AuthorNazarian, Douglas R.M.

For many law school graduates, the year or two that we spent serving as judicial law clerks was the best job we ever had; for me, it was the best job I had until I was appointed to the bench. Judicial clerkships function in the legal profession in much the same role as residencies and fellowships in the medical profession, as an immersive and intensive learning opportunity in which new graduates get to apply the book learning of law school to real-life cases. Clerkships bring you inside the judicial branch to see and experience courtroom lawyering (good and bad) and judicial decision-making first-hand. And a clerkship can, and should, be a transformative personal and professional relationship for new lawyers. We identify ourselves as lawyers by a few key professional markers, and our clerkships are a big one. Judges are life-long mentors for their clerks, and the judge's extended clerk family is a ready-made and durable professional network. My judge, The Honorable James B. Loken, (1) said that a judge's legacy on the bench isn't measured by the opinions they write or the decisions they make, but by the lawyers that they send out into the world. That principle motivated me as a clerk and guides me as a judge. The work of the judicial branch depends, literally, on our ability as judges to execute against and live out that principle. And no matter what their ultimate career aspirations, I counsel all law students to clerk after graduation--to find a court and a judge who are a good fit for them and to use that experience as a springboard to wherever they'd like to go.

Professor Tessa Dysart, a proud Shedd Clerk, (2) shares the view that clerkships are the best first (or at least early) job in the law. But as formative as the clerkship experience can be, law students come to school and go through school with real asymmetries of information about them. Students with lawyers in their lives and connections in the legal profession enter law school with clerkships in mind; students without that sort of head start, especially students from disadvantaged backgrounds and underrepresented communities, learn about clerkships a lot later or not at all. And those asymmetries of information create asymmetries of opportunity. A Short & Happy Guide to Judicial Clerkships seeks to overcome the information gap that begets the clerkship gaps, and it does more than just collect the information students should have--the Guide helps students see, for themselves...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT