Date of Thesis

Spring 2019


This paper investigates the role of gender on law clerks from the federal appellate clerks. There has been significant scholarship on the importance of the gender of judges and on the role and influence of law clerks; however, to this date there has been no analysis of how the gender of law clerks may or may not influence the clerkship experience. This honors thesis seeks to address that question and shed light on important aspects of the federal judiciary and the legal profession. I have approached this inquiry through descriptive and qualitative analysis, focusing on law clerks from this millennium. I analyze the gender distribution of term clerks and career clerks since 2000 to determine how well women are represented in these positions, and how that representation may have changed. In addition, I have also conducted interviews with former clerks to hear about their experiences and probe their perception about the clerkship. These clerks represent a number of circuits and clerked for judges who were appointed both by Republican and Democratic presidents. In addition, the interview subjects were evenly split between men and women. Thus, they are, for the most part, representative of appellate clerks in recent years. I discovered important insight both from explicit and implicit questions about gender. Women and men term clerks have very similar experiences because of the nature of the job. However, career clerks, who are overwhelmingly women, have a more “feminine” role.


Gender, politics, judges, law

Access Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Scott Meinke