Since we’re smack dab in the middle of clerkship application season, let’s turn the spotlight to clerkly compensation and benefits. We hear that some changes may be in the works. From a tipster:
[H]ave you heard anything about progress on a proposal to end/limit/change the salary “matching” program for federal clerks with private sector experience? Several judges I interviewed with mentioned that the salaries for clerks coming from jobs in the private sector (e.g., after a year or more working for a firm) are in flux pending a proposal to eliminate or change the bump that clerks coming from (higher paying) private sector jobs traditionally receive. My understanding is that these clerks traditionally received an increase in their step level within the applicable salary grade. Supposedly a decision on this issue was expected in September.
As a matter of fact, yes, we have. Nothing definitive. But more discussion appears after the jump.
As noted yesterday, we’re smack in the middle of clerkship hiring season. Perhaps some of you are applying to judges based in Miami. Clerking in a tropical paradise — what’s not to like?
Possibly deadly toxic mold, that’s what. From an article by Julie Kay in the Daily Business Review (via SDFLA Blog):
Two studies performed at the historic David W. Dyer federal courthouse in downtown Miami show there are significant mold and air safety issues at one of Miami-Dade County’s oldest courthouses and suggest parts of the building are beyond repair.
The studies… were commissioned by the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Florida after U.S. Magistrate Judge Ted Klein became ill and died last year of a mysterious respiratory illness, and his fellow magistrate judges raised concerns about the building’s environment.
It’s September, which means that it’s clerkship application season. According to the law clerk hiring plan — which some judges follow, and some judges don’t — today’s the first day federal judges can call to set up clerkship interviews with current law students.
You can find out where various courts and judges are in the hiring process over at the Clerkship Notification Blog. But they may be having some issues, according to one tipster:
[T]he Clerkship Notification Blog appears to have no posts on it today at all. People on XOXO are saying that the clerkship blog started moderating comments just yesterday, meaning that no comment shows up until the blog owners approve it first. See here and here.
Kind of defeats the whole point of getting information out there quickly, doesn’t it? What the hell are they thinking over there?
Not too long ago, we said we had a “gut feeling” that some Supreme Court clerk hiring was going on (despite the Court being in recess). We were right.
Meet Porter Wilkinson. And don’t hate her because she’s beautiful. Or brilliant. Or rich. Or the daughter of a top feeder judge and frequent Supreme Court short-lister, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson (4th Cir.).
Or, for that matter, a future Supreme Court clerk. We hear that Judge Wilkinson’s daughter — yes, Porter is a girl’s name, if you’re a WASP — just landed an October Term 2008 clerkship with Chief Justice John Roberts. Congratulations, Porter!
Not surprisingly, we hear that the young Ms. Wilkinson is fairly conservative — in case you couldn’t have guessed that from the fact that she’s currently clerking for Judge Brett Kavanaugh (D.C. Cir.) (alongside the lovely, and recently married, Zina Gelman).
And where did we hear about Porter’s politics? From Judge Wilkinson himself!
In late July, we attended the excellent national convention of the American Constitution Society, in Washington, DC. Judge Wilkinson was on one of the panels. In thanking the ACS for inviting him, he noted that his son is a member of the liberal organization — but that he’s balanced out by his sister Porter, a card-carrying member of the Federalist Society. We bet the Wilkinsons must have interesting dinner table conversations.
Porter Wilkinson continues the trend of fathers and daughters who both clerked for the Court (as noted by Tony Mauro). See here. Update: A tipster tells us, “FYI, Porter was an All-American lacrosse player at UNC. See here. Her husband [Christian Cook] was lacrosse Defenseman of the Year at Princeton and three-time national champion. Formerly of the Secret Service. See here. They got married this past summer in Charlottesville.”
With Porter Wilkinson added, the current list of OT 2008 clerks thus far appears after the jump. Graduation Awards: Four in the Class of 2007: Porter Wilkinson [Virginia Law] Carter Phillips’ Kin Is Alito Clerk [Legal Times]
We realize that it’s still summer. Many of the justices are still traipsing around Europe (or hanging out in the Hampshire, as in the case of Justice David Souter).
It’s also the last week of August, leading into the Labor Day holiday weekend – traditionally one of the slowest, most dead weeks of the year. As some of you have noticed, we’ve been phoning it in taking it easy here at ATL, too.
