Nation - Summer Law Clerk program marks 10 years

The American Bar Association Section of Litigation announced that nearly 180 financially disadvantaged and minority law students are participating in its Judicial Intern Opportunity Program (JIOP) this summer.

The program, celebrating its 10th anniversary, has expanded to place students with courts in Philadelphia, adding to participating courts in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Miami, and others throughout Illinois and Texas. This year about 150 judges are taking part in the program.

JIOP provides an opportunity for students who are traditionally underrepresented in the legal profession. Through JIOP, these students gain first-hand knowledge of the courts, and develop the knowledge and skills necessary to have a well-rounded and real world experience in the court system. In addition to addressing the needs of students, the project seeks to increase diversity in the courts and the legal profession.

"As we reach this milestone for the JIOP program, we celebrate the commitment of our members and partners to provide a valuable experience to minority and disadvantaged law students by exposing them to the workings of the courts," said Lorna G. Schofield, section chair. "This year, more than ever, law students face many challenges due to the economic crisis. Despite the dire job market and the challenges facing the profession, our members have provided unprecedented support so that the lawyers of tomorrow will have the ability to have a meaningful opportunity for growth.

"We appreciate the efforts of judges and lawyers to make time to provide mentoring opportunities to those who are in the program. This cannot be done without their continued support -- making this is a very unique and special program for law students," Schofield further said.

The JIOP program was initially developed by the ABA Section of Antitrust Law in response to a survey showing underrepresentation of minorities in judicial clerkships, and for the last eight years it has been operated by the Section of Litigation. From an initial class of 14 interns in the summer of 2000, the program has grown and expanded to accept more than 675 applications from around the country for the 2010 slots.

The program provides a six-week minimum, fulltime internship for first- and second-year minority and/or financially disadvantaged law students. Interns work on legal research and writing for state and federal judges. Interns receive an award of $1,500 for their participation in the program.

Volunteer lawyers from the Section of Litigation and other groups of the ABA review the applications, interview and meet with the students and make recommendations to hiring judges. Students who are accepted into the program attend program orientations where they are given information and tips from practicing lawyers and others in the legal field. Orientation sessions and special receptions in each city mark the beginning of the program and celebrate the success of JIOP over the years.

For more information on JIOP, go online to the JIOP webpage at A list of the class of 2010 and the participating judges will be posted shortly on the JIOP webpage.

Applications for the summer 2011 program will be posted in the fall.

Published: Thu, Jun 24, 2010