Judicial Clerkships

Chicago students are encouraged to consider completing their law study with the capstone experience of a judicial clerkship following graduation. A judicial clerkship offers a unique and challenging post-graduate opportunity to develop a relationship with a judge, to observe lawyers "in action," and to reflect on many of the novel legal issues of our time. In addition, for those interested in academic careers, a judicial clerkship is an important credential. Students interested in applying for judicial clerkships are aided by a faculty committee, the Office of Career Services, faculty and their assistants, programs, and resources in the Office of Career Services.

An increasing trend in the clerkship market is for alumni to seek clerkships after spending some time in practice. Chicago alumni have had great success in the clerkship market under this growing trend. Over the past several years, approximately 33-40% of each graduating class obtained a judicial clerkship at some point. Following an initial judicial clerkship, some graduates elect a second judicial clerkship. From October Term 2011 to October Term 2021, we have had 36 alumni clerk on the Supreme Court among 12 different justices. From October Term 1990 to October Term 2021 we have had 117 clerks at the Court. 

Our clerkships reflect the diversity of both our faculty and our student body. Our newly-minted graduates and alumni clerk throughout the country, in every part of the federal judiciary and in many state courts as well. Every year, it is the goal of the faculty and staff at the Law School that any student or alumnus who chooses to apply secures a clerkship, and we do everything we can to help make that happen.

Clerkship data by clerking term since October Term 2011 is shown below.

October Term SCOTUS Federal Appellate Federal District State Appellate Other Total
2011 1 18 12 2 1 34
2012 2 24 23 4 4 57
2013 2 23 14 8 0 47
2014 2 29 21 2 1 55
2015 2 23 21 8 2 56
2016 1 36 32 6 1 76
2017 4 42 43 8 3 100
2018 2 56 44 10 3 115
2019  4 53 52 8 3 120
2020 7 57 48 6 5 123
2021 9 62 45 5 2 123
Total 36 423 355 67 25 906

"Other" includes other federal courts (such as International Trade, Tax, and Federal Claims), state trial courts, and foreign courts.

UChicago Law graduates find work in every part of the legal profession, as well as in non-legal careers where a law degree is a substantial asset, and our judicial clerks are no exception. Here is information about where recent students who clerked immediately after graduation chose to work after they finished clerking.

First Post-Clerkship Job Choices
  Class of 2019 Class of 2018 Class of 2017 Class of 2016 Class of 2015 2015-2019
Law Firm 81.0% 76.5% 88.6% 82.1% 79.4% 81.5%
Government 0.0% 7.8% 2.3% 10.3% 8.8% 6.3%
Public Interest 14.3% 11.8% 4.5% 5.1% 5.9% 7.9%
Academia 0.0% 3.9% 2.3% 0.0% 2.9% 2.1%
Business & Industry 4.7% 0.0% 2.3% 2.6% 2.9% 2.1%

For more information about judicial clerkships, please contact the Office of Career Services.