Judicial Clerkships

Many Colorado Law graduates choose to work as a judicial clerk for one- or two-year terms in what is often referred to as a "J.D. Post-Doc."

No matter what the setting, a judicial clerkship provides a unique experience for new attorneys with numerous benefits, including the opportunity to:

  • View the judicial system from the other side of the bar;
  • Continue developing analytical, legal research, and writing skills;
  • Create a mentor/mentee relationship with a judge; and
  • Acquire a respected professional credential.

Recent Graduates' Clerkships

In recent years, Colorado Law has enjoyed great success in placing its graduates in state and federal clerkships. Thirty-two members of the class of 2015 accepted post-graduate clerkships. Six of these graduates are working in federal courts, 25 with state-level appellate and courts of last resort, and 1 with a tribal court. Nineteen members of the class of 2014 and 24 members of the class of 2013 obtained post-graduate clerkships as well.

Members of the Class of 2015 are currently serving as clerks for judges in the:

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th and 8th Circuits
  • U.S. District Court, Districts of Colorado, Nevada, and Vermont
  • Colorado Supreme Court
  • Colorado Court of Appeals
  • Colorado District Courts in Boulder, Brighton, Denver, Fort Collins, Golden, and Greeley
  • Intertribal Court of Southern California
  • New Hampshire Superior Court

Colorado Law’s recent successes are indicative of our strong commitment to helping students begin their legal careers in these valuable positions. Over the past five years, we have placed an average of 26 graduates per year in clerkships.

Summer Judicial Opportunities

During the summer of 2016, forty members of the class of 2018 and five members of the class of 2017 worked for judges in federal, state, and local courts in Colorado, Idaho, Maryland, Tennessee, and DC. During the summer of 2015, twenty-seven members of the class of 2017 and five members of the class of 2016 worked for judges in federal, state, and local courts in Colorado and Illinois.

Law School Programming

Students may take advantage of a variety of programs designed to promote judicial clerkships as a post-graduate career choice and to support students during the application process. Our judicial clerkship programs include:

  • Annual Judicial Appreciation Reception, sponsored by Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell, LLP
  • Judicial Clerkship Alumni Panel
  • Bench and Bar Conference
  • Nuts & Bolts of Judicial Clerkship Applications
  • OSCAR Demo Session
  • 3L Mixer with State District Court Judges

Opportunities to Meet Judges

We encourage and support our students’ clerkship aspirations in many ways.  In addition to a clerkship-specific slate of programming (see below), students may take advantage of numerous opportunities to meet and network with judges from across the country. 

The Colorado Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th and Federal Circuits have all heard arguments at the law school recently; as part of each of these events, students were able to visit with the participating judges.

Colorado Law was honored to be a part of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces Project Outreach Program in 2016 and to host all five judges of the Court who heard oral arguments at Colorado Law on November 1. Colorado Law students Patrick Kummerer and Adam Zenger also had the opportunity to participate as amicus curiae in the arguments.

At our annual Judicial Appreciation Reception, sponsored by Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell LLP, federal and state judges from across the state gather with students and recent graduates to mingle while enjoying delicious hors d’oeuvres and drinks.

Colorado Law twice hosted the Tenth Circuit Bench and Bar Conference, where students had the opportunity to learn from and mingle with some of the most influential and important legal minds today. Participants included members of the judiciary from throughout the Tenth Circuit, as well as other judges from around the country, including the D.C. Circuit and the United States Supreme Court.

We also host a 3L Mixer with State District Court Judges every January, and a Judicial Clerkship Alumni panel each fall.

Resources for Applying

In conjunction with the Faculty Clerkship Committee, each year CDO compiles information on the hiring preferences of judges in Colorado in order to assist students with the clerkship application process.  Potential applicants may also consult CDO’s clerkship information on CDOnline, which contains data on current hiring practices as well as past Colorado Law clerks. 

Colorado Law subscribes to the Vermont Law School Guide to State Judicial Clerkship Procedures. The Guide contains information on the different courts, hiring practices, contacts, and application information for each individual state in the U.S.

Colorado Law also subscribes to Symplicity's Clerkship Module which is available to students through CDOnline. This Clerkship Module syncs with OSCAR twice a month and contains complete information on every federal and state judge in the country. It will also disclose if a judge has an open position posted in OSCAR. Through this module, students can select each judge to which they would like to apply and download a spreadsheet with their name, court, and mailing address to help facilitate the application and recommendation letter process.