Clerkship bonus after practicing a few years

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Clerkship bonus after practicing a few years

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 26, 2016 7:49 pm

I know the answer to this will vary wildly by firm. But i want to gather as much anecdotal data as possible.

If you worked at a firm for two to three years, left to clerk, and then returned to big law (whether the same firm or a different one), did you get a bonus for the clerkship? If so, how much was the bonus.

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rpupkin

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Re: Clerkship bonus after practicing a few years

Postby rpupkin » Sat Mar 26, 2016 7:55 pm

In major markets in big law, market clerkship bonus is $50K. The bonus is generally the same regardless of how much firm experience you had (if any) before your clerkship

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Re: Clerkship bonus after practicing a few years

Postby jbagelboy » Sun Mar 27, 2016 5:27 am

Cop dat QE $75k

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Re: Clerkship bonus after practicing a few years

Postby Redamon1 » Sun Apr 03, 2016 11:38 pm

Also interested in this. My guess is the standard (50k, or QE 75) won't budge, but you're in a position to negotiate a sweeter deal individually and play firm offers against each other?

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Re: Clerkship bonus after practicing a few years

Postby rpupkin » Sun Apr 03, 2016 11:42 pm

Redamon1 wrote:Also interested in this. My guess is the standard (50k, or QE 75) won't budge, but you're in a position to negotiate a sweeter deal individually and play firm offers against each other?

You can always try to negotiate. The more important point of negotiation for an alumni clerk usually involves class year, which is generally going to be worth a lot more than the difference between $50k and $75K.

ETA: I just remembered about a friend of mine who "negotiated" a $70K clerkship bonus in exchange for coming in as a third-year instead of a fourth-year. That was really, really dumb.

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Re: Clerkship bonus after practicing a few years

Postby Redamon1 » Sun Apr 03, 2016 11:49 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Redamon1 wrote:Also interested in this. My guess is the standard (50k, or QE 75) won't budge, but you're in a position to negotiate a sweeter deal individually and play firm offers against each other?

You can always try to negotiate. The more important point of negotiation for an alumni clerk usually involves class year, which is generally going to be worth a lot more than the difference between $50k and $75K.

ETA: I just remembered about a friend of mine who "negotiated" a $70K clerkship bonus in exchange for coming in as a third-year instead of a fourth-year. That was really, really dumb.


Negotiating class years? Interesting. How does that work? Don't most firms just give you class-year credit for the year you were clerking?

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Re: Clerkship bonus after practicing a few years

Postby rpupkin » Sun Apr 03, 2016 11:55 pm

Redamon1 wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
Redamon1 wrote:Also interested in this. My guess is the standard (50k, or QE 75) won't budge, but you're in a position to negotiate a sweeter deal individually and play firm offers against each other?

You can always try to negotiate. The more important point of negotiation for an alumni clerk usually involves class year, which is generally going to be worth a lot more than the difference between $50k and $75K.

ETA: I just remembered about a friend of mine who "negotiated" a $70K clerkship bonus in exchange for coming in as a third-year instead of a fourth-year. That was really, really dumb.


Negotiating class years? Interesting. How does that work? Don't most firms just give you class-year credit for the year you were clerking?

It's not that simple for an alumni clerk.

If you're fresh out of school and went into a clerkship, then, yeah, you'll come into your post-clerkship firm as a second-year associate. But aside from that scenario, firms vary widely when it comes to giving you credit. I had a friend (not the "negotiation" friend I mentioned above) work for two years at a big law firm and then do two clerkship (one district court, one COA). He had offers post-clerkship from several big law firms, and they were all over the place when it came to class year. One wanted to bring him in as a third year (basically giving him no credit for 2+ years of clerking), most wanted him to come in as a fourth year, and one or two would were willing to let him come in as a fifth-year (though he may have had to push for that).

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Re: Clerkship bonus after practicing a few years

Postby Redamon1 » Sun Apr 03, 2016 11:59 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Redamon1 wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
Redamon1 wrote:Also interested in this. My guess is the standard (50k, or QE 75) won't budge, but you're in a position to negotiate a sweeter deal individually and play firm offers against each other?

You can always try to negotiate. The more important point of negotiation for an alumni clerk usually involves class year, which is generally going to be worth a lot more than the difference between $50k and $75K.

