How common is it for clerks to need a security clearance? Forum

(Seek and share information about clerkship applications, clerkship hiring timelines, and post-clerkship employment opportunities)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are sharing sensitive information about clerkship applications and clerkship hiring. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned."
Anonymous User
Posts: 428449
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

How common is it for clerks to need a security clearance?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Mar 05, 2024 12:31 pm

I've heard that sometimes clerks will need to get secret or even top secret level security clearances in order to work on sensitive cases. Is this at all common for district courts? My record is by no means bad, but I do have some stuff that might make getting a clearance a pain in the ass and so I'd really rather not deal with that even if I'd ultimately get the clearance. I also just hate hyper-intrusive stuff like that on principle. Is having to get a clearance something I realistically need to worry about? FWIW, I am not clerking in EDVA, SDNY/EDNY, or DDC or any court with a big national security docket.

Anonymous User
Posts: 428449
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How common is it for clerks to need a security clearance?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Mar 05, 2024 12:50 pm

It's probably not something you have to worry about. During my EDNY clerkship, two of the three clerks applied for security clearance. The one who didn't apply simply said she didn't feel like it and there was no adverse consequence. Of the two that applied, one was approved for the clearance during the clerkship and the other one's application was "pending" for the whole year and so he basically never heard back. (It could be that the application was later granted or denied, but by that time the clerkship would have been over and so the clerk had no incentive to follow up.) There was exactly one case that required the security clearance during the clerkship year (a child porn case) and so the one clerk who got the clearance worked on that one.

Anonymous User
Posts: 428449
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How common is it for clerks to need a security clearance?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Mar 05, 2024 12:51 pm

I think it’s pretty unlikely if you’re not clerking anywhere with a big national security docket. The flyover district court I was in had one terrorism case pop up, but that was the first in many years. Also, don’t quote me on this, but I think that a career clerk is usually the one to get the clearance. So if chambers is set up that way, I don’t think you would necessarily work on the case and get the clearance.

Anonymous User
Posts: 428449
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How common is it for clerks to need a security clearance?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Mar 05, 2024 1:33 pm

From what I’ve seen/heard when cases like this come up it’s common that the judge will effectively do everything themselves because it takes so long for clerks to get clearance (my understanding is that a year isn’t unusual for a TS). They’re rare and very few clerks need one.

Anonymous User
Posts: 428449
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How common is it for clerks to need a security clearance?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Mar 05, 2024 5:34 pm

I think it’s uncommon. My judge had such a case while I was there, but had a career clerk and they just had the career clerk get the clearance because it was clear the case would extend past my term, and so there was no point in making me go through the process. The clerk and chambers staff also all had to get a clearance for this case, so it clearly didn’t come up regularly (they didn’t already have the clearance).

Want to continue reading?

Register now to search topics and post comments!

Absolutely FREE!


Anonymous User
Posts: 428449
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How common is it for clerks to need a security clearance?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Mar 08, 2024 7:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2024 12:50 pm
It's probably not something you have to worry about. During my EDNY clerkship, two of the three clerks applied for security clearance. The one who didn't apply simply said she didn't feel like it and there was no adverse consequence. Of the two that applied, one was approved for the clearance during the clerkship and the other one's application was "pending" for the whole year and so he basically never heard back. (It could be that the application was later granted or denied, but by that time the clerkship would have been over and so the clerk had no incentive to follow up.) There was exactly one case that required the security clearance during the clerkship year (a child porn case) and so the one clerk who got the clearance worked on that one.
A CSAM case involved classified materials??? Sounds like Schulte, but that was SDNY.

Anonymous User
Posts: 428449
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How common is it for clerks to need a security clearance?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Mar 09, 2024 8:08 pm

My SDNY district judge told me after hiring me that the offer was contingent on getting a security clearance.

Anonymous User
Posts: 428449
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How common is it for clerks to need a security clearance?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Mar 28, 2024 8:15 pm

In DDC my judge had a whole separate set of pooled clerks for FISA stuff.

Anonymous User
Posts: 428449
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How common is it for clerks to need a security clearance?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Apr 04, 2024 12:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2024 8:08 pm
My SDNY district judge told me after hiring me that the offer was contingent on getting a security clearance.
I know at least one D.C. Circuit judge also does so, and clerks have lost the job for being unable to get one.

Want to continue reading?

Register for access!

Did I mention it was FREE ?


Anonymous User
Posts: 428449
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How common is it for clerks to need a security clearance?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Apr 04, 2024 11:27 pm

If you're not in one of DDC/EDVA/SDNY/EDNY my impression is that it is exceedingly unlikely you will need one.

Anonymous User
Posts: 428449
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How common is it for clerks to need a security clearance?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Apr 08, 2024 6:28 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2024 11:27 pm
If you're not in one of DDC/EDVA/SDNY/EDNY my impression is that it is exceedingly unlikely you will need one.
The Court of Federal Claims and to a lesser extent Federal Circuit might require clearances.

Register now!

Resources to assist law school applicants, students & graduates.

It's still FREE!


Post Reply Post Anonymous Reply  

Return to “Judicial Clerkships”