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Law Firms Pay Supreme Court Clerks $400,000 Bonuses. What Are They Buying?

The New York Times – “Supreme Court justices make $265,600 a year. The chief justice gets $277,700. Their law clerks do a lot better. After a year of service at the court, they are routinely offered signing bonuses of $400,000 from law firms, on top of healthy salaries of more than $200,000. What are the firms paying for? In a profession obsessed with shiny credentials, a Supreme Court clerkship glitters. Hiring former clerks burnishes the firms’ prestige, making them more attractive to clients. Still, the former clerks are typically young lawyers just a couple of years out of law school, and the bonuses have a second and more problematic element, said Stephen Gillers, an expert on legal ethics at New York University. “They’re buying something else: a kind of inside information about how the court is thinking and how individual justices might be thinking,” he said. The Supreme Court appears to recognize that this is a problem. Its rules impose a two-year ban barring former clerks from working on “any case pending before this court or in any case being considered for filing in this court.” (The rules also impose a permanent ban on working on “any case that was pending in this court during the employee’s tenure.”) The two-year ban is an attempt to address an appearance of impropriety, said David Lat, a legal recruiter and the founding editor of Above the Law, a legal news website. “They’re just trying to show that these large compensation packages are not buying access to the court,” he said. Professor Gillers said the rule was a partial solution. “The two-year ban is meant to dissipate the value of the inside information,” he said. “You cannot eliminate it altogether.” A new study in Political Research Quarterly [paywall] suggests that the ban has not been completely successful…”

See also Lawyers With More Experience Obtain Better Outcomes. Michael J. Nelson, Lee Epstein. “Work experience acquired through on-the-job-training has been shown to lead to greater success in many occupations, but evidence of a causal connection between experience and success is sparse for appellate lawyers. Do experienced attorneys obtain better outcomes for their clients? Adopting a strategy for causal inference that could be applied to almost any peak court, we assess how similarly-situated novice and experienced attorneys fare against a comparable—and high quality—opponent:the federal government. We find that, on average, the outcomes obtained by experienced attorneys are significantly better than the outcomes they would have obtained had they been novices. This result shores up the importance of attending to attorneys in models of judicial behavior.”

5 companies that want to track your emotions

Fortune: “Faced with ongoing social isolation, a turbulent economic climate, and continued uncertainty about when life will return to a simulacrum of normalcy—and what that normal will even look like—many adults are exhibiting mounting signs of clinical anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. As the world’s… Continue Reading

Amazon shares your private info unless you do these steps

KimKomando: “As an Amazon shopper, you have a username and a password. That’s standard for any site. You may not realize that as an Amazon customer, you also have a profile visible to other Amazon users. Your public profile is created automatically, whether you want it or not, and it contains your comments and any… Continue Reading

Avaaz Report Facebook’s Algorithm: A Major Threat to Public Health

“In this report, Avaaz uncovers global health misinformation spreading networks on Facebook that reached an estimated 3.8 billion views in the last year spanning at least five countries — the United States, the UK, France, Germany, and Italy. Many of these networks, made up of both websites and Facebook pages, have spread vaccination and health… Continue Reading

Webinar Recap: How to Safeguard Your Law Firm Against Future Disruption

Via LLRX –Webinar Recap: How to Safeguard Your Law Firm Against Future Disruption – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge in various parts of the country, you’re no doubt facing uncertainties on how and when to reopen your law firm. You’re also likely wondering about the future of your law firm and its book… Continue Reading

COVID-19 Has Changed Law Firm Operations and Management Dramatically – What Happens Now?

Integreon/BigHand Whitepaper via LawSites: “A recent Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) poll, co-sponsored by global managed services provider Integreon and legal productivity and profitability technology company BigHand, sought to determine how law firms had changed as a result of the pandemic, and what the future holds. The poll gathered feedback from ALA members who attended… Continue Reading

New Normal Of Legal Telework Likely To Outlast Pandemic

Law360: “The coronavirus has forced the majority of the legal workforce out of the office, but as firm leaders learn that their attorneys and staff can work efficiently from home, many say it is unlikely that they will ever go back to the prepandemic way of work….Most lawyers and law firm staff have enjoyed working… Continue Reading

Reopening Your Law Firm – Your Clients

Via LLRX – Reopening Your Law Firm: Your Clients – Nicole L. Black has published a series of articles focused on helping your firm work remotely and effectively throughout the pandemic. As many firms throughout the country are planning and executing phased re-openings, Nicole identifies issues and actions to assess and implement to permit your… Continue Reading