Big law firms regularly pay signing bonuses worth as much as $400,000 to former Supreme Court clerks — nearly double the salary that each justice earns.
According to a new study in Political Research Quarterly, inside information and influence that clerks have with their former bosses may figure into the size of the signing bonus. Former clerks are typically young lawyers just a few years out of law school.
The study found that justices are 16 percentage points more likely to vote for their former clerks, and 14 percentage points more likely to vote for their former clerk than for an attorney who clerked for another one of their colleagues.
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