College of Law > Career Services > Students > Judicial Clerkships
A judicial clerkship is a post-graduate position in which an attorney works directly under a judge, usually for a one or two year term. Judicial clerks at all court levels obtain unparalleled access to and knowledge about the judicial process. Additionally, judicial clerks are exposed to a wide variety of legal issues and are able to make hands-on contributions to the judicial decision-making processes. The duties of judicial clerks include reading briefs and attending court proceedings, drafting bench memoranda analyzing parties' arguments, advising judges on the disposition of cases and assisting with drafting opinions.
Judicial clerkships are among the most prestigious and competitive employment opportunities available to recent law school graduates and alumni, and former clerks often describe their clerkships as one of the defining moments of their legal careers.
If you are thinking about exploring judicial clerkship options, schedule an appointment with Ashley Leo in Law Career Services.
A federal clerkship is typically considered the most prestigious and competitive type of judicial clerkship. Students may complete a federal clerkship with a:
Applicants typically begin applying for federal clerkships before their 3L year. Many federal judges use the Online System for Clerkship Application and Review (OSCAR) to post openings and review applications. Federal clerkships usually require three or four letters of recommendation and a strong writing sample.
A state judicial clerkship can be a great opportunity to get hands-on mentorship from a judge, network with the local bar and receive invaluable access to the inner workings of the court. Students may clerk for a state supreme court, state appellate court or a state trial court. State trial courts can cover a variety of areas of law including chancery, criminal and domestic relations. DePaul law alumni have clerked for the Illinois Supreme Court, the Illinois Appellate Court, and many Cook County Circuit Court judges.
Students typically apply for a state judicial clerkship during their 3L year, and state courts usually hire students during their last semester of 3L year or after graduation.
-NALP Insight and Inside Information for Select State Court Clerkships
DePaul also offers students a chance to receive academic credit in exchange for clerking for a judge during law school. Please visit the Externship Program website for program information and available positions.
DePaul offers a variety of opportunities throughout the year to educate and encourage students who are interested in judicial clerkships, including: