List of real salaries across different legal markets

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
duckmoney
Posts: 886
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 2:21 pm

List of real salaries across different legal markets

Postby duckmoney » Sun May 15, 2011 3:26 pm

The following is a list of the real value (adjusted for pre-tax cost of living) of market big-law salaries in various primary and secondary legal markets. They are adjusted to reflect total buying power if you were living in Manhattan. Note that these are therefore not a good measure for loan repayment, as loans cost the same nationally.

The numbers are derived from the ACCRA cost of living calculator, which uses the most exhaustive and reliable cost-of-living data available.
http://www.coli.org/calculator/calculator.asp

The market salary in each market was taken from a glance at the NALP directory for firms in each city.

If your favorite market is missing, or if the data for market salary seems off, place your market and the market salary in a post below and I'll add it to the list.

Market Salary City = Real Wealth in Manhattan
$160,000.00 Dallas = $377,000.00
$160,000.00 Houston = $376,000.00
$135,000.00 Charlotte = $313,000.00
$160,000.00 Chicago = $297,000.00
$130,000.00 Atlanta = $294,675.00
$100,000.00 Indianapolis = $273,000.00
$130,000.00 Richmond = $270,000.00
$110,000.00 Nashville = $268,000.00
$130,000.00 Miami = $266,000.00
$110,000.00 Birmingham = $262,000.00
$160,000.00 Boston = $261,000.00
$110,000.00 Tampa = $258,000.00
$110,000.00 Jacksonville = $256,000.00
$160,000.00 LA = $254,000.00
$145,000.00 Philadelphia = $248,000.00
$115,000.00 Phoenix = $247,472.69
$160,000.00 DC = $247,000.00
$110,000.00 Orlando = $243,000.00
$160,000 Orange County, CA = $236,830.60
$120,000.00 Minneapolis = $234,000.00
$130,000.00 Seattle = $232,000.00
$110,000.00 Denver = $231,000.00
$160,000.00 NYC (Queens) = $218,000.00
$160,000.00 San Francisco = $211,000.00
$160,000.00 NYC (Brooklyn) = $190,000.00
Last edited by duckmoney on Mon May 16, 2011 7:34 pm, edited 5 times in total.

User avatar
Knock
Posts: 5152
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2009 3:09 pm

Re: List of real salaries across different legal markets

Postby Knock » Sun May 15, 2011 3:27 pm

Added to the Useful Links Thread.

shoeshine
Posts: 1241
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 10:58 pm

Re: List of real salaries across different legal markets

Postby shoeshine » Sun May 15, 2011 4:45 pm

$120,000 Phoenix = $258,232.37

User avatar
dr123
Posts: 3503
Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:38 am

Re: List of real salaries across different legal markets

Postby dr123 » Sun May 15, 2011 4:47 pm

I have a hard time believing the Queens/Brooklyn #s. If you're doing Big Law in NYC youre gonna be working in Manhattan and in Manhattan all the fuckin time, it seems like the numbers should be lower

shoeshine
Posts: 1241
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 10:58 pm

Re: List of real salaries across different legal markets

Postby shoeshine » Sun May 15, 2011 4:51 pm

$160,000 Orange County, CA = $236,830.60

User avatar
BruceWayne
Posts: 2032
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2010 9:36 pm

Re: List of real salaries across different legal markets

Postby BruceWayne » Sun May 15, 2011 4:52 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:Just one more reason why NYC biglaw is TTT. Note that the adjusted wealth numbers get even worse when you factor in the reality that NYC associates work appreciably longer hours than everyone else, even within the same firms.


What really makes it look terrible is when you compare it to D.C and L.A. You're telling me that even those 2 cities are 'bargains" comparatively? When LA and DC have a leg up on you for COL things have really gotten crazy. You're practically paying to breathe by working in NYC.


shoeshine wrote:$160,000 Orange County, CA = $236,830.60


WOW NY COL is damn ridiculous.

User avatar
sundance95
Posts: 2123
Joined: Wed Jun 09, 2010 7:44 pm

Re: List of real salaries across different legal markets

Postby sundance95 » Sun May 15, 2011 4:55 pm

It would be useful in regards to the DC numbers to know what the real income for a DC salary would be in Northern Virginia (Arlington/Alexandria) or Maryland, similar to what you've done with Brooklyn and Queens. Thanks again for the awesome post.

I'm also rather shocked that real income in SF is $50,000 more than Manhattan. Granted, it's low on that list, but I would have thought it would have been even lower in terms of absolute $.

Kretzy
Posts: 1431
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 5:11 pm

Re: List of real salaries across different legal markets

Postby Kretzy » Sun May 15, 2011 4:57 pm

Just a heads-up for Denver: A decent chunk of the national firms there now pay $145,000 rather than $110k. A small number of firms actually pay $160,000.

