More Stanford law students seek and secure judicial clerkships than any other kind of government position. Between 30-35% of recent graduating classes have gone on to these one-year and two-year positions. Ninety-five percent clerk at the federal district or appellate level. Clerking entails a good deal of legal research and writing, though it can also involve administrative responsibilities. It is an excellent opportunity to become familiar with pretrial and trial procedures and to hone legal research, writing and advocacy skills.
There are many benefits to working as a term judicial law clerk or permanent staff attorney. The jobs can be remarkable introductions to a variety of lawyering techniques and styles. The experience can be an invaluable way to see judicial decision-making in action, and to gain exposure to a wide variety of legal specialties. Many legal employers regard this as a gold star on your resume, and the judge you work with can be a terrific reference. For people who are unsure about a permanent job, or who are looking for a public interest or public sector job, a clerkship can keep you clothed and fed while you await bar results and search for a job.
A clerkship, however, is not right for everyone. If you are not interested in legal research and writing, are eager to get started in a job with more permanence, or are more comfortable in a role of more forthright advocacy, you might consider other alternatives.
For more information about clerking and the application process, click here.