You’re slated to graduate near the top of your class. You ran the school’s law review. You dominated in moot court and earned recommendations as a summer intern.
Before you fill out your resume, you need to notch just one more achievement on your belt: A clerkship.
Yes, most law students dream of wielding influence, of being the voice in someone’s ear. But getting there is no walk in the park. Judges must sift through hundreds of applications. It isn’t easy to be that person with the right blend of academic acumen and experience (let alone a personal connection).
As a clerk, you’ll master procedure, research, and writing far faster than your peers. You’ll build a wide and influential network. Most importantly, you’ll gain an inside look at the law that makes you a valuable asset to many employers, according to the Chicago-Kent College of Law’s Judicial Clerkship Handbook:
“A clerkship allows a lawyer to view the system of justice from the perspective of the judiciary at the beginning of one’s career. To witness, and take part in, the judicial decision making process and the writing of court opinions, is simply an invaluable asset to anyone interested in understanding the law thoroughly and becoming an effective legal advocate. A judicial clerkship can be a valuable steppingstone for one’s career. You will be working closely with a distinguished member of the legal profession, from whom you can learn a great deal. Usually a judge develops a great deal of affinity for his or her clerks, and is eager to serve as a mentor for years to come. Further, few employers – firms, government, public interest, and the academy – are insensible to the educational benefit and the perspective gained from the clerkship experience. Many large law firms offer monetary bonuses to individuals who have previously clerked.”
So which law schools are best at placing students in clerkships? This week, U.S. News and World Report covered clerkships at the Federal, state, and local levels, focusing on the class of 2012. Based on the percentage of a given class clerking at the federal level, here are the top 20 law schools for getting a Federal clerkship:
|School||2015 Best Law Schools rank||Percent of 2012 employed J.D. grads with federal judicial clerkships||Percent of 2012 employed J.D. grads with state and local judicial clerk-ships|
|University of Chicago||4||15%||1.90%|
|University of Virginia||8||12.60%||6.20%|
|University of Notre Dame||26||11%||2.40%|
|University of Pennsylvania||7||10.60%||3.80%|
|University of Georgia||29||10.30%||7.20%|
|University of Alabama||23||10.10%||3.20%|
|University of Michigan||10||9.60%||3.70%|
|University of Texas-Austin||15||9%||3.20%|
|University of Southern California (Gould)||20||7.90%||0%|
|University of California-Berkeley||9||7.10%||2.40%|
|Washington & Lee University||43||6.90%||13.80%|
|Wake Forest Univesity||31||6.60%||2.90%|
Source: U.S. News and World Report
On the next page: top law schools for state and local clerkships.