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Law Clerk Ranks as 7th Most Hated Job in America

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. | Last updated on

Does anybody really enjoy being a law clerk?

Let's face it. Only a small minority of law students decide to spend their 3L summer compiling clerkship applications because they truly want to clerk for a judge.

The vast majority are doing it for prestige.

Now our vast disinterest in the realm of clerking is showing. "Law clerk" ranks as #7 on CNBC's "10 Most Hated Jobs in America" list.

Why is clerking for a judge so disliked when it's so popular during law school?

Is it the money? Probably not. Few start working for the federal or state government for the dough. The fact that salaries are mediocre is no surprise.

Maybe it has to do with the work you do as a law clerk. And, the hours you are expected to clock in.

Clerks often have to work until exhaustion, especially when their judge is on a high-profile case.

The tasks you do may turn a little tedious. You're always just reading, researching, writing, briefing, and repeating it all over again.

The brain shuts down at a certain point. As a clerk, you're probably asked to keep working even after your brain feels like a disintegrated pile of gray mush.

There's also the personality aspect of the job. Clerks work side-by-side with fellow prestige-hungry recent graduates. Maybe this type of job environment is one that breeds annoying competitiveness.

Clerks also work closely with the judges they are assigned to. For some clerks, this may be a good thing. For others this may be one of the most painful parts of the day.

But we all know there will be no shortage of plucky law students lining up to take a law clerk position - even if it's #7 on CNBC's most-hated list. After all, prestige can also help you land a BigLaw gig (which didn't crack the Top 10 on this list).

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