One of the busiest times of the year for me is mid-August through the day after Labor Day, otherwise known as “Judicial Clerkship Application Season.” Tulane Law School puts a huge emphasis on students seeking out and obtaining clerkship opportunities within the federal and state judiciary, and the deadline for applications to the majority of federal judges is September 6, 2011. Last year, we had fifteen students in the Class of 2011 obtain clerkships in federal and state court, and we always strive to have as many of our students clerk as possible.
The CDO takes a very active role in assisting our students with the clerkship application process, from coordinating the process of gathering and processing faculty recommendation letters to organizing a mail-out of paper applications to the judges to providing counseling and advice on application strategies. This year, 55 members of the Class of 2012 took advantage of the services we offer. On Monday, August 29, we held our “Clerkship Application Drop Date” for the 3L class, where our hard-working CDO staff organizes and bundles hundreds of paper applications to send via UPS to various state and federal judges. We try to make the process easier on the students by covering the mailing costs of up to 50 applications per student. I spent the rest of the week organizing electronic applications and meeting with students about last minute questions. It was a definite relief when we reached September 6, but we are so looking forward to hearing about the interviews our students schedule and the positions that they obtain.
We believe that judicial clerkships provide an invaluable experience, reference, and résumé-builder. They are prestigious positions that prepare the new graduate for maximum success and flexibility in law practice while he/she enjoys a close working relationship with a valuable mentor. In market downturns they provide job assurance, entry-level experience, and a way to further distinguish the recent graduate. Recognized by the bar, bench, and the legal community as an unparalleled experience, clerkships at all levels are an opportunity available to Tulane students from a broad range of backgrounds, interests, and accomplishments. The faculty strongly recommends they be considered, and many faculty members have clerked and are available to discuss their experiences; many also have contact with specific judges and can suggest application advice. The CDO is happy to assist students in any way possible in pursuing this endeavor.