TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, November 15, 2018

SCOTUS Clerk Signing Bonuses Reach $400,000; Jones Day Hires 11 Clerks, Including Pepperdine Law Grad

Supreme Court (2018)National Law Journal, $400K for SCOTUS Clerks: A Bonus Too Far?:

[T]he prevailing hiring bonus for Supreme Court clerks is $400,000—up from $300,000 in 2015. And that does not include salaries. If the trend continues, the clerk bonus will soon approach twice the annual salary of the justices they work for. Associate justices are paid $235,000, and the chief justice gets $267,000.

Firms such as Jones Day, which announced Tuesday that it hired 11 clerks from last term’s “class,” take the number in stride, even as in the case of Jones Day if it amounts to a $4.4 million investment. The firm has recruited 47 Supreme Court clerks since 2012. The firm declined to discuss its compensation practices.

Bloomberg Law, Jones Day Lands Almost a Third of Latest Supreme Court Clerks:

The Jones Day arrivals include five women:

  • Cynthia Barmore, a Stanford Law School graduate who clerked for Justice Stephen G. Breyer, and will work in the Washington office.
  • Elizabeth G. Bentley, a Harvard Law School graduate who clerked for Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and will work in the Minneapolis office.
  • Carmen G. Iguina Gonzalez, a New York University School of Law graduate who clerked for Sotomayor, and will work in the Washington office.
  • Brittney Lane Kubisch, a Pepperdine University School of Law graduate who clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas, and will work in the Los Angeles office.
  • Mary H. Schnoor, a Harvard Law School graduate who clerked for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and will work in the Chicago office.

The other clerks Jones Day hired are:

  • Carlton Forbes, a Yale Law School graduate who clerked for Breyer, and will work in the Washington office.
  • David R. Fox, a George Washington University Law School graduate who clerked for Breyer, and will work in the Boston office.
  • Donald L. R. Goodson, a New York University School of Law graduate, who clerked for now-retired Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and John Paul Stevens, and will work in the New York office.
  • Stephen J. Petrany, a Yale Law School graduate who clerked for Alito, and will work in the Washington office.
  • James R. Saywell, an Ohio State University Moritz College of Law graduate who clerked for Alito, and will work in the Cleveland office.
  • Eric Tung, a University of Chicago Law School graduate who clerked for Gorsuch, and, previously, Justice Antonin Scalia. He will work in the Los Angeles office.

 

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Comments

What this really means, in economic terms, is that law firms are paying their (effective) Supreme Court salaries. That can't be good.

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Nov 15, 2018 4:49:40 AM

I guess that Harvard law school boycott of Jones Day is not going very far.

Posted by: Chris | Nov 15, 2018 6:41:38 AM

The reason for these exorbitant bonuses is... access. As a Reuters investigation of about a decade's worth of SCOTUS cases revealed a few years ago, just a few dozen lawyers - of the tens of thousands that petitioned SCOTUS - accounted for almost HALF of the cases heard. Guess what? Nearly all of those few dozen lawyers were either ex-SCOTUS clerks or erstwhile higher-ups in the SG's office (and nearly all were representing corporate interests, natch). As successfully getting cert before the Court becomes a closed loop, hiring SCOTUS clerks becomes a matter of court access. How very democratic...

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Nov 15, 2018 7:30:03 AM

I hope these new 1 percenters pay their fair share.

Posted by: Champ | Nov 15, 2018 10:52:03 AM

Mike, let’s be reasonable. Ultimately the payor is us little people whom USG shakes down every April. As Bastiat would say, “legal plunder”. It’s the good old boys network if you want to admit what it truly is.

Posted by: cadman777 | Nov 18, 2018 3:51:54 PM