Hey everyone, remember those things called clerkship bonuses? After a long period of radio silence — the most recent news was from before Memorial Day — we have more information to share.
We just got off the phone with a Fried Frank spokesperson, who informed us as follows:
1. The firm has raised its clerkship bonus to $50,000.
2. This bonus doesn’t change depending upon whether you have one or two years of clerkship experience. (Most of the firm’s clerks join the firm from one-year clerkships.)
Are you aware of any recent clerkship bonus announcements that we haven’t mentioned in these pages? If so, please email us (subject line: “Clerkship Bonus”). Thanks.
By email and in comments, readers have expressed significant curiosity about associate compensation at Williams & Connolly, the elite, Washington-based litigation boutique. We’d like to help; but we don’t have anything to report at the current time.
Here are some questions that we’d like your thoughts on:
1. Base Salaries. Historically the firm has paid above-market base salaries, but no bonuses. Back in March, Williams & Connolly raised to $165K. At that time, when homegrown D.C. firms were paying 145/155/170, a starting salary of $165,000 was well above the market.
But now that Washington-based firms have raised to 160/170/185, will Williams & Connolly raise again to stay ahead of the competition? Or might they stay at $165,000, but start paying bonuses?
2. Clerkship Bonuses: Speaking of bonuses…. The last we heard, Williams & Connolly paid a clerkship bonus of $25,000. Is that still correct? Do they differentiate between district and circuit court clerkships? What about people with two years of clerkship experience? Inquiring minds want to know.
Update: A current offeree confirms that the W&C clerkship bonus is still at $25K.
3. Summer Associates. A rumor, from a tipster:
The word is that summers aren’t being paid the first-year associate rate. They’re getting $2500 a week, while other DC summers are getting $3100.
We’ve gotten a flurry of updates on the email war. Here’s a sampling:
At the risk of incurring the wrath of everyone…, I have decided to throw myself out in front of the train in an attempt to alleviate the inevitable eruption of spiteful emails that continually come forth over a list serve designed to meet the needs of a specific population. When said list is overbroad and incorporates those to whom the subject matter is inapplicable, the first response is generally, “interesting, glad this does not affect me and good luck to those people.” As the first response or two arrives to the PAC solicitation, those in the nilist camp think, “oops, looks like someone accidentally hit the ‘reply all’ button instead of reply. Well, good luck to those people.” Eventually, ten to twenty replies appear, making an inbox look like a gathering of lemmings – yes the electronic communitcation apocalypse is rapidly approaching. Mildly annoyed, those who were involuntarily drafted into this convention think, “everyone has started to make my inbox their soapbox. I hope someone suggests to everyone that they should not hit the ‘reply all’ button, because i don’t want to come across as the person who forgot to have coffee this morning, was shafted out of a fun memorial day vacation, and just got a 30 page handwritten pro se summary judgment motion with 12 counts in it. I still wish those people well, good luck to them.”
No, that’s not the whole message. It continues, after the jump.
An email from a federal district court clerk regarding a pending proposal that would harm career clerks vis-a-vis non-career clerks has apparently touched off an email war between the career clerks and the non-clerks. The original email, and every subsequent email, is being sent to every single district court clerk in the country. According to one of our tipsters, about 40 shots have been fired over the last couple of hours. This is the only one we have so far:
Because the cause of career law clerks apprently takes precedence over the rules of decorum, professionalism, and email etiquette, and because numerous (earnest) pleas to cease sending unsolicited emails to the the “all reply” list have gone unheeded, I have decided to share with the law clerks of the country a list of some of my favorite tater-tot recipies. As my first installment, here is the recipie for my world famous Tater Tot Casserole:
TATER TOT CASSEROLE
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 bag tater tots
1 lb of ground hamburger meat
serves: 6 or 7
Brown hamburger meat. Add cream of mushroom soup and stir together continuously.
Let simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.
Place mixture in the bottom of a casserole dish. Lay tater tots neatly on top of the mixture.
Place in oven on 350′ and let the tater tots brown.
Sprinkle with cheese; melt it in the oven and ENJOY.
If you’re a federal district court clerk, or if you’ve been forwarded any part of this war, please send it to us.
The original email, which is boring and contains multiple typos, is available for explanatory purposes only, after the jump.
Okay, commenters, break it up. There’s no need to come to blows over the propriety of discussing clerkship bonuses in a salary post.
Here at ATL, there’s enough cyberspace for everyone. We’re putting an end to the turf wars, by giving you a new, dedicated thread for talking about clerkship bonuses.
We’ll kick things off with some news. First, a reader alerted us to a change made to Cahill Gordon’s website:
Sign-on Bonuses: The firm pays sign-on bonuses of $50,000 to judicial clerks and $15,000 to LL.M. (tax) graduates when they start at the firm.
