1Ls: Additional Information About State Bar Diversity Clerkship Program

If you were unable to attend the informational session on Tuesday Nov. 11 about the State Bar of Wisconsin's Diversity Clerkship Program for 1Ls, you can pick up the application form and the informational brochurein the Career Services Office. Please note that the applications are due at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday,January 20, 2009.

If you DID attend the session and still have questions,both Nilesh Patel and Jane Heymann in the Career Services Office are extremely familiar with theprogram and will be happy to answer your questions.

To clarify some of the comments that the State Bar staff made at the info session:

1) You do not have to be a member of a racial or ethnic minority group to be eligible for the program. However, no matter what your race or ethnicity is, your personal statement, which is the most important part of the initial selection process, needs to address your commitment to diversity -- how you have been affected by diversity, how you have contributed to diversity, and how you hope to contribute to diversity in the future.

2) The selection process does not include a preference for students who are Wisconsin residents.

3) As was described at the info session, participating employers in the program are located in various cities in Wisconsin, and one of them is in the Twin Cities. Students invited to participate in the program will be required to say "yes" or "no"without knowing which employer they will be working for. Therefore, this program is not a feasible option for students who, for family or other reasons, already know that they cannot be flexible about where they spend the summer of 2009.

4) One of the speakers at the info session mentioned that student preferences are "irrelevant" to the process of deciding which students are placed with which employers. The point he was trying to make is that every year, virtually every student ranks the largest law firms who participate in the program at the top of his/her preference list. The fact that every student's preference list is identical to every other student's preference list is the only reason that student preferences end up having little or no bearing on the determination of who gets assigned to work where.

5) If you accept an invitation to participate in the program, you are making a commitment to accept placement with any of the employers in the program, no matter what their location, pay, or type of work they do. If you are unwilling or unable to make this commitment, you should not apply and most definitely should not accept an invitation to participate in the program.

6) If placed outside Madison, you have to be ready to pay rent for your Madison residence in case youcannot sublease it and pay for housing wherever you are placed.

7) Participants are expected to work the full ten weeks of the program and put in 40 hours a week. The program typically starts right after Spring semester finals, so do not expect to take time off at the end of the semester.

8) Placement with an employer does not guarantee a position for the following academic year or summer.

9) You will be notified whether you are being invited to participate in the program sometime in last half of February or very early March.

Tips For Applying

If you are going to apply, please keep the following in mind:

1) It is up to you to define and articulate how you are diverse and add diversity to the legal profession. Your diversity can be on the basis of experiences,leadership, or upbringing.

2) Your writing sample – which will be your legalwriting brief or memo – as well as your personal statement will be critical to the success of your application. Both should be well reasoned,logically organized, and free of typos and grammatical mistakes.

3) Participants are selected on a range of qualities:professional experiences, life experiences, how much the program will help a participant, the maturity and judgment of each participant, and the legal skills displayed in the writing sample and the personal statement.

Submitted by Jane Heymann, Assistant Dean for Career Services on November 17, 2008

This article appears in the categories: Career Services & Student Job Postings

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