Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What skills and characteristics are taken into consideration for candidate selection?

Students are evaluated on whether they would be a good intern.  Important characteristics include:

• Self-starter
• Critical thinker
• Strong oral and written communication skills
• Team player
• Problem solver
• Growth capacity
• Success oriented

Q. What other criteria is used in selection?  Will academics, GPA, work experience and background be considered?

In the first round of interviews, academics, strong writing skills, work experience and a willingness to learn are all elements used in the evaluation process.  Students will be sent to judges for review and a possible interview based on the results of their screening interviews.  The final selection is up to individual judges who may have their own criteria.  Students are encouraged to attach grades or transcripts to their materials as soon as they are available as many judges like to review academic achievements prior to selecting their students. 

Q. Can students select what type of judge they will be interning with?

No.  Past students have indicated that all internships (both with federal and state judges) provide unique and valuable experiences.  Due to the number of applicants and the individual criteria set by judges, all students will be considered for all positions limited by location preferences. Students may indicate preferences and experience for certain areas of law including intellectual property, antitrust, bankruptcy and child and family.    

Q. If selected as an intern, what kinds of cases are seen?

The participating judges hear cases on a wide variety of subjects.  Caseloads of federal judges may include: bankruptcy, securities issues, copyright, patent and trademark, product liability, tax lawsuits, constitutional law issues, civil rights, etc.  State court judges typically hear a variety of civil and/or criminal cases.  In addition, students interested in interning with a judge who will be involved in intellectual property should indicate that on the application and submit their interests and qualifications, including relevant technical education or experience, to be considered for one of those positions.

Q. Where is the first round interview conducted?  For example, I’m in Michigan, so can I be interviewed at my school?

The goal is for students to interview with ABA or local bar association members in the applicant’s school location.  If that is not possible, the interview may be conducted by telephone.

Q. How should students prepare for the screening interview?

A screening interview is like any other interview for employment.  The partner interviewing is looking to determine the student’s strongest skills and whether or not they would make a good candidate for a judicial internship. Students should dress for a business interview, come prepared to answer questions about their desires and qualifications and conduct themselves in the most professional manner.  They might also bring examples of work or grades—anything that best exhibits their qualifications for the position.

Q. What do you mean by “rolling admission?”  Will applying early help?

Yes.  As soon as an application is processed, we can match the student with a partner for a screening interview.  The first 500 applicants will be guaranteed an interview.  Additional applicants will be interviewed based upon the needs of the program and placements.  The results of that interview and the student qualifications will determine if they will be reviewed by a judge.  The most qualified students will be sent to judges first.  This will vary by location as certain locations are more competitive than others.  Judges will continue reviewing student materials until all positions are filled.  The sooner applications are submitted, the sooner we can schedule interviews.  Judges will begin reviewing student folders for qualified students right away.  The earlier the student enters into that process the more time they have to be reviewed by hiring judges.  That will increase their chances of being hired.   

Q. What is needed to complete the application process?

To apply students must submit their application along with a resume, grades (second-year students), writing sample and a statement of interest.  First-year students should add their grades to their materials as soon as they are available.  If students are also interested in being considered for one of the specialized intellectual property internships, they need to include an additional page outlining their interests and qualifications.  All materials should be submitted no later than January 6, 2017. 

Q. How is eligibility for the program determined? 

The mission of the Judicial Intern Opportunity Program is to provide opportunities to diverse students.  Eligible students are those who are members of racial and ethnic groups that are traditionally underrepresented in the profession. The program also provides opportunities to students with disabilities, women, students who are economically disadvantaged and students who identify themselves as LGBT. To assist students in identifying how they qualify for this program please review the information on eligibility located on our website at

In addition, applicants must be U.S. citizens and have a valid social security number in order to apply.  If a student is not a U.S. citizen but has a valid social security number and is able to earn income in the United States (non-restricted visa) they may also apply.  Students qualifying based on economic circumstances may be required to submit additional information. 

Q. Can a law student memo be submitted for the writing portion of the application?

A law student memo is fine.  The writing sample should showcase the student’s best legal writing to date.  Students should submit a complete piece but make sure the submission is no longer than 10 pages.  If a student needs to submit an excerpt, it should be noted and the complete brief brought to the screening interview.

