Federal Administrative Law Judge Clerkships

Thirty-three U.S. government agencies employ more than 1,700 Administrative Law Judges (ALJs). In addition, a number of agencies also employ Administrative Judges (AJs). Each year, some (but not all) ALJs and AJs hire Law Clerks and/or Attorney-Advisors to assist them in performing their duties. These positions, when they are available, are filled largely by entry-level attorneys who have recently graduated from law school.

There is no central repository of information about these opportunities. The National Association for Law Placement compiles a list of likely hiring agencies typically at the beginning of each calendar year. However, this list is subject to constant churn, sometimes dramatically, depending on factors such as Congress enacting a budget for the forthcoming fiscal year and appropriating funds for clerkship hiring. Such positions are also contingent on announced and unannounced agency hiring freezes.

The best indicator of agency ALJ clerkship hiring intentions is recent past practice. The following agencies have been the most consistent in hiring ALJ Clerks and/or Attorney-Advisors to support ALJs and AJs in recent years:

Law Clerk positions are generally 1-year or 2-year term appointments. Attorney-Advisor positions may also be term-limited, but most are permanent.

ALJ and AJ Law Clerk and Attorney-Advisor hiring can change dramatically from year-to-year. For up-to-date information, it is important to check with the agencies and offices in which you are interested.