The Court has fired the starting gun for clerkship applications. The brochure for 2014-15 clerkships at the Texas Supreme Court is now available. (( The document notes that the Court does not follow the timelines of the “Federal Law Clerk Hiring Plan,” which this year has moved to a single June 28 kickoff that Above the Law speculates (hopes?) could lead to “an utterly shambolic process.” No worries about that here. ))
I’ve written before about how much I valued my experience as a law clerk at the Texas Supreme Court (back when we had the more accurate but less nationally-portable title of “briefing attorney”). Remarkably, the Texas Supreme Court justices open their regular conferences to law clerks, who can watch how they work through the accumulated petitions for review and pending opinions.
The brochure describes what is needed for each application and lists out which Justices prefer paper applications and which prefer electronic ones. This vote is 5-4 in favor of paper. (( From the brochure: “Chief Justice Jefferson and Justices Willett,
Guzman, Lehrmann and Devine prefer paper
applications. … Justices Hecht, Green, Johnson, and Boyd
prefer electronic applications.” ))
So what can applicants do to make the process easier for the Justices who have chosen to accept electronic applications? I would suggest paying attention to the Court’s expectations for e-briefs. Although the context is different, your goal of making the judge’s task easier is much the same. By all means, use natively-generated PDFs rather than scans. And consider using a healthy font size that might look good on a screen to readers with less fresh eyes than your own. (( As one data point, the Court now requires at least 14-point font for briefs, a rule change that has been explained as making e-filed documents easier to work with on screens. That size might be constraining on a resume but surely would work for a writing sample. ))