ETA: I just remembered about a friend of mine who "negotiated" a $70K clerkship bonus in exchange for coming in as a third-year instead of a fourth-year. That was really, really dumb.


Negotiating class years? Interesting. How does that work? Don't most firms just give you class-year credit for the year you were clerking?

It's not that simple for an alumni clerk.

If you're fresh out of school and went into a clerkship, then, yeah, you'll come into your post-clerkship firm as a second-year associate. But aside from that scenario, firms vary widely when it comes to giving you credit. I had a friend (not the "negotiation" friend I mentioned above) work for two years at a big law firm and then do two clerkship (one district court, one COA). He had offers post-clerkship from several big law firms, and they were all over the place when it came to class year. One wanted to bring him in as a third year (basically giving him no credit for 2+ years of clerking), most wanted him to come in as a fourth year, and one or two would were willing to let him come in as a fifth-year (though he may have had to push for that).


Wow. I had no idea. Thanks for the info. Do you mind sharing here or in PM which firms took which approach? I wonder if it's a firm-wide thing, if certain categories of firms (e.g. higher Vaults) tend to be more "generous," or if it's dependent on the candidate and the clerkship (DCt./COA, judge etc.).
Last edited by Redamon1 on Mon Apr 04, 2016 12:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Clerkship bonus after practicing a few years

Postby rpupkin » Mon Apr 04, 2016 12:06 am

Redamon1 wrote:
Wow. I had no idea. Thanks for the info. Do you mind sharing here or in PM which firms took which approach? I wonder if it's a firm-wide thing, or if it's dependent on the candidate, the clerkship (DCt./COA, judge etc.).

It's usually a mix of the first thing (some loose firm-wide policy) and the second thing (considering factors on a candidate-by-candidate basis).

Even if I had a list of firm clerkship policies (I don't--and I'm not sure anyone does), it wouldn't matter. If your plan is to work for a couple of years, leave to clerk, and then apply to firms post-clerkship, you're probably going to be negotiating this stuff with the firms that give you offers.

ETA: I just saw your edit. No, I don't think "higher Vault" firms are more generous when it comes to class-year credit. They may even be slightly less generous.

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Re: Clerkship bonus after practicing a few years

Postby jbagelboy » Mon Apr 04, 2016 3:23 am

rpupkin wrote:
Redamon1 wrote:
Wow. I had no idea. Thanks for the info. Do you mind sharing here or in PM which firms took which approach? I wonder if it's a firm-wide thing, or if it's dependent on the candidate, the clerkship (DCt./COA, judge etc.).

It's usually a mix of the first thing (some loose firm-wide policy) and the second thing (considering factors on a candidate-by-candidate basis).

Even if I had a list of firm clerkship policies (I don't--and I'm not sure anyone does), it wouldn't matter. If your plan is to work for a couple of years, leave to clerk, and then apply to firms post-clerkship, you're probably going to be negotiating this stuff with the firms that give you offers.

ETA: I just saw your edit. No, I don't think "higher Vault" firms are more generous when it comes to class-year credit. They may even be slightly less generous.


what if you plan on returning to the same firm? if it's a firm that values clerkships highly, I find it hard to believe they would knock you a class year for a federal COA clerkship

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Re: Clerkship bonus after practicing a few years

Postby rpupkin » Mon Apr 04, 2016 4:37 am

jbagelboy wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
Redamon1 wrote:
Wow. I had no idea. Thanks for the info. Do you mind sharing here or in PM which firms took which approach? I wonder if it's a firm-wide thing, or if it's dependent on the candidate, the clerkship (DCt./COA, judge etc.).

It's usually a mix of the first thing (some loose firm-wide policy) and the second thing (considering factors on a candidate-by-candidate basis).

Even if I had a list of firm clerkship policies (I don't--and I'm not sure anyone does), it wouldn't matter. If your plan is to work for a couple of years, leave to clerk, and then apply to firms post-clerkship, you're probably going to be negotiating this stuff with the firms that give you offers.

