CJEC Peer Clerkship Council Expands Programming and Initiatives to Strengthen Clerkships-Oriented Culture


At the start of the 2020-2021 academic year, the Center for Judicial Events & Clerkships (CJEC) launched a student leadership initiative—the Peer Clerkship Council (PCC). The development of this vehicle for student leadership was a natural next step in year two for the CJEC’s clerkship-side as Professor Daniel Capra and Assistant Dean Suzanne Endrizzi ’96 recognized the importance of peer engagement to foster a clerkships-oriented culture at the Law School.

Last year’s inaugural PCC laid the foundation for an initiative that focuses on peer-to-peer informal support through office hours, peer-planned programs and workshops, and peer-developed resources.

The 2021-2022 PCC recognized that their goal was to pick up the mantle from their predecessors and ensure that the council would become a mainstay initiative. At the outset of the academic year, the council set forth an ambitious agenda of initiatives with a particular focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), which included engaging first-year students, expanding resources, and engaging broadly with alumni clerks.

While working collaboratively as a council, the PCC strategically created points for each of their initiatives—Tatiana Hyman ’22 and Alex Bell ’22 led the DEI initiatives, Ed McLaughlin ’22 and Julio Ruiz-Gomez ’22 spearheaded the 1L initiatives, and Jordan Davis ’22, Eliora Mintz ’22, and Becca Spendley ’22 orchestrated the alumni engagement.

CJEC and PCC Expand First-Generation Initiatives

​​This year, the PCC assisted in expanding the CJEC’s initiatives for first-generation students. In October 2021, the council worked with the Fordham First Generation Students (F1GS) to develop a new community building event titled “Judges and Clerks’ Roles in the Courts: Perspectives from First-Generation Alumni.”

The event featured Judge Denny Chin ’78, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Fordham Law’s inaugural Lawrence W. Pierce Distinguished Jurist in Residence, who spoke about his experiences as an immigrant from Hong Kong, first-generation student and lawyer, judicial clerk, and now judge. Following Judge Chin’s remarks, a panel of 10 first-generation, alumni current and former clerks provided insight into their clerkship experiences across the state and federal levels. The evening concluded with a reception wherein Fordham Law students and Increasing Diversity in Education and the Law (IDEAL) program participants casually spoke with Judge Chin and the alumni law clerks about law school and their career paths.

The event, which garnered an audience of more than 100 students, marked the CJEC’s first in-person gathering since March 2020.

During the spring 2022 semester, the PCC spearheaded an informal “Clerkships 101” event in collaboration with the Office of Student Affairs for IDEAL students and 1L students in the REAL Scholars Program.

Engaging 1Ls

Last year’s PCC created a video for 1Ls titled “Building Faculty Relationships,” which the Office of Professionalism ultimately incorporated into their 1L curriculum. This year’s PCC, in turn, deepened their involvement in the 1L House System by creating touch points for each 1L section, participating in the September “Getting Started” panels, and most recently participating on the “Real Talk: Course Selection, Experiential Education & Building Faculty Relationships” panels that took place last month.

Each of these initiatives allowed for engagement between the 3Ls on the council and 1Ls to talk informally about clerkships, planting the seed of encouragement for students to explore this pathway.

Lights! Camera! Action!

This year’s PCC also focused their efforts on developing the foundation for a digital resource library.

Following the popularity and success of last year’s “Building Faculty Relationships” video, this year’s council filmed a video titled “Student Perspectives on Selecting a Writing Sample for Clerkship Applications.” Given the importance of writing samples to the clerkship application process, the council believed this was the next resource to highlight early on for students.

An equally important aim for the council was finding unique avenues to broadly engage the alumni clerk network. Out of those brainstorming discussions arose the idea of creating an archive of informal conversations with alumni clerking on trial and appellate state and federal courts across the country. The PCC, as a result, developed a brief questions-and-answers format for the videos, ensuring that current and future students who download them will get a comparative sense amongst distinct types of clerkships. This first set of video chats feature different council members moderating discussions with alumni clerking on the 10th Circuit, the New Jersey Appellate Division, the District of New Jersey, the New York State Commercial Division, the Southern District of New York, and the New Jersey Superior Court.

Reflections and Goals Looking Ahead

“The creativity, energy, and commitment of the Peer Clerkship Council continues to astound me,” said Endrizzi. “Alex, Becca, Ed, Eliora, Jordan, Julio, and Tatiana have ensured that this student leadership initiative we envisioned will thrive in the years ahead. They have set the stage for this Peer Clerkship Council to become a Fordham institution!”

“It was such a pleasure to collaborate with them and I look forward to them continuing to engage with us as alumni leaders,” she added.


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