Clerkships, Federal Government, Federal Judges, Feeder Judges, Job Searches, Law Schools, Martha Minow

The Law Clerk Hiring Plan, R.I.P.


From: Georgetown Law Clerkships
Sent: Fri 5/25/2012
To: [source redacted]
Subject: IMPORTANT – Changes in Pre-First Mailing Deadline and Procedures

Dear [redacted]:

We recently learned that some of our peer schools are submitting students’ applications for judicial clerkships in advance of deadlines established by the federal law clerk hiring plan. Because we want to ensure that our students have full access to federal judicial clerkship opportunities for the 2013-2014 term, we are adding a June 11 mailing for rising 3Ls (4Es), in addition to the late summer (“first”) mailing. Please note, this mailing was originally designated as the pre-first mailing for alumni and state court applicants, scheduled for June 26. If you are a rising 3L (4E) or alumnus interested in participating in this pre-first mailing, you must do the following by June 11:

1. Email your list of recommenders to [redacted].

2. Add judges (select Pre-First Mailing) in Symplicity. Include state court judges with deadlines before the first mailing and off-plan federal judges.

3. Submit all application materials to OCS for processing. If received later, materials will be collated with the materials of those being sent according to the Federal Hiring Plan. For detailed information on putting together your application materials, please refer to the website at

Because all full-time faculty recommendation letters will be due to Faculty Support by June 11, you should immediately contact your recommenders to let them know about this change.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact [redacted]. Although OCS will be closed for the holiday weekend, we will regularly monitor this email address.


Amy Killoran
Assistant Director of Judicial Clerkships

Kabara Korth Praskavich
Dean’s Fellow


Dear Rising 3L Students and Faculty:

As you know, there is presently in place a national hiring plan (the “Plan”) to structure the timeline of student clerkship applications to federal judges. Before this current Plan existed, students applied as early as the summer between their first and second years in law school, for clerkships that would begin after they graduated. The Plan shifted the hiring process to the beginning of the third year of law school, allowing students additional time to consider their career options, learn about the benefits of clerking, cultivate substantive relationships with potential recommenders, and build their experiences and grades. Harvard has supported the Plan for those reasons. Logistically, support of the Plan has meant that we institutionally submitted our students’ clerkship applications and faculty recommendation letters to federal judges no earlier than the September date specified each year in the Plan. Under the current Plan, judges may receive clerkship recommendations and application materials for members of the Class of 2013 beginning on Tuesday, September 4, 2012.

Our closest peer law schools, as well as most law schools nationwide, generally have been taking the same approach. The Plan has survived almost ten years, which is longer than any past attempt to bring order to the clerkship process. But the Plan slowly has been eroding. There is a notable increase in hiring applicants who have already graduated and worked for a year or more — which falls outside the Plan — and, of real concern, an increasing number of judges have solicited applications from students before the official Plan dates in September and some law schools have loosened their policies and practices in response. This poses a real dilemma for Harvard Law School. We want to maintain an orderly hiring process; the instability from a complete collapse of the Plan could harm our students. Yet we do not want to restrict our students from competing effectively for their desired clerkships with any judges who intend to hire ahead of the official Plan schedule.

With all of these factors at play and after consulting with faculty and staff internally, various judges, and other law school deans, I have decided that Harvard institutionally will take the following course of action:

As previously planned and announced, the School will collect and submit student applications and faculty recommendations for receipt by federal judges on September 4, as specified in the Plan.

Faculty approached by students who are applying on their own to non-complying judges may exercise discretion in deciding how to support such students.

We will continue to monitor the national landscape and keep you apprised of any new developments.

We are eager to assist students seeking the opportunity to work as judicial law clerks, and Harvard Law School students have had considerable success securing clerkships even during the ups and downs of past hiring plans. I anticipate the same success this year.

With best wishes,
Martha Minow

Georgetown Dumps Hiring Plan; Blames Noncompliance by “Peer Schools” [The Clerkship Scramble]
2012 Federal Law Clerk Hiring Plan [OSCAR]

Earlier: The Price of Prestige: Clerkship Application Chaos
Want to Clerk for the Judge Who Took on Obama?

ATL Law School Directory
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