After a history-making year at the nation’s highest court, last term’s Supreme Court law clerks are stepping into jobs at big law firms with jaw-dropping hiring bonuses of $280,000 or more.

With associate salaries at $150,000 or more at many large firms, that makes for a first-year investment approaching $500,000 per law clerk (not counting other bonuses or benefits). Put another way, clerks will earn more than twice the salaries of the justices they worked for. Not bad, given that ex-clerks are ethically barred from doing Supreme Court work for two years.

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