Explore the Clerkships Diversity Initiative

In the 2021-2022 Academic Year, OJC, with the indefatigable support of faculty mentors, judicial and law clerk alumni, welcomed an inaugural cohort of 34 2Ls into the Initiative.  As one inaugural participant stated: “[I] could not recommend [the Initiative] more to 2Ls. I felt much more prepared to apply for a clerkship, importantly because I knew a lot more about what a clerkship even was.”  Yet another said “ I really enjoyed and appreciated the program. The things I found most helpful were the calendar [of events]  and my professor mentor. I also really, really appreciated my alumni mentor and her insights. It was just really helpful to have these connections and people to talk to with questions [as I was going through the process].” And, importantly, one participant said that “[d]espite deciding not to move forward with a clerkship, I am glad I was able to learn more about the process, about what it means to be a clerk, what applying looks like, and to connect with my mentors and use their advice to inform how I am planning my future.”  

The Initiative cohort also hosted judicial lectures at CLS, and enjoyed courtroom and chamber visits in Spring 2022 to the Southern District of New York and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.  The CDI also connected members with alumni mentors and, importantly, with each other.


Headshot Jermel McClure

“My primary reason for joining CDI was the mentorship, support, and community of like-minded students that CDI fosters. As an underrepresented minority, it is easy to feel isolated and insecure when navigating spaces that lack diversity. In my experience, those negative emotions are subdued when I can lean into a familiar community for support and encouragement. The CDI community has given me the insights and confidence needed to navigate the clerkship process successfully.” 

- Jermel McClure, Jr., Class of 2024 CDI Scholar


Beginning in the Spring of 2023, the Initiative’s new class of Scholars attend a weekly, one-hour seminar led by Dean Saavedra and Director Acquie. The course covers key issues that diverse candidates have expressed interest in learning about, and preparing for, in advance of their clerkship applications, interviews and clerkship positions. CDI Scholars are asked to participate by reading clerkship-related materials, and providing reflection pieces about their clerkship aspirations (and concerns). Guest lectures by faculty, judicial alumni, and alumni law clerks occur throughout the term. Throughout the semester, CDI Scholars attend courthouse visits to the Appellate Division, First Judicial Department; the Eastern District of New York; the Southern District of New York; and the Second Circuit. The seminar will culminate in ensuring that participants are ready to begin their clerkship application process in June 2023.  


CDI visit to the appellate division