Clerkship Bonus Question

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Clerkship Bonus Question

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:50 pm

Current district court clerk here. I know that many firms that pay clerkship bonuses require the clerk to join the firm immediately after their clerkship ends. However, have any firms given a clerkship bonus when a clerk does a prestigious non-profit fellowship for a year immediately the clerkship, and then joins the firm?

I'm weighing my options, and it seems like if I don't go to a firm immediately after my clerkship ends I will be forfeiting a sizable bonus.

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Re: Clerkship Bonus Question

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:40 am

At most (if not all) firms, if you have another job in between your clerkship and the firm, you'll be treated as a regular lateral hire, not as an incoming judicial clerk. So yes, if you do a year-long fellowship after your clerkship, and then pivot to the firm, you'll lose out on the bonus.

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Re: Clerkship Bonus Question

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Sep 17, 2020 2:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:50 pm
Current district court clerk here. I know that many firms that pay clerkship bonuses require the clerk to join the firm immediately after their clerkship ends. However, have any firms given a clerkship bonus when a clerk does a prestigious non-profit fellowship for a year immediately the clerkship, and then joins the firm?

I'm weighing my options, and it seems like if I don't go to a firm immediately after my clerkship ends I will be forfeiting a sizable bonus.
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:40 am
At most (if not all) firms, if you have another job in between your clerkship and the firm, you'll be treated as a regular lateral hire, not as an incoming judicial clerk. So yes, if you do a year-long fellowship after your clerkship, and then pivot to the firm, you'll lose out on the bonus.
What about if you try to take some time off after a clerkship, then go directly to the firm? Anybody have experience with that? Let's say a three to six month gap.

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Re: Clerkship Bonus Question

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Sep 17, 2020 3:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 2:36 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:50 pm
Current district court clerk here. I know that many firms that pay clerkship bonuses require the clerk to join the firm immediately after their clerkship ends. However, have any firms given a clerkship bonus when a clerk does a prestigious non-profit fellowship for a year immediately the clerkship, and then joins the firm?

I'm weighing my options, and it seems like if I don't go to a firm immediately after my clerkship ends I will be forfeiting a sizable bonus.
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:40 am
At most (if not all) firms, if you have another job in between your clerkship and the firm, you'll be treated as a regular lateral hire, not as an incoming judicial clerk. So yes, if you do a year-long fellowship after your clerkship, and then pivot to the firm, you'll lose out on the bonus.
What about if you try to take some time off after a clerkship, then go directly to the firm? Anybody have experience with that? Let's say a three to six month gap.
Second quoted anon here. That will definitely depend on the firm. I've heard of people taking two-month gaps between the end of the clerkship and the beginning of the firm job (and still getting the bonus), and that's usually more feasible if someone is ending a clerkship in, say, late July and onboarding with the incoming class of new associates. I'm not sure how firms would feel about gaps longer than a few months—that'll probably be a case-by-case determination.

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Re: Clerkship Bonus Question

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Sep 17, 2020 5:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 3:45 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 2:36 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:50 pm
Current district court clerk here. I know that many firms that pay clerkship bonuses require the clerk to join the firm immediately after their clerkship ends. However, have any firms given a clerkship bonus when a clerk does a prestigious non-profit fellowship for a year immediately the clerkship, and then joins the firm?

I'm weighing my options, and it seems like if I don't go to a firm immediately after my clerkship ends I will be forfeiting a sizable bonus.
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:40 am
At most (if not all) firms, if you have another job in between your clerkship and the firm, you'll be treated as a regular lateral hire, not as an incoming judicial clerk. So yes, if you do a year-long fellowship after your clerkship, and then pivot to the firm, you'll lose out on the bonus.
What about if you try to take some time off after a clerkship, then go directly to the firm? Anybody have experience with that? Let's say a three to six month gap.
Second quoted anon here. That will definitely depend on the firm. I've heard of people taking two-month gaps between the end of the clerkship and the beginning of the firm job (and still getting the bonus), and that's usually more feasible if someone is ending a clerkship in, say, late July and onboarding with the incoming class of new associates. I'm not sure how firms would feel about gaps longer than a few months—that'll probably be a case-by-case determination.
Alright, fingers crossed haha. Thanks.

