ABA Business Law Section Diversity Clerkship Program

The ABA Business Law Section Diversity Clerkship Program will place selected students in judicial clerkship positions for the summer of 2011.  The clerkship program is open to 1L and 2L students and has a deadline of January 21, 2011.  More information on how to apply, including a copy of the application, is available here.

The ABA Business Law Section Diversity Clerkship Program

In recent years, many areas of the legal profession have made pursuing diversity a priority objective. Business law presents many distinct diversity challenges, as law students are often unfamiliar with the field and perceive it as conservative and unaccepting. This realization is troubling, particularly for the American Bar Association Business Law Section because its mission is:

To encourage diversity in the Section by fostering a welcoming environment for all lawyers and promoting full and equal participation by all lawyers, including lawyers of color, women lawyers, gay and lesbian lawyers, and lawyers with disabilities (“Diverse Lawyers”).

To help address this problem, the Business Law Section has created the Diversity Clerkship Program. This is a summer program providing business law clerkship placements for qualified diverse candidates who are first or second year law students, and will provide support and mentoring to the student participants in order to give them the exposure to business practices that many of them lack. In considering a student’s diversity, the Section will give special consideration to individuals who have overcome social or economic disadvantages such as physical disability, financial constraints, or cultural impediments to becoming a law student.

The clerkship program will place up to nine students in business court clerkships in the Philadelphia Commerce Court, the Delaware Court of Chancery and the Price George’s District Court in Upper Malboro, Maryland. Possible other placements include New York, NY and Orlando, Florida.

The Business Law Section Diversity Program will focus on judicial clerkships, where diversity among judicial clerks remains disproportionately low. For recent law school graduates, serving as a judicial law clerk is a mark of distinction and honor that advances their future career opportunities in law practice and academia, in government as high-level appointees, and in securing appointments to the bench. Clerkships in business law courts provide another unique and highly important benefit to law students: the ability to see a microcosm of business practice, and allow the student to become familiar with business issues. Such a background will prove invaluable to a career in business law, whether it be litigation or transactional work. It is hoped that after a summer’s experience in the business court system, we will be able to assist participants in finding other business law placements, in law firms or corporate law departments.

The Business Law Section Diversity Program encourages students to pursue business court clerkship opportunities and to consider careers in the practice of business law. The mission of the Program is to expose law students to the practice of business law and to provide them with work experience and foundations in business law that will further their careers.

The objectives of the Program include:

  • To encourage more diverse law students to apply for clerkship positions.
  • To foster relationships between business court judges and diverse law students.
  • To provide students with a foundation in various aspects of business law.
  • To provide opportunities for students to meet a wide variety of lawyers who are active in the practice of business law and are members of the Business Law Section.
  • To establish a support system for diverse students who are pursuing business court clerkship positions and a possible career in business law.

Membership in the ABA and the Business Law Section is required of students applying for the program. Membership and can be obtained at the time application. Business Law Section membership is free to ABA law student members. Applications for the internships will be solicited from all ABA accredited law schools, and a committee within the Section will screen and interview the applicants, and make the selection for summer placements. Judges will be asked to participate in the program and to accept those candidates selected by the internship selection committee. The Section will select up to nine interns and will provide a summer stipend to each intern. Additionally, during the course of the internship, there will be networking opportunities designed to enhance the learning experience for the interns and to strengthen their interest in business law.