Although the judges of this circuit would uniformly prefer to continue hiring law clerks pursuant to the Federal Law Clerk Hiring Plan, it has become apparent that the plan is no longer working. Because participation in the plan is voluntary, a significant percentage of all United States circuit judges must agree to follow it if it is to work appropriately. During the past few years, a significant and increasing number of circuit judges around the country have hired in advance of the plan’s interview and offer dates, and it is likely that they will continue to do so. As a result, continued adherence to the plan is no longer fair and equitable to either students or judges.
We stand ready to work with the judges of the other circuits to develop an appropriate successor to the current plan. In the meantime, however, the judges of this circuit will hire law clerks at such times as each individual judge determines to be appropriate. We have agreed that none of us will give “exploding offers,” that is, offers that expire if not accepted immediately. Rather, when a judge of this circuit gives a candidate an offer, the candidate will have a reasonable time to consider the offer and interview with other judges before accepting or declining. Additional practices applicable to individual judges may be found on the judges’ OSCAR pages.
Dave Hoffman’s 2010 post on the abandonment of the plan is here.