Stephen G. Breyer

A Supreme Court clerkship is, in the words of Adam Liptak of the New York Times, “the most coveted credential in American law.” When SCOTUS clerks leave their posts at the Court to join private law firms, they get signing bonuses of as much as $250,000 (on top of normal associate salaries and bonuses).

But typically they join their firms as associates (or maybe counsel, if they have a few extra years of practice in addition to clerking). How many clerks come in to Biglaw as partners?

As reported yesterday — by Tony Mauro in The BLT and by Marisa Kashino in Washingtonian magazine, among others — at least one Supreme Court clerk from the Term just ended, October Term 2009, is going to straight into a partnership at a major law firm.

Meet Elizabeth Papez. She clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas in OT 2009. Now she’s joining the D.C. office of Winston & Strawn, where she will practice in commercial and appellate litigation, with a focus on intellectual property and energy law, as well as government relations.

We interview Papez about her interesting career path, after the jump.

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Kimba Wood Judge Kimba M Wood Frank Richardson Above the Law blog.jpgAs we previously mentioned, and as Lawrence Hurley of the Daily Journal reports here, Congress is considering a proposal that would raise federal judges’ salaries by a significant margin. Here’s what the new scale would look like (with current salaries indicated parenthetically):

District Court Judges: $247,800 (up from $165,200)
Court of Appeals Judges: $262,700 ($175,100)
Associate Justices of the Supreme Court: $304,500 ($203,000)
Chief Justice of the United States: $318,200 ($212,100)

This proposal would cost millions in taxpayer dollars. So we have a better solution to the problem of federal judicial pay, which Chief Justice John Roberts has dubbed a “constitutional crisis.”

Here’s our brilliant idea: Require all federal judges to marry rich!

Don’t you just love couples in which one spouse is a judge, with all the power and prestige of judicial office, and the other spouse is rolling in dough? Off the top of our head, we can name a number of federal judges who have married well — or at least wealthy. (Like Judge Kimba Wood, above right, with her well-heeled hubby, Frank Richardson.)

We list some judges who have married into money, and we invite additional examples from you, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Solution to the Federal Judicial Pay Crisis: Marry Into Money”

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