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United States District Court
Southern District of Florida

301 North Miami Avenue, Miami, FL 33128
(305) 523-5100

Chief United States District Judge
William J. Zloch


Court Administrator • Clerk of Court
Clarence Maddox


Law Clerks

Applicants for positions as law clerk to a Federal Judge should direct their letter, including resume, copies of law school transcripts and law degree, writing sample, and salary history or proof of income directly to the judge's chambers.

Law clerks are typically hired for a one or two-year term, with hiring decisions usually made one-two years prior to an intended employment date.

Value of Federal Law Clerk Experience

A judicial clerkship provides direct insight into the judicial process and is a valuable and enriching experience. A law clerk gains practical experience by attending judicial proceedings, performing legal research and providing other assistance to the judge. Law clerks also are exposed to the methods and customs of practitioners, and learn the level of professional behavior expected of lawyers. Many former law clerks find the prestige and experience associated with service as a federal judicial law clerk broadens their future employment opportunities.

Duties of Federal Law Clerks

The duties and functions of a federal judicial law clerk are determined by the employing judge. In most chambers, law clerks concentrate on legal research and writing. Typically, the broad range of duties assigned to a law clerk includes conducting legal research, preparing bench memos, drafting orders and opinions, proofreading the judge's orders and opinions, verifying citations, communicating with counsel regarding case management and procedural requirements, and assisting the judge during courtroom proceedings. Some judges also may assign maintaining the chambers library, and other administrative duties to the law clerk.

Judicial law clerks also are expected to work cooperatively with chambers staff and court personnel. The employing judge must be confident in the law clerk's professionalism in interacting with counsel, litigants and the public. A law clerk is bound by the ethical standards established by the judge and the Code of Conduct for Judicial Employees.

Types of Appointments and Benefits

There are different types of law clerk appointments in the federal judiciary.

  • Term Appointment is the most common appointment. Term federal judicial law clerks serve an appointment understood to be less than four years, but are generally one or two year appointments. Term appointment law clerks are covered by Social Security and are eligible to participate in health and life insurance programs including long-term care insurance, and pre-tax health and dependant care supplemental insurance programs. Term law clerks are not eligible to participate in the retirement system or Thrift Savings Plan.
  • Career Appointment judicial law clerks are appointed for four or more years. Career law clerks are entitled to participate in all benefit programs offered including health and life insurance, long-term care insurance, pre-tax health and dependant care supplemental insurance, retirement system and the Thrift Savings Plan.

Qualifications and Salary

The salary (in 2003) available to a law clerk depends upon legal work experience subsequent to graduation from law school and bar membership.

  • Most recent law school graduates (or those certified as having completed all law school studies and requirements and merely awaiting conferment of degree) with high academic achievement and/or certain educational substitutions, may qualify for an appointment at grade JSP-11, currently $48,911 at Miami or Fort Lauderdale, and $47,110 at West Palm Beach or Fort Pierce.
  • In addition to the above qualifications, one full year of post-graduate legal experience and bar membership qualifies the appointee for grade JSP-12 appointment with a minimum* annual salary of $58,621 at Miami or Fort Lauderdale, and $56,463 at West Palm Beach or Fort Pierce.
  • If an appointee has post-graduate work experience as a federal judicial law clerk, the salary could range between $67,143 - $107,093, depending on numbers of years of previous law clerk experience, location, and other considerations.

*The quoted salaries are the minimum salary rates. Additionally, law clerks appointed for more than one year who have a minimum of one year legal work experience after graduation, bar membership, and a current salary higher than the first step of the appointment grade may be eligible for a higher salary within the appointment grade. Specific information about salary will be available prior to accepting an offer.

Citizenship Requirements

Employees of the United States Courts must be citizens of the United States or citizens of countries with treaty relations with the United States, as defined by the United States Department of State, and confirmed by the Administrative Office of the U. S. Courts. Non-citizen applicants must possess valid and unexpired immigration and work status documents.

If you need further clarification regarding citizenship eligibility to work for the United States District Court, please contact the Human Resources Office at (305) 523-5980.

Federal Law Clerk Information System

The Federal Judiciary maintains a comprehensive website containing information for individuals interested in becoming a law clerk for a Federal Judge. Positions available with this District as well as throughout the Judiciary are listed on the site. However, judges within this District also choose law clerks from the numerous unsolicited resumes they receive every year without necessarily advertising for a position.

Click this link to view the information offered through the Judiciary's Federal Law Clerk Information System:

Legal Interns

Law School students interested in an unpaid internship with a Federal Judge should forward their letter and resume directly to the judge's chambers.

Judicial Roster

See the Court's directory* for a listing of Southern District judicial officers and their chambers address.

General Information | Applicant Information | Benefits | Legal Clerkships | Vacancies

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