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).
While you wait for more announcements to trickle in, check out the latest news article about associate bonus season. It’s by Joseph Goldstein of the New York Sun, who writes (after describing the Cravath special bonus announcement and subsequent matching):
The announcement suggests that the darkening economic landscape isn’t causing too much concern that there will be a significant decrease in billable hours. And legal recruiters say the bonuses, which exceed last year’s, are a signal that the next pay increase for associates could come as soon as January, the month when law firms generally announce any raise in base associate salaries. The gloomier interpretation — that these early and generous bonuses are meant to ward off a salary war next year — has few adherents.
“That’s just speculation,” a recruiter, Jack Zaremski of Hanover Legal Personnel Services, said. “My instinct would be the opposite. This is an indication that firms would be interested in taking base compensation to the next level as well.”
Interesting. It is worth noting that Simpson’s raise from $145,000 to $160,000, and S&C’s raise from $125,000 to $145,000 before that, were announced in January 2007 and January 2006, respectively.
[T]he $160,000 figure, still less than a year old, may not last for much longer. It has already spread to other cities across the country, causing discontent among associates here who contend with New York’s higher cost of living.
That parity between associate pay here and elsewhere “can’t last long” a professor at Columbia Law School, John Coffee, said. ” It’s natural that New York will distance itself from the national salary scale. There will be some jockeying among the firms to see who can lead the race.”
Based on your recent comments, it’s clear that many of you want to talk about New York bar exam results, which should be announced later this month. Many of you are wondering whether the scandal we dubbed “Laptopgate,” concerning problems with the software used by candidates who took the test on their computers, might delay the announcement of the results.
There’s nothing up about the subject over at the website of the New York State Board of Law Examiners. But in recent years, the results were released in mid-November. Archived press releases show that results for the last two July exams were announced on or about November 15, 2006, and November 18, 2005. So they’re not late yet, based on past practice.
But there are reasons for concern. From a reader::
I was one of those who had an answer overwritten during the July 2007 NY Bar examination. I received an email from NYBoLE in the end of August stating “this will confirm that we are in receipt of all of your printed (and/or handwritten) answers to essay questions 1 through 5 and the MPT.” [But then] I received another email from NYBoLE stating that they need me to upload my exam again to “verify that we have your complete essays” and that I “may have inadvertently received an email from us confirming that we are in receipt of your essays.”
Heard of this happening to anyone else?
Why yes, we have. In fact, we received several emails from ATL readers who sat for the New York bar exam in July 2007, describing similar situations.
A little more, after the jump.
We realize we’re late to the party on this one. The WSJ Law Blog wrote about it last week. We linked to it today in Morning Docket, but based on the email we’ve received about it, clearly many of you have more to say about it.
News flash: Wal-Mart is cheap. From the WSJ Law Blog:
Before any more law firms match the latest bump in associate compensation, they may want to take stock of this memo issued yesterday by Wal-Mart. [T]he memo raises concerns about the recent increase in associate starting pay to $160,000.
“The salaries that law firms choose to pay their junior associates are none of our concern,” writes Miguel Rivera Sr., associate general counsel for the retail chain.
Oof! But Rivera continues, “Based on the size and frequency of the rate increase requests that we have seen over the past three years, it appears that many of the requested increases are largely attributable to the steady, nationwide increases in junior associate salaries.”…
“We are today announcing a moratorium on across-the-board rate increases. Until further notice, we will only consider reasonable, individual requests for rate increases for those attorneys in your firm who are performing at an exceptional level and whose experience and knowledge is adding substantial value towards meeting Wal-Mart’s legal objectives.”
Update: Due to your requests, we’ve placed the rest of this post — which includes a rather disgusting picture of diseased feet, so consider yourself warned — after the jump.
Friday was a busy day for associate bonus announcements. We reported bonus news from Cleary, Willkie, Cahill, and Dewey & LeBoeuf.
But we didn’t get everyone. Apparently Shearman & Sterling also announced on Friday afternoon. (But we didn’t get the memo until the weekend — please, people, we know you can do better.)
Memo after the jump.
* Lawyers arrested in Pakistani protests, as government suspends constitution and declares martial law. [New York Times; CNN]
* Tonight’s talk shows to be awkward, slightly less funny, as execs hold out on e-profits. [CNN]
* Actor sentenced to 40 months in a hopefully high-security prison. [MSNBC]
* Wal-Mart lawyers to below market! [WSJ Law Blog]
* Wireless company gets litigious. [Engadget]
Thanks to everyone who answered our plea and nominated Above the Law as “Best Law Blog,” in the 2007 Weblog Awards. We’re pleased to announce that ATL is one of the finalists.
