Duke puts a great deal of emphasis on judicial clerkships because of the remarkable training students receive; often offering the most rewarding and varied work a young law graduate can find. Further, the bond that develops between judges and clerks can lead to a lifelong mentorship or friendship with many benefits.
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Becoming a Clerk: Advice from alum and former Supreme Court clerk Mirah Horowitz '00
Seek out professors who might be helpful in the process
Establish the strongest ties possible with partners and other lawyers when working at law firms. Those are the people who can best comment on the work of a law student and serve as knowledgeable references.
Take classes that help build experience in practicing the law. Horowitz's experience with Duke Law’s Death Penalty Clinic helped her considerably.
Choose judges carefully and include thoughtful reasons for your application in your cover letters when applying. “Make a reference in the cover letter to why you picked that judge,” Horowitz says, “that’s what’s going to get your letter out of the stack.”
Nearly 20 percent of Duke Law graduates start their careers in judicial clerkships.