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House Passes New Internship

Publication Date: 
September 29, 2008
Source: 
The Stanford Daily
Author: 
Daisy Chen

Dean Larry Kramer is quoted in a Stanford Daily story about his idea for Congress to create a clerkship program for recent law school graduates:

Earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill envisioned by Stanford Law School Dean Larry Kramer that would establish the Daniel Webster Congressional Clerkship Program. The program would institute two-year clerkship positions for 12 law school graduates to serve members in the House and the Senate.

Dean Kramer first considered the idea to create a congressional clerkship with legislative emphasis in 2005, modeling the structure after the existing federal judicial clerkship program.

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“At present, our profession is heavily court-centered,” Kramer said in a press release. “It would be enormously beneficial for the profession and for the public if young lawyers developed an equal sense of the national legislature.”

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“I worked throughout on it with members of Congress,” Kramer said in an email to The Daily. “I am especially grateful for the help we received from the Stanford Public Affairs Office and Ryan Adesnik, [director of federal relations], who knew how to navigate this through Congress.”

Applicants will most likely consist of third-year law students, but Kramer anticipates that all individuals with a J.D. degree or other degree that permits them to practice law would be allowed to apply.

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“There is no difference in principle,” Kramer said. “In practice it may be that the candidates who most appeal to Congress differ from those who appeal to judges. If so, that will emerge over time and is not intended.”

Kramer said the idea was to create something similar to the federal judicial clerkship for the legislative branch and to tap the strongest recent law graduates.

“Hence the pay is similar, the amount of time is similar and the qualifications sought are similar,” he said. The bill was introduced to the Senate on Sept. 22, and “Once the bill passes,” Kramer said, “the Rules Committees are charged with developing the implementation plan.”