Judicial Clerkships

Similar to an apprenticeship, a judicial clerkship is a paid, post-graduate position, typically for one or two years, in a judge's chambers or court staff attorneys' office. Clerkships offer unique insight into judicial decision-making and the litigation process, as well as exposure to complex legal issues. Clerking is a rare opportunity for recent graduates to develop their legal analytical and writing skills under the mentorship of a judge. A clerkship is also a prestigious credential that is valued by legal employers.

Northwestern Law graduates have clerked in federal and state courts in 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam, as well as several foreign high courts. In the federal system, our alumni have clerked for bankruptcy and district courts, courts of appeal, specialized courts (such as the Court of Federal Claims, Court of International Trade, and Tax Court), and the Supreme Court. At the state level, they have clerked for trial, intermediate appellate, and supreme courts. Judicial clerkships have helped our graduates launch careers in law firms of all sizes, competitive public interest fellowships, and prestigious government positions including the Department of Justice Honors Program and U.S. Attorney's Office.

Northwestern Law is deeply committed to supporting our students and graduates who wish to clerk, including providing comprehensive advising and assistance with the application and interviewing process. Throughout the year, the Law School hosts educational programs, such as clerkship information sessions, alumni law clerk panels, and a variety of events that bring judges to campus to speak to and interact with students. Northwestern Law also has a robust year-round judicial externship program in which students receive academic credit for working in a judge's chambers paired with a weekly seminar on topics related to judicial decision-making. In addition, we offer specialized legal writing classes to prepare students for judicial clerkships and externships.

Students and alumni interested in exploring clerkship opportunities are invited to contact Professor Janet Brown, Director of Judicial Clerkships, for more information.