Check out the woman at right. She is the Honorable Dolores K. Sloviter, and she sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Judge Sloviter seems like a kindly old lady, doesn’t she? We’ve seen her on the bench, at multiple oral arguments. Based on her grandmotherly appearance, we once quipped to a colleague: “She seems so nice! When is she going to descend from the bench and feed us homemade cookies?”
Answer: not anytime soon (unless the cookies are laced with arsenic). From one of Judge Sloviter’s former clerks, Professor Mike Rappaport:
In 1985, having just graduated from law school, I arrived for my first day of work as a law clerk to Dolores K. Sloviter of the Third Circuit….
My two co-clerks, who had arrived a week earlier, took me to lunch. I asked how things were going, and they looked kind of uncomfortable. They explained that on their first day, a week earlier, they had gone to lunch with the holdover clerk, and had asked her, almost making small talk, how her year had been. [T]hey listened as she spent the next hour and a half detailing the horrors of the experience, and how she wasn’t sure how she had gotten through it.
That law clerk’s year of hell turned out to be quite similar to our year….
(That’s just an excerpt. You can read the entire post by clicking here.)
But should any of this come as a surprise? As regular ATL readers surelyrecall, Dolores Sloviter is the alleged inspiration for the nightmarish Judge Helga Friedman, central villain of Saira Rao’s delightful new novel, Chambermaid.
Additional thoughts on hellacious clerkships, plus a call for reader tips, after the jump.
In our recent New York Times op-edpiece praising lavish signing bonuses for Supreme Court clerks, we wrote that the bonuses “are expected to reach $250,000 this year — paid on top of starting salaries approaching $200,000.”
Some people have inquired into the factual basis for our statement. As it turns out, we did some actual reporting to support it. The reporting never made it into the final op-ed piece, but we’re happy to provide the details here.
If you’re curious, read the rest of this post, after the jump.
please do a post of shearman’s pathetic clerkship bonus, currently at $15,000!!!!!!!
Okay, you got our attention with the seven exclamation points.
Lat posted a clerkship bonus List o’ Shame last week that featured the top firms below the new standard of $50k:
1. Wachtell ($0)
8. Latham ($35k) [see update on Latham here]
10. Kirkland ($35k)
11. Covington ($35k outside NY)
14. Wilmer ($35k)
15. Shearman ($15k)
16. Sidley ($35k)
17. Williams & Connolly ($25k)
18. Gibson ($35k)
19. Arnold ($15k $35k)
20. OMM ($35k)
22. Jones Day ($35k)
23. MoFo ($35k)
24. Hogan ($35k)
25. Ropes & Gray ($35K outside NY but $70K for 2yr clerkship)
Shearman has really separated itself from the pack — and not in a good way. Again, the list above is itself a list of shame, so that $15k is really eye-catching. What gives? Administrative note: The power just went out in our “office,” so in the grand tradition of ATL office hours, we’re hanging out at the Panera Bread in Greystone, Alabama. We trust we’ll be swamped with visitors soon!
Here’s a quick follow-up on Wednesday’s post, reporting on Supreme Court clerk hiring for October Term 2008. That’s not the Term whose clerks will start showing up for work next month — the October Term 2007 clerks are listed here — but the Term after that.
Interestingly enough, the two justices thought most likely to leave the Court next, Justice John Paul Stevens and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, are both done with their clerk hiring for OT 2008. And we also hear that RBG has hired at least one clerk for OT 2009 — very CT-esque of her to hire that far into the future.
Thanks to everyone who submitted SCOTUS clerk hiring info, by email and in the comments. We’ve folded them into our evolving list of OT 2008 law clerks. Check it out, after the jump.
Before those big Supreme Court opinions start drifting in, let’s put in a quick word about clerkship bonuses.
As several commenters suggested yesterday, we contacted Latham & Watkins to find out about their clerkship bonus policy. We confirmed that the firm effectively pays a clerkship bonus just shy of $50,000, which does not vary depending upon which office you work in, and we learned some additional information as well:
* Latham & Watkins pays federal clerk bonuses at approximately $50,000, which comprises a $35,000 bonus plus a $13,333 bar study / bar exam and review fees bonus.
* Clerks to federal magistrate judges do receive the federal clerkship bonus.
* Latham & Watkins paid its 2006 U.S. Supreme Court clerks a ‘signing bonus’ of $200,000. In 2006, six Supreme Court clerks joined Latham & Watkins in the firm’s Washington, D.C., San Diego and San Francisco offices.
* “As a leading global law firm with a diverse national presence in the U.S., Latham & Watkins regularly evaluates its compensation.”
