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Judge Clerkship Database to Launch With Hundreds of Testimonials

Bloomberg: “A database for prospective law clerks to learn more about the judges they’re considering working for is set to launch in March, the nonprofit behind the project said Thursday. The Legal Accountability Project’s Centralized Clerkship Database, featuring hundreds of surveys from former state and federal law clerks, will be available to potential clerks who register for the website, said Aliza Shatzman, the group’s president and founder. People interested in accessing the database can preregister for it now. It costs $20 for individuals to subscribe, and access to the database will last through the end of the clerkship hiring cycle, in August or September. Shatzman, who started her group in 2022 after a negative experience clerking for a judge, said the database is an effort to “democratize information” about clerkships. She said that, instead of rumors about certain judges only being shared through a whisper network or law schools aware of those judges’ behavior, the database will give young attorneys and law students a more frank and detailed look at what their clerkship might look like. “Historically, sadly, law clerks whose experiences were negative or even neutral have just not been empowered to share candidly, fearing retaliation by the judges who mistreated them and reputational harm in the legal community for saying anything about judges,” Shatzman said. “So we’re finally providing a candid platform to share.” The launch of the database is a significant achievement for the project, which aims to add transparency to the opaque clerking process. While many lawyers publicly laud the experience — which can lead to prestigious professional opportunities — clerks are often young adults and work closely under a judge for a year or longer, leading to what advocates have described as a lopsided power dynamic. A handful of former clerks have publicly accused judges of misconduct during their clerkships…”

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