ToTransferOrNot wrote:btw, just to clarify, I was talking about the biglaw market as a whole, not just single firms. While a single firm certainly could drop to $120k, there's no question that firm would get lower-quality applicants. If all of biglaw wasw able to drop their pay to $120k without getting into antitrust issues, though, biglaw would still get basically the same quality applicant pool - meaning that the biglaw market in general is overpaying people.
That's not true. If biglaw moved to 120, you'd see a lot of talented students from T14 schools move to other markets. Hell, the firm I SA'd at as a 1L is in a market that pays almost 100k starting off with a MUCH lower COL and QOL and lower billables.
There would have to be a shift downward not only from biglaw, but also midlaw and smaller non-shitlaw firms.
That's the point GTLR brought up. My point is that the financial reference points already are stacked overwhelmingly against going to NYC, yet people go in droves. Obviously, as I acknowledged, you eventually hit a tipping point where people will say "no" to biglaw and take offers in other markets and the like - people already do this at $160, more obviously would at $120 - the question, though, is whether (i) there are enough of those 'other' jobs available to really make a difference; (ii) people would be willing to forgo the 'prestige' and exit options; (iii) people would be willing to get out of the "I >3 NYC" camp; (iv) etc. I would say you'd need a number lower than $120k to get to the point where biglaw would start running into a problem with the caliber of their applicants, but that's not a provable 'line'.
And yes, as you drop the biglaw pay, you start competing with government agencies and the like as well. But again, there aren't enough of those positions to really do the deal (not to mention the fact that biggov is frankly more competitve than Biglaw already).