US vs UK lawyers - salary discrepancy

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US or UK

US
10
53%
UK
4
21%
Either
4
21%
Neither
1
5%
 
Total votes: 19

Anonymous User
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US vs UK lawyers - salary discrepancy

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 15, 2012 6:52 am

Is the discrepancy really this big?

General:
UK: £22,486-£54,952 (~$34,904.44-$85,294.01), according to http://www.payscale.com/research/UK/Job ... tor/Salary
US: $44,741-$167,371, according to http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job ... yer/Salary

Starting salaries of lawyers at an international firm that I was looking at:
UK: £61,000 (~$94,687.38)
US: $160,000

Factoring in years of experience:
UK: http://www.payscale.com/research/UK/Job ... Experience
US: http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job ... Experience

The time and cost of uni + law school tends to be significantly higher in the US than the time and cost of undergrad law or uni + law conversion in the UK.

US: 4 years + 3 years (uni + law school) = 7 years, and could likely cost over $300,000

UK: 3 years + 1 year (undergrad law + LPC), or 3 years + 2 years (undergrad non-law + GDL + LPC) = 4 to 5 years, and could likely cost over $19,000 (the 4-year route) or $28,000 (the 5-year route)

Factoring in the above, if you had the choice to practice law in either country, which would you be more likely to shoot for?

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dingbat
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Re: US vs UK lawyers - salary discrepancy

Postby dingbat » Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:54 am

Risk/Reward

It's far less risky to go the UK route, but far more rewarding to go the US Route

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Aberzombie1892
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Re: US vs UK lawyers - salary discrepancy

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:26 am

We need two more statistically proven bits of information to make an informed opinion:
1. How long US vs. UK lawyers stay in big law on average
2. What types of jobs do US vs. UK lawyers end up in after they leave big law

sophie316
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Re: US vs UK lawyers - salary discrepancy

Postby sophie316 » Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:38 am

Also bear in mind that lots of people have their LPC/conversion course + LPC paid for by their firm in exchange to committing to work there for X years after the fact.

Also some US firms w UK offices pay their UK associates on par with their US associates.

I forget exactly how rapidly the salary increases but I seem to remember looking into this a few years ago and concluding that 5 years out the difference is less noticeable.

Edited to answer the actual question: I actually spent a long time thinking about this question(for personal reasons rather than the financial aspect of it) and I ended up deciding on the US because it is far easier to practice in the UK w a JD than the other way around. Financially I was fortunate that my parents could help me out with what my scholarship didn't cover, if that hadn't been the case though I probably would have gone the UK route because the debt loads over here are just obscene compared to the risk.

didi
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Re: US vs UK lawyers - salary discrepancy

Postby didi » Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:41 pm

anecdotal:
i know a few lawyers who work for UK firms (magic circle or market paying city firms) and they have been around for a long time. "2-4 years and out" is almost unheard of....

they look happy and satisfied.

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Re: US vs UK lawyers - salary discrepancy

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:05 pm

sophie316 wrote:Also bear in mind that lots of people have their LPC/conversion course + LPC paid for by their firm in exchange to committing to work there for X years after the fact.

Securing a training contract before embarking on the conversion route is highly unlikely.

sophie316 wrote:I forget exactly how rapidly the salary increases but I seem to remember looking into this a few years ago and concluding that 5 years out the difference is less noticeable.

I would be interested in hearing more about the differences down the road as well.

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piccolittle
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Re: US vs UK lawyers - salary discrepancy

Postby piccolittle » Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:50 pm

dingbat wrote:Risk/Reward

It's far less risky to go the UK route, but far more rewarding to go the US Route

In terms of financial risk, yes it's less risky if you go the UK route and don't do something stupid like pay for the GDL or LPC or BPTC yourself. In terms of actually becoming a lawyer and having a law job... it's way more risky in the UK. There is a limited number of schools and the ranking doesn't matter - all that matters is your degree class. Whereas in the US there are some places that are a pretty good bet in terms of finding *any* employment, much less biglaw, in the UK there are no such guarantees. Someone with mediocre grades from Oxbridge might not get a training contract, and it's way harder to get into Oxbridge than the T14.
Last edited by piccolittle on Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Birdnals
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Re: US vs UK lawyers - salary discrepancy

Postby Birdnals » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:00 pm

Anecdotal: My cousin (American) went to a very prestigious UK UG, got her law degree over-seas, and despite doing well and being fluent in 3 languages she is moving back to the US because she couldn’t work there most summers and it is very hard to get a job there as a non-native because getting a work visa is hard as fuck.

Basically you have to work for an American based firm in the UK office unless you are a UK native.

dixon02
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Re: US vs UK lawyers - salary discrepancy

Postby dixon02 » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:01 pm

You left out the implied costs of having to enjoy soccer, tea, bad teeth, and a monarchy vs. sports where shit happens, delicious fatty foods, shades of skin color between white and red, and freedom.

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Ozymandias
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Re: US vs UK lawyers - salary discrepancy

Postby Ozymandias » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:06 pm

The UK because I'd rather live there anyway.

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Re: US vs UK lawyers - salary discrepancy

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:57 pm

It seems that most people here have sided with the US system (I'm not surprised since this is a US-focused site). I thought that I would present some pros for the UK system.

