Clerkship Bonus Clawback

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Clerkship Bonus Clawback

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jun 18, 2020 7:27 pm

I clerked, and now I work in big law. I hate it and I'm ready to leave, but I don't know the clerkship bonus clawback policy. Everything I can find on my bonus doesn't mention a clawback, but I do recall reading at some point that 1 yr is required. I have 4 months til the 1 year mark. I'm hoping to get some specifics as well (is it enforced? prorated? etc.). Who can I confidentially ask about it? HR?

ChickenSalad

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Re: Clerkship Bonus Clawback

Post by ChickenSalad » Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Jun 18, 2020 7:27 pm
I clerked, and now I work in big law. I hate it and I'm ready to leave, but I don't know the clerkship bonus clawback policy. Everything I can find on my bonus doesn't mention a clawback, but I do recall reading at some point that 1 yr is required. I have 4 months til the 1 year mark. I'm hoping to get some specifics as well (is it enforced? prorated? etc.). Who can I confidentially ask about it? HR?
Hell no you don’t ask HR. HR is there to protect the firm, not you. Especially if you’re asking them how you can leave soon and keep the 50k+ bonus you just got.

If you can’t find the answer in your firms policies on the intranet, stick it out and start looking around so you can move in 4 months

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Wild Card

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Re: Clerkship Bonus Clawback

Post by Wild Card » Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:17 pm

What's the concern? That they'll sue you? On what ground?

Find former clerks at your firm and ask them.

gonzofists

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Re: Clerkship Bonus Clawback

Post by gonzofists » Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:20 pm

I think the bonus clawback is something you would have signed when receiving it, or something that was mentioned explicitly as part of your offer.

I never signed anything in relation to my clerkship bonus and left after 4 months. Everyone was very grumpy with me but nothing beyond that.

hdr

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Re: Clerkship Bonus Clawback

Post by hdr » Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:28 pm

Someone I know did that--the firm demanded the bonus back, he refused, and the firm did nothing. He got a nasty lecture from a partner about the importance of his reputation, etc., but that was it.

Keep the bonus and don't ask HR. You might upset some partners but that's probably not an issue if you want out of biglaw this soon anyway.

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Anonymous User
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Re: Clerkship Bonus Clawback

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:40 pm

It's usually one year unless stated otherwise. I've never heard of a policy longer than that. That being said, if you don't have any other options lined up at the moment, stick it out in biglaw until the job market perks up again. From what I've heard, post-clerkship and lateral hiring right now is absolutely brutal.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerkship Bonus Clawback

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jun 18, 2020 9:25 pm

Thanks for all the replies. I won't ask HR. The plan is to stick it out, but I'm just keeping my options open in case a good opportunity comes up.

RaceJudicata

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Re: Clerkship Bonus Clawback

Post by RaceJudicata » Thu Jun 18, 2020 11:36 pm

In this market, will almost certainly take more than 4 months to find a job. Stick it out so you don't have to worry about the bonus. . . and start slacking if you are that desperate to get out, especially now when you are working from home and can just go MIA.

Hutz_and_Goodman

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Re: Clerkship Bonus Clawback

Post by Hutz_and_Goodman » Fri Jun 19, 2020 7:18 am

At my firm you need to stay a year and if you leave earlier it’s prorated (i.e. if you stay six months you get to keep half).

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kovdak02

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Re: Clerkship Bonus Clawback

Post by kovdak02 » Fri Jun 19, 2020 8:57 am

Wild Card wrote:
Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:17 pm
What's the concern? That they'll sue you? On what ground?

Find former clerks at your firm and ask them.
I signed a contract with my firm that my $50k clerkship bonus was subject to clawback if I left within a year of starting at the firm, prorated by finished month (e.g. say I started on 9/1; if I left the following June 19th, I had 9 months completed and owed the firm 25% of the bonus).

If I recall, the contract had an expedited arbitration clause.

I think these contracts are pretty common in biglaw for clerks getting massive one time signing bonuses. The full $50k hit my account at the same time as my first paycheck after two weeks as an associate.

OP - I have no experience whether or not my firm enforces this - my gut feeling is that for clerks who leave on good terms, they probably don’t. But I’m not sure.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerkship Bonus Clawback

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jun 19, 2020 9:34 am

I know not every firm has claw backs though. At a NY v20, a friend of mine quit in under a year and kept the clerkship bonus because it turned out they hadn’t made him sign a clawback. Firm was ripshit but he didn’t care

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