- How do I choose the judges to whom I will apply?
- Should I apply to Senior Judges?
- What does a magistrate judge do?
- What if a judge I am interested in hires before Labor Day?
- Why can’t I find the state judge I want to apply to in CARS?
- I have selected my judges, but my recommenders cannot see my choices. Why?
- What do I do if my recommender is not a faculty member and, therefore, cannot access CARS?
- What do I do if I have fewer than three recommenders?
- What do I do if I have more than three recommenders?
- How do I submit my application on CARS?
- How can I tell if a judge accepts OSCAR applications?
- The judge I am interested accepts OSCAR applications, but I do not see a spot to apply — why?
- I have created a list of judges, so why can’t my faculty recommenders load their letters of recommendation?
- I created draft applications, why are my pending recommendation requests still not viewable?
- One of my recommenders is not a faculty member. How can I upload his materials to OSCAR?
- Can I finalize my applications before my letters of recommendation are uploaded?
- What if a judge I wish to apply to opts into OSCAR after the deadline?
- What if an OSCAR judge opens a new opportunity after the deadline?
- How do I upload my transcript onto OSCAR?
- What can I do if I find a mistake in my application after I have finalized it?
ABOUT YOUR APPLICATION MATERIALS
- How should my resume differ from the one I used for OGI?
- How long should my writing sample be?
- May I use a memo I wrote for my firm this summer?
- Which transcript should I use?
- What happens if I do not have my materials in by the deadline?
For a detailed look at researching judges, please consult the Complete Guide to Judicial Clerkships. Generally, students will focus on a particular kind of court or area of the country. It is imperative that you consider carefully how competitive you will be in the courts to which you are applying — students are far more likely to walk away empty-handed if they aim only at courts that will be a reach for them. Other factors that you will want to consider are how likely a judge is to hire a UVA student (based on past hiring), which judges your recommenders know, and where a judge’s clerks tend to go upon completion of their clerkships.
Yes! After some years of service, federal judges have the option of taking senior status. Typically, the caseload of judges on senior status is reduced. Depending on the number of cases they will be hearing, though, senior judges remain eligible to hire at least one law clerk (and often more than one). Most senior judges maintain a full and interesting docket, and in fact use their senior status to avoid types of cases that do not interest them. Indeed, some senior judges travel to desirable locations around the country (often with clerks) to sit “by designation” on other circuits. You should peruse a senior judge’s docket before you apply to him or her, however, because some senior judges do have very light caseloads and may be less interesting for you.
Magistrate judges conduct a wide range of judicial proceedings to expedite the disposition of the civil and criminal caseloads of the United States District Courts. To achieve maximum flexibility in meeting the needs of each court, the actual determination of which duties to assign to magistrate judges are left to the individual courts. Many magistrate judges conduct a wide range of criminal hearings, while others handle strictly civil work, often chunks of complex multi-plaintiff litigation. Magistrate clerkships are fast-paced and an excellent learning opportunity for students interested in spending a lot of time in court, but you should be aware of each judge’s typical docket before you apply.
While you are free to apply to a state or local judge at any time (in accordance with the policy of that court), the federal hiring plan prohibits federal judges from hiring clerks before the fall of their 3L year. While not every federal judge abides by the plan, UVA may not bundle applications for students who apply before Labor Day to federal judges. For further information on the plan and options for students who wish to apply to non-plan judges, please contact the Office of Judicial Clerkships at email@example.com.
CARS does not have pre-filled information for state or local judges (because there is no single source from which to upload these addresses). If you wish to apply to one of these judges, you must add him or her by clicking on “Create a Request for a Judge.” You will be directed to a page where you can enter the appropriate information.
Once you have made your initial selections, you will need to review your choices via the “All My Requests” link. Once this has been done, you may select the “Submit Your Clerkships for Final Approval” link. Your selections will be available to faculty only after you have submitted them for final approval.
