Still possible to make a good living in law?

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monolithic
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Still possible to make a good living in law?

Postby monolithic » Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:25 pm

I've read the employment statistics, the scam blogs, and the horror stories. I don't know how much of it is true and how much is exaggeration, or rather how much misfortune can be attributed to law school graduates and not to outside factors.

Assuming I go to a lower-ranked T1 school, is it still possible to hit $150k/year within 10 years of practicing non-big law? I don't give a fuck about working long, miserable, boring hours -- I've done work much more taxing and depressing than copy and paste boilerplate shitlaw or what have you.

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quakeroats
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Re: Still possible to make a good living in law?

Postby quakeroats » Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:28 pm

monolithic wrote:I've read the employment statistics, the scam blogs, and the horror stories. I don't know how much of it is true and how much is exaggeration, or rather how much misfortune can be attributed to law school graduates and not to outside factors.

Assuming I go to a lower-ranked T1 school, is it still possible to hit $150k/year within 10 years of practicing non-big law? I don't give a fuck about working long, miserable, boring hours -- I've done work much more taxing and depressing than copy and paste boilerplate shitlaw or what have you.


Sure.

resilience99
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Re: Still possible to make a good living in law?

Postby resilience99 » Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:31 pm

I think it is blown out of proportion a bit. Going to law school is a risky decision;however, I think the market will be better in the next few years. Assuming the economy is getting better along with the continuous decrease in applicants, partly due to TLS forum negativity, the legal market should be turning around. Maybe I am optimistic, but I think the whole idea that HYS are the only schools worth it with schollys is ridiculous.

BeautifulSW
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Re: Still possible to make a good living in law?

Postby BeautifulSW » Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:38 pm

Here in Southern New Mexico, yes, a solo can still make over $100,000 after business expenses (but before taxes.) But be warned...much of law practice entails "working long, miserable, boring hours" whether you are working for yourself (and dealing with clients) or slogging in a largish (we have no real BigLaw) firm as an associate. And it won't take any ten years to get there, either. If you want to know more about law practice in my state (other than what passes for BigLaw which I know nothing about) feel free to PM me.

EDIT: Oh, and if this is your plan, don't worry too much about the rank of your school. Around here anyway your class rank counts much more. Go cheap. Debt kills new small firms.

monolithic
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Re: Still possible to make a good living in law?

Postby monolithic » Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:58 pm

BeautifulSW wrote:Here in Southern New Mexico, yes, a solo can still make over $100,000 after business expenses (but before taxes.) But be warned...much of law practice entails "working long, miserable, boring hours" whether you are working for yourself (and dealing with clients) or slogging in a largish (we have no real BigLaw) firm as an associate. And it won't take any ten years to get there, either. If you want to know more about law practice in my state (other than what passes for BigLaw which I know nothing about) feel free to PM me.

EDIT: Oh, and if this is your plan, don't worry too much about the rank of your school. Around here anyway your class rank counts much more. Go cheap. Debt kills new small firms.


I've heard small firms starting off fresh grads at $40-60k/year. Do salaries typically increase every couple years, or do fresh grads put up with this shitty pay until they have enough experience to go to a new firm or start their own?

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DCDuck
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Re: Still possible to make a good living in law?

Postby DCDuck » Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:02 pm

It's not a lock step thing in the law. Some people will do really well and hit >$150k in ten years without going into biglaw. Others will be pushed out and won't make more than $40k. Hell, some lucky personal injury lawyer could make $1mil on his first trial. Which path will be yours? impossible to say.

And if you are making $150k, especially starting at $40-60k, you'll be doing more than copy and pasting.

monolithic
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Re: Still possible to make a good living in law?

Postby monolithic » Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:38 pm

DCDuck wrote:It's not a lock step thing in the law. Some people will do really well and hit >$150k in ten years without going into biglaw. Others will be pushed out and won't make more than $40k. Hell, some lucky personal injury lawyer could make $1mil on his first trial. Which path will be yours? impossible to say.

And if you are making $150k, especially starting at $40-60k, you'll be doing more than copy and pasting.


That's kind of what I want to know about. These lawyers who are 40 years old and still pulling down $40-60k/year, are they perpetual fuckups or is it legitimately possible to be bright and hard working and still fail that miserably?

Volforlife
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Re: Still possible to make a good living in law?

Postby Volforlife » Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:56 pm

monolithic wrote:That's kind of what I want to know about. These lawyers who are 40 years old and still pulling down $40-60k/year, are they perpetual fuckups or is it legitimately possible to be bright and hard working and still fail that miserably?


