Law Clerk Salary

Law Clerks in the United States can expect wages of $15.02 per hour on average. Career length and the particular city each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Over one-half of professionals in this line of work do not receive benefits; however, just under a half report medical coverage and around one in three claim dental coverage as well. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Law Clerks. Men are slightly outnumbered by their female counterparts who answered the questionnaire, who make up a slight majority at 54 percent. Figures cited in this summary are based on replies to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$27,042 - $78,611
(Median)
$27K
$43K
$79K
MEDIAN: $43,204
10%
50%
90%

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$10.17 - $21.69
(Median)
$10
$15
$22
MEDIAN: $15.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$27K$54K$81K
Salary
$27,042 - $78,611  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,435  
Profit Sharing
$3,500  
Commission
$2,000  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$22,735 - $60,682  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 266
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$13$26$39
Hourly Rate
$10.17 - $21.69  
   
Overtime
$15.13 - $36.26  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$26K$52K$78K
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,435  
   
Commission
$2,000  
Profit Sharing
$3,500  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$22,735 - $60,682  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 505
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Job Description for Law Clerk

A law clerk's primary function is to perform research for a judge pertaining to legal issues before their court; they may work at the federal, state or municipal levels. Specific tasks performed by law clerks include drafting memoranda and opinions, preparing files for hearings and providing other support to judges as hearings are underway. They also review briefs to ensure they are accurate, as well as provide advice to the judge and others on their team related to cases.

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Law Clerk Tasks

  • Research and analyze law sources to prepare drafts of briefs or arguments for review, approval and use by attorney.
  • Prepare affidavits of documents and maintain document files and case correspondence.
  • Review and file pleadings, petitions and other documents relevant to court actions.
  • Search for and study legal documents to investigate facts and law of cases.
  • Deliver or direct delivery of subpoenas to witnesses and parties to action, serve copies of pleas to opposing counsel.

Common Career Paths for Law Clerk


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Law Clerks who advance into the role of a General Counsel are fairly uncommon. General Counsels on average earn $150K per year. Law Clerks moving up in their careers tend to step into positions as Attorneys or Associate Attorneys. The median paychecks in those roles are $46K higher and $37K higher, respectively.

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Popular Skills for Law Clerk


Law Clerks seem to require a number of specific skills. Most notably, skills in Legal Writing, Legal Research, Legal Document Review, and Document Preparation are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Filing Court Documents and Client Interaction. For most people, competency in Legal Research indicates knowledge of Legal Document Review.

Pay by Experience Level for Law Clerk

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Experience is an important factor influencing the compensation of Law Clerks. People who have worked for fewer than five years bring home $33K on average. Median compensation in the five-to-10 year group, however, is higher at approximately $40K. Law Clerks bring in $41K after working for 10 to 20 years. Law Clerks who have acquired more than 20 years of relevant experience earn significantly more than folks with fewer years on their resumes; the average income in this veteran group is $66K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $34,503

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

For Law Clerks, busy Washington offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 46 percent above the national average. Law Clerks will also find cushy salaries in Seattle (+35 percent), San Francisco (+27 percent), New York (+21 percent), and Newport Beach (+19 percent). With compensation 20 percent below the national average, Philadelphia is not known for hefty paychecks and actually represents the lowest-paying market. Chicago and Fort Lauderdale are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 11 percent lower and 10 percent lower, respectively.

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Experience Affects Law Clerk Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 92%



National Average
$35,000


Skills That Affect Law Clerk Salaries

Legal Writing
up arrow 19%

Legal Research
up arrow 4%

Legal Document Review
up arrow 3%

Technical Writing
up arrow 3%

Document Preparation
up arrow 3%

National Average
$35,000

Client Interaction
up arrow 9%

Filing Court Documents
up arrow 19%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 116 votes.

Gender

Female
54 %
Male
46 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
16%
1-4 years
64%
5-9 years
12%
10-19 years
6%
20 years or more
1%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 47%
dental benefits
Dental: 33%
medical benefits
Vision: 26%
dental benefits
None: 52%
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