Judicial Clerkship Law and Legal Definition

Judicial clerkship is a one to three-year post-graduate position with a judge in federal or state court. The candidate who undertakes the judicial clerkship is called a law clerk or a judicial clerk and provides assistance to a judge. A law clerk assists the judge in researching issues before the court and in writing opinions. Judicial clerkship is different from internship and externship. Similarly law clerks are different from court clerks. The most prestigious judicial clerkships in the United States are those with the United States Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals and some of the U.S. district courts and state Supreme Courts. After a judicial/federal clerkship for a term of one to two years, the law clerks usually get absorbed by elite law firms.

Candidates apply for judicial clerkships roughly a year before the clerkship begins. The application process is largely streamlined by the National Federal Judges Law Clerk Hiring Plan, and the OSCAR system.