Unlike the career research attorneys that staff chambers in the California Court of Appeal, 9th Circuit judges hire annual law clerks. The law clerk hiring process supposedly follows a formal Federal Law Clerk Hiring Plan, implemented through a centralized computer system known as the Online System for Clerkship Application and Review -- or, more commonly, OSCAR.
Just like in the Odd Couple, OSCAR has some problems.
The DC Circuit recently issued a notice saying that the Federal Law Clerk Hiring Plan "is no longer working," and thus that Circuit will not be following the plan.
How does this affect Southern California appellate practice?
Well, any disruption to the scheme governing federal appellate law clerk hiring is bound to reverburate in the 9th Circuit...
For further discussion, see: The Law Clerk Hiring Plan: Really, Really Dead Now