Law students everywhere, be warned — the Federal Judges Law Clerk Hiring Plan is dead. If you want a clerkship, don’t think you can wait until the fall of your 3L year to apply. You can’t. To maximize your chance of getting hired, you should apply much earlier. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s announcement last week that its judges will not follow the plan is the coup de grace, confirming what insiders have known for years: the plan does not work. Applicants can’t count on judges to follow it. The "graduate loophole" means there are fewer slots for students. And instead of curbing "exploding offers," the plan encourages them. Students, law schools and judges alike should be thankful that this failed experiment is finally coming to an end.

The plan’s aspirations were noble. Proponents believed that by pushing back the clerkship hiring date in a coordinated fashion, order could be brought to a chaotic process, and the jarring spectacle of future clerks being hired before the second year of law school would end. But the power of positive thinking cannot change the fact that the plan has always been doomed to failure. Viewed through an antitrust lens, the problem is apparent: The idea that coordination will hold in a judiciary with hundreds of competing chambers, limited transparency and no real enforcement mechanism is hope divorced from reason. Like a cartel with too many players, the plan unravels because the temptation to hire early is just too strong.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]