Applicant Prep Kit

Prepare for Your Legal Career with the United States Courts


The Online System for Clerkship Application and Review (OSCAR) is a secure, user-friendly, web-based system for federal law clerk and appellate staff attorney hiring. OSCAR's extensive set of features allows users to easily manage every aspect of the hiring and application process. Judges display their hiring practices in OSCAR, providing applicants with transparency to their hiring schedules and preferences.


You are eligible to work for the United States Courts if you meet both citizenship requirements and the qualifications of the law clerk or staff attorney position:

  • Citizenship Requirements: For a paid position, must be a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident (green card holder) seeking citizenship, or meet the requirements specified for employment in the judiciary provided in detail on the Citizenship Requirements page.
  • Qualifications: Must be a law school graduate or awaiting a degree, and meet the qualifications as specified on the Qualifications page.

Overview of the OSCAR Application Process

Using OSCAR, you can complete your entire application process online. Although the process may seem daunting at first, applying to positions can be completed in four easy steps, outlined below.

Application Process Overview

Step 1: Search for Positions

Once you've created an OSCAR account, logged in, and completed your profile, you can begin searching for positions. OSCAR allows you to search for both law clerk and appellate staff attorney positions, with comprehensive search filters to narrow the field of positions that fit your particular goals and interests. Once you've found positions that fit your search, you can use tags to organize positions and manage your application process.

More Information

Mastering OSCAR: How to Search for Positions

In this video, we show applicants how to use the search function to find positions and better manage the whole application process. The video covers how to use search filters to narrow the field of positions being applied to and hone in on those that fit their particular goals, whether for federal law clerkships or appellate staff attorney jobs. It also shows how to use tags to help organize their positions list and how to create a saved search for easy reuse or sharing.

Video Length: 4:42

Step 2: Upload Application Documents

Before you can create applications, you must upload the documents you plan to submit with your applications (i.e., cover letter, resume, transcripts, writing samples). The number and type of documents you submit with any given application packet will vary depending on the position requirements; however, a resume is always required.

More Information

Mastering OSCAR: How to Upload Documents

In this video, we show applicants how to upload the documents they need to submit with their completed applications (for example, a resume). The video goes over how to upload a Word or PDF file, or alternatively, use OSCAR's online editor tool to create and attach documents to their applications, including a cover letter, transcripts, and writing samples.

Video Length: 4:15

Step 3: Identify Recommenders

Selecting your recommenders is a crucial part of the application process. You must identify your recommenders before submitting applications just as you must upload your application documents before applying for a position. Please note that simply identifying your pool of recommenders does not generate recommendation requests. 

More Information

Mastering OSCAR: How to Identify Recommenders

In this video, we show applicants how to identify recommenders in OSCAR. The video highlights how to find and add recommenders to applications and also check the status of recommendation requests.

Video Length: 3:58

Step 4: Submit Applications

When you’re ready to apply to positions, you can begin building your applications. With all your documents and recommenders prepared ahead of time, building the application is a simple and straightforward process.

More Information

Mastering OSCAR: How to Apply Online

In this video, we show applicants how to apply for positions as law clerks or staff attorneys. The video highlights how to ready application materials; create and submit an application online; view all their applications; and edit, delete, or withdraw an application.

Video Length: 5:13