But even though nothing is supposed to be happening, it appears that some things are afoot. We’ve been hearing all sorts of cryptic rumors about recent Supreme Court clerk hiring. As former SCOTUS clerk Michael Chertoff might say, we have a “gut feeling” that some hiring has been going on.
Our last open thread on this subject didn’t yield much, but that was over a month ago. Have you heard any Supreme Court clerk hiring news that hasn’t already appeared on ATL? If so, please contact us, by email (subject line: “Supreme Court clerk hiring”). (You can also post a comment, but we prefer email for this subject, so we can pose follow-up questions to you if we have them.)
Thanks for any and all info!
A week has passed since our last bit of clerkship bonus news.
Have you heard anything on this subject that we haven’t previously reported? If so, please note it in the comments, or email us (subject line: “Clerkship Bonus Watch”). Bonus question: With respect to the Dewey Ballantine / LeBoeuf Lamb merger, whose clerkship bonus policy will the new entity adopt? Dewey pays a flat $50,000 clerkship bonus, while LeBoeuf pays a $50K bonus for one clerkship and a $70K bonus for two years of clerkship experience.
To all of you who have been complaining about the clerkship bonus policy of Latham & Watkins, the firm has heard your pleas. And it has taken action. But if you’re starting at the firm in 2007, you might not reap the benefits of your whining advocacy.
An LW offeree passed along this information to us:
Beginning in 2008, L & W will award on year of partnership progression credit plus $50,000 to clerks at federal court, the highest court in any state and the District of Columbia, and Delaware Chancery Courts. The firm will pay $70,000 to attorneys who clerk for more than one year in eligible clerkships.
We contacted a firm spokesman for confirmation. His comments appear after the jump. Update: Also after the jump, for those of you who are curious: Latham & Watkins’s Policies, Benefits & Compensation for US-Based Associates.
Sidley has just announced that they have raised clerkship bonuses to $50k! YES!
We’ve confirmed this raise with sources at the firm. So you can treat it as confirmed. Update (2:55 PM): In response to some follow-up questions from us, the firm’s D.C. hiring partner, Joseph Guerra, explained:
“It applies to all domestic offices, and the bonus is the same for a one-year clerkship, a two-year clerkship or two one-year clerkships (provided one of the two isn’t a Supreme Court clerkship).”
Troutman Sanders raised associate pay $15,000 across the board in its Atlanta, Washington, Virginia and North Carolina offices Thursday, with the starting salary going from $130,000 to $145,000.
The firm’s managing partner, Robert W. Webb Jr., announced the pay increase to associates at 5 p.m. Thursday.
The raises are effective Jan. 1, 2008, the same date the pay raise that Alston & Bird announced to its Atlanta associates last week goes into effect. Earlier this week, King & Spalding matched Alston’s $15,000 increase in starting pay, also effective Jan. 1, but did not raise pay for more senior associates.
Correction: According to a source at the firm, as well as various commenters, “Troutman’s DC and Tysons Corner offices have starting salaries of $160K as a result of the increase. (Troutman’s Atlanta office is starting at $145K).”
What’s most noteworthy about this raise, as pointed out to us by several tipsters, is that it’s “across the board” — not just for first- or second-year associates. In Atlanta, where salary compression for more senior associates is a serious issue, an across-the-board raise of $15,000 is good news indeed. It’s better than what has been announced thus far by Alston & Bird and King & Spalding.
More discussion, after the jump.
A college graduate without student loan debt is akin to reading a kind quote about Kim Kardashian in a tabloid—it’s rare.
In the past eight years, student loan debt has nearly tripled to a whopping $1.1 trillion, and in the past 10 years, the percentage of 25-year-olds with such debt has risen from 25% to 43%
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that New York Fed economists warned last month that the burden of student debt could stilt consumer spending by twentysomethings, as well as further hamper the recovery of the housing market and economy.
To get a better idea of what massive student loan debt (we’re talking over $100,000 massive) looks like, we talked to an attorney who graduated with a large student loan debt. We also consulted LearnVest Planning Services CFP® Katie Brewer to see just how their repayment plans stack up.
S. Fischer, 36, Attorney Graduated: 2001
How Much I Borrowed: $100,000
What I Still Owe: $45,000
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Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
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