A Few of the Many Reasons to Work With a Judge Through a Judicial Externship or Clerkship
Ask any of the career counselors in our office whether you should spend time during or after school working in a judge’s chambers, and you’ll hear the same response: “absolutely.” Most – if not all – other administrators and faculty at the law school would agree. Even if you ultimately want to pursue a career in transactional law or a position that does not require a license to practice, judicial externships (during school) and clerkships (following graduation) have much to offer you.
You will have an opportunity to practice your research and writing. This practice, and the feedback you receive, will help you throughout your career, no matter what kind of professional work product you are creating.
A judicial mentor can help you define and achieve your goals. Judges like to see their externs and clerks succeed, and many work hard to make that happen.
Working in chambers exposes you to a variety of kinds of legal work. The experience can therefore inform you as you determine what practice area to pursue.
A judicial externship or clerkship will help you better understand what you are learning in your classes. For example, your understanding of civil procedure will be infinitely better after you help a judge decide to dismiss a complaint and analyze the exhibits in support of a motion for summary judgment.
When you work in a courthouse, you get to observe good and bad lawyering. You can model yourself after the effective advocates you see and avoid repeating the mistakes of others.
A post-graduate judicial clerkship is almost a prerequisite for some career paths. If you want to pursue a career teaching law, a federal or state appellate court clerkship is a near-must. A clerkship can also help you land a job at a law firm; many large firms hire entry-level associates only out of their summer programs and judicial clerkships.