Fueled by Class of 2019, 104 Alumni Clerking This Term

Courthouse building
November 13, 2019

Update: This story has been updated to reflect new information on the number of clerks and federal appellate clerks.

Twenty percent of University of Virginia School of Law alumni who graduated in 2019 are serving in judicial clerkships nationwide, the highest percentage for a single class since at least 2008.

Out of 286 J.D. graduates, 57 alumni from the Class of 2019 are clerking, including 21 in federal appellate circuit courts.

In total, 104 alumni are clerking this term, a new school record. Thirty-eight alumni are clerking in federal appellate circuit courts, tying a record set in 2018.

Jessica Wagner ’15 is clerking for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. UVA Law is No. 4 after Yale, Harvard and Stanford in placing clerks on the U.S. Supreme Court from 2005-19.

Ruth Payne ’02, senior director of judicial clerkships, said the clerkship market has shifted considerably in the past few years, and in many of the biggest markets, judges prefer to hire clerks with a year or more of post-J.D. experience.

“Many of our alumni have remained active and engaged in the clerkship application process even as they begin practice,” she said, “and they have been able to take advantage of wonderful opportunities to work with some fantastic judges a year or two (or more) after graduating from law school.”

The Class of 2018 was ranked No. 1 in Law.com’s analysis of landing “elite jobs,” defined as working in a large law firm or a federal clerkship. UVA Law was No. 4 in federal clerkships for the Class of 2018.

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