Judicial Externships

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

The federal courts of appeals are the intermediate appellate courts between the district (trial) courts and the Supreme Court of the United States.

There are thirteen courts of appeals: eleven numbered circuits (First through Eleventh), the District of Columbia Circuit, and the Federal Circuit. The numbered circuits, including the Tenth Circuit, provide appellate review of all cases tried in the district courts within the geographic area of their jurisdiction; they also decide appeals brought to them by residents of the circuit from various administrative tribunals, including the Tax Court and agencies of the federal government.

The territorial jurisdiction of the Tenth Circuit includes the six states of Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah, plus those portions of the Yellowstone National Park extending into Montana and Idaho.

United States District Courts

The United States district courts are the trial courts of the federal court system. Within limits set by Congress and the Constitution, the district courts have jurisdiction to hear nearly all categories of federal cases, including both civil and criminal matters. There are 94 federal judicial districts, including at least one district in each state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Three territories of the United States — the Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands — have district courts that hear federal cases, including bankruptcy cases.

United States Bankruptcy Courts

Federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over bankruptcy cases. Bankruptcy cases cannot be filed in state court. Each of the 94 federal judicial districts handles bankruptcy matters. The primary purposes of the law of bankruptcy are: to give an honest debtor a “fresh start” in life by relieving the debtor of most debts, and to repay creditors in an orderly manner to the extent that the debtor has property available for payment.

Oklahoma Supreme Court

The Oklahoma Supreme Court is a constitutional tribunal consisting of nine Justices. Each Justice is selected from one of nine judicial districts and sits for a six-year term. Each Justice must be at least thirty years old, shall have been a qualified elector in the appropriate district for at least one year immediately prior to the appointment, and have been a licensed practicing attorney or judge of a court of record for five years preceding appointment. The Justices must maintain their status as licensed attorneys while holding office.

Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals is the highest court in the State of Oklahoma with appellate jurisdiction in criminal cases. It is the state court of last resort in criminal matters. The Court derives its origin and jurisdiction from the state constitution, which was formulated by the constitutional convention and submitted to and adopted by the people of Oklahoma at the first election, held on September 17, 1907.

Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals

The Court of Civil Appeals is responsible for the majority of appellate decisions. These opinions may be released for publication either by the Court of Civil Appeals or by the Supreme Court. When the opinions are released for publication by the Supreme Court, they have precedential value. The Court of Civil Appeals is made up of four divisions, each composed of three Judges. Two divisions of the Court of Civil Appeals are located in Oklahoma City and two are housed in Tulsa.

District Court Seventh Judicial District

The Seventh Judicial District consists of Oklahoma County. The Seventh Judicial District has 15 District Judges, 1 Associate District Judge, and 18 Special Judges that hear criminal, civil, domestic, juvenile, and probate matters.

The Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Court of Existing Claims

The Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Court of Existing Claims applies the law as set out in the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Code. Its responsibility is to provide fair and timely procedures for the resolution of disputes and identification of issues involving on-the-job injuries. To this end we dedicate ourselves to carry out this responsibility and to serve the public promptly, courteously, and impartially.