Serving federal judges

Loyola University Chicago School of Law graduates are over 12,000 strong and practice throughout the U.S. in government, public interest organizations, law firms, corporations, consulting firms, nonprofits, and the judiciary. 

Loyola prepares graduates to land highly coveted federal judicial law clerkships. Here’s how three 2021 grads describe their success:

Jaime Nolasco (JD ’21)

Law Clerk
U.S. District Court, District of Alaska

The benefits of a clerkship: In one year of clerking, you may get to see five years of practice. So, clerkships are an excellent way to develop critical advocacy skills. You get to see what works and what does not. Perhaps the most important benefit is that you join a clerkship family that will last a lifetime. I get along very well with my judge, which makes it an even better experience. If you are so lucky, your judge can be your role model, mentor, and, eventually, friend.

Most important skills: You need an ability to synthesize large swaths of information, and have it done by yesterday! You need to be crisp, clean, and as short as possible in your writing. But you must have a very close eye to detail. And be methodical and deep in your research.

How Loyola prepared me: One of the major advantages of the law school is its location. A Loyola law student is 10 to 15 minutes away from the nearest courthouse! I was in and out of the Dirksen Courthouse on a daily basis as a law student. The Office of Career Services was incredibly supportive throughout law school, [providing] structure and the resources necessary to carry out my goals. I was fortunate to find mentors in several Loyola professors as well.

Jackie McDonnell (JD ’21)

Law Clerk
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida

Most fulfilling part of this job: the ability to directly assist a judge throughout the litigation process. At every stage, judges rely on their law clerks to provide meticulous work that is accurate and to the point. During my clerkship, I have constantly sought to improve my work product so that it best serves my judge.

Most important skills: A clerk’s work consists of research and writing on various procedural and substantive issues presented in a case. A clerk ultimately provides a proposed order or memorandum on those issues for the judge’s review. While researching, writing, and editing, clerks learn how to think efficiently, practically, and fairly—as judges do.

How Loyola prepared me: Loyola University Chicago School of Law provided me with professors who cared immensely about the development of my legal research and writing skills, [who] provided extensive feedback on the various assignments and discussed that feedback with me during one-on-one meetings. And my professors all drew on extensive and impressive legal experience. One professor, for instance, shared stories and insights from oral arguments that he delivered before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The co-curriculars that I participated in at Loyola also required me to improve my legal skills by leaps and bounds. For example, when I worked as a research assistant as a rising second-year law student, I assisted my professor in writing law review articles and in co-editing her civil procedure textbook. As an extern to a federal judge in the Northern District of Illinois, I drafted proposed orders on various legal matters, which provided me with early glimpses into the work of the court before beginning my clerkship. On the Loyola Law Journal, I developed the patience needed to meticulously edit writing and legal citations. And as a member of Loyola's Moot Court Program, I learned the value of preparation--and one of the most important things as a law clerk is to be prepared! Ultimately, Loyola consists of faculty and staff who sincerely care about students' personal and professional development. I join so many who are deeply grateful to the school, and I am very proud to be an alum.

Patrick G. Meredith (JD ’21)

Law Clerk
U.S. District Court, District of South Dakota

Most fulfilling part of this job: The opportunity to research and write many opinions on a variety of different areas of law. Through all of these projects, I have seen my legal skills improve, and I’ve seen my writing become much stronger.

Most important skills: Good research and writing skills; being able to effectively multitask; and being curious to learn different areas of the law that you may have previously not been interested in. Because the bulk of my job is research and writing, judges look for candidates who are strong in both areas prior to starting. Also, because of the sheer volume of cases that lower federal courts see, being able to effectively jump from project to project is key. And an open mind always helps when starting a new role. Being curious and excited to learn is a good quality to have!

How Loyola prepared me: I truly believe Loyola played a large part in helping me obtain my current role and finding success since I started. Loyola’s career services are top notch, and I will always be thankful for Dean Kieffer and others for helping me throughout the clerkship application process. I believe Loyola’s strong push to have their students do externships also greatly benefited me. While at Loyola, I externed with a state court judge in Cook County for almost a year. Without Loyola presenting these opportunities to me, I do not believe I would have been as prepared to start my role. 

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Career Services

Loyola alumni are over 12,000 strong and practice throughout the U.S. in government, public interest organizations, law firms, corporations, consulting firms, non-profits, and the judiciary.


Loyola Law Journal

The Loyola University Chicago Law Journal is the law school's primary scholarly publication that is distributed throughout the nation's law libraries, judges' chambers, and other various legal organizations.

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JD application process

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