How Do I Prepare for a Clerkship Interview?

Nick Mann
Nick Mann
A clerkship interview usually involves a judge.
A clerkship interview usually involves a judge.

Before becoming a clerk of courts or county clerk, most individuals will have to undergo a clerkship interview with a judge. In order to optimize one's chances of obtaining a position, it's important to be adequately prepared for the interview process. Following several guidelines should help most people know what to expect and hopefully land the job. These include obtaining interview information from the judge's secretary, performing background research on the judge, contacting previous interviewees and preparing for the judge's questions.

In most cases, the first thing to do after getting an interview is to obtain as much information as possible from the judge’s secretary. For example, it's important to ask about the general format of the interview and the typical length of the interview. Since some judges will interview potential clerks for 15 to 20 minutes and others might interview for over an hour, knowing this information should help the candidate decide how much information to have at the ready for the clerkship interview.

The next step is to perform some background research on the judge in order to get a better idea of his style and political leanings. This can be done by searching online for the particular judge or by looking in the Judicial Yellow Book. While most job interviews don't discuss topics like politics, this type of discussion is fairly common during a clerkship interview. Consequently, it's often an advantage to be familiar with the judge's political views and respond accordingly during the interview.

Another way to prepare for a clerkship interview is to contact previous interviewees or alumni who have previously clerked in the judge's court. Doing so is often an effective way to get helpful information from individuals who have already undergone the interview process or have in depth experience with the judge. This will give an interviewee a firsthand idea of what to expect, which will make the preparation process easier.

After obtaining all of this information, the candidate should prepare for any questions that the judge might ask during the clerkship interview. While it's nearly impossible to be 100 percent prepared for all questions, it is possible to have a general idea of what to expect. For example, some common questions could include why the person wants to be a clerk, what his experience is, why he would be a good fit and what his personal interests are outside of law. Being prepared and knowing how to quickly respond to the judge's questions should leave a good impression and increase one's odds of getting the position.

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    • A clerkship interview usually involves a judge.
      A clerkship interview usually involves a judge.