$145,000 in Denver is $304,000 in NYC.
$160,000 in Denver is $346,400 in NYC.

User avatar
jchoggan
Posts: 94
Joined: Sat May 02, 2009 1:26 am

Re: List of real salaries across different legal markets

Postby jchoggan » Sun May 15, 2011 4:58 pm

Texas FTW!

I'm actually a little surprised that the DC and OC CoLs are so much better than NYC.
BruceWayne wrote:WOW NY COL is damn ridiculous.

Seriously!

Renzo
Posts: 4265
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:23 am

Re: List of real salaries across different legal markets

Postby Renzo » Sun May 15, 2011 5:02 pm

This chart is crazy, crazy, crazy inaccurate.

It's worse than random guessing, based on my experience of having lived in Reno, Phoenix, Denver, Washington DC, Manhattan, and Brooklyn in the past 10 years.

User avatar
BruceWayne
Posts: 2032
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2010 9:36 pm

Re: List of real salaries across different legal markets

Postby BruceWayne » Sun May 15, 2011 5:17 pm

Renzo wrote:This chart is crazy, crazy, crazy inaccurate.

It's worse than random guessing, based on my experience of having lived in Reno, Phoenix, Denver, Washington DC, Manhattan, and Brooklyn in the past 10 years.


LMAO not at all. The one's at the top are extremely accurate. This website is the only place where people are unaware of NYC's unbelievably high COL.

delusional
Posts: 1190
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:57 pm

Re: List of real salaries across different legal markets

Postby delusional » Sun May 15, 2011 5:20 pm

Renzo wrote:This chart is crazy, crazy, crazy inaccurate.


TITCR. More than inaccurate, it is impossible to make any sense of it. What are the numbers based on? Does an apple in NY cost three times as much as one in Dallas? Probably 2/3 of the equation is based on housing, which is irrelevant. Yeah, you can live in a fifteen room house on five acres in Texas for $3,000 a month, and in NY that would cost you 95,000 a month. But you aren't living that way in NY, and you aren't going to rent a one bedroom loft in Dallas for $350 bucks a month either.

Fark-o-vision
Posts: 590
Joined: Sun Dec 13, 2009 6:41 pm

Re: List of real salaries across different legal markets

Postby Fark-o-vision » Sun May 15, 2011 5:21 pm

sundance95 wrote:It would be useful in regards to the DC numbers to know what the real income for a DC salary would be in Northern Virginia (Arlington/Alexandria) or Maryland, similar to what you've done with Brooklyn and Queens. Thanks again for the awesome post.

I'm also rather shocked that real income in SF is $50,000 more than Manhattan. Granted, it's low on that list, but I would have thought it would have been even lower in terms of absolute $.


I don't know how much this kind of thing plays into it, but luxury items like cigarettes and booze don't seem to suffer the terrible mark-up in San Fran that they do in Manhattan. While bottom line basic COL might be similar between the two, NYC still takes the cake by a far margin when it comes to things like groceries, luxuries, road tolls, etc.

Fark-o-vision
Posts: 590
Joined: Sun Dec 13, 2009 6:41 pm

Re: List of real salaries across different legal markets

Postby Fark-o-vision » Sun May 15, 2011 5:22 pm

delusional wrote:
Renzo wrote:This chart is crazy, crazy, crazy inaccurate.


TITCR. More than inaccurate, it is impossible to make any sense of it. What are the numbers based on? Does an apple in NY cost three times as much as one in Dallas? Probably 2/3 of the equation is based on housing, which is irrelevant. Yeah, you can live in a fifteen room house on five acres in Texas for $3,000 a month, and in NY that would cost you 95,000 a month. But you aren't living that way in NY, and you aren't going to rent a one bedroom loft in Dallas for $350 bucks a month either.


The answer to the bolded is almost definitely "yes."

duckmoney
Posts: 886
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 2:21 pm

Re: List of real salaries across different legal markets

Postby duckmoney » Sun May 15, 2011 5:31 pm

Respecting the Cost of Living calculator used:

http://www.coli.org/Method.asp

It's widely respected as the best measure of cost of living and is regularly used by the Census Bureau.

09042014
Posts: 18282
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:47 pm

Re: List of real salaries across different legal markets

Postby 09042014 » Sun May 15, 2011 5:33 pm

Cost of living isn't linear with salary. Especially when you aren't using your entire paycheck to live. Investments, federal taxes, and paying back debt are the same in every city. And for a single person making 160K with a lot of debt, those three things are going to be a majority of your budget.

40K in Texas might be equal to 80K in NYC, but that doesn't mean 80K in Texas = 160K in NYC.

