A judicial clerkship is an excellent way to bridge the gap between law school and law practice. A clerkship can be an extremely valuable step in a law student's professional development and provides an opportunity to gain significant experience.
Our law school shares a close relationship with Hawaiʻi's State and Federal Judiciary. Students are highly encouraged to apply for volunteer and/or externship positions with our distinguished jurists.
Finding a good "fit" is a key consideration when researching judicial clerkships and a strategic first step is to browse the Judicial Clerk Information List. The List provides contact information and application instructions as well as current and previous law clerks for each judge. Students are encouraged to contact our graduates on the List and learn more about clerking for individual judges.
- Federal Judicial Clerkships: Students interested in applying for federal clerkships can now apply using the Online System for Clerkship Application and Review (OSCAR).
- State Judicial Clerkships: Our State Judiciary is a close-knit and supportive community. Generally, 3Ls interested in clerkships should send applications in the late summer or early fall of their last year. For summer opportunities, 1Ls and 2Ls should send their applications in the late fall or early spring.
- Hawai'i State Judicial Clerkships for Fall 2014 .pdf (as of 9/13/2013)
General Judicial Clerkship Application Information
A good rule of thumb is to check with the judge's law clerk or chambers for current application deadlines and keep an eye on recent confirmations. When judges are confirmed to the bench, they often need to hire law clerks on short notice.
Interested applicants should be prepared to submit:
- Current résumé
- Concise, well-written cover letter addressed to the specific judge to whom you are applying
- Law school transcript including class rank - plan to send your spring semester rank and consider sending an update once you receive your fall grades
- Your very best writing sample
- A list of references and two to three confidential recommendation letters
Judicial Clerkship Interviews
Due to the need for a very close and unique working relationship between judge and law clerk, many judges ask detailed questions about your personal life and habits, family life, views on social, political or legal issues, etc. Be prepared for the unexpected.
Please keep in mind that most judges expect you to come to their location for an interview so be prepared to bear the expense of travel, lodging and meals. In recent years, we have been fortunate to have several neighbor island judges travel to Oʻahu to conduct on-campus interviews.