Make Your Clerkship Application Shine: Résumé

PencilsYour clerkship application résumé will be very similar to the one you used when applying for summer jobs or even for law school. The key difference is that your clerkship résumé should further emphasize your writing and research skills.

Information Your Clerkship Résumé Needs To Have

If you wrote a law school Note, this should definitely go on your résumé, along with any substantial undergraduate writing. Include the title and a brief synopsis, if it’s not obvious from the title what you were writing about.

Also include some specific detail about the work you did during your first and second summers of law school. Did you draft document that were filed in court? Were you assigned to research specific questions and summarize your findings? Make it easy for the reader to understand what you actually did.

Because judges want to have a sense of you as a person, include a short section on your interests, even if you opted (unwisely in my opinion) to omit this from your work-oriented résumé.

How Much Do You Want To Reveal?

You’ll also want to carefully consider how political you want your clerkship application résumé to be. Are you head of the your school’s ACLU chapter, a founding member of Outlaws, and a board member of the Environmental Law Society? Great, unless you’re dying to work for a conservative George W. Bush appointee. The unfortunate fact is that the judicial appointment process is highly politicized at the moment, and at least some judges want to hire clerks who generally agree with their political inclinations (this goes for conservative and liberal judges). This is not to say that you should scrub your résumé clean of all ideological hints, just that you should consider how it might be received.

If you are tempted to hide all traces of your political viewpoint, keep in mind that you could end up being hired by someone wildly inappropriate, making for an awkward year. It’s also useful to remember that the judicial appointment process was once less politicized, so there may be far less political distance between a Carter and a Reagan appointee, for example, than two judges selected by George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

How to Make Every Part of Your Clerkship Application Shine

Return to Judicial Clerkships 101.

Have questions about your clerkship résumé? Leave them in the comments!

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