Clerkships

Supreme Court hallway Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law.JPGPeople, you’ve been holding out on us. We’ve been hearing rumors about more Supreme Court law clerk hiring taking place for the next Term (October Term 2008).
For example, there’s gossip going around that Justice Samuel Alito has hired a clerk from Judge Harris Hartz (10th Cir.). We’ve also heard a rumor to the effect that Justice Thomas’s mysterious fourth spot for OT 2008 has been filled — mysterious, because he’s already hired at least one clerk for OT 2009 (Marah Stith; see here).
But nobody has let us in on what’s been going on. That’s just plain wrong.
A list of the OT 2008 clerks that we know of appears after the jump. Are you aware of an OT 2008 clerk who isn’t on the list? 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, for verification and possible follow-up. Thanks!)
Update: We’ve been told, from a reliable source, that the rumor that Justice Alito has hired a clerk from Judge Hartz is not correct. As far as we know, Justice Alito has hired only two clerks for OT 2008: Dana Irwin (Yale 2002 / Scirica) and Jack White (Pepperdine 2003 / Alito).

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Alex Kozinski Alex S Kozinski Judge Above the Law hot hottie superhottie federal judiciary.jpgFor the limited but passionate segment of the ATL readership that avidly follows the federal judiciary and clerkship news, the past week has been a good one.
First, there was this very interesting Legal Times article by Joe Palazzolo, about the debacle known as the law clerk hiring process. Executive summary: “As in most family feuds, it’s the kids who suffer most. In interviews, newly hired law clerks rated this year’s hiring frenzy on a scale from ‘unfortunate’ to ‘an utter mess.’”

At the D.C. Circuit, lights shone in the windows of some judges’ chambers before dawn on Sept. 19. They had scheduled their first interviews between 6:45 and 7 a.m.

[Yale Law School Professor Christine] Jolls, who is a member of a committee of professors and deans that advises the Judicial Conference on the hiring process, says she got a 2 a.m. e-mail from one of her students who had just emerged from an interview with a 2nd Circuit judge. The judge had scheduled the interview for Sept. 19 at 12:01 a.m.

If you know, feel free to identify the judges who scheduled these insanely early interviews, in the comments.
Second, for those of you follow clerkship bonus developments, on Tuesday the ever-helpful Law Clerk Addict posted an updated Vault 100 clerkship bonus chart. You can access it here.
Third, today the National Law Journal serves up a delightful profile of the nation’s #1 judicial superhottie (male), Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit. As of December 1, make that CHIEF Judge Kozinski. Congratulations, Your Honor!
Links to the aforementioned sources, plus excerpts and commentary on the Kozinski profile, appear after the jump.
Update: Also after the jump, some scuttlebutt about which judges were conducting the midnight and early morning interviews.

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Shearman & Sterling logo Above the Law blog.jpgSometimes it takes a while. But we usually get results, eventually.
Back in July, we published a post entitled Clerkship Bonus Watch: What’s Up With Shearman? Today, at 12:32 p.m., this email went around at Shearman & Sterling:

At the last meeting of the Associates Committee in New York, the committee representatives noted that we had fallen behind some other firms who had adjusted clerkship bonuses in 2007. As we mentioned at the meeting, we assumed that the firm would promptly respond with a clerkship policy consistent with the market.

Accordingly, I am pleased to report that because the firm places great value on the experience a clerkship provides, it has raised bonuses to $50,000, paid to associates who join the firm after August 1, 2007 and who complete a one-year eligible clerkship. For two one-year clerkships or two-years of clerkship experience, the firm will pay $70,000. An additional bonus is paid to U.S. Supreme Court clerks.

For details, please refer to the firm’s website.

This is the first clerkship bonus news in a while (since Dechert). Have we missed any developments? If you know of clerkship bonus news that we haven’t previously covered — use the site search function or the archives to check — please email us. Thanks.
Earlier: Clerkship Bonus Watch: What’s Up With Shearman?

