Funding/financial advice for volunteer clerking jobs?

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Funding/financial advice for volunteer clerking jobs?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:01 am

I've pretty much accepted I won't be getting a federal clerkship. (Applying all over the country, nonetheless. Thanks, OSCAR.) However, I'm pretty content on clerking at the state level, specifically, in California, because I have externed twice (and will be doing it all 3L) and think it's phenomenal experience. I'm guaranteed a position at a Superior Court, probably at a Court of Appeal, and I'm not going into much debt at all (relatively speaking), so I really wouldn't mind volunteering for a year. However, I obviously don't have the financial luxury to do so, but I could eke by off very little money very easily because I am a very frugal person.

tl;dr: is there any way to get funding while volunteering at a state court post-grad for a year? If not, any advice?

Gideon Strumpet

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Re: Funding/financial advice for volunteer clerking jobs?

Postby Gideon Strumpet » Fri Jun 03, 2011 5:32 am

Unless your law school has a program just for this, no. None of the usual fellowship programs will fund a "volunteer clerkship"; and they're hard enough to get anyway. You might be able to find some sort of work through a legal temp agency that would let you "split" the workweek with a clerkship, but it might take a while to find something that fits. Some courts have occasional paid openings for short-term or temp clerks, especially in these days of cutbacks and hiring freezes; you might get lucky with one of those, and leverage it into a permanent job at some point.


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Re: Funding/financial advice for volunteer clerking jobs?

Postby keg411 » Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:55 am

State Court/State COA clerkships should be paid. At least they are in my state.


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Re: Funding/financial advice for volunteer clerking jobs?

Postby clockwerk » Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:45 pm

I did this, but pursuant to a fellowship and at a federal court.

You'll need about $1,000/month to get by in terms of the bare essentials. Once you add up housing, food, and miscellaneous items, it comes to about $1,000/month. If you have a car or can live at home for free, the amount will change. This budget does not include any amount for student loan repayment.

You should ask your judge about the possibility of working on the side at a non-legal employer. I've heard of paid state-level law clerks working as servers b/c the pay in that particular state was so low.

For me, the experience opened up doors in the state where the court was, and with federal judges. It did not get me interest with BigLaw. Lawyers have been impressed by the work I'm doing, but there simply are not many openings. Because your position is with a state level trial court, the number of doors opened will likely be fewer. The other thing is that the employers who would hire from a state level trial court clerkship hire on an as-needed basis. That means that you need to jump at an opportunity that arises, even if it arises before your expected end date.

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