The Washington Post (via the WSJ Law Blog) is reporting that $200,000 is now the going rate for bonuses for Sup. Ct. clerks. Since most second-year BigLaw associates make $150K to $160K, a year at the Supreme Court is now a financial boon rather than a sacrifice: $63,335 (what a SCOTUS clerk makes) + $200,000 = $263,335. Is the value to the firm nonpecuniary or at least indirect--e.g., bragging rights on the number of former clerks? Would a firm bill out a former Sup Ct clerk at a higher rate right out of the box?
It is not outside the realm of possibility that law schools, who also compete for former Sup Ct clerks, will eventually offer bonuses as well. Granted, the external economies are different, and there is some evidence that a prestigious clerkship is not a valid predictor of the production and placement of future scholarship. See Paul L. Caron & Rafael Gely, What Law Schools Can Learn from Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics, 82 Tex L. Rev. 1483 (2004). We'll see.