Clerkships are often a pipeline to top jobs in the legal profession. Yet, despite the growing number of diverse populations in law schools throughout the country, law clerk hiring does not reflect this growth.
As noted by the National Association for Law Placement (“NALP”), “long-term trends in the racial composition of judicial clerks show that despite modest improvements over time, graduates of color have historically been underrepresented in clerkships.” According to NALP’s most recent data, which was for the Class of 2019, “graduates of color continue to be underrepresented at all levels of judicial clerkships, especially at the federal level.”
NYU has taken numerous steps to increase diversity in our clerkship applicant pool, including an annual program with judges from diverse backgrounds, hosting events with LACA about clerkships, partnering with several ALSA organizations to arrange meetings with judges, and working with LACA to create a Clerkship Travel Subsidy Fund.
In addition to these efforts, NYU is launching a Clerkship Diversity Program (the “Program”) that will provide faculty and alumni mentoring and advice designed to support students typically underrepresented in the clerkship process. This new initiative is part of a broader effort by NYU to increase mentorship opportunities for all of its clerkship applicants, including providing contact information of NYU clerks, hosting our annual clerkship networking event, and other efforts that we are continuing to develop.
The students in the Program will work as paid research assistants for a faculty member for 100 hours during the summer after 1L year or during 2L year. Furthermore, the Program will include regular meetings and programming for the students, such as sessions about the judiciary, trips to observe court proceedings, a writing skills workshop, and support with the clerkship application process.
This is a one-year pilot program and NYU may change or expand the Program.
The Judicial Clerkship Office will email faculty to solicit nominations for the Program. In addition, students can apply (without any faculty nomination). All members of the Class of 2024 are eligible to apply. Applicants with backgrounds who have been historically underrepresented in the clerkship process are especially encouraged to apply.
Applicants must submit a resume, writing sample, and personal statement about why they want to participate in the Program. Personal statements should not exceed 750 words, and applicants are encouraged to share perspectives on topics such as: how their background and experiences inform their interest in the Program and in clerking, what they hope to gain from the Program and how it will help them achieve their goals, and their perspectives on the importance of diversity among law clerks in the judiciary. Diversity is broadly defined and can include, but is not limited to, culture, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, ideology, age, first-generation status, socioeconomic status, immigration status, disability, academic background, employment, or other personal experiences.
Applications will be due on April 18, 2022. Please submit your application using this Application Form.
A committee will review the applications and select 10 students from the Class of 2024 to participate in the Program.