JIOP

Program Information

Basic Information

The Judicial Intern Opportunity Program (JIOP) is a full-time (six-week minimum) summer internship program open to diverse law students who want to do legal research and writing for state or federal judges. Internships are available in several locations in California, Illinois and Texas. In addition, we offer internships in the following cities: Phoenix, AZ; Washington, DC; Miami, FL;  New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA (including Camden, NJ); and Seattle, WA.  Students indicate their geographic preferences on their applications but may not indicate court.

The mission of JIOP to provide opportunities to students who are members of racial and ethnic groups that are traditionally underrepresented in the profession. The program also provides opportunities to students with disabilities, students who are economically disadvantaged, women, veterans, and students who identify themselves as LGBT.

The length of the internship and the weekly hour requirements are subject to an agreement between the student and participating judge, subject to a six-week minimum.  Students are expected to coordinate their schedules with their individual judges and to work the hours (normally 35–40 hours per week) required by each judge.  JIOP provides interns with a $2,000 award for their work during the summer.

Each participating city hosts a program orientation and welcome reception for selected students. Additionally, in many cities local law firms and bar associations offer JIOP interns a wide range of supplemental events and activities. In addition, local JIOP alumni will engage with the students through their mentoring circle program. We ask that internships take place at the beginning of the summer to maximize participation in the orientations and welcome receptions as well as in any supplemental activities.

Each applicant is asked to submit:

  • A completed application form;
  • Resume;
  • Grades (if 2L; we ask 1Ls to add their first semester grades as soon as they are available);
  • A legal writing sample; and
  • A statement of interest.

Students may add additional documents including references or a specialized intellectual property statement of interest. First-year students are asked to include their undergraduate grades, add their first semester grades as soon as they are available. Most judges will not review student materials until their grades are included.

Each applicant undergoes a screening interview to further determine student qualifications. These initial interviews are done on a rolling basis by practicing attorneys. Qualified students are sent on for judicial interviews.

In conjunction with the ABA Intellectual Property Law Section, we offer a limited number of specialized internships focusing on the area of intellectual property law.  Students may add an additional one-page summary of qualifications if they are interested in being considered for one of these positions. We also allow students to indicate if they have special interest or background in bankruptcy law, antitrust litigation or child and family law.

First Round Interviews

  • Students will be interviewed by a program volunteer to evaluate whether or not they should advance in the process. Reviewers evaluate the student’s abilities including writing, judgement, work ethic, meeting the goals of the program, professionalism, grades, etc. 
  • The screening interviewer submits an evaluation form describing the screening interview to the JIOP committee. Based upon the evaluation, qualified students progress to judicial review.

Judicial Interviews

  • Based on individual judge’s criteria for students, applications and related materials of the pre-qualified students are sent to judges.  Judges determine which students they will interview and will set up those interviews through their chambers’ staff.  Only the students with the strongest qualifications are sent on for judicial interviews.
  • Judicial interviews are conducted in person in the judges’ chambers.  If personal interviews are not possible, the judge may elect to conduct an interview over the telephone.  There is no reimbursement to the students for any travel expenses.
  • Judicial interviews continue until all positions are filled.

Final Selection

  • Judges are expected to conclude the selection process by April 3.
  • At that time, we will notify the applicants whether they have been accepted into the program.
  • Students selected for the program will be asked to participate in an orientation and will be welcome to attend any planned supplemental programming or receptions.

Award checks will be mailed to participating students by the end of the summer and are intended to cover some of the students’ expenses associated with the placement.

Follow-Up Procedures

Upon completion of the internship, students will be asked to complete a program evaluation form.  Interested students may join a JIOP alumni group to work on future program development.

Contact Information

Questions about the program can be directed to the Program Director, Gail Howard, at gail.howard@americanbar.org or 312-988-6348.

2020 JIOP Program Timeline

  • November 4, 2019: Application period opens for 2Ls
  • December 1, 2019: Application period opens for 1Ls
  • January 10, 2020: Program application deadline
  • November–January: Screening interviews held
  • January–March: Judicial interviews held
  • January–April: JIOP interns selected by judges
  • June: Program orientations and welcome receptions

Frequently Asked Questions

Read the answers to various frequently asked questions before applying.


Diversity Eligibility


The mission of the Judicial Intern Opportunity Program is to provide opportunities to students who are members of racial and ethnic groups that are traditionally underrepresented in the profession. The program also provides opportunities to students with disabilities, students who are economically disadvantaged, women and students who identify themselves as LGBT.

Find out if you're eligible to apply!


Code of Conduct


Upon acceptance of the judicial internship, all interns are to abide by the program's official Code of Conduct.


Alumni Testimonials


See what JIOP alumns have to say about their experience in the Alumni Testimonials.


Leverage Your Interviewing Skills (Webinar)


Presented by the Judicial Resources Committee of the United States Judicial Conference and Just The Beginning—A Pipeline Organization Joint Judicial Internship Diversity Project (JRC-JTB Project), with host firm Holland & Knight

The goal of the webinar was to prepare future judicial interns for a successful interview experience with a judge. The program featured the Hon. Ann Claire Williams and the Hon. Gerald Bruce Lee along with a panel of judicial clerks and former interns. (2:06:16)

Watch it here.


Top 10 Tips for Succeeding in Your JIOP Interview (Sound Advice)

By Aaron Clay

National Alumni Chair Aaron Clay outlines some best practices for potential JIOP interns before interviewing with judges to be admitted into the program. (8:23 min) Listen now.


Tips for Acing Your Interview

By Erika Glenn and Cindy Tsai

Everything you need to know to conquer the stress-inducing rite of passage: the dreaded interview! Read More.


JIOP Specialty Courts: Sneak Peeks and Tips for Success from Insiders and Alumni

By Rachel A. Smoot, Tiffany A. Johnson, Neal D. Gidvani, Judith C. Aarons, and Carly A. Boyd

What to expect as an intern in intellectual property, bankruptcy, criminal, domestic relations, and juvenile courts. Read more.