Applicant FAQ

Hot Topics

General

Technical

Recommenders

Hot Topics

  • Can I use OSCAR to apply to both law clerk and staff attorney positions?

    Yes. OSCAR provides the capability for applicants to build individual applications for both law clerk and staff attorney positions. For law clerk positions, OSCAR lists the following types of clerkships: term law clerk-chambers, career law clerk-chambers, temporary law clerk-chambers, pro se law clerk, death penalty law clerk, and bankruptcy appellate panel (BAP) law clerk. The term law clerk-chambers, career law clerk-chambers, and temporary law clerk-chambers work in the chambers of the hiring judge. The pro se law clerk, death penalty law clerk, and BAP law clerk positions are posted under the chief judge, and these positions serve the court. Appellate staff attorney offices use OSCAR to hire staff attorneys.

  • Is there a limitation in the number of electronic applications that I can submit through OSCAR for law clerk positions?

    Yes. OSCAR limits applicants to a total of 100 finalized applications to law clerk positions of any term length (i.e., Term Law Clerk-Chambers with 1, 2, 3, and 4-year terms). The 100-finalized application limit does not apply to staff attorney applications and pro se, death penalty, and BAP law clerk applications. OSCAR permits applicants to create unlimited draft applications. OSCAR allows applicants to recover an application slot by withdrawing an application. Additionally, if an applicant has an application to a clerkship that is marked “Filled,” OSCAR does not count this application toward the 100 total. If an applicant has an application to a position that expires, the applicant can withdraw the application to regain the application slot or OSCAR automatically returns that application slot after the position has been expired for 30 days. Archived applications do not count against the 100 total. In the event that a judge account is deleted and then restored with applications, those applications are granted an exemption from the total application count.

  • What is the distinction between non-participating and participating judges and staff attorney offices in OSCAR?

    Both the Judges List and Staff Attorney Offices List visually distinguish between non-participating and participating judges. The names of non-participating judges and staff attorney offices are grayed out on the Judges List and Staff Attorney Offices List. OSCAR shows a judge or staff attorney office as participating if they registered for an account and maintain a profile. The participating designation does not relate to the method of accepting applications or the posting of a position. For the participating judges and staff attorney offices, you can click on their name and view profile and position information (if there is a position posted).

  • How do I determine if a participating judge or staff attorney office is hiring?

    OSCAR establishes the clerkship/staff attorney position posting as the focal point for hiring. The posting of an available position indicates that the judge or staff attorney office is hiring.  Applicants can search by Position Status (Available, Filled, Expired, None, or Archived).  The term “Available” means that the judge or staff attorney office is accepting applications.  The term “Filled” means that the judge or staff attorney office closed the position and filled it.  The term “Expired” means that the system automatically closed the position after six months.  The term "None" means the judge or staff attorney office has not posted a position.  The term “Archived” means that OSCAR archived the position.

  • Should I send a paper application to an OSCAR participating judge or staff attorney office who has not yet posted a position?

    No. OSCAR participating judges and staff attorney offices may post their positions at any time during the year. OSCAR provides applicants with the option under the My Profile tab to receive email alerts regarding new position postings. The posting of a position indicates that a judge or staff attorney office is hiring and accepting applications.

  • How do I know if a judge or staff attorney office updated their profile?

    When viewing the Judges List or the Staff Attorney Offices List, OSCAR displays the date of the last time the profile was updated in the Date Updated column, located on the far right of the screen.

  • Why isn't my law school graduation year in the drop-down list to register for an account?

    OSCAR updates the drop-down menu of graduation years at the beginning of the calendar year to grant second-year law school students access to the system.

General

  • When will OSCAR release the applications to the judges?

    OSCAR releases the applications at the time that the applicants finalize their applications to the judge.

  • Why can't I upload a transcript?

    In order to prevent file corruption within the application, OSCAR does not allow you to upload any transcripts. OSCAR provides a Grade Sheet Form that converts the entered grades into a PDF document for the applicant. Applicants can view the Grade Sheet Form as a PDF document, just as the judge or staff attorney office will see it.

  • Isn't it a problem if this transcript is unofficial?

    No. Judges and staff attorney offices participating in OSCAR are aware that these are unofficial transcripts. Judges and staff attorney offices can request a formal transcript later in the hiring process.

  • What is the document type Other Grade Sheet for?

    Applicants can use the Other Grade Sheet for advanced degrees or trade schools.

  • Can I update my Law School Grade Sheet on a Finalized Application?

    Yes. OSCAR allows applicants to update Law School Grade Sheets attached to finalized applications. Applicants can update individual finalized applications from the My Applications section of the Applicant interface using the Update Grade Sheet button. The Update Grade Sheet button allows an applicant to select a new or updated grade sheet to attach to the application.

  • My law school is not listed on the drop-down list. What should I do?