Trying to use these calculators to guess how much big law is worth in other cities is stupid. Clearly 160K in Texas is a lot better than 160K in NYC, but it's not 2.5 times better.

What you can use these charts for is to figure out how much money it's going to cost you to live in NYC. Lets say you want to have the same lifestyle as you did making 50K in Dallas. This would give a good estimate about how much more that will cost in NYC.

User avatar
Veyron
Posts: 3598
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:50 am

Re: List of real salaries across different legal markets

Postby Veyron » Sun May 15, 2011 5:41 pm

Desert Fox wrote:Cost of living isn't linear with salary. Especially when you aren't using your entire paycheck to live. Investments, federal taxes, and paying back debt are the same in every city. And for a single person making 160K with a lot of debt, those three things are going to be a majority of your budget.

40K in Texas might be equal to 80K in NYC, but that doesn't mean 80K in Texas = 160K in NYC.

Trying to use these calculators to guess how much big law is worth in other cities is stupid. Clearly 160K in Texas is a lot better than 160K in NYC, but it's not 2.5 times better.

What you can use these charts for is to figure out how much money it's going to cost you to live in NYC. Lets say you want to have the same lifestyle as you did making 50K in Dallas. This would give a good estimate about how much more that will cost in NYC.


TBF, investment and taxes is much, much higher in MFH. That being said, the best way to do this is to plug in income AFTER loan payments, keeping in mind that the $ you use to pay off loans is all taxable income after the first 2,500.

delusional
Posts: 1190
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:57 pm

Re: List of real salaries across different legal markets

Postby delusional » Sun May 15, 2011 5:42 pm

Nightrunner wrote:ITT: NYCers just nitpick shit without bothering to look for themselves: http://cgi.money.cnn.com/tools/costofliving/costofliving.html

You can google it for yourself. For example, housing in NYC is 244% higher than Milwaukee. Groceries are 52% higher. Utilities are 72% higher. $110K in Milwaukee is about $234,000 in NYC, just based on PPP.

I don't need to Google it. For years, I lived in the NY area and visited the midwest all the time. Housing is higher, which is the bulk of the equation, as I said. Pickles cost the same in Ohio and Michigan as in NY. I don't know why so much of my memories of the midwest involve buying pickles, but there it is.

User avatar
swc65
Posts: 1003
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 11:27 am

Re: List of real salaries across different legal markets

Postby swc65 » Sun May 15, 2011 5:43 pm

Desert Fox wrote:Cost of living isn't linear with salary. Especially when you aren't using your entire paycheck to live. Investments, federal taxes, and paying back debt are the same in every city. And for a single person making 160K with a lot of debt, those three things are going to be a majority of your budget.

40K in Texas might be equal to 80K in NYC, but that doesn't mean 80K in Texas = 160K in NYC.

Trying to use these calculators to guess how much big law is worth in other cities is stupid. Clearly 160K in Texas is a lot better than 160K in NYC, but it's not 2.5 times better.

What you can use these charts for is to figure out how much money it's going to cost you to live in NYC. Lets say you want to have the same lifestyle as you did making 50K in Dallas. This would give a good estimate about how much more that will cost in NYC.



I agree mostly. If you look at the index, it lists 1.1 million for the average price of a home and 2700 as the average rental. I know for a fact that these numbers are mostly bogus. There are just too many outliers in Manhattan (btw no E). Across the street from me nice 1b go for 375K. They're about ten minutes from Times Square too. These COL calculators are kind of crappy. They won't tell you much more than you already know, NYC is more expensive than Dallas.

User avatar
BruceWayne
Posts: 2032
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2010 9:36 pm

Re: List of real salaries across different legal markets

Postby BruceWayne » Sun May 15, 2011 5:43 pm

One thing that these comparisons track rather well is the cost of housing. This comparison list is very accurate for housing costs (most people's highest fixed cost). For example, in Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Richmond etc. 1200 a month for rent is a single bedroom, living room, kitchen, and often a fireplace. It usually includes parking and the apartment is generally 700+ square feet. In NYC 1200 is basically a studio--if that.
delusional wrote:I don't need to Google it. For years, I lived in the NY area and visited the midwest all the time. Housing is higher, which is the bulk of the equation, as I said. Pickles cost the same in Ohio and Michigan as in NY. I don't know why so much of my memories of the midwest involve buying pickles, but there it is.
Nightrunner wrote:ITT: NYCers just nitpick shit without bothering to look for themselves: http://cgi.money.cnn.com/tools/costofliving/costofliving.html

You can google it for yourself. For example, housing in NYC is 244% higher than Milwaukee. Groceries are 52% higher. Utilities are 72% higher. $110K in Milwaukee is about $234,000 in NYC, just based on PPP.

