Q: I have good grades and am thinking about applying for a judicial clerkship, but am unsure if I should. Do you have any advice?
A: Not knowing more about you, such as how much you like to research and write, or whether you would enjoy a one or two-year commitment working with one authority figure, it’s hard to advise. Some career paths do favor prior clerks; if, for example, you are thinking about an academic career, it’s particularly helpful to have had as prestigious a clerkship as possible. Yet, there are many successful and thriving lawyers who could have held such a clerkship but chose to go a different route upon graduation. There also are clerks who serve the judiciary after practicing law for a year or more first.
Thus, there exists a number of routes to and reasons for working for a judge. The best thing to do may be to seek out alumni/ae from your law school who have had judicial clerkships, as well as people with qualifying credentials but who went other directions in a range of sectors, instead. Talking with them, you’ll find people who feel their judicial clerkship was the pinnacle experience of their career and others who went in another direction and never looked back. After listening to them, you’ll be in a better position to make a good decision for yourself.