February 28, 2014
Philadelphia's First Judicial District Court Seeks Law School Graduates for Judicial Fellowship Program
Philadelphia judges are seeking to host law school graduates as judicial fellows to provide the graduates with substantive legal experience while benefitting the court system with additional legal talent, as part of the First Judicial District's Judicial Fellowship Program. Now entering its 4th year, the Judicial Fellowship Program was created in 2011 to address the difficult hiring climate for lawyers that many recent law graduates were facing.
The Judicial Fellowship Program aims to provide high-caliber law graduates with substantive experience in the law, and to support the Court in carrying out key functions. Fellows volunteer their time, have the same responsibilities as regular paid judicial law clerks, and gain the benefit of training by judges in the Philadelphia courts. Judicial fellows' service helps our high volume court system maintain its superior quality of service to the Philadelphia community. Judges help judicial fellows by mentoring and providing legal experience that will enhance their competitiveness for paid employment as new lawyers.
Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Lisa M. Rau developed the program with help from Professor Chapin Cimino of the Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University as well as faculty and administrators from career services offices at the University of Pennsylvania's Law School and Temple's Beasley School of Law. The Judicial Fellowship Program quickly expanded and now welcomes graduates from law schools from across the country. The Philadelphia Bar Association is a supporter of the Judicial Fellowship Program.
The application process is streamlined and selective. Prospective judicial fellows apply directly via email to judges with whom they are interest in working. Judges select judicial fellows from those applicants who apply to them directly. The list of judges with available positions for judicial fellows is provided on the Judicial Fellowship Program's website. Each judge and fellow team designs a flexible schedule (minimum of 20 hours per week) that ensures reliable service to the judge but permits the fellow to seek a paid position elsewhere. Judicial fellows do not commit to any length of service enabling them to leave the fellowship with two weeks' notice to their judge upon obtaining paid employment.
During the first 3 years of the program, over 50 judges volunteered to host judicial fellows and the Court hosted 149 judicial fellows from 30 different law schools. As of February 2014, the vast majority of judicial fellows (approximately 84%) who left their fellowship departed for paid jobs using their legal skills.
For additional information and fellowship application forms, please visit www.courts.phila.gov/jfp