by Sybil Dunlop
If you just finished your 2L year, this summer is the time to start getting your clerkship applications together. While it’s true that it is difficult to land a federal clerkship, your actions now can give you a leg up come September.
Target your applications
In law school, I heard rumors of folks who applied to every federal judge in the country. This seemed silly (and unlikely to produce results). Better to spend the summer researching judges and figuring out where and for whom you would like to work. You can narrow the pool by searching for judges who share your undergraduate college, your interests, or work history (did you both serve in the Peace Corps?). If you are near a federal courthouse this summer, stop by to watch the judges in action (you can always find their daily calendars on the courthouse website).
All of these actions will give you something to say in a cover letter. And, being able to say that you are applying based on a specific opinion or because of a trial you watched over the summer is much more interesting than a mail merge to every judge in the country. All judges will shortly be overrun with applications and having a cover letter that makes it clear you want to work for THEM is the first step to securing an interview.