Clerkships are uniquely valuable, so do normal workplace rules apply?

Timothy Kowal, Esq.
January 30, 2023

Even judicial clerks face harassment and discrimination by their judge-employers. Aliza Shatzman knows this first hand, and it’s why she started the Legal Accountability Project. But how can we achieve accountability in such a strange place as a court?

Judicial jobs are not like normal jobs. Former Supreme Court clerks command signing bonuses in the stratosphere of $400,000 or more. Similarly, over 80 former staffers in Senate Maj. Leader Chuck Schumer’s office are now working in Big Tech. The Hill is not exactly where you go looking for top coders.

The value of working for a judge—like the value in working with Harvey Weinstein—is the value of the connections. So some people take the attitude that these jobs are a privilege, and those who get them should suck it up and not complain.

Do normal rules apply to these privileged workplaces—like Hollywood, or courts?

Watch the clip here.

This is a clip from episode 39 of the California Appellate Law Podcast. Listen to the full episode here.

Tim Kowal helps trial attorneys and clients win their cases and avoid error on appeal. He co-hosts the Cal. Appellate Law Podcast at, and publishes a newsletter of appellate tips for trial attorneys at His appellate practice covers all of California's appellate districts and throughout the Ninth Circuit, with appellate attorneys in offices in Orange County and Monterey County. Contact Tim at or (714) 641-1232.