Apologies for the tardiness. We’re a little late on this; we promised you a Supreme Court clerk hiring update last week. But we suspect that Above the Law readers, unlike the Clerk of Court at One First Street, are willing to accept a late filing.

In an earlier post, we also asked for information about what Supreme Court clerk bonuses are at these days. We now have news to pass along to you.

Check out the list of SCOTUS clerks hired thus far for October Term 2011, and ogle the signing bonuses for outgoing clerks heading to private law firms, after the jump….

Let’s start with the bonus news. Multiple sources have reported to us that the Supreme Court clerks who just left the Court — i.e., the October Term 2009 class of clerks — generally received signing bonuses of $250,000 from their law firms. This is the same as it was three years ago, so some might be disappointed by the lack of an increase. But considering the hit that bonuses (and even base salaries) for non-SCOTUS clerk lawyers have taken during the Great Recession, the fact that the $250K number hasn’t gone down is perhaps a good thing.

There is a caveat, however: firms are now requiring more of a time commitment from the young lawyers they’re wooing with this kind of dough. In the past, clerks could collect the cash and then leave the firms shortly thereafter, for academia or government or public-interest law. This development wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, viewed from the perspective of the legal profession as a whole, but it was a bad thing for the firms that had spent all this money recruiting clerks. So now firms are conveying to the clerks that they are expecting at least two to three years of work from them (and some firms have even put this in writing).

These are the firms that SCOTUS clerks end up at; what about the firms that they came from (for those who didn’t go straight into both clerkships)? In a future post, we’ll have some analysis of the places where SCOTUS clerks worked before heading off to the Court — where they worked as associates, summer associates, Bristow Fellows, etc. We know all about the feeder judges; which firms are the feeder firms? Feel free to send us tips (subject line: “SCOTUS clerk workplaces”).

If you want to see the complete list of October Term 2010 clerks, who just started this month, click here. If you want to see the list of OT 2011 clerks, scroll down the page.

The standard caveats and requests are in effect. If you notice an error or omission, or if you have some information that we haven’t already reported, please email us (subject line: “SCOTUS clerk hiring”). We keep all sources anonymous (unless a shout-out is requested). Thanks!


OCTOBER TERM 2011 SUPREME COURT CLERK HIRES (as of July 29, 2010)

Chief Justice John G. Roberts
1. Hagan Scotten (Harvard 2010 / Kavanaugh)
2. ?
3. ?
4. ?

Justice Antonin Scalia
1. Donald Burke (UVA 2008 / Kethledge)
2. Rebecca Krauss (Yale 2010 / Kavanaugh)
2. John Moran (UVA 2010 / Sutton)
4. ? (Harvard / Colloton)

UPDATE: The Colloton clerk heading to Scalia is Carl Marchioli (Harvard 2010 / Colloton). He is Colloton’s first feed, but surely won’t be his last. Judge Colloton also clerked for the Court (OT 1989/Rehnquist), and former SCOTUS clerks who become judges tend to do very well in terms of feeding.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy
1. Ishan Bhabha (Harvard 2009 / Garland)
2. Leah Litman (Michigan 2010 / Sutton)
3. ?
4. ?

Justice Clarence Thomas
1. ?
2. ?
3. ?
4. ?

(Rumor: Justice Thomas “hired two [earlier this month]. One of them is for 2011, the other for 2012. Both Wilkinson, one UVA, one NW.”)

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
1. Benjamin Beaton (Columbia 2009 / Randolph)
2. Jennifer Clark (Georgetown 2007(?) / Tatel Tot)
3. Gerry Sinzdak (Berkeley 2008 / Berzon)
4. Rachel Wainer Apter (Harvard 2007/Katzmann/Rakoff)

Justice Stephen G. Breyer
1. ?
2. ?
3. ?
4. ?

(Rumor: Justice Breyer has started interviewing and hiring; he has hired one Georgetown grad for OT 2011.)

Justice Samuel Alito
1. ?
2. ?
3. ?
4. ?

Justice Sonia Sotomayor
1. ?
2. ?
3. ?
4. ?

(Rumor: Justice Sotomayor has made offers to various people whom she hired to clerk for her at the Second Circuit.)

Successor to Justice John Paul Stevens (most likely Elena Kagan)
1. ?
2. ?
3. ?
4. ?

Justice John Paul Stevens (retired)
1. Dina Mishra (Yale 2009 / Boudin)

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (retired):
1. ?

Justice David H. Souter (retired):
1. Matthew Tokson (Chicago 2008 / Randolph)

If you notice an error or omission, if you can fill in a blank, or if you have some information that we haven’t already reported, please email us (subject line: “SCOTUS clerk hiring”). Thanks.

SCOTUS OT 2010 [Law Clerk Addict]
SCOTUS Clerk Hiring [Clerkship Notification Blog]
List of law clerks of the Supreme Court of the United States [Wikipedia]

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Supreme Court clerks (scroll down)


comments sponsored by

46 comments (hidden for your protection) Show all comments