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Fall 2020 Clinic

Federal Courts Clinic

Enrollment in this clinic will fulfill the HLS JD pro bono requirement.

Required Class Component:
Federal Courts Clinical Seminar (1 fall classroom credit). This clinic and course are bundled; your enrollment in the clinic will automatically enroll you in the required course.

Additional Co-/Pre-Requisites:

By Permission:
Yes. Applications are due by September 1.

Add/Drop Deadline:
N/A – students who enroll in the clinic will be committing for the semester.

Placement Site:
Remote work.

The Federal Courts Clinic, which is being offered for the first time in the Fall semester, will allow students to work with federal judges throughout the country and at different levels of the judicial system to gain a greater insight into the workings of the federal judiciary.

Each student in the clinic will spend a semester working in the Chambers of a federal judge. Most students will likely work in the Chambers of either a court of appeals or district court judge, but some students may also work for federal bankruptcy or magistrate judges. Students’ specific assignments will vary according to the needs of their judge, but will likely include drafting bench memos, assisting with preparations for trials, hearings and arguments, and other work related to cases before the court.

The Clinic will be directed by David Zimmer, a Partner in the Supreme Court and Appellate practice at Goodwin Procter, who clerked at both the U.S. Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and who has significant experience practicing before all levels of the federal courts. Mr. Zimmer will also teach the Federal Courts Clinical Seminar, in which students in the clinic will have the opportunity to discuss and analyze their experiences to gain greater insight into the broader work of the federal judiciary.


  • First, many judges allow law students to apply for semester-long externships. If you have already obtained such an externship for the fall, you can automatically be admitted to the Clinic and Clinical Seminar. Please let Maggie Bay ( know by September 1 at 12pm EST if you would like to pursue this option.
  • Second, we are working to obtain commitments from some judges to work with students who we have accepted into the clinic. If you would like to apply for one of these placements, please send (1) a resume, (2) an unofficial transcript, (3) a short (no more than 15 pages) and unedited writing sample, and (4) a short (no more than 300 words) statement of interest, which must include any preferences concerning the judge for whom you would like to work (appellate, district, region, etc.). Please submit the application to by no later than 12pm EST on September 1.

Please note that a student will not be enrolled in the clinic until they have been approved for a specific placement by a federal judge who will be supervising the specific externship placement.