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Staff Attorneys and Law Clerks

Staff attorneys and law clerks provide the court with legal advice on the disposition of cases. They:

  • conduct legal research;
  • review case records and filings, and analyze options;
  • draft legal memoranda and propose opinions and orders;
  • discuss legal analysis with judges; and
  • provide procedural information to pro se litigants and counsel.

Some staff attorneys and law clerks serve a term of one or two years; some serve indefinitely. Generally, magistrate judges have two full-time law clerks and district judges have three full-time law clerks. The number of staff attorneys varies by caseload. 

Staff attorneys and law clerks must be law school graduates. The application process varies among judges, but it typically requires the submission of a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and reference list.

For staff attorney and law clerk hiring, some judges use OSCAR to post staff attorney and law clerk positions and accept applications online or by mail, email or fax. Other judges post positions through the clerk. If you are interested in serving as a staff attorney or law clerk, talk to your law school's career counselor, go to OSCAR, or search for a posting. Because of the large number of applicants, contacting chambers is discouraged.