Judicial clerkships are generally one or two year assignments where attorneys serve as a law clerk for a particular judge or for an entire court. The exact assignment and duties depend upon the specific court. There are literally thousands of clerkships available each year. An easy way to divide clerkships is between federal and state courts. Federal court clerkships are usually more competitive, and therefore more difficult to obtain than State court clerkships.
In the Federal Courts judicial clerkships are available in the following institutions:
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals
- U.S. District Courts
- U.S. Bankruptcy Courts
- U.S. Tax Courts
- Special Courts (located in Washington, D.C.)
- Administrative Law Judges
- U.S. Magistrates
In the State Court Systems judicial clerkships are available in the:
- Highest State Courts
- Intermediate Appellate Courts (most, but not all states)
- Trial Courts (depends upon state)
The following websites are valuable resources for students interested in judicial clerkships:
- Federal Courts: OSCAR Online System for Clerkship Application and Review (https://oscar.symplicity.com/)
OSCAR enables clerkship applicants to search for clerkship positions, select the federal judges to whom they wish to apply, and build and submit their applications online for judges who are accepting electronic applications
- U.S. Federal Courts (www.uscourts.gov)
This is the homepage for the U.S. Federal Judiciary. The site provides information as well as links to the U.S. Federal Courts.
- The National Center for State Courts (http://www.ncsconline.org/)
This site provides links to State Court websites, as well as limited employment information and links to federal and international courts.
- Pennsylvania's Unified Judicial System (http://www.courts.state.pa.us/)
This site provides information and links to courts in Pennsylvania's Unified Judicial System.
- Guide to State Judicial Clerkships (http://www.vermontlaw.edu/career/index.cfm?doc_id=1504) is an online source published by the Vermont Law School. This is a password protected job site and the login and password information are located on the CSO section of the Extranet
The programs that are scheduled for the 2011-2012 school year are: Federal Judicial Clerkship Interview Skills; Judicial Clerkship Workshop for 2Ls and 3Ls; Clerking in the Current Economy – A Good Idea?; and Learn about Judicial Careers.
Students are encouraged to schedule an appointment with Keeley Mitchell, the Director of Public Interest and Government, to discuss judicial clerkship opportunities as well as the application process.
2011 Clerkship Application Process Schedule
May 30th- List of faculty members who will be providing recommendation letters for you
June 30th - Initial list of judges that you intend to apply to be divided into two categories, OSCAR and NON-OSCAR.
July 29th - Last day to meet with Keeley to discuss application, etc.
August 15th - Deadline to have final list of judges to me to be divided into two categories, OSCAR and NON-OSCAR
August 22 - Deadline for completed application to be given to Keeley
September 6 - 10:00 a.m. applications are released to the Judges via OSCAR
September 9 - Judges begin contacting applicants
September 15 - Judges begin interviewing and/or offering positions
Students may also participate in Judicial Externships during the summer or throughout the school year. For more information about the externship process, contact the Pitt Law Student Affairs Office.