We thank Latham for furnishing us with this helpful information. Update: As for multiple clerkships or years of clerking experience, the firm does not have a fixed and easily summarized policy, since more factors come into play. If you’re in that boat, you should consult with Recruiting. Further Update: Don’t shoot the messenger. If you don’t like Latham’s clerkship bonus policy, that’s fine, but don’t blame us for communicating it to you.
Commenters, you’ve ticked us off. We are no longer going to reach out to firms for information about their clerkship bonus policies, because (1) it doesn’t affect that many people, at least compared to base salary increases or year-end bonuses, and (2) we’re tired of your ingratitude and abuse.
We will still cover clerkship bonus news, by posting information that tipsters send in to us. But we’re no longer bothering with affirmative outreach to firms on this front, since such “sua sponte” efforts are not appreciated. In light of all the other things we cover, it’s just not worth our time and effort.
While we’re on the subject of judicial clerkships (or clerkship bonuses), and with clerkship application season not that far off, we’d like to put in a quick plug for the Clerkship Notification Blog.
We’ve mentioned it in these pages before. It’s a great resource for clerkship applicants.
But it can’t go on without your help. The blog’s former editor, Katherine McDaniel, is leaving — to clerk, naturally. So she’s looking for two people to take over the site from her.
We encourage you to apply. For details, please click here. Thanks. Now Accepting Applications [The Clerkship Notification Blog (2007-2008 Season)]
Some good news for law clerks heading to the New York office of Covington & Burling after their clerkships. A source at the firm directed us to check out this updated section of their website:
We reward judicial clerks who come directly to the firm following their clerkship(s) with credit for purposes of both salary and partnership consideration, together with a $50,000 bonus for one clerkship and a $70,000 bonus for two clerkships for those who have clerked for a federal judge, or for the highest court in any state or the District of Columbia.
So add a new member to the $50K/$70K Club. But note that Covington is taking the Ropes & Gray approach: the new and improved clerkship bonuses are paid out in New York only. In Washington and San Francisco, the firm still pays a $35,000 clerkship bonus. Update: Also noteworthy, per a commenter: “This is different from the other $70K bonuses in that it only applies to people with two-clerkships, rather than one two-year clerkship.”
In addition, we’ve heard a rumor that Willkie Farr & Gallagher has raised its clerkship bonus to $50,000. But we haven’t seen the email, and Willkie’s website and NALP form don’t reflect this info. If you can confirm, please drop us a line.
A “List of Shame” for top firms paying below-market clerkship bonuses, after the jump.
A few more updates from tipsters: Edward C. Dawson, who clerked for Kennedy in OT 2003, is with Yetter & Warden, and according to our tipster is in the new Austin office.
Marc Allen, also a former Kennedy clerk, has reportedly gone in-house with Boeing, working for his old boss, Judge J. Michael Luttig. Leondra Kruger, who clerked for Stevens in OT 2003, is a visiting assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School.
The pattern of about half in private practice appears to be holding.
In our recent New York Times op-ed piece on Supreme Court clerkship bonuses, we argued that “[f]rom a narrowly economic point of view — focusing on the actual work the clerks will perform, and setting aside the law firms’ quest for prestige and bragging rights — it is difficult to understand why firms fight for the right to shower 26-year-olds with cash.”
One of the contentions we thought about offering in support of this claim was that Supreme Court clerks don’t stick around their law firms for very long after getting their huge bonuses. This was our sense of things, based admittedly on “anec-data.” It seemed to us that SCOTUS clerks go to law firms, stay for maybe two years, and then leave to become law professors, or government or public interest lawyers.
But then we decided to go back and look at the data. We thought it would be interesting to see how many Supreme Court clerks from October Term 2002 and October Term 2003 are still in private practice. The OT 2002 and OT 2003 clerk classes were ideal for the purpose of assessing the effect of bonuses because (1) law firms were offering gargantuan bonuses by this point in time, and (2) enough years have passed to allow for meaningful assessment of the clerks’ career paths.
We undertook this research, and it ended up showing that a reasonably high percentage of clerks — about 50 percent — are in private practice, a few years down the road. It’s not an overwhelmingly high percentage (in which case our argument that the firms effectively subsidize other quarters of the profession would be undermined). But it’s also not as low as we expected. We revised our argument accordingly, omitting any suggestion that a majority of clerks “take the money and run.”
Anyway, having done all this research, we felt like we should put it to some use (since it ended up not being reflected in the final version of the op-ed piece). Posting it on ATL seemed worthwhile enough.
Are you curious about what Supreme Court clerks from a few years ago are up to nowadays? Check out the lists, after the jump. The Supreme Court’s Bonus Babies [New York Times]
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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