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Bridging Gaps and Building Law Clerk Diversity in State Courts

CORA is a new resource that aims to boost access to state court clerkship opportunities.

January 23, 2024

A new online portal is making it easier for law students to seek state court clerkships — and, in the long run, it aims to increase diversity on the bench.

Court Opportunity Recruitment for All, or CORA, serves as a hub for courts to post and applicants to explore clerkships, externships, and internships within state judicial systems. The tool streamlines the application process and aims to raise awareness about the value of state court experience for young lawyers, who often overlook opportunities within state judiciaries. The National Center for State Courts, which created the site, also hopes to create long-lasting diversity throughout state judiciaries by encouraging people from underrepresented demographic groups to consider careers in the field. 

CORA’s inception can be traced back to the protests that swept the nation in 2020 after the police murder of George Floyd. Soon afterward, the National Center for State Courts established the Blueprint for Racial Justice, a working group composed of state court administrators, human resources professionals, and state chief justices. The group’s mission is to address persistent racial disparities within state court systems. According to a 2023 Brennan Center report, only 20 percent of state supreme court seats are held by people of color, and 18 states have all-white high court benches. Research indicates that judicial diversity is critical to courts’ legitimacy and efficacy.

To help rectify this significant gap between the demographics of state judiciaries and the communities they serve, the working group decided to target the early stages of a person’s legal career and widen one of the most common pipelines to the bench: clerkships. 

Read the rest of the article at State Court Report >>