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OSCAR Update Adds Transparency to Clerkship Process

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OSCAR Version 7 Improvements

  • Judges may indicate if they prefer applicants with bar membership, specialized work experience, or legal experience post-law school.
  • In turn, applicants can identify any of these preferences as part of their profile, which is searchable by judges.
  • Judges and chambers staff can make electronic notes on law clerk applications.
  • Law school applicants can update their law school grade sheets on finalized applications, providing judges with a full set of law school grades.
  • Courts will be able to hire pro se, death penalty, and bankruptcy appellate panel (BAP) law clerks by posting these positions under the OSCAR account of the chief judge.
  • To address the concerns of many judges that applicants submit too many applications, Version 7 implements a 100-application limit per applicant for chambers clerkships. In 2012, nearly 340,000 applications were submitted for a little over 1,000 positions.

A major redesign of a popular online resource for law clerkships will make the federal law clerk application and review process more orderly, transparent, and fair for all. Version 7 of the Online System for Clerkship Application and Review (OSCAR) was released this month by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Among the Version 7 improvements are enhanced search and sort capabilities. Expanded judicial profiles provide more information for applicants and law schools on a judge’s participation in the Federal Law Clerk Hiring Plan and on hiring preferences.  Under the current Hiring Plan, the OSCAR system will release all online third-year law school applications on June 28, 2013.

Judge Thomas F. Hogan, Director of the AO, encourages judges to create profiles on OSCAR, even if they do not plan to use the tool to accept law clerkship applications.

“An orderly, transparent, and fair hiring process is of paramount importance to judges, law schools, and applicants alike,” Hogan said. “With an OSCAR profile you can more broadly communicate clerkship openings and your hiring preferences and plans to potential candidates.”

OSCAR has helped judges and law clerkship applicants connect since 2005, automating the very paper-intensive processing of applications for clerkships in the federal courts. Judges and staff attorneys can post available positions, and applicants can find positions and electronically submit their applications on OSCAR. Seventy percent of all federal appellate, district, magistrate and bankruptcy judges have signed-up for OSCAR. To be considered “participating,” a judge registers for an account and maintains a hiring profile in OSCAR. 

For more information, visit OSCAR online.

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