The Oregon Department of Justice employs approximately 80 law students to provide legal support to Assistant Attorneys General. In any division, a law clerk's usual duties will be to perform library research or to investigate factual matters and to provide a written product. The final result may be used by the supervising attorney as background, it may be incorporated as part of an opinion or legal document or it may itself be a finished product such as a brief, memorandum, pleading or opinion. The Department expects the highest professional work from its clerks; conversely, the Department does not use law clerks as "gophers."
Law clerks are assigned to particular divisions, and to sections within those divisions. Law clerks periodically may be assigned work for another section or division due to workload demands. Transfers between divisions occasionally occur. Law clerks are assigned by Attorneys in Charge or designated law clerk supervisors to work with individual attorneys on a case-by-case basis, with assignments ranging from finding a single citation to working on a project for weeks or even months. A law clerk may be working on several projects for several attorneys simultaneously.
Appellate Division law clerks write briefs, with supervision, which are filed in the Court of Appeals. If they have completed their second year of law school and are certified, their names appear on their briefs and they may appear and argue before the Court of Appeals.
The pay for law clerks does not include benefits, except as required by law. The term of appointment usually is three months for summer and nine months for the school year, and is subject to renewal, but is statutorily subject to termination at any time without cause. Summer clerks are expected to work full 40 hour weeks. Arrangements can be made to allow a vacation, but the Department expects a minimum commitment of at least ten weeks during the summer. Clerks generally are appointed for up to 20 hours per week during the school year, averaged out during the nine month term of the appointment. Time off is allowed during finals, and those who remain in the geographic area during vacations can work full time to make up for time missed during finals. Many summer appointments are made contingent upon continued availability of the clerk during the succeeding school year.
If you have questions about the law clerk program, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to tell you more. If there are particular areas of the Department that are of interest to you, please let us know in the email and we'll direct your question to that section. Law clerk recruitment occurs every year. If there are no vacancies at this time, we hope you will keep us in mind.