The market for federal clerks among graduates remains unchanged

"The plan" is a relic of the early 2000s, when the federal judiciary attempted to deëscalate a war of judges hiring the most coveted clerkship candidates at earlier and earlier intervals in an effort to thwart their colleagues from hiring them. Like all cabals, it failed. Judges would not adhere to the plan, and gave in, one by one, to opting out of the plan, knowing that most of their colleagues would adhere to the plan. It is now dead.

Meanwhile, there have been narratives about what the clerkship application process looks like these days. Do judges prefer graduates, or do they prefer clerks with some work experience? Because graduates were not subject to the plan, were they a more popular choice? Is there a preference for one over the other--and has there been a trend toward either graduates or clerks with work experience?

With four years' worth of American Bar Association data, we can answer some of these questions. Since 2010, the market for federal clerks among graduates remains largely unchanged.

There are, of course, deficiencies in the data. The biggest is that "federal" is undefined in the ABA guidelines. That might include federal magistrate judges, Article I courts, and miscellaneous federal judicial positions--it all depends on how a school interprets the word "federal."

But, assuming schools are at least consistent with their own terminology internally, it shows that the market has been essentially unchanged--no trends, no narratives to report.