Q. Are students limited to choosing one location for an internship?

No.  Students should indicate any and all areas where they are able to intern.  The more locations selected, the better their chances are of obtaining an available position.  However, students should never select a location where they are unsure if they can arrange for summer housing.

Q. What should be included in the “statement of interest?”

The statement of interest should outline why the student is qualified for this program.  They should include why they want to work with a judge and the contribution they can make to the internship experience.  The statement should include information that is relevant to the application, such as personal and family background, community service activities or other connections to any identified group.  The statement should describe why the student believes they qualify for this program and what sets them apart from the other applicants.  Statements should be limited to 1000 words.

Q. Will applying for an Intellectual Property Internship limit the chances of obtaining a position?

No.  All students are submitted as a part of the general application pool and will be considered for all open positions.         

Q. When are screening interviews scheduled?

We will begin scheduling screening interviews as soon as the completed application is processed.  Because of holidays, finals and breaks there can often be a bit of a time lag between submitting applications and the scheduling of interviews.  If a student has not been contact for an interview by Feb. 1 we ask them to contact us so they can be rescheduled.

Q. Is funding for interview travel provided?

No.  We will make every attempt to schedule screening interviews in the location where the applicant attends school.  Individual judges will determine where and how they will conduct their interviews.

Q. If a students interviews with a judge, and is made an offer, do they have to accept that offer or can they wait for others?

If a student accepts an interview with a judge, it is assumed that unless there is a unique situation or problem, they will accept that position if an offer is made.  Some judges may offer internships during the interview.  If a student is offered a judicial internship, they must accept or decline that offer within 24 hours.  If they decline the judge’s offer, they may be removed from obtaining other offers through the program.

 Q.  How long does the internship program last?

The hiring judge determines the hours and schedule for each internship.  They must work a minimum of six weeks (full time—32 hours per week) to qualify for the award and be a part of the program.  Many judges will ask that they work longer.

Q. Is housing for the summer provided?

No, we do not provide housing.  We suggest that students contact law schools in the area in which they want to intern to determine if they can assist with temporary housing needs.  Also, students should only select locations where they have the ability to live for the summer.  Once accepted into the program they can also talk with other accepted students or program mentors to see about housing options.    

Q. When will students receive their award?

Once all positions are filled selected students will be sent an award request form.  These forms will be processed and checks will be mailed by the end of the summer.  The award is intended to be used as reimbursement of reasonable expenses associated with your placement and is paid at the close of the summer.  Because of the award timing, students should not depend on awards to pay summer expenses including housing, parking, etc.

Q. How do students obtain law school credit?

Law school credit is determined by the individual law school.  Students should work with their career services office to determine eligibility.  Students should also work with their financial aid office to see if they can coordinate their award with summer work/study programs. 

Q. If I am interested in applying for an Intellectual Property Internship, what types of skills or qualifications should I convey in my application?

Because many intellectual property cases involve complex, technical subject matter, judges seeking candidates for these positions want interns who are comfortable with learning about new technologies and scientific subjects.  Many IP judges require students to have completed their second-year of law school for these positions.  Thus, candidates applying for an Intellectual Property Internship should describe any technical education, experience, and interests they have in IP law.  Such information may include, for example, descriptions of particularly relevant coursework, internships, technical publications, and postgraduate work experience. 

Q.  Does the program coordinate with any other programs?

Yes.  In certain situations, JIOP coordinates with both the ABA’s Judicial Clerkship Program (JCP) and the JRC-Just The Beginning (JRC-JTB) a diversity pipeline organization. 

Students who previously participated in the JCP will be given priority application status.  If the student applies by the program deadline, they are guaranteed a screening interview.  In addition, their applications will be given greater consideration due to their JCP participation and training.

Students who apply to both JIOP and JRC-JTB AND are placed with an existing JIOP judge in a JIOP program location, may participate in both programs and receive funding (the $2,000 award) from the JIOP program.  All applicants may participate in the JRC-JTB interviewing webinar and students recommended for judicial review may also participate in the writing seminar.