Clerkships

Patterson Belknap Webb Tyler LLP Above the Law blog.jpgThe latest firm to raise its clerkship bonuses: Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler. From a current clerk:

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!

Prettyman courthouse.jpg[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.

Whoops.
More on this controversy, including Judge Randolph’s official reaction to his clerks’ jaw-droppingly poor judgment, after the jump:

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Randolph Clerks: Too Much Time on Their Hands?”

Sullivan & Cromwell logo small S&C Sully Above the Law.JPGSome 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.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Clerkship Bonus Watch: Sullivan & Cromwell Joins the $70K Club”

Paul Hastings Janofsky Walker Above the Law blog.JPGWe have to step away from our computer for a bit. So here’s an open thread for discussion of either (1) more West Coast pay raises or (2) more increases in clerkship bonuses.
Also, the rumor from the comments that Paul Hastings has raised is confirmed. The verified memo appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Skaddenfreude: Paul Hastings; Late Afternoon Open Thread”

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGIf you’re a current clerk with an offer from Debevoise & Plimpton, good news. The firm has bumped up its clerkship bonus to $50,000 — which is fast becoming the new Biglaw standard.
There’s a small catch that may affect a few of you. Unlike some other firms, like Weil Gotshal and Cravath, the Debevoise bonus appears to be “flat.” It does not increase for multiple clerkships or years of clerking.
In case you’re curious, the Debevoise email appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Clerkship Bonus Watch: Debevoise Joins the $50K Club”

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGWe have received confirmation, from multiple sources, of a rumor that previously arose in the comments: Davis Polk & Wardwell has raised its clerkship bonus to $50,000. It joins the distinguished company of Sullivan & Cromwell, Simpson Thacher, Paul Weiss, Weil Gotshal, Cravath, Cleary Gottlieb, and Skadden Arps.
Also, contrary to this joke, Davis’s enhanced clerkship bonus will be paid to current clerks who have already accepted their DPW offers (i.e., it’s not just to entice clerks with pending but unaccepted offers from the firm).
There’s no email to reprint. Notification was made through telephone calls from recruiting.
Congratulations, DPW clerks!

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGYesterday we floated this rumor:

“Skadden has raised its clerkship bonuses: $50,000 for one clerkship, $70,000 for two years. Applicable to all offices.”

We have not received official confirmation from the firm. But we have now received, via email, confirmation of this news from multiple sources. So we believe it’s safe to treat it as confirmed.
We have not received individual confirmations for ALL Skadden offices. But we have received them with respect to New York, Chicago, and Wilmington. We’d be surprised to hear, then, that this is not an across-the-board policy.
Now the latest rumors concern Davis Polk. If you can confirm, please email us (subject: “Clerkship Bonus”). Thanks.
Earlier: Clerkship Bonus Watch: Has Skadden Joined the $50K Club?

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGIn case any of you were wondering, last Friday’s news about Weil Gotshal clerkship bonuses has been officially confirmed. Here’s a statement from a firm spokesperson:

“Weil will pay $50K for a one-year state or Federal clerkship and $70K (i.e., the current amount) for a two-year clerkship.”

So there you have it, from the horse’s mouth. And there’s the answer to this commenter’s question: “Is that flat, or does Weil still double for two years?”
Okay, so Weil won’t give you $100K for two years of clerking experience. But $70,000 is still, as far as we know, the top of the market for two clerkships or years of clerking. Three cheers for Weil — and Cravath, which also pays $70,000 for two clerkships.
Does anyone know what S&C, Simpson, Paul Weiss, and Cleary Gottlieb — the other members of the $50K Club — pay for multiple clerkships or years of clerking? If so, please email us. Thanks.

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGThe various comments added to our last post, stating that Cleary Gottlieb has joined the elite ranks of law firms paying $50,000 clerkship bonuses, are correct. Here’s the email, from CGSH partner David Leinwand:

From: David LEINWAND
Time: 2:01 pm

I am very pleased to announce that the firm will be increasing its judicial clerkship bonus for U.S. associates who complete one or more clerkships to $50,000. The increased bonus will be paid to associates who accept an offer to join the firm or complete a clerkship after January 1, 2007.

Please do not hesitate to contact me or Norma Cirincione if you have any questions.

David Leinwand,
on behalf of the Recruiting Committee

So who’s next? By conventional prestige standrads, we’d say Davis Polk. By profits per partner, it would be Cadwalader. According to the just-released AmLaw 100 rankings, Cadwalader is the most profitable NYC-based firm — excluding Wachtell Lipton, which pays no clerkship bonus, but compensates with a ridiculous year-end bonus — that has not yet joined the $50K club.
But don’t hold your breath for Cadwalader. Based on Anthony Lin’s fascinating profile of the firm, published back in February, it seems that CWT isn’t a big fan of “clerky” types:

Whereas [rival] firms lavish attention on Ivy League law graduates with prestigious judicial clerkships, [Cadwalader Chairman Robert] Link wants lawyers who want to be in the business and want to work hard in it. He said his ideal candidate would probably be someone slightly older with previous work experience, maybe on Wall Street.

He has no use for Yale Law School.

“I don’t think we even recruit there anymore,” he said of the law school often regarded as the nation’s most intellectual. “They don’t seem to produce the kind of lawyer we want.”

Ouch. And Yale, which sends a sizable percentage of graduates directly into judicial clerkships each year, is the most “clerky” of law schools.
Does the Future Belong To Cadwalader? [New York Law Journal]

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGToday brings more happy tidings for law clerks, emanating from The Death Star.
Check out the Cravath website (navigate through Career Information: Law Students, Life at Cravath, and Associate Life):

Incoming associates, in fall 2007, who have completed a U.S. Federal district court, Federal appellate court, or state highest court clerkship receive a bonus of $50,000 and credit for a one-year clerkship.

What about for two clerkships or two years of clerking? Or clerkships that don’t fit one of the foregoing categories?

Those associates who complete a clerkship of two years or two one-year clerkships will receive (in lieu of the $50,000 bonus described previously) a bonus of $70,000 and class credit for each year of a clerkship, up to two years. Credit and bonuses for a magistrate, a state lower court or a clerkship outside of the U.S. are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Good stuff. We commend Cravath for its transparency with respect to these matters. And we congratulate them on joining Weil Gotshal at the top of the bonus market for two clerkships: $70,000. (More on Weil in a later post.)
So now the $50K Club has five members (in order of their joining): Sullivan & Cromwell, Simpson Thacher, Paul Weiss, Weil Gotshal, and Cravath.
Correction: The paragraph below, which now appears in strikethrough text, was based on erroneous information. We were previously advised that Cravath paid different clerkship bonuses for district and circuit court clerkships. That was incorrect. The old Cravath clerkship bonus structure was $15K across the board, up to a maximum of $30K.
One other observation on the Cravath news. It removes the firm’s former two-tier system with respect to clerkship bonuses ($15K for district court clerkships, $35K for circuit court clerkships). This makes sense to us. While circuit court clerks may have, on the whole or as a general matter, more impressive credentials than district court clerks, a district court clerkship is usually a more educational experience (at least viewed from the perspective of a future litigator).

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