Law clerk program

The County Attorney’s Office hires law students as compensated law clerks. The program is highly competitive due to the hands-on, challenging and relevant work experience.

Clerkships are offered in the summer and during the academic year. About 40 law clerks work in the office and openings vary according to turnover. We accept applications year-round and interview candidates as vacancies occur. We may post opportunities with the local law schools periodically and generally participate in on-campus interviews.

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Clerkship experience

In addition to research and legal writing, clerks will have the opportunity to work in depth with prosecutors on specific cases, interview witnesses and appear in court. Law clerks work side-by-side with attorneys and can apply the knowledge they learn in law school.

Summer clerkship

During June – August, the summer clerkship includes trainings, tours, the “Know Your Courts” series, and social functions to learn about various aspects of the judicial system and network with public officials. Summer clerks work 32 – 40 hours a week.

Academic year law clerkship

This offers a range of practical experience while taking into account the student’s academic load. Academic year clerks work 17 – 19 hours a week.


  • First, second and third-year law students who have demonstrated academic excellence and a commitment to public service.
  • Applicants should be in the top half of their class.
  • Experience in moot court, legal journal or clinical settings desirable, but not required.

Possible division assignments

Clerks will be assigned to work in one or more of ten divisions:

Administration – work with the elected County Attorney, Mike Freeman, and Deputy County Attorneys on matters relating to legislative, public policy and office initiatives.

Criminal divisions

Adult prosecution – prosecutes adult defendants for all felony crimes against persons. Law clerks are assigned to a trial team of attorneys. Their primary responsibility is legal research and writing. Clerks have an opportunity to gain court experience under the supervision of an attorney by participating in various court proceedings.

Community prosecution – prosecutes drug and property offenses. Teams in this division handle property and drug cases. Work is assigned on a rotating basis from requesting attorneys. Legal research and writing are the primary duties for law clerks.

Juvenile prosecution – prosecutes all crimes committed by juveniles. Law clerks receive assignment requests directly from attorneys based on their team. Courtroom experience includes participating in truancy and expungement calendars. 

Special litigation – prosecutes complex economic crimes, adult and certain juvenile gang members committing violent crime and handles all criminal appeals. Work assignments are distributed to law clerks directly from attorneys based on team assignments. Teams are Appeals, Post-Conviction Appeals, Complex Crimes and Gangs. Criminal Appeals clerks have the opportunity to argue a case in front of the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

Domestic abuse service center – provides victims of domestic violence with ready access to the legal assistance and social services they need. Law clerks assigned to this division appear at Order for Protection hearings as well as meet with domestic abuse clients.

Civil divisions

Adult services – handles legal matters related to civil commitment, adult protection, economic assistance and assorted social services appeal matters. Law clerks research legal issues and draft research memos, district court memos and some appellate briefs. They draft petitions for "sexually dangerous person" civil commitment cases including "mentally ill and dangerous cases" and assist attorneys with court appearances in mental illness and chemical dependency commitments. Clerks make some appearances under an attorney's supervision.

Civil – represents the Board of Commissioners, County Administration and county departments on legal issues including employment, litigation defense, real estate taxation, and contracts. Clerks working in this division are assigned to one of six teams - Torts, Contracts, Employment, Real Property, Health Services and Human Services, and Labor Relations. Clerks conduct legal research and writing for their assigned team and have the opportunity to work with the attorneys from the other teams within the division. Clerks are encouraged to attend the depositions, mediations and motions with which they are involved.

Child protection – represents the county’s health and human services department in legal actions to protect neglected or mistreated children, focusing on the child’s best interests. Legal research and writing, assisting with motion practice and drafting findings and orders are law clerks primary responsibilities. Clerks may appear in court on child protection cases, and represent the client on truancy and other specialized calendars. Clerks also assist on appellate briefs and may have an opportunity to do an appellate argument.

Child support – establishes parentage and enforces child support orders. Law clerks may represent  the Child Support agency in hearings. Responsibilities including handling daily court calendars by preparing cases for hearing, attending the hearings, negotiating settlements, utilizing trials skills and providing vertical representation on all appeals. Law clerks also research legal topics and prepare legal memoranda, correspondence and other pleadings and documents.

Learn more about divisions

Divisions of the Hennepin County Attorney's Office

Application process

To apply, submit these materials:

  • Cover letter (specify fall, spring or summer and/or academic year )
  • Resume
  • List of references
  • Writing sample
  • Transcript

Now accepting applications for Fall 2015 and Spring and Summer 2016.

Materials can be mailed or emailed to:

Christy Dording, Law Clerk Administrator
Hennepin County Attorney's Office C-2000 Government Center
300 South Sixth Street
Minneapolis, MN 55487

For more information, contact Christy Dording at 612-348-7787 or

Hennepin County is an equal opportunity employer.

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