Congressional Clerkship Program

New York’s Senators, Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY) recently co-sponsored legislation to establish the Daniel Webster Congressional Clerkship Program. The proposed clerkships are named after Daniel Webster, the great American orator, secretary of state, and senator who helped establish constitutional precedents as a lawyer. The House version of the bill passed earlier this month.

If enacted, the program will establish 12 congressional clerkship positions for recent law school graduates to serve an equal number of members in both the House and the Senate. Clerks will receive the same pay and equivalent benefits as a first year law clerk serving in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Modeled on the federal judicial clerkship program, the congressional internship program will provide new law school graduates with an understanding of the legislative process, judicial appointments and constitutional amendments. House Report 110-831, issued with the House bill, states the background and need for the legislation:

Judicial clerkship programs have long provided the judiciary with access to a pool of exceptional young lawyers at a relatively low cost, while providing these clerks with invaluable insight into the functioning of the court system. Congressional Clerkships would expose young lawyers to the functions and operations of the Federal legislature.

The White House, many administrative agencies of the Executive Branch, the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, the Federal Judicial Center and the United States Sentencing Commission, all operate parallel clerkship or fellowship programs. The Congress is without a similar program.

Users can track this and other bills on Open Congress, a free, open-source, non-profit and non-partisan web resource designed to make Congress more transparent. For more on this resource, see About Open Congress.

Click here for bills sponsored by Sen. Schumer’s, where you can see his bill, which recently became law, designating the US Court House at 225 Cadman Plaza East in Brooklyn as the “Theodore Roosevelt United States Courthouse”. Click here for bills sponsored by Sen. Clinton.