Might play the field a bit to find a firm that would go for it.

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Anonymous User
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Re: Clerkship Bonus Question

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Sep 21, 2020 10:12 am

I think it depends too why you are taking the break. If it's just to hang out or travel, people may be less sympathetic. If it's to care for family/kids/deal with medical issues they would likely be more forgiving. But I agree with the previous poster who said that taking another job in the interim (whether a "prestigious" fellowship or just working for another entity) will likely cause you to forfeit the bonus.

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Re: Clerkship Bonus Question

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Sep 22, 2020 11:11 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 10:12 am
I think it depends too why you are taking the break. If it's just to hang out or travel, people may be less sympathetic. If it's to care for family/kids/deal with medical issues they would likely be more forgiving. But I agree with the previous poster who said that taking another job in the interim (whether a "prestigious" fellowship or just working for another entity) will likely cause you to forfeit the bonus.
The other reason that I've seen firms be pretty understanding about (although I'm not sure about a whole six months) is wedding/honeymoon. Several former clerks I worked with ended their clerkships in July, took August + September off for their wedding/honeymoon, and then started at the firm in October alongside incoming associates.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerkship Bonus Question

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Sep 22, 2020 11:38 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 3:45 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 2:36 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:50 pm
Current district court clerk here. I know that many firms that pay clerkship bonuses require the clerk to join the firm immediately after their clerkship ends. However, have any firms given a clerkship bonus when a clerk does a prestigious non-profit fellowship for a year immediately the clerkship, and then joins the firm?

I'm weighing my options, and it seems like if I don't go to a firm immediately after my clerkship ends I will be forfeiting a sizable bonus.
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:40 am
At most (if not all) firms, if you have another job in between your clerkship and the firm, you'll be treated as a regular lateral hire, not as an incoming judicial clerk. So yes, if you do a year-long fellowship after your clerkship, and then pivot to the firm, you'll lose out on the bonus.
What about if you try to take some time off after a clerkship, then go directly to the firm? Anybody have experience with that? Let's say a three to six month gap.
Second quoted anon here. That will definitely depend on the firm. I've heard of people taking two-month gaps between the end of the clerkship and the beginning of the firm job (and still getting the bonus), and that's usually more feasible if someone is ending a clerkship in, say, late July and onboarding with the incoming class of new associates. I'm not sure how firms would feel about gaps longer than a few months—that'll probably be a case-by-case determination.
One co-clerk left end of March and started at biglaw firm in October. Another left in April and started November. Both by choice. I thought both were nuts (a stupid thought looking back), but neither received pushback from their respective firms.

Both just wanted extended vacations.

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerkship Bonus Question

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Sep 22, 2020 12:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 2:36 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:50 pm
Current district court clerk here. I know that many firms that pay clerkship bonuses require the clerk to join the firm immediately after their clerkship ends. However, have any firms given a clerkship bonus when a clerk does a prestigious non-profit fellowship for a year immediately the clerkship, and then joins the firm?

I'm weighing my options, and it seems like if I don't go to a firm immediately after my clerkship ends I will be forfeiting a sizable bonus.
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:40 am
At most (if not all) firms, if you have another job in between your clerkship and the firm, you'll be treated as a regular lateral hire, not as an incoming judicial clerk. So yes, if you do a year-long fellowship after your clerkship, and then pivot to the firm, you'll lose out on the bonus.
What about if you try to take some time off after a clerkship, then go directly to the firm? Anybody have experience with that? Let's say a three to six month gap.
Subject to the usual caveat that it depends on the firm / your relationship / other factors, I took 5.5 months off and was totally fine. I also had a few years at the firm before clerking, so I was treated as a lateral hire and not as an incoming clerk, but that didn't affect bonus. If you have connections to a partner at the firm that you trust, I don't think it hurts to ask with respect to bonus when it comes to the fellowship -- I had asked a partner I was close with some bonus related questions when I was thinking about returning and he / she tracked down some information for me.

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