Finding A Clerkship
Whether you intend to enter private practice, public interest, government service, or legal academia, clerkships are a very good way to start your legal career. Clerkships offer an opportunity to work closely with a judge, learn about the inner workings of the judicial system, and hone your legal research and writing skills. This provides one or two years of practical training and gives you valuable skills and enables you to make valuable professional contacts in the substantive and/or geographical areas in which you hope to practice. In short, a clerkship can be an ideal stepping stone into any legal job.
Thinking about a clerkship? Start planning for it NOW!
AS A FIRST YEAR
- Begin to develop strong relationships with faculty-speak up in class, go to office hours, invite the professor for coffee
- Connect with second and third year students who are applying or have secured a clerkship-talk to them about your interest in clerking and ask how they prepared/wished they had prepared for it
- Reach out to current and former clerks-learn about their judges and court
- Talk to former clerks and to other attorneys at your summer job about clerkships, courts and judges-seek out their advice about courts and judges that would be a good fit for you
- Develop a writing sample
- Consider a judicial externship for your 1L summer. For more information, review our brief guide.
AS A SECOND YEAR
- Build strong relationship with faculty--take additional courses, serve as a research or teaching assistant-get to know them better
- Continue to research courts and judges by reaching out to students, current and former clerks, and employer contacts
- Polish your writing sample
- Meet with the Judicial Clerkship Director for clerkship advising
Stanford's Strong Clerkship Tradition
Stanford Law School has a strong clerkship tradition. Our graduates clerk primarily in the US federal courts at both the appellate and trial court levels. For the past 38 consecutive years, Stanford graduates have clerked for justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. In the state courts, most of our graduates clerk at the highest state appellate court level.
Our Clerkship Community supports and assists current students interested in learning more about judges and courts.