law clerk judicial clerkship Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgFollowing up on our recent coverage of changes to the salary and benefit schemes for federal law clerks, here’s an interesting article from the Daily Business Review:

Federal judges around the country will feel the belt-tightening that has cut into other areas of the judiciary in a rule change that limits their ability to hire permanent, career law clerks, rather than cheaper, fresh from school, term clerks.

The cost-containment move, approved Sept. 18 by the judiciary’s 27-member policy body, the Judicial Conference of the United States, is predicted to save tens of millions of dollars in salary costs over the next decade, according to an internal report by the Committee on Judicial Resources.

Discussion picks up after the jump.


The article continues:

[I]t was the law clerk proposal that kicked up the most dust among issues on the conference agenda. It passed after more than an hour of closed-door debate and proposed changes to the law clerk limits. The conference approved the final version overwhelmingly, according to David Sellers, spokesman for the Administrative Office of the Courts.

In the future, judges will be limited to one career clerk per chambers, a retreat from the recent trend of judges to employ more career clerks and fewer term clerks who serve usually for a year or two after leaving law school.

Some aspects of the proposal are good news for career clerks:

The amended plan allows more protection for existing career clerks by allowing them to retain their lifetime positions even if their judge dies, retires or otherwise leaves the bench. The new provision grandfathers the career clerk services if another judge consents to taking them on, according to Sellers.

The plan also was changed to extend the potential time of service for term clerks from three years to a maximum of four years, according to Ferguson. The plan also limits matching pay for term clerks who are hired from private practice, he said.

It’s the limitation upon salary matching that will hurt clerks coming from Biglaw. But considering that many of them will enjoy large clerkship bonuses if and when they return to private practice, maybe they aren’t the most worthy objects of pity.
The Judiciary: Judges feel bite of new law clerk rules [Daily Business Review]


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