The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has put out a notice that it will no longer adhere to the federal law clerk hiring plan because it is "no longer working."
The statement, which the court posted Tuesday, takes effect starting with the 2014 to 2015 term. The hiring plan is a voluntary guideline that asks judges to not hire applicants who have not started the fall semester of their third year of law school. The guideline does not apply to applicants who have already graduated.
In its justification for the abandonment of the hiring practice, the D.C. Circuit cited an increasing number of judges who do not follow the guidance and hire in advance of the interview and offer dates outlined in the voluntary plan.
"As a result, continued adherence to the plan is no longer fair and equitable to either students or judges," the notice said. "We stand ready to work with the judges of the other circuits to develop an appropriate successor to the current plan."
The notice said the court would leave hiring timetables up to individual judges, but that the judges agreed that they would allow candidates "a reasonable time to consider the offer and interview with other judges before accepting or declining."
While not spelled out explicitly, the D.C. Circuit implies in its notice that it is abandoning the practice because it robs judges of talented candidates and denies candidates the opportunity to fully weigh their choices.