Emphasis on Theory and Practice Prepares Graduates

Last year more than 37,000 law students and recent graduates applied for 98 federal Judicial Clerkship positions in California. One of the most sought after post-graduation job opportunities, these clerkships help new attorneys develop skills employers seek: managing dockets, writing legal memoranda, drafting orders, and interacting with attorneys and judges.

With nine Judicial Clerks and two post-bar externs working in the Southern District's 32 judicial chambers, California Western more than doubled the school’s participation in the past decade.

Rebecca G. Church '08, now an associate with Duane Morris, LLP, served as a Judicial Clerk for the Hon. Magistrate Judge Ruben B. Brooks and then with Hon. William Q. Hayes. Church explains, "Coming out of law school, I knew the strong research and writing skills I learned while a student at California Western would prepare me to succeed in the clerkship position."

Church realized how much she wanted to pursue a judicial clerkship during an externship with the Hon. Magistrate Judge Leo S. Papas (Ret.), as he presided over the settlement of lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego. Through California Western's Clinical Internship Program, Church was able to spend as much time as necessary assisting Judge Papas and adding to her skill set.

"The case required unusual hours for the Judge. He would stay late or come in early. I never knew when the case would be all-consuming, but I was able to be around whenever something big was happening," says Church.

By the time Colin M. McDonald '12 became a Judicial Clerk for the Hon. Michael M. Anello, he had already built an impressive resume by interning with the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Criminal Law Division of the Office of the Attorney General, as well as serving as an extern for the Hon. Magistrate Judge Nita L. Stormes. In just his first couple of weeks clerking for Judge Anello, McDonald handled cases involving foreclosure, prisoner civil rights, securities fraud, and more.

McDonald credits the training he received as a student for helping build a foundation for success. "My time at California Western helped instill in me the basic abilities that every lawyer needs to excel on the job. The education and training I received in law school ensured that I had the skills with which to succeed as a Judicial Clerk."