Being a law clerk in the Supreme Court is a prestigious enough job in itself but it seems that clerks are set after their term ends as well.
To woo this elite group, Big Law firms are shelling out top salaries plus hiring bonuses. Each year there aren't many clerks to go around which means firms that want them need to fight even harder to get them in the door.
The amount that they offer for clerks who sign-on to work with the firm is staggering on top of an already respectable salary.
Bonuses for Supreme Court clerks is nothing new, according to Above the Law. But this year the going rate has been around $280,000 with some clerks getting even more just for agreeing to take a job.
Add that to a base salary of around $185,000 and you're looking at almost half a million for a first year's compensation before any other bonuses.
For some comparison, Supreme Court Associate Justices made $213,900 yearly in 2009 while the Chief Justice made $223,500.
Why the big bucks? Well part of it is that Supreme Court clerks generally enter a firm as a third-year associate. That means a higher starting salary than their classmates received two years ago.
There's also the prestige. Getting a position as a law clerk in the Supreme Court is nothing to sneeze at and firms recognize the credential that gives to an attorney and by association the firm they work for.
Jones Day, the firm that recruited the most Supreme Court clerks this year, says they're worth the money. The clerks don't leave the firm unexpectedly and do good work for their employers, reports Careerist.
Presumably the money is incentive to stick around and work hard.
Where does that leave the rest of us? Well, unless you're a current clerk or in the running to be one there probably won't be much trickle-down effect. But for law students at least it's something to aspire to.
- Nine Plus: Supreme Court Clerks by the Numbers (FindLaw's U.S. Supreme Court)
- Five Things to Know About Living Like a Supreme Court Justice (FindLaw's U.S. Supreme Court)
- What Code of Silence? Former US Supreme Court Clerk Tells All (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)