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Judicial Field Placements

"Students say this is one of the best experiences they’ve ever had because it’s a chance to see how a judge really arrives at a decision. They work on case files, sit in on conferences, and get hands-on experiences."

–Donna Nagy, interim executive associate dean for academic affairs

Students participating in judicial field placements spend one day each week in the chambers of U.S. district judges or U.S. magistrate judges in Indianapolis, where they will:

  • Draft opinions
  • Perform legal research
  • Help prepare jury instructions
  • Screen motions in order to advise the judges

Each student works one-on-one with a judge and reports to a faculty supervisor at Indiana Law. These positions have professional exposure to varied cases and parties. Judges who have participated in the program include:

The professional atmosphere of this experience is part of its appeal. It is a formal setting and allows a student to, in effect, clerk for a judge in the federal court system. Students share the duties of a judge’s law clerks, including the responsibilities for active case files, sitting in on pre-trial conferences, sentencing, and motions arguments. Most students spend a majority of their time researching and writing projects as directed by the judge and supervised by the judge’s senior law clerk.


This program requires that students arrange their schedules to have one full day free each week for work in Indianapolis. As with any professional engagement, you will want to allow time to remain dedicated to the tasks at hand.

The program is limited to six students each semester and is recommended for third-year students. B733: Federal Jurisdiction is excellent preparation for the clinic. The B698: Federal Courts Clinic course is graded as pass/fail, but grades matter in the selection process—they show the student’s ability to handle a heavy workload. Professor Seth Lahn’s permission is required before a student can enroll, and the process is similar to job hunting. Contact him to express interest and to provide him with a resume and writing sample.

Contact the Federal Courts Clinic

Clinic Director: Seth Lahn
E-mail: slahn [at] indiana [dot] edu
Phone: (812) 855-0905
Fax: (812) 855-1122
Room: Lewis Building 203