McGeorge School of Law

Is a Judicial Clerkship in Your Future?

March 5, 2007

The traditional pattern of federal judges hiring graduating law students to serve as their law clerks for 1-2 years after graduation has begun to shift somewhat. More and more of these judges are choosing to hire attorneys with experience to serve as their law clerks. Some are hiring "career clerks" for permanent positions, sometimes called research attorney positions [virtually all California state court judges at every level do this].


  • Karen Bettencourt '04 with Judge Garland Burrell, Eastern District of CA
  • Marianne Waterstradt '03 with Judge Morrison England, Eastern District of CA
  • Annie Smith '05 also with Judge Burrell

Others are still hiring "term clerks" to serve for a year, or sometimes two, but will consider, or even prefer, candidates who have a year or more of practice experience or a previous clerkship. Several McGeorge graduates have secured clerkships, most recently Nirav Desai '05, who will be clerking with Judge Consuelo Callahan, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Carla Higginbotham '03 clerked with a Nevada state court judge in 03-04 and then in 04-05 with Procter Hug on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Byron Beebe 04, took '05 clerkship with the US District Court for Nevada. Brent Lawson 03 began a Montana Supreme Court clerkship in 2005.

The McGeorge faculty and Career Development Office want to encourage graduates to pursue clerkships. CDO offers its services: providing information on identifying openings, reviewing resumes and cover letters, assisting with transmission of faculty reference letters and other application materials, etc.