Now we need your help once again. We’re getting our a** kicked by the Volokh Conspiracy, which is currently leading the voting for Best Law Blog, with 49.5 percent of the vote (compared to ATL’s measly 9 percent). If you’d like the associate compensation and bonus coverage to keep coming, please click here, and vote for ATL.
You can vote in the poll once every 24 hours, and the polls will remain open until November 8. So please vote for ATL, early and often. Thanks!
P.S. Is our campaigning undignified? Maybe. But ATL has never been about dignity (except for the stripping of it). And if distinguished law professors like Glenn Reynolds and Eugene Volokh are campaigning, then surely it’s appropriate for us to do so. Best Law Blog [The 2007 Weblog Awards] 2007 Weblog Awards [Volokh Conspiracy] Earlier: What’s Your Favorite Law Blog?
And the bonus news just keeps rolling in. Willkie Farr has matched. The memo:
From: The Executive Committee
Sent: Friday, November 02, 2007 4:51 PM
To: ASSOCIATES – NY; ASSOCIATES – DC
Cc: PARTNERS – NY; PARTNERS – DC
Subject: Associate Bonuses
The Executive Committee is pleased to announce the following year end bonuses for associates:
Class of 2007: Year-end bonus of $35,000 (pro-rated)
Class of 2006: Year-end bonus of $35,000; special bonus of $10,000
Class of 2005: Year-end bonus of $40,000; special bonus of $15,000
Class of 2004: Year-end bonus of $45,000; special bonus of $20,000
Class of 2003: Year-end bonus of $50,000; special bonus of $30,000
Class of 2002: Year-end bonus of $55,000; special bonus of $40,000
Class of 2001: Year-end bonus of $60,000; special bonus of $50,000
Class of 2000 and senior: Year-end bonus of $65,000; special bonus of $50,000
Bonuses will be paid in December, consistent with our customary practices.
All of the Firm’s partners greatly appreciate your hard work and contributions to our success.
We are also pleased to announce that the firm will be paying a special bonus to our administrative staff, whose hard work, dedication and loyalty have been a critical part of our accomplishments.
A bonus for the staff too! Good on ‘em. We haven’t seen any other firms doing this, but we think it’s great. You should always show your staff that you appreciate them too.
Cahill Gordon & Reindel has matched, but won’t pay until January 2008. From the memo:
MEMORANDUM TO COUNSEL, SENIOR ATTORNEYS
November 2, 2007
We are pleased to announce that our regular and special merit bonuses for 2007
for associates in good standing at December 31, 2007 will be as follows:
Class Regular Bonus Special Merit Bonus
Class of 2007 – $35,000 (pro -rated) —
Class of 2006 – $35,000 $10,000
Class of 2005 – $40,000 $15,000
Class of 2004 – $45,000 $20,000
Class of 2003 – $50,000 $30,000
Class of 2002 – $55,000 $40,000
Class of 2001 – $60,000 $50,000
Class of 2000 – $65,000 $50,000
Class of 1999 – $65,000 $50,000
Class of 1998 – $65,000 $50,000
Bonuses for Counsel, Senior Attorneys and other associates will be determined on
an individual basis. Bonuses will be paid by January 11, 2008. Counsel, Senior Attorneys and
Associates who were on unpaid leave or worked part-time during any part of this year and those
who started during this year will be eligible for pro-rated bonuses.
Thank you for your dedication, hard work and continued contribution to the success
of the Firm.
Professor Joel P. Trachtman (JD Harvard Law School) has developed a unique, practical guide to help lawyers analyze, argue, and write effectively.
The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win is a highly readable 200-page book, available for about $10 in paperback or e-book. Chapters focus on foundational principles in legal argument: procedure, interpretation of contracts and statutes, use of evidence, and more. The material covered is taught only implicitly in law school. Yet, when up-and-coming attorneys master these straightforward tools, they will think and argue like the best lawyers.
For most attorneys, time spent managing the books is a necessary evil at best. Yet it is undeniably a crucial aspect of running a successful practice. With that in mind, we invite you to view or download a free webinar by Above the Law and our friends at Clio to learn how to better manage your finances.
Take this opportunity to learn what it takes to streamline your accounting and get the most out of your time. The webinar agenda:
● The basics of accounting for lawyers.
● How legal accounting differs from regular accounting.
● Report and reconciliation issues surrounding trust accounts.
● How to pick and integrate the best accounting tools for your practice.
● Steps to prepare your tax return for your firm’s income.
Do not miss this crucial chance to optimize your accounting practices. Save time and get back to billing!
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!