Judicial clerkships are an exceptional way to launch a legal career. There are several types of postgraduate clerkships: federal, state, or specialized courts (such as bankruptcy, tax, or international trade). Both federal and state judges offer clerkships in the appellate and trial levels. These positions typically last one to two years.
The responsibilities of a clerk may vary slightly, depending on the type of clerkship (e.g., trial vs. appellate). Generally, however, a clerk will conduct legal research, analyze case law, and draft bench memoranda, orders and opinions. Regardless of their individual responsibilities, judicial clerks gain tremendous insight into the process of judicial decision making.
Judicial clerkships are highly sought after, which makes them very competitive. Grades, research, and writing ability, as well as coursework in a particular area all play a determining role in obtaining a clerkship. Connections with faculty members and employers are also crucial, as their letters of recommendation are critical to your application.
NYLS places students in District Court clerkships annually. Our students have also been successful in attaining State Court clerkships, in both New York and New Jersey.
The Office of Academic Planning and Career Development provides step-by-step guidance to all students wishing to consider a judicial clerkship and offers extensive resources to those who undertake applying for clerkships. For additional information on application details, visit the Judicial Clerkship channel on the portal or contact Cynthia Weissman.