial level judicial clerkships
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2008, 06:15:48 PM »
Would you suggest sending letters unsolicited?  That is, do state trial judges typically advertise openings?

Re: Trial level judicial clerkships
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2008, 05:53:18 AM »
I have no idea if they advertise openings. I doubt it. What possible consequence could there be if they just throw your resume in the trash?

Are you looking at superior trial courts? I know that around here they have courts for misdemeanors and low level civil cases and courts for felonies and large civil claims. The clerks on the superior court, as well as most of the trial lawyers and a not insignificant number of the judges, tend to come from the local T3. If you are staying local, you should be able to find a sizeable alumni base in your city and one of them should be able to give you much more specific advice for that town. Ask them. It's not like anything actually bad can happen.

Re: Trial level judicial clerkships
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2008, 01:50:01 PM »
I think most trial courts are looking for clerks when they turn over their existing clerks.  Where I am now, I was informed that the clerks are free to stay as long as they like.  I do not appreciate the concept of career clerks but I suppose in this tight economy, any job security is good security.