Look, 40k - 60k may not be your dream salary, but the average American makes around 25k and people with professional degrees make an average of ~60k. So making 40k - 60k a year is only failing miserably insofar as you regard making an average to above average annual salary as a miserable failure.

monolithic
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Re: Still possible to make a good living in law?

Postby monolithic » Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:02 pm

Volforlife wrote:
monolithic wrote:That's kind of what I want to know about. These lawyers who are 40 years old and still pulling down $40-60k/year, are they perpetual fuckups or is it legitimately possible to be bright and hard working and still fail that miserably?


Look, 40k - 60k may not be your dream salary, but the average American makes around 25k and people with professional degrees make an average of ~60k. So making 40k - 60k a year is only failing miserably insofar as you regard making an average to above average annual salary as a miserable failure.


I understand that. I think I would enjoy a career in law even if it is a career in "shitlaw," but to me it's not worth it if $40-60k/year is a realistic salary for a hard-working lawyer with 10+ years of experience. I could make that a bit more than that by spending $40k for a second bachelors in engineering versus $40-200k on a law degree.

Lord Randolph McDuff
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Re: Still possible to make a good living in law?

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:17 pm

monolithic wrote:
Volforlife wrote:
monolithic wrote:That's kind of what I want to know about. These lawyers who are 40 years old and still pulling down $40-60k/year, are they perpetual fuckups or is it legitimately possible to be bright and hard working and still fail that miserably?


Look, 40k - 60k may not be your dream salary, but the average American makes around 25k and people with professional degrees make an average of ~60k. So making 40k - 60k a year is only failing miserably insofar as you regard making an average to above average annual salary as a miserable failure.


I understand that. I think I would enjoy a career in law even if it is a career in "shitlaw," but to me it's not worth it if $40-60k/year is a realistic salary for a hard-working lawyer with 10+ years of experience. I could make that a bit more than that by spending $40k for a second bachelors in engineering versus $40-200k on a law degree.


150k ten years out is possible. Closer to 100k is more realistic. Look up the average salary for an attorney. It is probably just over 100k, and that is including all those PDs/DAs/ non-profits whose salary starts of lower and increases slower than in the private market. The figure is also including all those attorneys who weren't smart enough to get into a decent school. Your school won't make you successful, you will, but you're probably smarter and more likely to succeed than someone who went to TTTT school.

But all the successful non-biglaw attorneys I've ever met had charisma, liked people, and were successful entrepreneurs. If this is not you, maybe you will be the guy still making 50k ten years out.

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hohenheim
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Re: Still possible to make a good living in law?

Postby hohenheim » Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:36 pm

Volforlife wrote:
monolithic wrote:That's kind of what I want to know about. These lawyers who are 40 years old and still pulling down $40-60k/year, are they perpetual fuckups or is it legitimately possible to be bright and hard working and still fail that miserably?


Look, 40k - 60k may not be your dream salary, but the average American makes around 25k and people with professional degrees make an average of ~60k. So making 40k - 60k a year is only failing miserably insofar as you regard making an average to above average annual salary as a miserable failure.


Not that I'm disagreeing with the gist of this, but the average income for a worker with a professional degree is ~100k. I think it's masters degrees that average 60k

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Rahviveh
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Re: Still possible to make a good living in law?

Postby Rahviveh » Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:37 pm

This Robert Half Legal Guide might be helpful:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q ... 8598,d.cGE

monolithic
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Re: Still possible to make a good living in law?

Postby monolithic » Fri Mar 22, 2013 10:49 am

ChampagnePapi wrote:This Robert Half Legal Guide might be helpful:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q ... 8598,d.cGE


Thanks for the link. Do you happen to know what those ranges are? 25th and 75th percentiles, I take it?

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Rahviveh
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Re: Still possible to make a good living in law?

Postby Rahviveh » Fri Mar 22, 2013 1:18 pm

monolithic wrote:
ChampagnePapi wrote:This Robert Half Legal Guide might be helpful:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q ... 8598,d.cGE


Thanks for the link. Do you happen to know what those ranges are? 25th and 75th percentiles, I take it?


I'm not sure. Technically a range is minimum and maximum.

It's worth noting that self-selection plays a huge part in biasing the numbers, especially for lawyers 10+ years out at which point many have dropped out of the legal profession. However, the guide seems accurate for first-year associates and reflects bimodal distribution.




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