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U.S. Supreme Court

A year as a U.S. Supreme Court law clerk is a priceless ticket to the upper echelons of the legal profession. Former clerks have their pick of top-tier job offers and can command $350,000 hiring bonuses at law firms.

Exclusive Report: SCOTUS Clerks This article is part of a series examining the professional pathways and diversity of Supreme Court law clerks. • A Look Inside the Elite World of Supreme Court Law Clerks

Four current justices were formerly clerks at the court—a record number—and three U.S. senators are former clerks. The general counsels of both Apple and Facebook once clerked at the high court. For aspiring appellate litigators and academics, a Supreme Court clerkship opens the creakiest doors.

But amid the luster of being a law clerk, there’s an uncomfortable reality: It is an elite club still dominated by white men. While some variables are outside the court’s control, few justices seem to be going out of their way to boost diversity.

Research conducted by The National Law Journal found that since 2005—when the Roberts court began—85 percent of all law clerks have been white. Only 20 of the 487 clerks hired by justices were African-American, and nine were Hispanic. Twice as many men as women gain entry, even though as of last year, more than half of all law students are female.

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Tony Mauro

Tony Mauro, based in Washington, covers the U.S. Supreme Court. A lead writer for ALM's Supreme Court Brief, Tony focuses on the court's history and traditions, appellate advocacy and the SCOTUS cases that matter most to business litigators. Contact him at [email protected] On Twitter: @Tonymauro

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