Second, from a law clerk tipster, about Paul Weiss:
I’m clerking for two years. Paul Weiss just notified me, by phone, that they will be giving $70K bonuses to all two-year clerks. Hurray!
Congratulations, law clerks! Your Memorial Day holiday weekend is off to a good start. Compensation & Benefits [Cahill Gordon & Reindel]
Yes, that’s right. In its New York office, Ropes & Gray has upped its clerkship bonus to $50,000 (and $35,000 in its other offices). If you have two years of clerkship experience, you’ll get $70,000 — no matter what office you’re in.
From the firm website:
Our annual salary for first-year associates, in all of our offices, is $160,000. Associates joining Ropes & Gray from one or two years of clerking are treated as members of their law school class for compensation purposes. Associates joining our New York office receive a bonus of $50,000 if they clerked for one year and $70,000 for two years of clerking; associates joining our other offices receive a bonus of $35,000 if they clerked for one year and $70,000 for two years of clerking.
We haven’t heard much clerkship bonus news lately. If you know of a move that we haven’t previously reported on, please email us. Thanks. Compensation & Benefits [Ropes & Gray]
Although there continues to be activity on the associate pay raise front, things seem to have quieted down in terms of clerkship bonuses. The most recent announcement was that of Patterson Belknap — from Monday morning.
Are there no new announcements out there? Or are we just not hearing about them?
If you have any information to share, please email us (subject line: “Clerkship Bonus”). And feel free to discuss further in the comments. As always, thanks in advance for your tips.
I have an offer from Patterson Belknap and I just received an email informing me that their bonus is 50K.
Keep up the good work.
To people with two clerkships or two years of clerking experience: no, we don’t know whether Patterson’s $50,000 clerkship bonus is “flat,” or whether they pay more for more than one clerkship year. If you have an offer from Patterson and are in this boat, please contact the firm and find out what their policy is. And then tell your friends here at ATL. Thanks!
[Ed. note: We now turn the floor over to the fabulous Laurie Lin, of Legal Eagle Wedding Watch, for a guest post on the D.C. Circuit clerk book proposal controversy. This post was originally scheduled for publication yesterday afternoon, when Laurie was holding down the fort while we were offline and in transit. Sadly, technical problems -- yeah, we know, we're working on it -- prevented timely publication.]
We know the DC Circuit’s caseload is notoriously light, but we had no idea the clerks were jonesing so hard for something to do! Two current clerks in Judge A. Raymond Randolph’s chambers recently circulated a book proposal on habeas corpus and the war on terror, a topic about which they claimed to have some expertise — as a result of the high-profile cases to which they currently have access in Randolph’s chambers! Read on for more about this ethical morass:
The problems arose when their proposal, which was emailed to constitutional scholars across the country, surfaced on a blog. University of Miami professor Steve Vladeck raised questions about how this affected their work as clerks for a Judge A. Raymond Randolph. Randolph, of course, not only authored the most recent decision about the Guantanamo detainees, Boumediene v. Bush, but was also the scribe for two cases already overturned by the Supreme Court, Rasul v. Bush and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.
It was a connection the two clerks flaunted, noting that they brought a “unique perspective” to edit submissions because “they have spent a year in the legal trenches” as clerks on the D.C. Circuit “during a year that saw several landmark detention decisions likely to end up before the Supreme Court.”
But the two men forgot one key thing: to tell (or, rather, to ask permission from) their judge.
More on this controversy, including Judge Randolph’s official reaction to his clerks’ jaw-droppingly poor judgment, after the jump:
Some of you have asked us for a new thread to discuss clerkship bonuses. Your wish is granted.*
We’ll kick off this clerkship bonus discussion with some good news. It concerns Sullivan & Cromwell, which first got the ball rolling on clerkship bonuses, by raising to $50K in the wake of the Brokeback Lawfirm scandal.
(Law clerks, you owe Aaron Charney a debt of gratitude. If he sets up an Aaron Charney Legal Defense Fund, you should contribute generously.)
Anyway, here’s the news:
I just got a call from the recruiting coordinator at S&C confirming they are now paying 70K for those with two years of clerkship experience.
Please keep up the excellent work on this front, I desperately want Cleary to match!
A partial summary of where things currently stand in the clerkship bonus market, after the jump.
* We receive many requests to cover X or Y when salary matters are in full swing. We try to accommodate the ones that we can, but obviously there are many that we can’t. Sorry, we are not going to start a “List of Shame” for ERISA boutiques in Topeka that don’t pay $80,000.
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 protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months (Robert Kinney and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong again March 15 to 23), and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
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