ETA: I just saw your edit. No, I don't think "higher Vault" firms are more generous when it comes to class-year credit. They may even be slightly less generous.


what if you plan on returning to the same firm? if it's a firm that values clerkships highly, I find it hard to believe they would knock you a class year for a federal COA clerkship

If it's early (like if you're a first-year or second-year associate), and if you're only gone for a year, then I agree that the firm will very likely give you credit for the clerkship year.

But if you're a mid-level? They'll be annoyed that you're leaving to clerk, no matter how much the firm says it values clerkships. If, say, a fourth-year associate leaves to do a COA clerkship, it wouldn't surprise me if the firm won't let the associate come back as a sixth-year. In that situation, you might not get class-year credit for your clerkship year.

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Re: Clerkship bonus after practicing a few years

Postby BlackAndOrange84 » Mon Apr 04, 2016 4:48 pm

jbagelboy wrote:Cop dat QE $75k


Out of curiosity, is this what QE is offering for any combination of Article III/SSC clerkships or are they offering more for two clerkships?

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Re: Clerkship bonus after practicing a few years

Postby bruinfan10 » Mon Apr 04, 2016 5:12 pm

BlackAndOrange84 wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:Cop dat QE $75k


Out of curiosity, is this what QE is offering for any combination of Article III/SSC clerkships or are they offering more for two clerkships?

my understanding is they're paying 75k for one year of clerking. i don't know if they count state clerkships, many places don't.

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Re: Clerkship bonus after practicing a few years

Postby BlackAndOrange84 » Tue Apr 05, 2016 10:48 am

bruinfan10 wrote:
BlackAndOrange84 wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:Cop dat QE $75k


Out of curiosity, is this what QE is offering for any combination of Article III/SSC clerkships or are they offering more for two clerkships?

my understanding is they're paying 75k for one year of clerking. i don't know if they count state clerkships, many places don't.


Any idea what they pay for two Article III clerkships, e.g., a district court followed by COA?

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Re: Clerkship bonus after practicing a few years

Postby bruinfan10 » Tue Apr 05, 2016 3:33 pm

BlackAndOrange84 wrote:
bruinfan10 wrote:
BlackAndOrange84 wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:Cop dat QE $75k


Out of curiosity, is this what QE is offering for any combination of Article III/SSC clerkships or are they offering more for two clerkships?

my understanding is they're paying 75k for one year of clerking. i don't know if they count state clerkships, many places don't.


Any idea what they pay for two Article III clerkships, e.g., a district court followed by COA?

nope no idea. just check out the ATL article about this from a couple months back to see the offer letter. knowing quinn, i'd be blown away if they pay for more than one clerkship.

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Re: Clerkship bonus after practicing a few years

Postby Pulsar » Fri Apr 08, 2016 3:35 pm

Is the following crazy?

If you think you'll need to lateral or be forced out around year 5-6, then reducing your seniority gives you an extra years' worth of time to spend at the firm earning biglaw pay. So less seniority could be good in the long run.

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Re: Clerkship bonus after practicing a few years

Postby rpupkin » Fri Apr 08, 2016 6:08 pm

Pulsar wrote:Is the following crazy?

If you think you'll need to lateral or be forced out around year 5-6, then reducing your seniority gives you an extra years' worth of time to spend at the firm earning biglaw pay. So less seniority could be good in the long run.

This makes sense if you assume the firm has a rigid up-and-out policy. But fewer firms these days have such policies. In general, if a firm likes you enough to be a senior associate (but not enough to make you partner), they're happy for you to slave away for a few more years. It won't matter much whether the firm officially classifies you as a seventh-year associate or an eight-year associate or an ninth-year associate. If you come in, say, as a third-year instead of a fourth-year, all you're really doing is costing yourself about $50K (between base and annual bonus) on the front end.

For most big law firms these days, it doesn't make sense to cheat yourself out of class-year credit.

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Re: Clerkship bonus after practicing a few years

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 11, 2016 5:18 pm

bruinfan10 wrote:
BlackAndOrange84 wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:Cop dat QE $75k


Out of curiosity, is this what QE is offering for any combination of Article III/SSC clerkships or are they offering more for two clerkships?

my understanding is they're paying 75k for one year of clerking. i don't know if they count state clerkships, many places don't.


Quinn only gives a bonus for federal clerkships, not state clerkships. They also do not count the US Court of Federal Claims - must be an Article III court.

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