Projects and Initiatives

The Berkeley Judicial Institute (“BJI”) is in the process of convening focus groups of stakeholders, including judges, lawyers, and scholars drawn from a range of disciplines, to address three pressing issues:

  • Law Clerk Hiring: BJI will examine why despite good faith efforts there is a persistent lack of diversity in law clerk hiring in the federal courts, particularly at the appellate level, and will engage in dialogue with judges, law school clerkship advisors and researchers on how to improve outcomes in this area. It also will aim to address factors that may narrow the pool of competitive applicants, such as inadequate mentorship or potential applicants not being sufficiently aware of the range of opportunities available to them.
  • Social Context and Unconscious Assumptions: BJI will study the effectiveness of current efforts to engage judges in thinking about how their life experience can play a role in their decision-making, and will seek to develop pedagogy that respects judges’ commitment to fairness while at the same time encouraging judges to consider ways to broaden their perspective.
  • Creating and Maintaining a Respectful Judicial Workplace: BJI will consider the imbalance of power within the judicial workplace and its effect on working relationships, and develop best practices to create and sustain appropriate and healthy workplace environments for judges, law clerks, and court staff.

The Institute’s future work will include a broad range of other potential initiatives, for example: