The Law School prepares students for judicial internships and clerkships and assists them in developing the skills, qualities, and credentials that judges look for when selecting their interns and law clerks.
Judicial internships provide the opportunity to gain exposure to the judicial process and the inner workings of a court while you are still in law school. Interns often work closely with the judge’s law clerks and may be asked to research and write memoranda, attend trials and hearings, summarize cases, and help with administrative work. Interns often improve their GPAs because they develop practical insights and a solid, practical understanding of the law. Some internships lead directly to judicial clerkships, as some judges prefer to take their law clerks from their pool of interns. Although internships are unpaid, students can receive school credit for federal courts and state appellate courts nationwide. Judicial internships are offered during the spring, fall, and summer semesters. During the summer of 2007, 82 students, mostly 1Ls, chose to do judicial internships. Judges begin accepting applications for summer positions December 1, and some judges will also interview and hire during the spring semester.
Judicial clerkships are paid one- or two-year term positions that occur after graduation. Clerkships are one of the most rewarding forms of public service open to law school graduates. Law clerks act as legal assistants to trial or appellate court judges, either at the state or federal court level. A judicial clerkship is an extremely valuable experience for students interested in either litigation or transactional work: it provides invaluable insight into the workings of the legal system and into a wide range of legal issues. A law clerk’s duties vary from court to court and from judge to judge; in general, however, judicial clerks have great responsibility and tremendous opportunity for learning. In the last few years, nearly 13 percent of UT Law graduates have accepted judicial clerkships for their first year after graduation. Also, several UT Law graduates with one or more years of legal experience become judicial clerks. UT is one of the top law schools in the nation in regards to placement of graduates as clerks on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Applying for clerkships is a multi-stage and competitive process, which requires preparation and perseverance. You can begin to prepare for the application process in your first year by getting to know your professors who will write letters of recommendation for you and by working on your legal writing skills. In addition, the Judicial Clerkships Advisors have recommended classes
you should take to prepare for a clerkship.