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.
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.
*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.
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: https://lawclerks.ao.uscourts.gov/.
Law School students interested in an unpaid internship with a Federal Judge should forward their letter and resume directly to the judge's chambers.
See the Court's directory* for a listing of Southern District judicial officers and their chambers address.