Major pay raise approved for county law clerks

MARSHALL CO. — Law clerks working for county departments could soon be making nearly $6 more per hour.
Judge Dean Colvin asked Marshall County Council members to raise the pay range available to pay law clerks Monday.
“I can’t compete anymore,” said Colvin, adding that he keeps losing his clerks to better-paying positions.
The current county pay range for law clerks is between $11.37 and $13.08 per hour. Colvin’s current clerk will be leaving at the end of the week for a job that pays $18 per hour.
“There are advantages and disadvantages for a (law) student coming to Marshall County (for the clerk position),” said Colvin. “Of course, it’s an advantage for us, because they provide a valuable service to us.”
He said that his clerk works about 7 to 10 hours during the school year, and 30-35 hours during the summer.
“(The clerk) does research, special projects, some administrative tasks that free me up to do more in the courtroom,” said Colvin.
He clarified later that he’s not looking for any additional money.
“I’m asking for the flexibility to get out of the vacuum I’m stuck in right now,” said Colvin.
Councilman Rex Gilliland commented, “I don’t know how we are going to get law students to drive from Valparaiso for only $13 an hour…this is one of those specialized fields.”
Council president Matt Hassel noted that if the pay range were adjusted for law clerks, that would apply to every law clerk in every county department.
Council member Judy Stone said, “It’s not like everyone is going to automatically get $18.”
She added that department heads should use discretion and pay their clerks an hourly range to reflect their experience and year in school.
After further discussion, council members voted to raise the minimum end of the pay range for law clerks from $11.37 to $18 per hour.