Lotsa dough in Supreme Court Clerkships: $200k Signing Bonuses

Quoting from Dahlia Lithwick’s recent Slate column regarding Supreme Court clerkships, Above the Law points out that those legal meanies make lots of dough for mere government workers:

That will be [a] $200,000 [bonus] on top of a starting salary of $145,000 to $160,000. Which adds up to an awful lot of Pottery Barn sectional furniture for someone who is, on average, 26 years old and just two years out of school. As Chief Justice John Roberts pointed out recently, that $360,000 beats the heck out of the $212,100 he’s taking home for, well, chief justice-ing the entire nation.


Many of you may know that the average military Judge Advocate fares quite handsomely, particularly in high rent areas such as D.C. and California, where the tax-free BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) pushes J.A. (or JAG, as commonly known) salaries to heights comparable to some private firms. But clerking for the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) is no mere shillings in the purse.

More intriguing to me is the path to those clerkships. One former Marine Corps Major, Margaret Ryan, attended Notre Dame law school, gratis United States Marine Corps, served as Aide de Camp to General Charles Krulak, 31st Commandant of the Marine Corps (a very respectable position), then resigned her commission, worked for a handful of private law firms, clerked for 4th Circuit Judge Michael Luttig, and finally landed a clerkship with Justice Thomas. Here’s a picture:

Doubtless a stellar resume, but not the typical resume you’d expect en route to a SCOTUS clerkship. There’s still hope for us non-Harvard/Yale grads?



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Filed under Appellate Law, Law, Personal, Supreme Court

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