CUNY Law graduates have honed their lawyering skills and styles as clerks in a variety of courts; their network is waiting for you to join them.


Judicial clerkships have provided excellent postgraduate training.  They sharpen research, writing, and analytical skills and provide exposure to a wide variety of legal subject areas and diverse lawyering styles. They are especially formative for recent graduates.

For generations of CUNY Law grads, clerking has built a personal network of professional contacts including judges, practicing attorneys, and other clerks. Graduates find that clerkships carry significant resume value. Many important public interest organizations, government agencies, and major law firms look with great favor on clerkship experience when making hiring decisions. 

Headshot of Flor Martinez-Ijaiya ’19

Clerking is a great experience — it forces you to learn quickly how to be a lawyer, how to write like a lawyer and behave like a lawyer. You do a lot of writing, a lot of motions, and you become a good multi-tasker. It also helps you meet new lawyers and create relationships with judges, which is valuable. It was an amazing experience, and I can’t recommend it enough.”

Flor Martinez-Ijaiya ’19, Evening Program Graduate, Judicial Law Clerk to the Hon. Marybeth Rogers, New Jersey Superior Court Judge  


Once you’ve decided that you’re interested in becoming a federal clerk, self-evaluate:  

  • Do you have outstanding grades?  
  • Can you get strong recommendations from your professors and employers?  
  • Do you have an outstanding legal writing sample?  

Connect with the Career Planning Office, which coordinates the federal clerkship process, if you need help evaluating. We can also refer you to CUNY alumni who’ve clerked in the federal system.


Many CUNY Law graduates have clerked in the federal judiciary—either as an “elbow” clerk to a judge or as a staff attorney for a court.  Many federal law clerks have outstanding academic records and have a demonstrated ability to do quick, accurate research and to write well.  One way to test out your interest and ability is to intern in the federal judiciary in your 1L or 2L year.  
Lauren DiMartino ’20 sits at a desk

“Clerking has given me unparalleledbehind-the-scenes’ access to the federal legal system, but even more valuable is the mentorship and insight I’ve received from my judge, a brilliant woman who committed her life to public service and broke barrier after barrier in her pursuit of justice. I can’t imagine a better way to have started my legal career.”

Lauren DiMartino ’20, former law clerk to Judge Martha Craig Daughtry, U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit

State Court Clerkships

There are clerkships in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.  The best publication to review states’ application procedures is the Vermont Law School Guide to State Clerkships.  To access this Guide, email to get the username and password. Most graduates have applied for clerkships in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, so check out these pages:
  • New York State Court Clerkships
  • New Jersey State Court Clerkships
  • Connecticut State Court Clerkships

Clerkships with the Connecticut Supreme Court

Applications for these clerkships should be filed between May and June for clerkships that start in the fall of the year you graduate. Refer to the Law Clerk Application Information page for details on the application process and exact deadlines.

Clerkships with the Connecticut Appellate Court

Applications for these clerkships should be filed between July and the middle of August for clerkships that start in the fall of the year you graduate.  Refer to the Law Clerk Application Information page for details on the application process and exact deadlines.

Clerkships with the Connecticut Superior Court (Trial Level)

The CUNY School of Law participates in the Superior Court’s video interview program.  Please refer to the deadline specified in CUNY Law’s Symplicity On-Campus Interview Schedules.  The deadline is usually set in September of an applicant’s final academic year. Refer to the Application for Clerkship with the Connecticut Judicial Branch Superior Court for a few details on the application process.

Clerking Opportunities across NJ State Courts

Approximately 480 clerkships of one-year terms beginning late August or early September are available in the New Jersey State Courts. Of those, a limited number of clerkships exist for the Supreme Court, the Superior Court Appellate Division, the Superior Court Assignment Judges, the Superior Court Chancery Division in the General Equity Court, and the Tax Court. Applicants interested in those positions should apply early during the hiring process. Most openings exist in the Superior Court Law Division in Civil and Criminal Courts, and the Superior Court Chancery Division in Family Court.  

Who can apply?

