I also am a clerk and also work at 717 Madison.
Living off of 14th Street (or elsewhere in NW) is by far the easiest way to get to work. I lived my first year in Logan Circle (where there are quite a few large apartment buildings–such as the Jefferson at 1301 M St, which is an 8 minute walk from the court), and now live in Columbia Heights. I’d advise looking for a one-year lease in a large apartment building in Logan Cirlce or U St (~30 min commute) or Columbia Heights (~35 min commute). You can get to work in under 30 minutes, easily, and they’re fun, vibrant, safe areas with a lot of fun stuff to do.