How to Become a Law Clerk

Law ClerkThe process to become a clerk at the Ventura County Public Defender’s Office is competitive. Clerks are selected based on their passion for public defense and demonstrated commitment to excellence. Applicants face a three-stage screening process. First, the applicant must submit a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to Andre Nintchff, Deputy Public Defender and clerkship supervisor. The cover letter should convey why the applicant wants to clerk for the Ventura County Public Defender’s Office and why the office should select the applicant. If the applicant appears to be suited for the program, he or she will interview with Andre Nintcheff in person. If the interview goes well, the applicant will return a third time to shadow an attorney mentor. After the shadow day, if the office determines the applicant is a good match for the program, the applicant will receive a clerkship offer. Clerkships are unpaid and carry no guarantee of future employment with the office.

Clerks are encouraged to become “certified law clerks” pursuant to California Bar Association Rules Governing the Practical Training of Law Students, Rule 3.4 before the clerkship begins. Only certified clerks may appear on the record in case proceedings. The Ventura County Public Defender’s Office will assist qualified clerks to become certified.

Applicants seeking to clerk with the office for multiple sessions receive preference in the screening process. The clerkship program is designed to accept law clerks who will return for several sessions, including full-time summer sessions (40-hours per week minimum), part-time spring and/or fall sessions (two days per week minimum), and for some, a post-bar clerkship (40-hours per week minimum). As the clerk remains with the office, he or she receives increasing responsibility and emerges from the program prepared to hit the ground running in public defense.

Direct Applications to:
Michael Rodriguez
(805) 654-3199

Suggested Application Times

  • Fall Post-Bar (for those taking a July bar exam) – September of the Preceding Year.
  • Spring Post-Bar (for those taking a February bar exam) – May of the Preceding Year.
  • Summer Clerkship for Rising Second and Third Year Law Students* – October of the Preceding Year.
  • Fall Clerkship for Second or Third Year Law Students – May 1st of the Same Year.
  • Spring Clerkship for Second or Third Year Law Students – October of the Same Year.

* Clerk will have completed one or two years of law school before beginning summer clerkship.