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Clerkship Interviews

Preparing For A Clerkship Interview

Do not treat all judges the same! Some judges estimate that less than half of interviewees actually prepare for their interviews or know anything about the interviewers. If you want to make an impression, prepare. During your interview, remember to discuss the judge's opinions to show the judge that you are well aware of his or her decisions, writing style, and ideology. Judges love to talk about themselves and about the cases they have authored. But they are also wary of candidates who flatter them too much. So personalize your research, but only bring up relevant information when appropriate, and do not overdo flattery.

Check if the judge has published any articles and, if so, read them carefully. They can serve as a great conversation topic. Just be mindful that once you bring up a certain legal topic, you may be expected to demonstrate your expertise in it. It is also a good idea to skim any news articles about the judge or his or her decisions, but stay away from discussing any negative publicity you may have discovered.

Asking former clerks for insights into the judge's way of thinking, hiring preferences, and possible interview questions is a great way to prepare; some judges are genuinely flattered by that. But remember that the clerks will almost always relate your conversation to the judge, so phrase your questions carefully. Although most judges do not mind you contacting former clerks, they advise against contacting current clerks to prevent any appearance of impropriety during the hiring process.

After you learn everything you can about the judge, jot down a list of possible questions. Be sure to write out your answers and practice answering questions in front of a mirror. These questions include, for example, questions about your reasons for going to law school, wanting to clerk, and wanting to move to a certain location.

Finally, sit down with your law school career counselors who may be able to share insights about your judge and help you prepare through mock interviews. Mock interviews can help you gain confidence and prepare you for challenging questions. Just remember to provide your “mock judge” with all relevant information so he or she can ask you meaningful questions. Be sure to also read How to Do Your Homework for details on how to prepare for clerkship interviews.

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Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesLaw Job InterviewsClerkship Interviews - Make Your Application Stand Out, Calling The Chambers, Timing, Preparing For A Clerkship Interview