What Are the Benefits of Clerking?

There are many reasons you might choose to clerk. Overall, a judicial clerkship allows you to view the justice system from the perspective of a judge at the beginning of your career. Unless you become a judge yourself, you never again will have the opportunity to gain an insider's view of how judges make decisions and respond to different methods of advocacy. Most likely you also will never again be in as good a position to make a mark on the law, by helping a judge – as a trusted aide – to reach his or her decisions.

Clerking also enables you to:

  • Improve and refine your analytical, research, writing, communication, organizational and interpersonal skills (free of the pressures of advocacy and billable hours);
  • Gain exposure to a breadth of substantive and procedural law;
  • Engage in a strong, supportive mentoring relationship with a judge;
  • Gain a unique perspective on how judges think and how chambers and courtrooms operate;
  • Learn the difference between good and bad advocacy from reading briefs and watching oral arguments and assessing their effects on judicial decisionmaking;
  • Become a member of an active network of former clerks;
  • Spend a year or two after law school exploring career options and networking (because of the experience and training, a clerkship is a credential valued highly by law firms, public interest organizations, government agencies, corporations and other employers); and
  • Experience a new location and/or become familiar with the Bar where you plan to practice.

At bottom, a judicial clerkship is, almost invariably, an enormously enjoyable way to spend a year or two after graduation. Inevitably you will encounter many former clerks who say that their clerkship was the most interesting job they have had in their career. Indeed, many former clerks view their judge, co-clerks and chambers staff as a family, with whom they remain personally close for years after the clerkship has ended.

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