A Demographic Profile of Judicial Clerks

NALP Bulletin, June 2008

Each year, judges at all levels of government hire several thousand law graduates as judicial clerks. The table below provides a profile of these clerks with respect to gender and race over the past 15 years.

Even as the percentage of racial/ethnic minority graduates has increased over the last 15 years, minority representation among court clerks, while increasing, continues to lag behind minority representation among all graduates by about 5 percentage points. In recent years, somewhat more than one fifth of graduates have been minorities. Overall, the percentage of clerkships obtained by minority graduates has increased by 7 percentage points since 1992. More than half, about 53%, of judicial clerkships are obtained by women, compared with 47% in 1992.

Looking at specific court levels, the representation of minority women has generally doubled across all court levels, compared with only small increases for minority men. Women have been and continue to be in the majority among state and local clerks. While their representation has increased by 5 to 8 percentage points across all types of courts, at the federal level just under half of clerkships are taken by women.

Demographics of Judicial Clerks


1992 1997 2002 2007**
All Clerks
Men 52.6% 48.3% 47.4% 46.7%
Women 47.4 51.7 52.6 53.3
All Minorities 10.8 14.1 16.0 17.7
Minority Men 4.9 5.5 5.7 6.6
Minority Women 5.9 8.7 10.3 11.1
# of Clerks* 2,994 3,241 3,326 3,354
Federal Clerks
Men 57.9 54.5 52.9 53.1
Women 42.1 45.5 47.1 46.9
All Minorities 10.0 14.6 14.9 18.0
Minority Men 5.1 6.7 6.0 7.6
Minority Women 4.9 7.9 8.9 10.4
# of Clerks* 1,280 1,250 1,256 1,218
State Clerks
Men 48.6 44.1 44.6 43.9
Women 51.4 55.9 55.4 56.1
All Minorities 11.3 13.4 16.9 17.6
Minority Men 4.6 4.5 6.0 6.1
Minority Women 6.7 8.9 10.9 11.5
# of Clerks* 1,472 1,699 1,733 1,751
Local Clerks
Men 47.7 46.6 40.3 39.2
Women 52.3 53.4 59.7 60.8
All Minorities 9.6 16.6 14.8 16.2
Minority Men 4.6 5.8 2.3 5.4
Minority Women 5.1 10.8 12.5 10.8
# of Clerks* 218 277 305 334

* All figures exclude graduates for whom race or ethnicity was not reported.
** 2007 figures are preliminary, based on information processed as of May 1, 2008.

National Association for Law Placement, Inc.® (NALP®)
1220 19th Street NW, Suite 401, Washington, DC 20036-2405
(202) 835-1001 info@nalp.org
© Copyright 2019 NALP

STAY CONNECTED



View Full Site