The Judiciary’s law clerkship program is intended for graduates who completed law school within the past four years and who have not yet engaged in the practice of law.  There is no requirement that you take the New Jersey bar exam.
You don’t need to be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, but you do need to be duly authorized to work under immigration law. Law clerks are not subject to the New Jersey residency law during their 53-week term with a New Jersey court. Additionally, law clerks who serve a second clerkship in a higher court are exempt from the residency requirement. Clerks who anticipate moving into another state position immediately following their clerkship(s) must be mindful that, upon the conclusion of their clerkship term, they will need to be New Jersey residents.

When should I apply?

The online application system opens up in mid-June each year.  Clerkships with the New Jersey State Supreme Court judges are filled early, so you should apply as soon as possible. Clerkships with the Appellate Division also go quickly, but you should aim to apply during the summer preceding your graduation.
Applications for clerkships with the Trial Court (Superior Court) don’t need to be sent with the same level of urgency as the Supreme Court or Appellate Division. There is no uniform deadline for clerkships with Trial Judges, but CUNY Law’s Career Planning Office advises that applications are best sent during the late summer or early fall.  After the fall, there may be a few clerkships available in the winter or spring, but the number of openings at that point may be a small percentage of the clerkships that were available earlier.

How do I apply?

To apply, access the Courts’ online system. 
A cover letter and resume are universally required by judges, but many judges differ as to whether other materials (such as a recommendation letter, law school or college transcript, or writing sample) are needed. Unfortunately, the online system can’t be filtered or sorted by application materials needed, but CUNY Law’s Career Planning Office has put together a list of judges for the five counties close to New York City that is sortable by application materials needed.  
Just email for a copy or go to the Resource Library of Symplicity to download this directly.

Special note and instructions for “letter of reference”  

The term “letter of reference” means a letter of recommendation. The online system for applying for New Jersey State Court clerkships requires that your home law school’s career planning office upload the reference. Once you have submitted an online application to a judge who requires a “letter of reference,” you will get an email acknowledging receipt of your application and providing you with an application number. You will need to forward this to with “NJ reference” in the subject line, and the request should be fulfilled within two business days.


Unless otherwise specified, you could use an unofficial transcript or a grade sheet that you created. Once you are hired, you will be required to submit an official transcript.
In New York State, most of the clerkship positions available to current students are in Appellate Courts, usually with the Fourth and Fifth Departments of the Appellate Division, as well as the New York Court of Appeals and Court of Appeals Justices.

New York Court of Appeals Clerkships

The New York Court of Appeals offers clerkships in the central legal research staff. A central staff clerkship is a two-year commitment. Central staff clerks work at the Court of Appeals Hall in Albany and prepare reports on appeals and motions for leave to appeal under the direction of the Chief Court Attorney and Deputy Chief Court Attorney. Central staff clerks also work on research projects, as requested by the Judges or the Clerk of the Court. The clerkships begin in August, and applications should be filed between July 1 and September 15, prior to the year in which employment is sought. Visit the New York Courts website for details on the application process. 
Postings for clerkships with the individual judges of the Court of Appeals can be found on the Courts’ website. Many of them do hire “two-years out,” meaning two years in advance of when the clerkship begins. A few of the justices have their home chambers in New York City, which is where the clerkship would also reside.

Appellate Division, New York State Supreme Court

The Third and Fourth Departments of the Appellate Divisions (located, respectively, in Albany and Rochester) routinely seek graduating 3L/4L students for Appellate Court Attorney positions for one-year terms. The application deadlines are usually in the fall of the 3L/4L year. The Third Department conducts interviews of New York City area law school students at the CUNY School of Law in the fall.
The Second Department, Appellate Division, located in Brooklyn, also hires, but the timing is less certain, so you should check the NYS Unified Court’s website. The First Department, located in Manhattan does not hire graduating law students for positions, although occasionally a First Department Justice may consider a graduating student when they are looking to fill a position.

New York State Trial Court Clerkships

Clerkships on the trial level in New York are referred to as “court attorneys.”  Unlike the New Jersey State courts, which routinely hire recent law graduates, New York State Trial Courts do not routinely hire recent graduates as court attorneys, but, when they do, listings are posted on the New York State Unified Court website. We advise you to look for the postings no earlier than the middle of the semester in which you will graduate.