usaorbust wrote: ↑
Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:46 pm
I know this is pretty chamber specific, I would guess, but I would love some info form clerks about judicial internships: What types of assignments do you give interns, how do I know what chambers would be best to work for, what do interns take away form the process, and how do you know which judges will or will not hire interns as clerks.
I just saw this now eleven days later, figured you warrant a response. You answered your own question: it depends on the chambers. My XP is that I did a judicial internship and worked daily with other interns, I spoke to other law students who did judicial internships, and I read. A lot. I will be applying for clerkships this cycle (2020-2021).
1) What types of assignments do interns get? This will depend on the court's level, the judge, and the clerk(s). If you're at an appellate court, you're going to be doing more research and writing, probably internal. Opinion draft writing is really fun, I did that + "hey, can you research this question for me?" during my judicial internship. If you're at a "trial" court, like a state general court of jurisdiction, a Federal district court, or a specialty court like say a state family court, you're going to do more "trial" related work like responses to motions, memos to the judge, etc.
2) How do you know what chambers to work for? TL:DR, ask questions. Except for very prominent judges like retired Judge Kozinski (and note that Kozinski had a sexual abuse scandal), you will have to PM a former clerk/intern on here, that other forum, Reddit, or over a more connection-based forum like LinkedIn, email, or a phone call (these latter three avenues are usually opened up via school connections).
3) What do interns take away from the process? This depends on the intern with one exception, writing samples. Some courts rule all intern-created content as "internal" and unable to be used by the former intern as a writing sample. But in general, what interns get out of the "job" depends on the intern. You reap what you sow.
4) How do [applicants] know which judges hire interns? This is the applicant's job to figure out. First, where do you want to be geographically? A judicial internship is a nice way to break into a market or shore up connections. Second, what level do you want to work at? Appellate or trial? Grades will be somewhat dispositive here now that 1Ls (and obviously 2Ls) have grades. Once you answer these questions, talk to your law school's career services office. They absolutely keep tabs on who goes where, especially on their "home turf", the law school's primary market. If you want to go where everyone else does (like say to the chief judge of the local Federal district court), then you need to have qualifications that put you head and shoulders above the competition, or at least makes you more compelling to hire than the rest of your 1L competition. If you want to go where no one else does, you have that advantage of not facing as much competition.
Once you do steps 1, 2, and 3, you'll have a good idea. Career services will often know of connections too, like say a judge contacts them and says "I would like an intern for Summer 2019" and does not publicly advertise.
Of course, the simplest way to find out is to call the chambers's secretary (often the default number) and ask if chambers takes interns, or send an email. Just sending a cover letter and resume works too - that's what I did after I talked to career services.
The only other thing worth mentioning is that some judges/courts will not hire former interns as clerks due to concerns about favoritism and appearances. My state's supreme court chief justice has this policy.