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.

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.

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.

For the second time in three years Colorado Law 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.

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.

Recent Graduates' Clerkships

In recent years, Colorado Law has enjoyed great success in placing its graduates in state and federal clerkships. Even looking ahead to next year's NALP/ABA reporting data, 26 members of the class of 2015 have already accepted post-graduate clerkships. Six of these graduates will be working in federal courts, 19 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 2014 are currently serving as clerks for judges in the:

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of Northern Texas
  • Superior Court of the Virgin Islands
  • Colorado Supreme Court
  • Colorado Court of Appeals
  • Colorado District Courts in Boulder, Brighton, Centennial, Denver, and Golden
  • Milwaukee County 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 25 graduates per year in clerkships.

Summer Judicial Opportunities

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. During the summer of 2014, twenty-nine members of the class of 2016 and three members of the class of 2015 worked for judges in federal, state, and local courts in Colorado, California, and Texas.

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:

  • 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
  • 2L Lunch with Dean Weiser 
  • 1L Career Perspectives Lunch with Judge Elizabeth Brown, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Colorado