Deferring Biglaw for Clerkship

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Deferring Biglaw for Clerkship

Postby zazos » Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:19 pm


I summered for a Biglaw firm this year (2012). With the knowledge of the Biglaw hiring committee, I accepted a COA judicial clerkship for 2013-2014. I had already accepted the clerkship by the time the firm extended me an offer, so in essence the offer was for 2014. I accepted the offer, but I didn't sign a contract or anything.

The firm has a policy of reimbursing Bar exam expenses (including prep course) and offering an optional salary advance to cover the period from graduation until the beginning of work, as well as paying moving expenses, etc. Are clerks still entitled to these benefits?? Would I have to wait until I began working in 2014 to be reimbursed for the Bar exam? And do firms offer the salary advance a year and a half in advance?

Anybody with experience, please?

I do not want to say which firm it is, but I will say that the firm has a policy of following whatever is "market" so knowledge of what other firms have done in this situation would help.


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Re: Deferring Biglaw for Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:53 pm

Current clerk here.

I've never heard of a firm paying a salary advance or advancing bar expenses to a clerk who will not come back to the firm for at least a year. I have heard of firms reimbursing bar expenses when clerks come back to a firm, but you will likely need to front the money yourself. Same with a salary advance. One alternative, if money is tight, is to see if your firm will hire you as a 3L summer, before you start clerking. Work during the day; study at night.

More importantly, I would confirm with your judge what is acceptable. Many judges do not want their incoming clerks accepting money from firms to avoid conflicts problems.

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Re: Deferring Biglaw for Clerkship

Postby aces » Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:55 pm

I think you should just ask the firm. While the previous poster described what I think is the standard practice, this should not be a subject that you should hesitate to ask the recruitment staff or HR about.

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Re: Deferring Biglaw for Clerkship

Postby chipchip » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:26 pm

The policy varies by firm. You definitely will not be given any moving expenses or reimbursement for bar fees. That will happen when you actually start at the firm.

As for any other advances/bonuses -- first, you need to make sure with your judge that s/he is okay with you having accepted the offer. Some judges do not want you accepting at all. If s/he is okay with that, then you may be able to get an advance on your clerkship bonus from the firm -- not a salary advance. Basically, the firm probably will treat it as an interest free loan and will deduct the funds from the balance of your clerkship bonus (so when you start, instead of getting 50K, you'll only get 40K). If you accept but then decide during the next year that you don't want to go to that firm, you'll have to repay the 10K.

But again, check with your judge, and then check with the firm.

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Re: Deferring Biglaw for Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 23, 2012 6:49 pm

I received an offer from my SA firm but did not accept pending clerkship results. When I received a clerkship offer, I accepted immediately, then discussed the situation with my firm. The firm wanted me to accept my offer if it was okay w the judge, which it was. Because I accepted, the firm will be paying my bar expenses and I will be receiving a stipend, despite not beginning at the firm until fall of 2014.

I mainly discussed everything w recruiting, although I was also in contact w the hiring partner for my office.

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