The D.C. Summer Judicial Externship Program is an exciting opportunity that places first-year and second-year law students into unpaid summer externships at some of the most vibrant and influential courts in Washington, D.C.

You will spend at least 8 weeks during the summer externing at a participating court in the Washington, D.C. area and attend a weekly experiential course that is tailored to judicial clerking.

Students hear from engaging guest speakers, have lunch with federal judges, and visit historical points of interest. We also pair you with one or more Wake Forest University School of Law alumni living and working in the Washington, D.C. area, who will mentor you throughout the summer.

Have Questions?

Get answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Get Answers »

Student Experience

Photo of Vanessa Garrido (JD '18)
“Professor Perdue’s class, which is tailored to judicial clerking, is instructive and coincides with many of the assignments you will be working on in your placement.”

— Vanessa Garrido (JD '18)

Read Testimonials »

Photo of Vanessa Garrido (JD '18)
“Professor Perdue’s class, which is tailored to judicial clerking, is instructive and coincides with many of the assignments you will be working on in your placement.”

— Vanessa Garrido (JD '18)

Read Testimonials »

Externship

You will spend approximately 35 hours per week for at least 8 weeks during the summer externing at a participating court.

As part of your unpaid externship, you will engage in the kinds of intellectually engaging tasks that law clerks perform, such as conducting research on pending cases, observing hearings, and even drafting opinions.

Wake Forest law students in the D.C. Summer Judicial Externship Program have externed at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, the Office of the Special Masters, and other courts.

Judicial Clerking Course

This is not just an externship. You will also take an experiential course that is tailored to judicial clerking. The course meets in the evening once per week and is held at Wake Forest University’s beautiful Wake Washington Center.

The judicial clerking course explores the following topics:

  • Professionalism
  • Courtroom decorum
  • Chambers confidentiality
  • Judicial ethics
  • Docket management
  • Bench memo drafting
  • Oral argument preparation
  • Judicial opinion drafting

The course also includes field trips to points of interest from the Library of Congress to the U.S. Supreme Court and informal meetings with federal judges, a federal Clerk of the Court, federal prosecutors, in-house counsel, government attorneys, and attorneys at prominent Washington, D.C. law firms.

Course Details »

Photo of Abby Perdue

Professor Abigail Perdue, a former employment law attorney and law clerk, is the D.C. Summer Judicial Externship program director and teaches the judicial clerkship course. She is also the author of The All-Inclusive Guide to Judicial Clerking, which serves as the course text.

Learn More »

Photo of Abby Perdue

Professor Abigail Perdue, a former employment law attorney and law clerk, is the D.C. Summer Judicial Externship program director and teaches the judicial clerkship course. She is also the author of The All-Inclusive Guide to Judicial Clerking, which serves as the course text.

Learn More »