    OSCAR provides a drop-down listing of all law schools that have received accreditation or provisional accreditation from the American Bar Association (ABA). If your school is not on the list, you will need to select "Other" from the drop-down list as your law school.

  • My undergraduate school is not available from the drop-down list.

    Please email the name of your missing undergraduate school to the OSCAR Program Office at oscar-support@ao.uscourts.gov.

  • What does it mean when OSCAR lists a judge or staff attorney office as participating?

    There are two types of judge or staff attorney office listings in OSCAR. OSCAR participating judges or staff attorney offices request an OSCAR account and maintain a profile with their hiring preferences. OSCAR also displays non-participating judges or staff attorney offices. The non-participating judges or staff attorney offices are grayed out.

Technical

  • What Internet browsers does OSCAR prefer?

    • Internet Explorer 7+
    • Firefox 3+
    • Safari
    • Chrome
  • What file types can be uploaded into OSCAR?

    Documents may only be uploaded in PDF format; all other formats are UNACCEPTABLE.

  • What is the maximum file size that can be uploaded?

    The maximum file size for resumes, cover letters, writing samples, and recommendation letters is 300KB.

  • Why aren't the judge or staff attorney office merge codes working on the cover letter?

    The judge or staff attorney office merge codes are computer commands that equate to their respective values within the OSCAR database.  In order for OSCAR to recognize the codes as commands, you must enter them precisely as displayed on the screen with the brackets on each side of the text.  An example is [lname] for last name.

  • Can the OSCAR Program Office tell me my password?

    No. OSCAR staff cannot view passwords.  Applicants can use the Forgot Password feature available on the login page.  Type in your user name and click the Forgot Password button.  OSCAR will email you a new password.  (The system matches the user name to the email address associated with that applicant's profile.)  If you forgot your user name, send an email to the OSCAR Program Office at oscar-support@ao.uscourts.gov.

Recommenders

  • Why hasn't my recommender received an Evite email?

    • Has the recommender been asked to write a letter of recommendation by you or another applicant?  Recommenders receive only ONE Evite email.  Recommenders do not receive a new Evite every year or every time an applicant uses them in OSCAR because Evite emails reset passwords.
    • Have you applied to a position?  For recommenders new to OSCAR, the trigger for the Evite email is when the "Create Application" or "Update Application" button is selected on the Build an Application screen.  The recommender will not receive the Evite email with username and password until the applicant creates a DRAFT application with the recommender associated.
    • Has the recommender checked the trash, junk, or spam folders in the email account? Anti-spam filters can block Evites.  Have the recommender look for an email from "oscar@symplicity.com" with the subject line having the recommender's first and last name followed by "Clerkship Recommendation Requested."
  • Can my recommender upload letters of recommendation after I finalize my applications?

    Recommenders can upload letters of recommendation to your applications even after they are viewable to the judges or staff attorney offices and up to 30 days after the position's close date. Note: OSCAR will display to the judges or staff attorney offices that the letters are pending until they are uploaded.

  • I finalized and released my applications. Can my letters still be uploaded by my recommenders?

    Yes.  The judge or staff attorney office will see that your recommendations are pending. Once the recommender(s) uploads the letters, the judge or staff attorney office can view them.  Once an application is released, you cannot change the recommenders for that application.

  • I have decided to apply to more judges or staff attorney offices. Can my recommender use the same recommendation letter(s) already uploaded?

    Before submitting the recommendation letter, the recommender can authorize the letter to apply to additional applications for that applicant.  The recommender can choose to allow the letter to apply to new applications indefinitely or set an expiration date for the letter.  After the expiration date passes, the recommender must fill additional requests manually or reauthorize the letter to apply automatically to new applications.  Recommenders will not receive notifications from OSCAR when the recommendation letter attaches to new applications.

  • The recommender is going to use the same letter. Won't OSCAR just automatically associate recommendation letters to new applications?

    When an applicant creates an electronic request for a letter of recommendation, the recommender will follow the established process to fill the recommendation request.  Before submitting the recommendation letter, the recommender will be able to authorize the letter to apply to additional applications for that applicant.  The recommender can choose to allow the letter to apply to new applications indefinitely or set an expiration date for the letter.  After the expiration date passes, the recommender must fill additional requests manually or reauthorize the letter to apply automatically to new applications. Recommenders will not receive notifications from OSCAR when the recommendation letter attaches to new applications.

  • How can I find out the status of my recommendation letters?

    Go to the My Recommendations tab and click on Status of Clerkship Recommendations or Status of SAO Recommendations tab.  The Complete column indicates the status of the letter of recommendation.  Completed letters will display a green check mark in the Complete column. To perform a search on completed or pending letters of recommendation, use the Recommendations Complete search (located in the gray box above the grid).  Applicants may search for recommendations by keyword, which queries the recommender's name. Once search criteria are entered, click the Apply Search button.