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Judicial Clerkships : Application Materials

All the information you need in order to understand and apply for judicial clerkships.

Application Materials - Overview

Clerkship Application packet generally consists of a cover letter, resume, writing sample, letter of recommendation or list of references and transcript.   As you put together your application materials remember that judges are generally assessing candidates in two categories:

  • Does this person have the research, writing and analysis skills I can count on as I handle a busy caseload?
  • Is this someone who would be a good addition to our small staff?  Do they have the (flexibility/humor/professionalism/kindness) we need? 

Transcripts:  You do not need a high GPA to be a clerk.  Trial judges vary widely in the criteria they use for hiring and some judges may not ask for your transcript at all.  If your concerned about your GPA, check out  the transcripts section below for tips. Higher courts such as federal or appellate courts tend to put more weight on GPA and rank when hiring, so if grades are not your strength your time might be best focused applying to trial level opportunities.  ‚Äč


To protect the integrity of letters of recommendation, it is best if the letter come from someone other than you (the student about whom the letter is written).  When you request that CSO submit your letters of recommendation, please be sure to include all the about how to submit the letter.

Please ask your recommenders to send their letter to Liz Dunn in CSO at    Recommenders should address their letter "Dear Your Honor" and send the letters to CSO in word format.  Some recommenders outside of Drexel may prefer to manage their letters themselves.  In that case, be sure to keep them updated about where you are applying and what they need to do to submit your letter.

New Jersey Portal -  Letters must be uploaded by CSO.  If your recommender prefers to upload their letter themselves you should contact the New Jersey courts for assistance.

State Clerkships Outside of NJ - Please contact CSO and let us know where you are applying and where the letters should be submitted.  Again, some recommenders may choose to submit their letters directly.  Be sure to provide your recommenders with all of the information they need in order to send your letter.  

Federal Clerkships - CSO or the recommender must upload letters into the Oscar system.  Recommenders who would like their letters uploaded by CSO should send a word document to  For federal clerkship applications, CSO attempts to ensure that each letter of recommendation is addressed to the individual judge. If an employer submits a pdf, CSO may not be able to edit this letter to add an individual judge's name and address.  Employers are able to upload letters to the Oscar system themselves if they prefer.  If you are sending an application via email or mail, please send your materials to CSO, so that we can add your letters of recommendation and submit the full application packet to the judge. 







The system is asking me to upload my letters of recommendation before applying, but those letters should come from CSO.  What should I do?  You can upload a list of references into any of the spots that are asking for your letters of recommendation.  At the top of your list of recommenders you can include the statement - My letters of recommendation will be submitted separately in order to maintain the integrity of the letters.  Please find the names and contact information for the individuals preparing my letters below.  

You can find a sample list of references below. 


I am applying to several judges.  Do I need to contact my recommenders and ask them to update every letter with new information?

Recommenders can use the salutation "Dear Your Honor" and submit general letters of recommendation for most judges.  For federal judges, CSO recommends individualized letters of recommendation.  CSO is happy to handle the letters for your recommender.  If they are uploading their letter through the Oscar system, the system provides an auto-fill template that will automatically update the letters with the individual judge's information.