Landing a Federal Clerkship Is Only Impossible If You Don’t Try

Ever thought of turning your apartment into a UPS store? Spending at least half of your time on something other than schoolwork? Sending your information to as many as 100 different judges across the country?

Me either, until I decided to apply for federal clerkship positions. Federal judges start accepting applications over a year before you will actually start working. The application process starts in January of your 2L year and preparation may begin even sooner. If you are fortunate enough to land a federal clerkship you will also have to graduate from law school and pass a bar exam before starting.

Federal clerkships are extremely competitive positions, as the top students from every law school in the country are applying to fill one or two open positions with a limited number of federal judges who will have positions open. Florida State Law graduates are being hired for these positions, so it is not unrealistic to consider applying. The Florida State University College of Law also has a committee in place, specifically to help and guide students through the application process.

In considering if you should apply, you should answer the following questions. If you answer is yes to most, or all, then you should consider applying:

  • Do you enjoy legal research?
  • Do you enjoy legal writing?
  • Are you interested in gaining a unique perspective of the legal system?
  • Are you within the top 20% of your class?
  • Are you a member of one of the law school’s journals?
  • Do you have advocacy experience, either through participation in Mock Trial or Moot Court?
  • Do you want to be able to put one of the most prestigious legal positions in the country on your resume?

Florida State University has various resources for students interested in applying for federal clerkships. The Clerkship Committee is comprised of extremely knowledgeable, patient, and helpful professors. The Placement Office will also review your resume and help you print mailing labels for your paper applications. The documents you will need for each application are:

  • Resume
  • Cover letter
  • Three letters of recommendation from College of Law professors
  • A writing sample, about ten pages in length

If you think you have what it takes, definitely consider jumping in and applying for these opportunities. Good luck!

??????????????????????????????????? Melanie Kalmanson, 3L