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University of Iowa News Release


Dec. 10, 2007

Five UI law grads secure federal appeals court clerkships

The University of Iowa College of Law is one of the top 20 U.S. law schools providing clerks to federal appellate judges, with four third-year law students and one recent graduate hired to work as appeals court clerks for next year.

The appellate clerks join ten other third-year law students and one recent graduate who will clerk next year for a variety of federal and state court judges. So far, 14 students from the law school's class of 2008 have secured clerkships, along with two from earlier classes.

"Federal appellate clerkships are prestigious positions and the judges have their pick of the best graduates of all U.S. law schools, so this speaks well of the quality of Iowa law students," said Tung Yin, professor of law and the law school's faculty judicial clerkship advisor. "A clerkship for a judge at any level is a good first step for attorneys to be hired at elite law firms, public interest jobs, or government positions, or at law schools as professors."

Judicial clerks act as advisors and researchers for their judges, advising them on legal matters relating to cases currently under consideration, summarizing each side's arguments, performing legal research and helping to draft opinions. Each of the 200-plus judges in the 13 federal circuit courts of appeal hires three or four clerks, usually for one-year terms.

"A clerkship is a broad and thorough introduction to so many aspects of the law that help the clerks further their careers," said Yin. "Large law firms, especially those with appellate practices, look favorably on applicants who have work experience as a clerk, and circuit clerkships are common among applicants for faculty positions at law schools."

Law graduates have so far been hired by the following courts:

--Three will work for the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
--Two will work for the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, a court based in Washington, D.C., that hears cases related to trademark and patent law.
--One will work for the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, the highest court with jurisdiction over the District of Columbia's internal legal matters.
--One will work for a federal district court in Iowa.
--Two will work for federal bankruptcy judges.
--Three will work for state appeals courts.
--Two will work for state trial courts.

Other students have pending applications, and not all judges -- especially state court judges -- have completed their hiring.

Yin said that 22 graduates of the class of 2007 secured clerkships last year with federal, state, or administrative judges.

Carolyn Jones, dean of the law school, credited Yin and Amy Liu, the law school's clerkship coordinator, for the UI's success in placing so many law graduates into clerkships.

"Tung and Amy helped to invigorate our clerkship placement program with workshops and resume reviews that provide valuable insight and advice for our students," Jones said. "Both of them worked as federal law clerks and that experience has proved invaluable in connecting judges at all levels with so many of our outstanding students."

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Tung Yin, College of Law, 319-335-9916,; Tom Snee, University News Services, 319-384-0010,