Law students have many opportunities to meet practicing attorneys, judges, and law clerks through various programs and events held throughout the year. It’s a great chance to grow your network and talk to people with years of experience in the field you’re interested in, to find out what it’s really like to practice law outside of a textbook. When planning your career after law school, one of the best things you can do is connect with people who have been doing it for years.
One such event, the ABA’s 23rd annual Judicial Clerkship Program (JCP), was recently held in New Orleans, LA, on February 2-4. The JCP connects law students from diverse backgrounds to judges and law clerks, educating students on the benefits of a judicial clerkship and gives students of color a better chance of being considered for judicial clerkships due to their new-found connections and exposure to judges.
Four McGeorge students – Kristale Chaney (’24), Yuri Khadka (’24), Elena Lucero (’24), and Jules Jallab (’23) – attended this year’s program, learning as much about what it means to be a judicial clerk as they did about themselves and their career goals. Perceived fraudulence, or imposter syndrome, runs rampant in many industries and the legal field is no exception. Many law students feel that they are not qualified to even apply for certain jobs, scholarships, fellowships, or even attendance at certain events. However, as they would learn at every professional workshop or networking opportunity such as the JCP, your career goals are often furthered more by the connections you’ve developed and happenstance than by academic rankings (academic achievement certainly helps, but it is far from the only qualification considered by employers).
Two of the main takeaways from [the Judicial Clerkship Program] are: 1) You cannot be something you cannot see, and 2) Stop self-selecting yourself out of opportunities.
Yuri Khadka after attending the JCP.
If an opportunity presents itself and you believe there’s even a chance that it can benefit you, don’t be afraid to try! Whether it’s applying for a job or simply tuning into a webinar, take advantage of every opportunity if you’re able.