Litigation Clerkship/Externship Program
The Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation hires law clerks and externs in each of the summer, fall, and spring semesters.
Litigation clerks and externs perform cutting-edge legal research and analysis, and heavily participate in the litigation process. They engage primarily in intensive legal research for cases on the center’s litigation docket. Clerks and externs assist in drafting complaints and motions, preparing for court hearings, evaluating potential cases, and developing litigation strategy. They are expected to possess an understanding of the principles of limited government. Every effort is made to match the interests of the student with the Center’s projects.
Litigation clerks and externs work primarily under the Center’s attorneys and director Clint Bolick on cases promoting economic liberty, property rights, and school choice.
Q. What can I expect to gain from a clerkship or externship?
A. Clerks and externs for the Goldwater Institute will sharpen their legal research and writing skills. Clerks and externs also have opportunities to participate in the Institute’s events, policy research, and lunch-and-learn seminars specially directed to students. Litigation clerks and externs will learn first hand about the litigation process. Additionally, they will learn the distinctive features of the workings of a non-profit public policy and research organization, as well as aspects of a public interest law practice.
Q. Who qualifies for clerkships and externships?
A. Applicants must have completed at least one year in law school. Other students should apply for a Ronald Reagan Fellowship and state their interest in working with either the litigation or constitutional policy center.
Q. What qualities do you look for in an ideal applicant?
A. Successful applicants have a strong work ethic, a demonstrated capacity for creative thinking, exceptional legal research skills, and a deep understanding of classical liberal principles. They also must be personable and have a good sense of humor.
Q. What is the compensation?
A. Law clerks are paid. Externs receive class credit towards their J.D. degree and are unpaid. For additional financial assistance, we encourage you to contact your school’s public interest law organization (PILO) for grant and scholarship opportunities. Upon accepting an offer to work at the Goldwater Institute, you may also apply for assistance through the Institute for Humane Studies Hayek Fund for Scholars.
Q. What hours do clerks and externs work?
A. Summer clerks should commit to the entire summer, and the position is full-time (40 hours per week). Fall and spring clerks can work full- or part-time, but they must commit to a firm and reliable schedule, a portion of which may involve telecommuting at the discretion of the policy director. Externs work the number of hours required by their school based on the number of credits they receive for the work.
Q. What is the difference between a clerkship and an externship?
A. Clerkships are paid positions, while externs are unpaid and receive course credit towards their J.D. degree. Both positions are research-intensive. Externs are also freely given the opportunity to attend outside law-related events, such as CLEs and Federalist Society events. Clerks are permitted and encouraged to take advantage of those opportunities as long as their workload allows.
Q. When should I apply?
A. Applications are accepted anytime. First-year students need not wait until December 1st to apply for a summer position.
Q. How do I apply?
A. Litigation clerks and externs should mail a cover letter, resume, and legal writing sample to Christina Sandefur at 500 E. Coronado Road, Phoenix, Arizona 85004. Applications may also be emailed to email@example.com. Please note clearly in your cover letter (1) for which semester you are applying, and (2) whether you are in your first, second, or third year of law school.
Applicants may apply to both the litigation and constitutional law and policy programs, but should note that they are doing so on both applications.
Q. Whom may I contact to answer my questions about the clerkship or externship program?
A. You are encouraged to call or email the program directors. You may also request contact information for previous clerks and externs to learn first-hand about their experiences. For litigation clerkships and externships, please contact Christina Sandefur at (602) 462-5000 x271 or firstname.lastname@example.org.