April 21, 2014 Articles

As Good As It Gets: Appellate Training Through Judicial Clerkships

By Paula Mitchell

The appellate training and experience one gains while clerking for a U.S. Circuit judge is about as good as it gets. Some would say it’s the gold standard. Many former clerks have commented that their time in chambers was the highlight of their educational training; and they lament that it was over too soon.

Most law clerks serve one-year terms. Just as they have learned the intricacies of appellate procedure and are able to tackle the toughest cases with the most complex legal issues, they are ushered out the door to make room for the next class of clerks. A few fortunate souls, however, are lucky enough to serve for a longer period as career or permanent law clerks. Their tenure is indefinite; they can remain in chambers so long as they remain in their judge’s good graces.

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