Judicial Law Clerks: Salary Overview
Judicial law clerks assist judges by preparing legal documents, by conducting research or in court.
Their job description typically includes making legal documentation or researching issues.
They are usually law school graduates who have performed well in school and have the opportunity of gaining legal experience in this prestigious position.
Many professors of law, judges, and other notable legal figures in the United States have started their careers as law clerks.
Because this position can be a good start to a career in law, the competition for jobs in this field is strong.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for this profession was $54,010 as of May 2019 which means that half of all workers in this profession earned less than this amount while half earned more.
Salaries for this profession vary depending on experience level, education, the region of employment, and the type of court, among other facts.
The report shows that the top 10 percent of judicial law clerks made more than $96,990 while the lowest 10 percent earned less than $33,910 a year.
The 25th percentile for this profession was $41,640 which means that most (75 percent) judicial clerks made more than this amount.
Judicial Law Clerk Salary by Industry
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, most judicial law clerks worked for state governments or for legal governments.
The average annual wage reported by judicial law clerks who worked for state governments was $66,190 as of May 2019.
Judicial law clerks who worked for local governments usually earn less than those who work at a state level.
Those who work for state courts are primarily focused on state law and are sometimes referred to as “staff attorneys”.
The average annual wage reported by judicial law clerks who worked in local courts was $52,990 as of May 2019.
Some law clerks work for federal judges and this is one of the most highly sought positions for a law school graduate.
Federal law clerks have a similar job description as law clerks who serve at a state or local level but they are primarily focused on federal law issues.
Federal judges usually have at least one law clerk, some of them having two or more.
Every year there are 37 positions for clerkships at the Supreme Court Justice but you will need some experience in a clerkship position for a federal judge before qualifying for the Supreme Court.
Salaries for judicial law clerks vary widely depending on the region and the state of employment.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top-paying states for judicial law clerks were New York, Connecticut, and North Dakota states where the reported average annual wage for this profession was $119,510, $80,220, and $74,520, respectively.
The lowest average annual salaries were reported by judicial law clerks in Indiana, Utah, and South Carolina.
Judicial law clerks in Indiana reported an average annual wage of $36,150 while those in Utah and South Carolina earned between $40,000-$41,000 a year, on average.
The same report shows that the state with the highest employment level in this occupation was California where judicial law clerks reportedly earned $64,730 a year, on average.
In conclusion, the region of employment plays a very important part in determining a judicial law clerks salary and the average annual salary in the top-paying state was more than triple the mean annual salary reported in the lowest-paying state.
Salaries for judicial law clerks also vary by metropolitan area.
The report published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the average annual wage reported by judicial law clerks in Cleveland-Elyria, Ohio was $74,490 while those in Lafayette, LA metropolitan area reportedly earned $60,570 a year, on average.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Judicial Law Clerks. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.