Law Clerk Salary
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.Read More...
Law clerks must be skilled writers and legal researchers with excellent critical thinking and organizational skills. They need to have an excellent understanding of the law and be able to work well under deadline pressure. Additionally, law clerks need to pay close attention to detail, as well as be able to multitask.
The position of law clerk is often an entry-level job in the legal profession, with clerks going on to work full time as lawyers in the public or private sector. Law clerks must have graduated from law school and have passed the state bar examination. Generally, clerkships are competitive and individuals needed to have performed well in law school to earn a clerkship; this is especially true at high levels such as the Supreme Court and federal courts.
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
Law Clerks who advance into the role of a General Counsel are fairly uncommon. General Counsels on average earn $152K per year. Typical career progression for a Law Clerk involves becoming an Attorney or an Associate Attorney, roles that pay $47K more and $38K more on average.
Law Clerk Job Listings
Search for more jobs:
Popular Skills for Law Clerk
Survey results suggest that Law Clerks put a wide range of professional skills to use. Most notably, facility with Legal Writing, Technical Writing, and Legal Research are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 37 percent, 6 percent, and 4 percent, respectively. Skills that pay less than market rate include Filing Court Documents, Client Interaction, and Document Preparation. Most people familiar with Legal Document Review also know Technical Writing.
Pay by Experience Level for Law Clerk
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
For Law Clerks, level of experience appears to be a somewhat less important part of the salary calculation — more experience does not correlate to noticeably higher pay. Relatively untried employees who have less than five years' experience make $32K, but folks with five to 10 years under their belts enjoy an appreciably larger median of $40K. Law Clerks see a median salary of $42K after reaching one to two decades on the job. After two decades in the workforce, the average Law Clerk generally earns more than ever; median pay for this group is estimated at $46K.
Pay Difference by Location
For Law Clerks, working in the bustling city of Washington has its advantages, including an above-average pay rate. Law Clerks will also find cushy salaries in Seattle (+39 percent), San Francisco (+25 percent), Newport Beach (+25 percent), and New York (+24 percent). Fort Lauderdale is the lowest-paying area, 13 percent south of the national average. Employers also pay below the national average in Dallas (11 percent lower) and Tampa (7 percent lower).