The always-hot legal market for U.S. Supreme Court law clerks has gotten even hotter for those who served at the high court last term. Hiring bonuses have reached $300,000.

The new milestone, first reported by Above the Law, underscores the growing allure of high court clerks among big law firms seeking hard-working associates with cachet — the exclusivity of being one of only 39 lawyers privy to the inner workings of the court. (Each sitting justice has four clerks, while the three retired justices get one clerk each.) Added to first-year associate salaries, the bonuses can mean earnings of close to $500,000 during the former clerk’s first year.

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