Judicial Clerkships

A large percentage of our graduates secure a judicial clerkship following graduation, working directly with a judge at the state or federal level to gain valuable legal skills and practice knowledge. These prestigious positions lead our graduates to national employment with private firms, federal and state government, and nonprofits.

To support students and alumni in securing judicial clerkships, the law school provides a: 

  • Faculty-led Clerkship Committee, focused on strategy and building relationships to promote clerkship opportunities; 
  • Public Sector Coordinator to assist students with federal and state appellate clerkship applications, manage faculty letters of recommendation, and navigate clerkship hiring trends;
  • Judicial Clerkship Resources website, with judicial hiring trends, resources on applications and hiring processes, and research and interview preparation information;
  • Judicial Writing Course, designed to develop the writing abilities and practical knowledge of prospective judicial law clerks;
  • Judicial Clerkship Pipeline Program, created in coordination with local federal judges, the Clerkship Committee, and the Career Center, provides students and judges with added support in transitioning from law school to a clerkship. In this program, the selected student will participate in an externship with the judge during their last semester of law school and enroll in the Judicial Writing Course.
  • Career Center team of experienced counselors, including a Director of Public Interest Programs, who provide programming, clerkship counseling, application feedback, and interview preparation. 

Post-Clerkship Jobs

With a large percentage of the class performing a judicial clerkship after graduation (see 2017 Career Facts & Statistics), we provide our graduates’ first post-clerkship job choices:

Post-Clerkship Jobs Class of 2015 Class of 2014 Class of 2013
Law Firm 57% 59% 60%
Public Interest 34% 37% 40%
Nonprofit/Public Defense 11% 10% 6%
Government 23% 27% 34%
Business 9% 2% 0%

Percentages are based on the total number of graduates reporting their post-clerkship employment plans to the Career Center or found through independent research. Totals may not equal 100% due to rounding.

March 2012–January 2018 Reported Judicial Clerkships

  • Federal Courts - 129 clerkships (U.S. Supreme Court, and federal circuit, district, magistrate, bankruptcy, trade and immigration courts)
  • State Appellate Courts - 96 clerkships (state supreme courts and state courts of appeals)
  • State Trial Courts - 178 clerkships
  • Graduates have secured clerkships in over 34 states, including clerkships in Washington D.C., New York, California, Illinois, and Minnesota.

*More information on annual NALP and ABA reporting for judicial clerkships available here. 

  • Caitlinrose Fisher ('15)

    Caitlinrose Fisher (’15)

    Indispensable Guidance

    “The Law School’s faculty, especially members of the clerkship committee, provided indispensable guidance and support as I navigated the clerkship application process. ”
    former clerk, Chief Judge Sidney R. Thomas, US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit; current clerk, Judge Diana E. Murphy, US Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit

Contact Information

University of Minnesota Law School

Walter F. Mondale Hall | 229 19th Avenue South | Minneapolis, MN 55455

P: 612-625-1000

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