I don't need to Google it. For years, I lived in the NY area and visited the midwest all the time. Housing is higher, which is the bulk of the equation, as I said. Pickles cost the same in Ohio and Michigan as in NY. I don't know why so much of my memories of the midwest involve buying pickles, but there it is.


LOL housing is the cost that matters the most when doing a COL comparison.

delusional
Posts: 1190
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:57 pm

Re: List of real salaries across different legal markets

Postby delusional » Sun May 15, 2011 5:45 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
delusional wrote:
Renzo wrote:This chart is crazy, crazy, crazy inaccurate.


TITCR. More than inaccurate, it is impossible to make any sense of it. What are the numbers based on? Does an apple in NY cost three times as much as one in Dallas? Probably 2/3 of the equation is based on housing, which is irrelevant. Yeah, you can live in a fifteen room house on five acres in Texas for $3,000 a month, and in NY that would cost you 95,000 a month. But you aren't living that way in NY, and you aren't going to rent a one bedroom loft in Dallas for $350 bucks a month either.

Irrelevant? In what sense? I would say housing is the most relevant of all factors, as it tends to consume the highest percentage of any associate's take-home, post-loans pay.

You're right, I didn't mean irrelevant, I meant overstated, because you wouldn't live in similar accommodations, so it's not really apples to apples. DF expressed more or less what I was trying to say, but he did it coherently.

delusional
Posts: 1190
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:57 pm

Re: List of real salaries across different legal markets

Postby delusional » Sun May 15, 2011 5:50 pm

BruceWayne wrote:One thing that these comparisons track rather well is the cost of housing. This comparison list is very accurate for housing costs (most people's highest fixed cost). For example, in Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Richmond etc. 1200 a month for rent is a single bedroom, living room, kitchen, and often a fireplace. It usually includes parking and the apartment is generally 700+ square feet. In NYC 1200 is basically a studio--if that.


LOL housing is the cost that matters the most when doing a COL comparison.

Okay, so a single person in Dallas spends 14400 a year on housing. His counterpart in NYC spends triple that for a similar apartment. (If he lives IN the city. If he lives in NJ or Rockland County or even Brooklyn, he can probably get a deal similar to Dallas). So the first $14400 in Dallas is = to $43200 in NY. But what happens after that?

Fark-o-vision
Posts: 590
Joined: Sun Dec 13, 2009 6:41 pm

Re: List of real salaries across different legal markets

Postby Fark-o-vision » Sun May 15, 2011 6:02 pm

delusional wrote:
G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
delusional wrote:
Renzo wrote:This chart is crazy, crazy, crazy inaccurate.


TITCR. More than inaccurate, it is impossible to make any sense of it. What are the numbers based on? Does an apple in NY cost three times as much as one in Dallas? Probably 2/3 of the equation is based on housing, which is irrelevant. Yeah, you can live in a fifteen room house on five acres in Texas for $3,000 a month, and in NY that would cost you 95,000 a month. But you aren't living that way in NY, and you aren't going to rent a one bedroom loft in Dallas for $350 bucks a month either.

Irrelevant? In what sense? I would say housing is the most relevant of all factors, as it tends to consume the highest percentage of any associate's take-home, post-loans pay.

You're right, I didn't mean irrelevant, I meant overstated, because you wouldn't live in similar accommodations, so it's not really apples to apples. DF expressed more or less what I was trying to say, but he did it coherently.



Also, I would doubt if pickles cost the same in Ohio as they do in Manhattan. I never lived in Manhattan, but spent a few chunks of time there, and I noticed a dramatic mark-up on almost everything. Even when I found the pseudo-grocery stores that I could, prices were much higher. Also, biglaw associate who works twelve hour days isn't going to Chelsea to buy snack food.

aliarrow
Posts: 886
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:08 pm

Re: List of real salaries across different legal markets

Postby aliarrow » Sun May 15, 2011 8:15 pm

Doesn't NYC having farmer's markets on seemingly every block count for anything? The food I've seen there (and in random Chinatown area grocery stores) is much cheaper than anything I've found in Florida. Living can be reasonable in NYC if you just know where to go.

User avatar
quakeroats
Posts: 1399
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:34 am

Re: List of real salaries across different legal markets

Postby quakeroats » Sun May 15, 2011 8:33 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:Just one more reason why NYC biglaw is TTT. Note that the adjusted wealth numbers get even worse when you factor in the reality that NYC associates work appreciably longer hours than everyone else, even within the same firms.


A few of many factors that you might want to consider:

New York has more top restaurants than any city in the world (Paris would be a debatable exception, but it wasn't on the secondary-cities list)
New York has better access to arts and culture than any city listed.
Living in New York gives you greater access to people with power.
If you plan on sticking with law, compensation ratios for NY:non-NY partners tends to be higher than for NY:non-NY associates.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.