Law Clerks for Diversity is a simple but powerful idea that rests on two premises: (1) everybody who “makes it” has help, and (2) our profession, legal system, and country are better when representative of varied backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. A wider array of experiences and perspectives from people from all walks of life adds immense value to the judicial decision-making process.
Increase the diversity of law clerks in the federal judiciary by providing advice, mentorship, and other resources to help diverse applicants from traditionally underrepresented groups navigate the clerkship hiring process.
What Do We Mean by “Diversity”?
We seek to address two broad shortcomings:
(1) diversity in the semi-traditional sense of the word (i.e., race, ethnicity, sex, gender, LGBTQI+, disability status, socioeconomic status, etc.).
(2) law school or academic diversity (i.e., candidates from schools other than the traditional T14 or clerkship “feeder” schools).
Law Clerks for Diversity is first and foremost a mentorship program. It connects diverse candidates applying for federal clerkships with current and former law clerks for mentorship and guidance. Selected applicants will have access to other resources as well, including tips on preparing cover letters and writing samples, a suggested reading list, mock interview opportunities, and a broad network of connections with current and former law clerks to judges all over the country.
The mentorship program will be offered in a limited capacity based on our resources and available volunteers. However, even individuals not initially selected for mentorship may have access to small-group feedback sessions on preparing cover letters and writing samples for clerkship applications, as well as access to other information sessions and educational panels.
The program will hopefully evolve into other spaces as well, including panels or other networking-style events, and eventually webinars or education-based programs. Another long-term goal is funding; applying for clerkships is expensive, which creates yet another obstacle for diverse applicants.
“People look at an institution and they see people who are like them, who share their experiences, who they imagine share their set of values, and that’s a sort of natural thing and they feel more comfortable if that occurs.” – Justice Elena KaganN.Y. Times, Adam Liptak, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan Muse Over a Cookie-Cutter Supreme Court (Sept. 5, 2016)