law clerk judicial clerkship Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgAs goes Harvard Law School, so goes the rest of the law school world. Last month, HLS pointed its students towards an escape from Biglaw purgatory: clerkships.
Now Penn Law is doing the same, revising its clerkship policy to allow students to blanket the country — and cyberspace — with clerkship applications. From Law Clerk Addict:

JUDGE LIMIT POLICY

In light of the current market conditions and the expectation that the competition for clerkships this year will be greater than in the past, CPP and the Faculty Clerkship Committee decided to reconsider the 100 judge limit and have agreed to the following new limit: Applicants will be limited to 75 paper applications. There is no limit on the number of OSCAR judges you may apply to.

At least there’s still a limit on paper applications. Trees everywhere are breathing sighs of relief.
(For those of you who clerked in the Mesozoic Era, as we did, OSCAR has nothing to do with the Academy Awards; rather, it’s the Online System for Clerkship Application and Review.)
Update: UVA is following suit. Full message after the jump.
More after the jump.


Nevertheless, Penn doesn’t want its students applying indiscriminately:

The committee expects that you will keep the number of your applications at a reasonable level, that you will do appropriate research before adding a judge to your list, and that you will not apply to a judge for whom you would not be willing to clerk (based on what you can discern from the paper record).

Does the “paper record” include deliciously gossipy novels about the clerkship experience?
Then again, given the grim job market, many a Penn grad would probably kill for the opportunity to remain in Philly and clerk for Judge Dolores Sloviter. It may not be a fun experience, but hey, it’s a job (assuming she doesn’t fire you before the year is up).
Encouraging students to investigate the possibility of clerking makes sense, but it’s hardly a panacea. In many cases, it’s much harder to land a clerkship than a random Biglaw gig. This is especially true if you’re aiming for a so-called feeder judge; one of the more popular or prestigious federal circuit courts, like the D.C. or Second or Ninth Circuits; or a federal district court in a major city, like the Southern District of New York, the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago), or the Northern or Central Districts of California (San Francisco and Los Angeles).
Good luck, clerkship applicants. In this hyper-competitive year, with experienced lawyers as well as law students seeking Article III asylum, you’ll need it.
Update: UVA Law jumps on the bandwagon:
ANNOUNCEMENTS
3Ls: New Application Limits
Date Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Submitted By: Judicial Clerkships/Judicial Clerkships
In light of what promises to be a competitive clerkship season, the Office of Judicial Clerkships has decided to lift the limit on the number of OSCAR applications that clerkship candidates may make. Students are still limited to 75 paper (CARS) applications.
In order to give students enough time to factor in this change when making application decisions, the deadline for the completion of judge lists has been pushed back to Sunday, July 19, at midnight.
Please be advised that although no strict limit on the number of OSCAR judges will be enforced, common sense and courtesy to the faculty and faculty assistants should guide your decision as to how many applications to make. Students applying to an excessive number of judges will be contacted and, in some cases, asked to limit their lists.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Ruth Payne, Director of Judicial Clerkships, at [xxxx].
Penn To Allow Unlimited Clerkship Applications [Law Clerk Addict]
Earlier: Cravath Announcement Causes Immediate Reaction At Harvard Law School


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