State Court Clerkships: Application Timing

The timing for state court clerkships varies by state and is less standardized than for the federal courts.

States on Federal Plan Timing

Some state judges and courts conform to the federal plan and begin accepting applications in September of the students' third year for clerkships for the following year.

States NOT on Federal Plan Timing

Some state judges and courts accept applications earlier (i.e., during the spring semester of students' second year or the summer before students' third year).

Steps for Researching State Court Clerkships

  1. Find out about the state's court structure by looking at charts provided in BNA Directory of State and Federal Courts and Want's Federal-State Directory. The American Bench also explains the jurisdiction of the various courts within each state.
  2. Research judges and courts on CareerLink.
  3. For judges and courts not listed on CareerLink, use The Guide to State Judicial Clerkship Procedures (The Vermont Guide) to locate general application procedures and timelines.
  4. Some state court websites contain clerkship hiring information and/or contact information for judges and courts. Go to the National Center for State Courts for links to these websites.
  5. If the above resources fail to answer your questions, it is acceptable to call chambers or the court with inquiries about application timing and requirements. The following resources provide contact and biographical information for state court judges:

Federal Court Clerkships: Application Timing

Steps for Researching Federal Court Clerkships:

  1. OSCAR is the first place to look for judge-specific hiring information. It is a searchable database of circuit judges, district judges, magistrate judges, bankruptcy judges, and other federal judges. NOTE: This is not an exhaustive list! Even if a judge is not listed, he or she may be hiring clerks.
  2. Check the Online System for Clerkship Application and Review (OSCAR) - https://oscar.symplicity.com/ - for judges participating in this internet-based application system. ONLY apply to these judges through OSCAR (do not send paper applications).
  3. Look at the court's website for any judicial clerkship hiring information (rarely present). Go to http://www.uscourts.gov/links.html for links to federal court websites.
  4. If the above resources fail to answer your questions, use the Judicial Yellow Book and/or Almanac of the Federal Judiciary to identify judges by jurisdiction. It is acceptable to call chambers or the court with inquiries about application timing and requirements when the available resources fail to answer your questions. If you do not have time to call chambers, you can assume that these judges are accepting applications as of June 28, 2013 and send the standard application materials (cover letter, resume, law school transcript, writing sample, and two or three letters of recommendation). Note: The Judicial Yellow Book is only accessible when you are on the WCL network here at the law school.
  5. Go to CareerLink for judge and court-specific hiring information for some federal courts.
  6. Speak with professors, WCL alumni, and OCPD counselors about particular judges.

*See the Judicial Clerkship Resources section of this website for more information.