Sogui wrote:Also at the people who are mocking law salaries and those of us who are "gunning" for them:
The "market" usually does an excellent job of sorting out what is an "appropriate" salary for a given job based on training, skills required, etc...
Listing off anecdotes or "I've heard that xxx can make xxxx/day" is just silly. That's same misleading hearsay that gets people stuffed into TTT law schools. Sure in some fields, people who have staked out a reputation, got lucky, met the right people, etc... may earn unusually high wages. But if any Jane Doe could pick up a makeup kit and start earning absurd figures to poof up celebrities, the market would be flooded with "qualified" applicants with makeup schools opening up across the country, etc. Or if learning Final Cut was all it took to get a job in TV production, let alone one big enough to pull in huge numbers... then Final Cut would be flying off the shelves as people figured out they could triple their income by learning how to use a piece of software.
Every career has its "top earners", that doesn't mean anyone can enter that field and expect to be doing makeup for Hollywood celebrities or in production for a major TV show. I've seen so many high school/college friends fall into that silly mentality of "well I read that xxx career can make up to *top 2% salary earners in xxx* so I'm just going to get a job in that!" Some of these were decent ideas (personal trainer, air traffic controller) for people who really didn't have many other options. But even the aspiring personal trainer kept citing these ridiculous numbers. People if it was easy as taking a physical education major at a big state school to pull in those kinds of numbers, ugh you get the point....
With the free flow of information we have in society today, especially for those of us who try and stay informed, any career that involved exceptional wages in return for a relatively little amount of work/training compared to similar jobs would start getting discussed more and more, more would enter that field over time and the "prices" would adjust themselves. And aside from programming I can't imagine any of those other jobs I've heard mentioned would stay in "disequilibrium" for long given the relatively easy requirements to enter that sort of field.
I admit part of the reason I'm choosing law is the salary, and part of the reason so many other intelligent people choose this field is because the $160k+ starting salary at Biglaw is almost a sure-thing for those of us attending top law schools as long as we don't screw up our grades there. You have the ability to go to almost any big city in the country and earn an extremely impressive income, and the JD is more flexible than many people make it out to be.
You also destroyed your credibility j2d3 when you call something like $160,000 individual starting salary for Biglaw as "middle-class", when the median HOUSEHOLD income in the US is hovering around $50,000. When a 25-year old can start making over 3 times what a middle-aged couple is capable of bringing in, I wouldn't call it middle class. Many lawyers who start out in Biglaw can easily end up making 250-300k+ in a decade or two (30s, 40s) and break into the top 1-2% income class in America.
You have a point if these 160k biglaw firms are stationed in an area of your preference and you have no other life commitments, such as family, friends, relationships etc. But I'm guessing you didn't consider even the cost of living at some of these 160k law locals. What if you don't even want to live in that state? Why would you disregard the quality of life of the middle aged couple making a median salary? That means something to them. You make it sound as if life is on a straight path, and your top law JD will carry over onto your next life. I'm guessing you're in your early 20s. Not that I'm any older, but in 60 years or so, you won't even exist.