Who Gets to Become a SCOTUS Clerk?


U.S. Supreme Court clerks can command signing bonuses of $300,000 from America's top law firms. They're treated to "warp-sped career advancement within the highest legal circles." So who gets these 36 plum spots each year?

The Slate's Dahlia Lithwick examined the issue in "Who Feeds the Supreme Court? The judges who send law clerks—the future leaders of the legal profession—are still white men."

Of course the critical question is: why? In this fascinating article, Lithwick examines some of the inter-related causes that "reflects a larger well-documented pattern of general stuckness of women attempting to advance in the highest echelons of the legal profession." Some troubling numbers that contribute to the "vicious cycle":

  • 88% of lawyers are white

  • 1/3 of lawyers are women

  • Only 1/5 of law firm partners, GCs at Fortune 500 companies, and law school deans are women

  • Only 17% of equity partners at law firms are women

  • Female lawyers get 10% less for their work

Her conclusion?