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OSCAR Application Process

The federal judiciary has developed an online application tool for clerkship applications, Online System for Clerkships Application & Review (“OSCAR”). This tool serves two functions:

  • It provides information about clerkship openings and the application method preferred by the judge. Please note that not all judges post openings on OSCAR. If OSCAR does not contain any information about openings, you may call chambers, state you first checked on OSCAR and inquire whether the judge is hiring for the term.
  • It allows candidates to apply to judges who accept applications online. 

Please be aware that not all judges use OSCAR. The judges who do not are grayed out and should be considered paper judges. 

You will need to register in that system (separately from the Symplicity registration) and “apply” to judges who accept online applications. The process involves only a few simple steps:

  • Open an account by clicking on the Register button in the upper right hand corner of the OSCAR webpage .
  • Input the names of your recommenders in the My Recommenders tab. If a Penn Law Faculty is not listed, please do not add the name yourself. Please email and we will add it.
  • Upload a cover letter, resume and writing sample in the My Documents tab. Cover letters can be handled in two ways:
    • Create a cover letter in OSCAR using their mail merge fields (preferred).  OSCAR will insert the address information of the judge for each application your create. 
    • Upload pdfs of individual letters to each judge. 
  • Input your law school and undergraduate grades using the OSCAR process for them in the My Documents tab.  When inputting your law school grades, either put “n/a” or “Penn Law does not provide GPA information” in the Cumulative GPA box.  It is against law school policy for students and alumni to list a GPA  for law school grades.  Penn Law’s Grading System Description can be found here .  If you don’t know the names of your undergrad professors, leave that field blank.
  • Click on each judge to whom you wish to apply, click the Clerkships List tab, then the View & Apply button. Attach the requested documents and select your faculty recommenders from the list in the Build an Application box on the right. Then select the “Create Draft Application” button at the bottom of the box. Do not finalize applications at this point!
  • Recommendation letters cannot be uploaded until you have draft applications pending. CP&P checks OSCAR regularly and uploads letters to draft applications. 
  • You can view how your application will look to the judge by clicking on the envelope icon in the Documents column on the My Applications tab.  You can tell when recommendation letters have been uploaded when the names of your recommenders in the Recommendations column have a green checkmark next to them.
  • When, and only when, you are sure everything is accurate and complete, finalize your applications. You can do them all at once using a batch option or individually by selecting the “Finalize Application” button in the application box. 

If a judge accepts online applications, you must apply to him or her via OSCAR. We will not mail paper letters of recommendation to judges who only accept online applications.

Be aware that applying on OSCAR takes time. Once your application materials are uploaded, you have to apply to each judge individually. Although each application may only take a few minutes, if you are applying to dozens, those minutes will add up.