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]
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]
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.