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Federal Clerkship Application Period Looms

By Robyn Hagan Cain on August 05, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Want to get one of those magical Supreme Court clerkships? The first step is usually a federal clerkship. If you're a 3L with an eye on federal clerkship greatness, you're in luck: we have all the details for the Federal Judges Law Clerk Hiring Plan.

First things first: the clerkship application period. Judging from the fact that the hiring plan states three times that no applications or materials should be submitted to the circuit before September 6, 2011, we suspect they mean it.

More specifically, the hiring plan repeatedly refers to “the day after Labor Day” as the critical date when applicants should try to schedule their materials to arrive. Judges can start contacting applicants to schedule interviews three days later on September 9, and you could be interviewing for your future job as soon as September 15. If you really impress a judge, you could have a job offer the same day.

Keep in mind that judges may be making offers before they conclude all of their scheduled interviews; so if given an option, take the earliest interview possible.

Some judges accept electronic applications, while others are committed to paper, so check out the Online System for Clerkship Application and Review, (OSCAR), to find out where your judge stands on the paper vs. ether issue.

In case you’re wondering how to ensure that paper application materials are delivered on the day after Labor Day, we have your back. Your best bet is to use an overnight delivery service, (like FedEx Overnight, UPS Next Day Air, or USPS Express Mail), which will give you a precise delivery date.

If you send your clerkship application on the Friday before Labor Day via an overnight service with signature confirmation, the carrier will deliver your application on the next business day, which would be the day after Labor Day.

So write kind notes to your most effusively complimentary law professors, ( … did I ever tell you that you remind me of Chemerinsky and Prosser, but smarter?), start bundling cover letters, resumes, recommendations, transcripts, and writing samples, and rub your lucky penny.

This federal clerkship could be the start of something big.

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