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Consider clerkships a career investment, panelists say at UHLC judicial event

Alumni panelists, from left, Matthew Hoffman (J.D. '12), Amanda Dorman (J.D. '23), Judge Yvonne Ho (J.D. '06), Bilma Canales (J.D. '18), Marco Graniel (J.D. '23) join UHLC Director of Intern & Externship Programs Bill Powers for a Career Development Office lunch and learn event on judicial clerkships and internships at the Law Center.

Feb. 28, 2024 — The University of Houston Law Center Career Development Office (CDO) organized a Judicial Lunch-and-Learn event to provide students with insights into clerkships, internships and networking opportunities with area federal judges and clerks.

The event started with a panel discussion featuring alumni who have navigated clerkships firsthand. Among the panelists were UHLC alumni Judge Yvonne Ho (J.D. '06), Amanda Dorman (J.D. '23), Marco Graniel (J.D. '23), Bilma Canales (J.D. '18), Matthew Hoffman (J.D. '12).

The panelists underlined the pivotal role that clerkships experience plays in a law student’s career trajectory.

"Every single job I've ever had, including the one I have right now, has materialized because I interned and then clerked," said Judge Ho, who is currently Magistrate Judge to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. “You have an experience that sets you apart. This is an investment in your career.”

"I don’t think there is a better way to start a legal career than doing a judicial clerkship," echoed Hoffman, who now practices at Vinson & Elkins and formerly clerked for Judge David Hittner.

“I wanted the mentorship of a judge. The best first job is learning from a judge,” said Canales, who postponed her law firm career for clerkships with Judge Gray Miller and Judge Roger Gregory.

Panelists emphasized the value of mentorship, writing experience, and exposure to different areas of the law gained through clerkships.

“You will get opportunities as a junior lawyer that otherwise you might not get,” said Hoffman.

"I am a better writer now," said Dorman, who clerked for Judge Ho.

Canales noted that firms highly value clerkship experiences, considering them a significant differentiator.

Graniel, who also clerked for Judge Ho, advised students to "follow both traditional and nontraditional paths" in the pursuit of a clerkship and stressed the importance of networking and proactive engagement.

Following the panel discussion, students conversed with federal district and magistrate judges from the Southern and Eastern Districts of Texas over lunch. The judges in attendance included Judge Peter Bray '00 (Southern District of Texas), Judge Christina Bryan (Southern District of Texas), Judge Marcia Crone '78 (Eastern District of Texas), Judge Keith Ellison (Southern District of Texas), Judge Yvonne Ho '06 (Southern District of Texas), Judge Gray Miller '78 (Southern District of Texas) and Judge Christine Stetson (Eastern District of Texas).

CDO Event
CDO Event

Law students interested in a federal judicial clerkship after graduation should register for the Online System for Clerkship Application and Review (OSCAR), a web-based system for federal law clerk and appellate staff attorney recruitment.

With OSCAR, applicants can apply to federal clerkships and staff attorney positions, research judges’ hiring practices, preferences, and timelines. For more information and to register for OSCAR, visit oscar.uscourts.gov.

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