To be a judicial law clerk, potential candidates must possess a strong desire to attain the career and to understand and work intimately with case law. The position of a law clerk is a prestigious, highly sought after position, so the candidate must be willing to aggressively seek the position amongst stellar competition.
The reasoning behind the competitiveness of landing this position is due to the success a former law clerk can expect when there career as a law clerk is over. Former law clerks are often recruited for elite law firms with big salaries and other high-ranking, high-paying positions within the legal system.
The best candidate for a law clerk position is a recent law school graduate or a highly successful, established lawyer. When judges go over the candidates for the position, they often look for applicants who stand out academically. This includes law students who were at the top, or near the top of their graduating law class, as well as candidates who posses superior academic credentials and excellent academic distinctions. In addition to class placement and transcript information, judges also look for a candidate that possesses impeccable research skills, an existing diverse knowledge of case law, a history of working well with others and strong communication and written skills. Some, but not all judges, have a personal desire to work with a law clerk who has similar ideological views as themselves. By doing this, they decrease the likelihood that there will be a conflict of values between the law clerk and the judge.