Federal judicial clerkships are coveted positions — and for good reason. They burnish your resume, enhance your connections, and give you a view of litigation from the other side of the bench.
So we’d like to bring you news of a very special clerkship position. Please keep in mind, however, that it’s not for everyone. The ideal candidate will have no student loans and no kids to support. A trust fund and/or a well-to-do family are helpful.
An ATL tipster was recently offered this clerkship position:
Although Judge [redacted] has hired a clerk for his 2008-09 funded position, he still has an opening for his unfunded position. The unfunded position carries all of the responsibilities, prestige, and future opportunities of the funded position; the only difference is the salary.
Please let me know if you are interested in being considered for this position or if you would like more information about this position.
Thank you, [redacted] United States District Court, [redacted] District of Texas
Pretty insane, right? We expect many offerees tell the judge to take his clerkship and shove it.
But on the other hand, if you can afford to live without a salary for a year, it might not be a bad gig. You can get all the prestige and experience of a clerkship with a federal judge — then make it up on the back end, by going to a law firm that pays a $50,000 clerkship bonus (roughly equal to or even more than what you would have earned in a year of clerking anyway, assuming you go straight into the clerkship from law school).
Judicial clerkships. Year-end bonuses. Two great tastes that go great together.
We received some inquiries about whether clerks who leave law firms to go off and clerk might receive some kind of partial or prorated year-end bonus. It struck us as a rather obscure topic, of interest to only a small group of people.
But then the subject came up repeatedly in the comments to yesterday’s Debevoise bonus news. A reader pointed out that “with the end of salary match, this could be a question that could somewhat influence the choices of potential experienced clerks.”
So we’ve decided to write about it. From a tipster:
I am a federal clerk and my co-clerk, who worked at Kirkland & Ellis in NY for a year prior to his clerkship, was recently told that he will be paid the bonus he would have received had he not left to clerk. In other words, he will receive the pro-rated amount from Jan. 2007 to Sep. 2007 (8 months worth of 35K) even though he no longer works at K&E. This payment is NOT contingent on him returning to the firm after his clerkship.
This strikes us as highly unusual — and quite generous on Kirkland’s part. We don’t know about the mechanics or the exact timing of this payment, but we’d suggest to the lucky clerk that he talk to his judge to make sure this doesn’t raise any issues.
A little more, after the jump.
People, 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).
For 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.
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.
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?
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.
Many 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
After 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.
Last 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.
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 seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!
The legal industry is being disrupted at every level by technological advances. While legal tech entrepreneurs and innovators are racing to create a more efficient and productive future, there is widespread indifference on the part of attorneys toward these emerging technologies.
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.