Once upon a time, law schools students graduated law school and sought prestigious clerkships with judges for a 1-2 years before starting their career at an equally prestigious law firm.
CollegeJournal in "More Lawyers Working Before Clerking" reports, however, that a small but growing number of law school students opt to first work and then clerk. Financial consideration seem to be driving the change. Many students are graduating with more debt than ever. They need to make more money earlier, and they do so immediately if they work for a top firm. Plus if they clerk after working for a few years, they can earn more as a clerk than they can fresh out of law school.
Judges also are happy with more experienced clerks, according to the Journal. We may have a trend in the making.