What is a Judicial Clerkship?

A judicial clerkship is a full-time position working for a federal or state judge that often (but not always) starts right after you finish law school. Clerkships may be with any level of court (supreme, appellate or trial court). In addition to the traditional courts, consider special federal courts such as the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, U.S. Court of International Trade, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, U.S. Tax Court, U.S. Court of Veterans Appeals, and the U.S. Department of Justice’s EOIR Immigration Courts.

Law clerks research and draft opinions and orders for the court. They also participate in many phases of the court’s decision-making process. There are “fixed-term” clerkships, which generally last one or two years, and there are “permanent” law clerks, also called “staff attorneys” or “research attorneys”, whose terms are indefinite. Most of the opportunities we are discussing here are fixed-term, though our graduates have been hired directly from law school into permanent Appellate Court Attorney positions with the California Court of Appeal recently.


Continue Reading 6 Common Questions About Post-Graduate Judicial Clerkships

Jade Gasek (Class of 2020)
Jade Gasek, class of 2020

I recently sat down with Jade Gasek (’20), who shared a bit of his story and some helpful insights for our current law students. Following his undergraduate education at Dartmouth College, Jade spent a few years out of academia to decide whether law school was the right choice for him. Having spent that time reflecting on his goal of helping those who can’t help themselves, Jade came to McGeorge with a renewed focus and readiness to face the rigors of law school. With a JD in hand, Jade is now preparing to join Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe in January 2022 as a litigation associate.

After the COVID-19 pandemic delayed Orrick’s start date for first-year associates, the firm offered them the opportunity to participate in a fellowship where they could work for a year with a community nonprofit organization of their choice before officially joining the firm. Jade is currently in the middle of his fellowship with the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center at Howard University School of Law, where he provides pro bono services relating to police violence, mass incarceration, and reparations.  This includes litigation under Section 1983 for claims of excessive police force by police and prison officials. Jade has also worked with local leaders in Washington D.C. (where the Center is located) to figure out how to effectively reduce harm during police interactions, such as during traffic stops and other daily occurrences. This involves re-evaluating current traffic laws and enforcement therein to mitigate the potential for violence.


Continue Reading Student Spotlight: Jade Gasek (Class of 2020)

As part of your experiential learning requirement at McGeorge, you may be confused by one term in particular: “externships”. Externships are one of the options available to McGeorge students to fulfill their experiential learning requirement if they are not able or not interested in joining one of the clinics. But what exactly are they, and are they the same as an internship?

Externships, to be clear, are nearly synonymous with internships. Externs perform similar, if not identical, work as their intern counterparts. The biggest difference is that you will receive academic credit for an externship, whereas an internship is typically done outside the scope of any academic curriculum and may or may not involve financial compensation. McGeorge’s Externship Program has 100+ pre-approved externships available to law students spanning several practice areas with a plethora of government agencies, chambers, non-profits, and select private firms. Externs learn how to apply their legal knowledge to real cases, consult with actual clients, collaborate with active attorneys, improve their research and writing skills, and in some cases, even represent clients in court. It’s a great way to gain real-world experience under the guidance of practicing attorneys. Most externs will reaffirm their passion for their career goals through this hands-on program, while some students realize that their image of a particular career path doesn’t fit with reality, allowing them to easily alter their focus before they’ve committed too much time to a career they ultimately wouldn’t have been satisfied with.


Continue Reading Externship vs. Internship: Which Is It?