Consider a Clerkship - and the Points Below!
“Behind every great judge is his or her law clerk,” says Debra Strauss, Esq. (Behind the Bench, The Guide to Judicial Clerkships).
A judicial clerkship is a post-graduate position and provides the opportunity both to observe the "law in action" in court and often to participate actively in the judicial decision-making process. Most judicial clerkships offer the opportunity to make valuable contacts with practicing lawyers, and will lead to broader employment opportunities upon their conclusion.
We request that interested 2Ls, 3Ls, and 4Ls notify OPD@utoledo.edu of their interest in applying for judicial clerkships as soon as possible. Additionally, contact OPD for information on available resources, spreadsheets, and past law clerk hires.
The federal court clerkship application system (OSCAR) has been opened to all second year students. Log-in to see the current deadlines and suggestions for navigating this process.
The application process for clerkships at the federal court level is highly competitive. Most successful clerkship applicants have at least a 3.5 GPA and have participated in Law Review. If you wish to apply for a federal clerkship, you must be prepared to hit the ground running in summer following your first year. There is no uniform deadline for all federal clerkships, as courts make their own hiring decisions as needed. Some courts may hire two years in advance and will require students to apply in August of their second year, while others may hire throughout the third year. Additionally, some courts will hire individuals with a few years of legal practice experience.
State and Local Courts
No single application process or centralized database for applying to state court clerkships exists. Each court, and often each judge within a court, will have varying hiring needs or timelines. Some state courts hire permanent clerks or staff attorneys while others hire clerks on a rotating cycle of 1-2 year positions. Individuals may be hired to work with a specific judge, or to be part of a pool of attorneys who assist all judges within a court.
State and local courts offer a great opportunity to shape the law in a particular state while getting to know the legal community. If you have a specific state in which you'd like to practice, this experience can offer you connections with local attorneys and judges and an opportunity to develop areas of expertise. State court application deadlines vary widely from court to court and are sometimes as early as the second year. Many courts will not consider applicants until their final year in law school.
If you have questions about applying for judicial clerkships at the state or federal level, please contact the Office of Professional Development at OPD@utoledo.edu or 419.530.2851.
Online System for Clerkship Application and Review (OSCAR): https://oscar.symplicity.com/
The Online System for Clerkship Application and Review (OSCAR) is a centralized resource for notice of available federal clerkships, clerkship application information, and law clerk employment information.
U.S. Courts: http://www.uscourts.gov/
This site provides background information and helpful resource links for the U.S. Court System.
U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary: http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/
This site provides information about judicial vacancies, nominations, and confirmations.
Judicial Clerkships.Com: http://www.judicialclerkships.com/
This site provides some useful links for judicial clerkship applicants.
VLS Guide to State Judicial Clerkship Procedures: http://forms.vermontlaw.edu/career/guides/
The username and password are posted in the “Career Website Subscription Links and Passwords 2014-2015” document found under the Resources tab on Symplicity. This guide provides a great starting point for information about state and local courts across the country.
Ohio District Courts of Appeal: https://www.sconet.state.oh.us/District_Courts/
This site provides information on the Ohio Courts of Appeal and the various jurisdictions.