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Fewer Law Firms Expected to Pay $250K Hiring Bonuses for High Court Clerks

Posted Jun 15, 2009 9:12 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Last year, U.S. Supreme Court law clerks were in such hot demand that law firms were paying them $250,000 hiring bonuses.

This year, things are different. Law firms hard hit by the recession won’t be paying $250,000, although they aren’t revealing the new, lower bonus level, the National Law Journal reports. “But some of the healthier firms among the big players in Supreme Court practice indicate they'll still do whatever it takes to snag a high court clerk,” the story says.

Supreme Court litigator Carter Phillips, managing partner at Sidley Austin in Washington, D.C., told the NLJ that the economic downturn may be changing the market for Supreme Court clerks into one favoring buyers. Firms that are cutting back on costs may be unwilling to pay such big hiring bonuses, he said.

“If I were a clerk now, I would not assume that every firm I send a resumé to would beat down the door to hire me, and historically they could,” he told the legal newspaper. He adds, though, that clerks represent "a pool of very talented lawyers, and it would be foolish to say we didn't want to talk to them."


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