Friday, November 20, 2009

Clerkship Applications up 66% From Last Year...

Back in February, we inquired whether the economic climate would lead to fewer candidates applying for judicial clerkships. As we noted:
[W]ith firms laying off by the dozen and swelled profits drying up, can anyone comfortably state that clerks will continue to receive BigLaw's "most favored associate" status? Probably not. In fact, it is entirely conceivable that clerking could pose an affirmative disadvantage for students with respect to firm employment: offers can be revoked, bar expenses unpaid…the potentially adverse consequences of choosing to clerk rather than go straight to a firm are plentiful.
Applicants this year answered our open question with a resounding "no." According to the Blog of Legal Times, a staggering 401,576 online applications were submitted on OSCAR this past year:
The Web site used by about two-thirds of all federal judges to find clerks saw 401,576 electronic applications between Oct. 1, 2008 and Sep. 30, 2009. That’s a 66 percent increase from that time period last year, when 241,529 applications were turned in.
BLT goes on to explain that:
The applications came from only 10,722 applicants this year, meaning each applied for an average of about 38 clerkships. That’s a 42 percent increase over last year’s applicant pool, which was 7,556. Last year, each clerk hopeful applied for an average of about 31 jobs.
Congratulations to all who were fortunate enough to obtain a clerkship this season. As these numbers demonstrate, it was no easy task.


  1. wow. Now I don't feel as bad.

  2. Just because there were more applicants doesn't mean it was harder. Most probably weren't very strong candidates.

  3. Agreed with the prior post. I had no trouble whatsoever getting a clerkship this fall and none of my friends who were qualified did either.

  4. I got a clerkship, but I know lots of immensely qualified people who in other years would have gotten 10-15 interviews get just one or two or get blanked.


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