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.

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law clerk judicial clerkship Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgMany judges are done hiring their law clerks for next year. We’re happy to report that several of our friends, whom we were informally advising on the process, landed clerkships with their top picks.
For those of you who are still going through the process, this gossip might be of interest:

Rumor check: word on the street is that a raft judges have made a decision to only hire graduates for clerkships. One person told me that means there are about 60% less positions open for 3L applicants. The end result is that a number of schools are having their worst clerkship hiring year in memory (at least for their 3L’s). Have you heard the same?

We haven’t heard this specific rumor until now. But we do know that some judges have started hiring more graduates simply because the hiring of grads — e.g., junior associates at firms — isn’t controlled by the elaborate timetable of the law clerk hiring plan. With the possible exception of feeder judges, who have no choice but to try and snag top recruits early, most judges probably think it’s less viciously competitive — or at least less of a hassle — to hire recent law school graduates (who come with the added benefit of practical experience).
So, readers, any thoughts?
Earlier: Clerkship Hiring: Today’s the Day

We noted this development in passing yesterday. Now here’s an AP article with a great title:
Dry Cleaner in Pants Suit Closes Roy Pearson.jpg
And then she headed off to a clerkship interview?
P.S. Results of our recent fashion poll after the jump.
Dry Cleaner in Pants Suit Closes [AP]

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100 dollar bill Abovethelaw Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGAfter we did a post about foreign clerkships, we received a number of follow-up inquiries. Readers wanted to know whether any firms pay clerkship bonuses to (1) staff attorneys and (2) administrative law judge clerks:

“I was wondering if there are bonuses offered for ALJ clerkships – you can clerk in D.C. for, among others, the EPA, the FERC, the Department of Labor . . . It seems like some firms carefully excludes these from their bonus policy, but others are a bit less clear on the question.
It seems to me, though, that if you’re going to a firm that does a lot of regulatory work, a clerkship with the appropriate agency would be quite valuable.”

“What about former administrative law judge clerks? For example, how much would one of the clerks coming from a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission judge this past summer pull from a DC energy firm?”

“Do you have information on whether firms pay clerkship bonuses to staff attorneys at circuit courts?”

We’re don’t know of such firms, but we’re not omniscient. If you know of any, please share your info in the comments. Thanks.

law clerk judicial clerkship Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgLast week we asked, “What’s going on with clerkship salaries and benefits?” Now we have some answers.
Yesterday the Judicial Conference issued a press release that discussed law clerk salaries, among many other subjects. Here are the money (haha) quotes:

The Conference today also voted to continue implementing its cost-containment program by adopting a series of recommendations relating to law clerks and the Judiciary’s Court Personnel System in general….

[T]he Conference agreed that each judge will be limited to one career law clerk. Those 291 career law clerks now in chambers where more than one career law clerk is employed will be able to retain their career status in those chambers, with the assent of their judge, or with another judge if their judge dies, retires, resigns or is otherwise unable to retain a law clerk. Most federal law clerks are “term” clerks and typically serve one or two years. “Career” law clerks are expected to serve four or more years. This new policy limits a term law clerk’s term of employment to no more than four years, to be applied prospectively for current term law clerks. Another step replaces law clerk salary matching with a system aimed at achieving salary parity between those law clerks who gain their work experience within the Judiciary and those who gain their experience outside the Judiciary.

For those of you who might be interested in this subject — e.g., people interviewing for clerkships this week — additional commentary appears after the jump.

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Here’s a twist on clerkship bonus news, from a reader:

With all the talk about rising bonuses for domestic clerkships, I was wondering if any firms were extending bonuses for foreign clerkships. I am clerking at a major foreign supreme court in a common law country and my BigLaw firm says it only offers bonuses for US or Canadian clerkships.

So, does anyone know if firms that provide bonuses for foreign clerkships? We’re not really aware of any. But if anyone can help out this reader, please pass along info in the comments.

law clerk judicial clerkship Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgSince 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.

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