State Courts

Let's not forget state courts. Not all states have a term clerkship system. It would be helpful if you would comment on whether your state's courts have term clerks in addition to when they might be hiring.


  1. Vermont has term clerks for the Supreme Court and the trial courts (no intermediate courts in the Green Mountain State!) Supremes hire 5 per year (one for each justice), and the trail courts vary by year, depending on how many current clerks stay, but usually between 5 and 10.

    Hiring kicks off in September-ish accepting applications; interview notifications go out in October; interviews in November; offers soon thereafter. Hiring is done centrally, not through individual judges, so you can apply to all of the Supremes and/or all of the trial judges.

  2. Both NJ and PA have term clerks. Hiring practices vary wildly and are very court- and judge-specific.

    In Pennsylvania, hiring for the Supreme Court, Superior Court, and Commonwealth Court is usually complete by the end of September. For the Courts of Common Pleas, hiring may be completed any time between September and May.

    NJ follows a similar pattern. One sidenote: NJ also allows applicants to put their materials into a resume book, made available to all NJ judges.

  3. The Arizona Supreme Court hires ten term clerks each year--two for each of the five justices. Rather than compete with each other for clerks, the justices seem to prefer an organized, collegial hiring process. As a result, they usually review applications, interview candidates, and make hiring decisions in very close temporal proximity to one another. (For example, I believe they have for at least the last two years waited until the day after Labor Day to set up interviews.) Send applications sometime from late July to the middle of August, and expect to interview during the first two weeks of September. Like most courts, decisions are made quite quickly after interviews. As one of the more prestigious state supreme courts in the country, the justices tend to be quite selective when interviewing candidates (top 10% is the norm). As a side note, the justices seem to prefer to hire applicants who are Arizona natives or who have demonstrated an interest in practicing in Arizona after completing their clerkships.

    The Arizona Court of Appeals operates differently. Division I judges (based in Phoenix) begin accepting applications on or around July 15 of each year. This, however, seems to be the extent of any formal hiring system; some judges hire within days after the application period begins, while others wait until October or November to make hiring decisions. Division II judges (based in Tucson) hire career clerks almost exclusively. Arizona COA judges are not as choosy with their applicants, but also seem to prefer to hire applicants with ties to Arizona.