The schooling in the UK is not only a huge time and money saver compared to that of the US (the fees in the US are ridiculous), but evidently UK solicitors have healthier work schedules. Trainees, associates and partners at UK firms regularly leave at 17:30 whereas in the US they often work past 22:00, and UK solicitors generally seem to have more vacation days. It sounds like there is a higher income:input ratio in the UK, and more 'non-law' time.

Someone mentioned risk:reward. Note that if you can't land a training contract after law school in the US, you will have sacrificed much more, in terms of time and (especially) money, than in the UK. I'm not sure atm whether the US or the UK has the edge when it comes to finding and securing a training contract, but at this time both markets are 'gauntlets', and many people who went to law school in either area may never secure a job as a lawyer.

sophie316
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Re: US vs UK lawyers - salary discrepancy

Postby sophie316 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:It seems that most people here have sided with the US system (I'm not surprised since this is a US-focused site). I thought that I would present some pros for the UK system.

The schooling in the UK is not only a huge time and money saver compared to that of the US (the fees in the US are ridiculous), but evidently UK solicitors have healthier work schedules. Trainees, associates and partners at UK firms regularly leave at 17:30 whereas in the US they often work past 22:00, and UK solicitors generally seem to have more vacation days. It sounds like there is a higher income:input ratio in the UK, and more 'non-law' time.

Someone mentioned risk:reward. Note that if you can't land a training contract after law school in the US, you will have sacrificed much more, in terms of time and (especially) money, than in the UK. I'm not sure atm whether the US or the UK has the edge when it comes to finding and securing a training contract, but at this time both markets are 'gauntlets', and many people who went to law school in either area may never secure a job as a lawyer.


"Trainees, associates and partners at UK firms regularly leave at 17:30" wait what firm is that and why didn't I know about it? Seriously that has not been my experience at all from talking to people at the big firms. Hell clifford chance's building has a nurse IN IT so that people don't even need to leave when they get sick. Vacation days yes there are more, but at the top I don't think the hours are THAT much better.

PolySuyGuy
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Re: US vs UK lawyers - salary discrepancy

Postby PolySuyGuy » Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:39 pm

I choose the U.S. better dental plans.

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Re: US vs UK lawyers - salary discrepancy

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:18 pm

Interesting stats!

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jkpolk
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Re: US vs UK lawyers - salary discrepancy

Postby jkpolk » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:18 pm

I don't care- just give me a jerb!

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Re: US vs UK lawyers - salary discrepancy

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:39 am

I personally know a partner at an international firm who recently transferred from its US branch to its UK branch, and immediately started working as a solicitor there, without having to take the QLTR/QLTS/QLTT or obtain any additional qualifications. I assume that it's somewhat easier to transfer between branches within an international firm, although I suppose that there may still be some challenge in finding some reason(s) to transfer that the firm agrees with.

Has anyone here heard of similar cases - particularly the other way around: i.e. UK to US?

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piccolittle
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Re: US vs UK lawyers - salary discrepancy

Postby piccolittle » Mon Jul 30, 2012 2:12 am

Anonymous User wrote:I personally know a partner at an international firm who recently transferred from its US branch to its UK branch, and immediately started working as a solicitor there, without having to take the QLTR/QLTS/QLTT or obtain any additional qualifications. I assume that it's somewhat easier to transfer between branches within an international firm, although I suppose that there may still be some challenge in finding some reason(s) to transfer that the firm agrees with.

Has anyone here heard of similar cases - particularly the other way around: i.e. UK to US?

I think you might have misunderstood him (though apologies if I'm wrong). Many US lawyers work in an international office of a firm without being qualified in that country; they simply practice only American law. To work in a law firm and serve clients in that jurisdiction, you must be qualified in that jurisdiction (with the obvious exception of summer associates/training contracts).

That's my understanding, that I'm almost positive you do need to take the QLTT if you're going to be serving UK clients on UK matters in that jurisdiction. UK to US, I'm pretty sure you have to take a bar exam unless you're working in-house.

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Re: US vs UK lawyers - salary discrepancy

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:34 pm

piccolittle wrote:In terms of financial risk, yes it's less risky if you go the UK route and don't do something stupid like pay for the GDL or LPC or BPTC yourself.

Why do you think that paying for the GDL, LPC, or BPTC by oneself is stupid? It's dirt cheap compared to the less vocational schooling in the US, and yet many TLS users don't seem to think that paying for US law school by oneself is stupid.

piccolittle wrote:In terms of actually becoming a lawyer and having a law job... it's way more risky in the UK. There is a limited number of schools and the ranking doesn't matter - all that matters is your degree class. Whereas in the US there are some places that are a pretty good bet in terms of finding *any* employment, much less biglaw, in the UK there are no such guarantees. Someone with mediocre grades from Oxbridge might not get a training contract, and it's way harder to get into Oxbridge than the T14.

Likewise, someone who graduates with mediocre grades from any of the T14 might not get a training contract either, wherever one plans to work in the US. It's not a guaranteed smooth ride for anyone, but I haven't seen any authoritative evidence yet that it's substantially harder to get a training contract in the UK. Until there is said evidence, such claims should be treated as mere anecdotes.

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Re: US vs UK lawyers - salary discrepancy

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:21 am

dixon02 wrote:having to enjoy soccer

you mean football, and it's not a prerequisite




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