Applicant FAQs

Trending Questions

General

My Recommenders

Technical


Trending Questions

  • When can I access OSCAR to search and apply for law clerk positions, and when will OSCAR release my applications?

    Applicants from law school classes of 2019 and earlier can register for an OSCAR account at any time and submit online clerkship applications. OSCAR will automatically release the application to the judge at the time of submission.

    To complement the two-year pilot Law Clerk Hiring Plan established by the Ad Hoc Committee on Law Clerk Hiring in February 2018, access to OSCAR will be as follows for the classes of 2020 and 2021:

    • Class of 2020: Students will gain access to OSCAR on February 6, 2019 to register for an account, upload documents, search for clerkship positions, and build online applications. The system will store these applications and release them to judges on June 17, 2019.
    • Class of 2021: Students will gain access to OSCAR on February 5, 2020 to register for an account, upload documents, search for clerkship positions, and build online applications. The system will store these applications and release them to judges on June 15, 2020.
  • When can I access OSCAR to search and apply for staff attorney positions, and when will OSCAR release my applications?

    Applicants from law school classes of 2019 and earlier can register for an OSCAR account at any time and submit online applications for staff attorney positions.

    • Class of 2020: Students will gain access on February 6, 2019 to register for an OSCAR account, upload documents, search for positions, and submit applications for staff attorney positions. OSCAR will release those applications to the staff attorney offices at the time of submission.
    • Class of 2021: Students will gain access on February 5, 2020 to register for an OSCAR account, upload documents, search for positions, and submit applications for staff attorney positions. OSCAR will release those applications to the staff attorney offices at the time of submission.
  • Can I use OSCAR to apply to both law clerk and staff attorney positions?

    Yes. You can create and submit applications for both types of positions in OSCAR.

    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. Staff attorneys work for multiple judges in an appellate staff attorney office in courts of appeals.

  • What are the citizenship requirements for law clerk and staff attorney positions?

    Employees of the U.S. federal government must meet the appropriations law requirements in order to be appointed into a paid position within the judiciary in the continental United States. The appropriations law requirements are provided on the web page Citizenship Requirements for Employment in the Judiciary.

  • Is there a limit to the number of electronic applications 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
    • Pro se, death penalty, or BAP law clerk applications
    • Draft applications
    • Withdrawn finalized applications
    • Applications to positions that have expired over 30 days ago (Note: OSCAR automatically returns the application slot after the position has been expired for 30 days; applicants can regain the application slot sooner than 30 days by withdrawing the application.)
    • Applications for positions marked “Filled”
    • Archived applications
  • What time is my application due when applying to a position?

    All applications must be submitted on the position close date by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. All times in OSCAR are Eastern Time. (Note: Judges maintain the ability to close a position at any time.)

  • 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 in OSCAR visually distinguish between non-participating and participating judges. The names of non-participating judges and staff attorney offices are grayed-out in the lists and do not provide any hiring information. OSCAR shows participating judges and staff attorney offices, indicated by a clickable name, if they registered for an account and maintain a profile. (Note: 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?

    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 the judge or staff attorney office is accepting applications. The term “Filled” means the judge or staff attorney office closed the position and filled it. The term “Expired” means the system automatically closed the position after six months. The term "None" means the judge or staff attorney office has not posted a position and is not currently hiring. The term “Archived” means OSCAR archived the position.

  • 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.

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

    No. Judges and staff attorney offices do not store applications, whether paper or online, for possible future openings. If a position has not been posted, that means the judge or staff attorney office is not accepting applications.

    OSCAR provides applicants with the option under the My Profile tab to receive email alerts regarding new position postings. OSCAR also provides a Hiring Practices field for each judge, which contains information regarding hiring preferences and schedules specific to each judge. You can find hiring practices information under “Judge Details” within the Judges List.

General

  • Why can't I upload a transcript?

    In order to prevent file corruption, OSCAR does not allow you to upload 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, the same way 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 are aware that these are unofficial transcripts and can request a formal transcript later in the hiring process.

  • What is the document type "Other Grade Sheet" for?

    You can use the "Other Grade Sheet" designation for other advanced or professional degrees.

  • Do I need to write a personalized cover letter for every application?

    For position postings requiring cover letters, it is highly recommended that you personalize each cover letter for the hiring judge or staff attorney office. Using OSCAR’s online editor to create cover letters allows the use of merge fields. Merge fields automatically personalize cover letters by filling in the recipient's (judge or staff attorney office) name and address once the cover letter is associated with an application. Alternatively, you can upload individual personalized PDF cover letters.

  • Can I update my finalized application?

    Yes. OSCAR allows applicants to update their application documents and identify new recommenders on finalized applications.

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

    OSCAR provides a drop-down list of all law schools that are accredited by the American Bar Association. If your school is not on the list, you will need to select "Other" from the drop-down list.

  • I graduated from a non-U.S. law school. Can I register for OSCAR?

    Yes, you can register for OSCAR, but you must select "Other" from the drop-down listing of law schools. OSCAR only lists law schools that are accredited by the American Bar Association.

My Recommenders

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

    • Your recommender is already in OSCAR. Recommenders receive an Evite to join OSCAR only at the time of their first recommendation request. If they did not receive an Evite, it might be because they already received one and are already in the system.
    • You haven't yet created or updated your application associated with that recommender. Evites are not sent to recommenders until you create or update an application with the recommender selected. As soon as you click “Create Application” or “Update Application” with the new recommender selected, the system will send an Evite with a username and password to the recommender.
    • The evite may have gone to the recommender's trash, junk, or spam folder. Anti-spam filters can block Evites. Have the recommender look for an email from "oscar@symplicity.com" with the subject line containing the recommender's first and last name followed by "Clerkship Recommendation Requested."
  • Can my recommender upload letters of recommendation after I finalize my applications?

    Yes. Recommenders can upload letters of recommendation after your application is submitted and viewable to the judges or staff attorney offices 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 have decided to apply to more judges or staff attorney offices. Can my recommender use the same recommendation letter(s) already uploaded?

    Yes. Before submitting the recommendation letter, the recommender can authorize the letter to apply to additional applications for that applicant. The recommender can also choose to allow the letter to apply to new applications indefinitely or set an expiration date. After the expiration date, the recommender must fill additional requests manually or reauthorize the letter to apply automatically to new applications. (Note: If they select this option, 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 search for completed or pending letters of recommendation, use the Recommendations Complete search (located in the gray box above the grid). You can search for recommendations by keyword, which queries the recommender's name. Once you have entered search criteria, click the "Apply Search" button.

Technical

  • Which Internet browsers does OSCAR prefer?

    • Chrome
    • Firefox
    • Internet Explorer
    • Safari
  • What file types can be uploaded to OSCAR?

    Documents can be uploaded only in PDF format; no other formats are supported by the system.

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

    The judge and staff attorney office merge codes are computer commands that equate to their respective values in 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. However, you can use the Forgot Password feature available on the OSCAR home page/login page. Click the "Forgot Password" button, then type in your username and click "Continue." OSCAR will then send a new password to the email address associated with your profile.

    If you forgot your username, you can use the Forgot Username feature located on the OSCAR home page/login page. Type in your email address, click "Continue," and OSCAR will email you your username.

    If you need assistance, send an email to the OSCAR Program Office at oscar-support@ao.uscourts.gov.