There is no means by which non-faculty members can be granted access to CARS. For these recommenders, you will need to create a data document which you can email to the recommender. To do this, click on the “Create Your Own Merge Data” link. You will see a list of all the judges that you have selected on CARS. Check the box next to the judges which you would like to include in the merge document, or check on “Check All” to select them all, and hit the “Create Merge Information” button at the top of the page. This will create a mail merge data sheet for all the judges that you have selected. You should cut and paste this data as a plain text document for use by your recommender. For more information on creating merge data, please see the CARS handbook.
You may leave the second and third box as a “?” if you are only having one or two faculty member write a letter of recommendation for a particular judge.
If you are using more than three recommenders, you should create a second request for each judge and select the additional recommender(s) in the second application (i.e., on the first request, choose recommenders 1-3 on the drop down menu. On the second request, choose recommenders 4-6 on the drop down).
You may not actually apply to judges on CARS. CARS is merely a tool to help you compile the materials for your applications. After entering your judges on CARS, you must still compile paper applications or submit materials via OSCAR.
Any judge who is listed in blue has registered with the OSCAR system (grayed out judges have never registered with OSCAR). Some of these judges only accept paper applications — this will be indicated with a mailbox next to the name. Judges listed in blue with a globe next to the name accept OSCAR applications.
Not all judges who accept OSCAR applications will have positions available every year. You may only apply to judges via OSCAR who list available positions on the system.
You must create a draft application for each judge in order to trigger the recommendation request. To create a draft application, click on the “clerkship details” tab for each judge and you will see a “build an application” option to the right (this only works if the judge has open positions). At this point, you can trigger a draft application by uploading one document and choosing your recommenders for each judge. You can finalize the rest of the application at any time before the due date.
You need to choose recommenders for each judge to whom you are applying. If you have already entered your recommenders under the recommender tab, go into each draft application and make sure that the appropriate recommenders are checked for each judge. Until these boxes are checked, the recommendation requests will not be viewable.
OSCAR is available to all of your recommenders, whether they are faculty or not. For non-faculty, please select “add a new recommender” under the recommender tab and enter an email address. OSCAR will send an instructional email to the recommender.
While your letters of recommendation can be attached after the application is finalized (as long as the recommendation request is pending), it is generally not a good idea to finalize your application until all of the materials are in. Judges often download/print applications as they are finalized, and they are not likely to check back to see if you have added more material. Additionally, while your request is pending, recommenders may make changes to their letters, even after they have been uploaded. Once you finalize the application, the recommenders may not change their uploaded letters, even if they find a mistake (which happens not infrequently).
If a judge on your list switched from paper applications to OSCAR applications, you must apply to the judge via OSCAR. Please notify both your recommenders and the clerkship office when this happens so the paper letters can be pulled and the appropriate letters uploaded to your new OSCAR application.
You may continue to add new OSCAR judges, so long as they were not previously available, at any time. To make sure that your letters are uploaded, please contact both your recommenders and the clerkship office when this happens.
OSCAR does not require a transcript. When you enter your information on OSCAR, you will be asked to create a grade sheet.
The Office of Judicial Clerkships can delete your application for you. You must then re-build the application from scratch, but you may do so without penalty (you must ask your recommenders to re-upload their letters, however). Do NOT withdraw your application. Once you have done this, you may not re-apply to the same judge.
You can use essentially the same resume format that you used to apply for jobs with firms or public service employers, but make sure to highlight any writing experience you have.
Writing samples should be no more than 15 pages in length. Feel free to excerpt 12-15 continuous pages from a longer piece. Some judges require writing samples to be shorter; make sure to note each judge’s specific requirements.
If you wish to submit work that you did for a firm, government or public-interest employer, you must get permission from the employer first and then indicate conspicuously on the writing sample that you are submitting it with permission.
For most applications, you can use your unofficial transcript or a photocopy of your official transcript. If you have a GPA of 3.48 or above, you should use your unofficial transcript (available on Symplicity) because it explains what the B+ mean and also states that if your GPA is higher than a 3.48 you are in the top 25 percent of the class. Never use a printout of your grades from ISIS.
For paper applications, bundling of student materials begins almost immediately after the application deadline. While we will make every effort to process your application(s) as quickly as possible, if they are not received by the deadline, we cannot guarantee that they will be sent to judges on the earliest possible date for receipt.