Jones Day is adding ten U.S. Supreme Court clerks from the Court’s 2014-2015 term, its largest class of Supreme Court clerks ever, the firm announced on Monday.
The hires continue the firm’s spending spree on high court clerks: Jones Day brought in seven from the 2013-2014 term, and six from each of the prior terms. The firm now has a total of 45 Supreme Court clerks on the payroll.
Beth Heifetz, leader of Jones Day’s Issues and Appeals Practice, said the firm pays “market rate” bonuses to Supreme Court clerks: an amount reportedly upwards of $300,000 . That puts a price tag of roughly $3 million on the latest group, in addition to their regular salaries.
“These young lawyers are incredibly talented and smart,” Heifetz said. “They’ve also had the benefit of often more than two years of serving as clerks, and they bring with them a broad range of knowledge about advocacy and the law.”
In an article in the National Law Journal , several commenters — including Seth Waxman, head of the appellate and Supreme Court practice at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, a firm often in competition with Jones Day for clerks — criticized the practice of hiring such large numbers of Supreme Court clerks.
Criticisms included questions about whether a firm could adequately mentor that many clerks, and suggestions the firm might be trying to buy outsized influence at the court.
In an interview with Big Law Business, Dori Bernstein, an adjunct professor at the Georgetown Law Center and director of the school’s Supreme Court Institute, suggested that, because Supreme Court practice is different from other appellate practices, the clerks are worth the hefty price tag on their merits alone.
“These clerks have a keen understanding of how the Justices decide cases,” Bernstein said. “They know what matters to the Justices, and what arguments are most likely to be persuasive. Supreme Court practice a species of appellate litigation, but it’s very specialized.”
Heifetz reiterated that Jones Day pays bonuses at the market rate, and emphasized the quality of the appellate practice as the primary inducement for clerks to come to Jones Day: “There’s a reason clerks come to us year after year,” she said. “There’s a reason we’re successful.”
“Our process is to reach out to the clerks at the court and invite with them to come meet with us,” Heifetz added. “Seeing what life is like on a day to day basis at Jones Day is our most effective recruitment tool.”
Of the ten clerks, six will work out of Jones Day’s Washington D.C., office. The rest will be located in New York City, Columbus, Ohio, and Detroit.
The 10 are:
- Andrew J.M. Bentz, Washington, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, University of Virginia School of Law
- Benjamin M. Flowers, Columbus, Justice Antonin Scalia, University of Chicago Law School
- Ilana B. Gelfman, Washington, Justice Stephen G. Breyer, Yale Law School
- Brinton Lucas, Washington, Justice Clarence Thomas, University of Virginia School of Law
- Lauren Pardee, New York, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Yale Law School
- Amanda K. Rice, Detroit, Justice Elena Kagan, Harvard Law School
- Eli Savit, Detroit, Justices Sandra Day O’Connor (ret.) and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, University of Michigan Law School
- Ryan Snyder, Washington, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., Notre Dame Law School
- Robert Stander, Washington, Justice Clarence Thomas, J. Reuben Clark Law School
- Vivek Suri, Washington, Justice Antonin Scalia, Harvard Law School