jbagelboy wrote:more than the actual numbers, the notion that salaries are not stagnant and that there's room for growth in compensation could impact people's decision in going to law school. If you're a financial analyst, a mid-tier strategy consultant, at a marketing company or coming off a decent MA degree, in 2010-2012 you probably considered law school and decided to put it off or look the other way if you were paying attention and did your homework. Three years later, if we see bonuses and then base salaries going up, I actually do think that momentum could impact ex ante decision making in the aggregate for some people in the work force and even college seniors debating career choices.
I hate to think of choosing a graduate program or career based so derivatively on income, but it's undeniably a factor; more pertinently, it's also what salary increases represent: opportunity, demand, ect. So I do think there's at least an indirect incentive for firms to adjust compensation to draw people into law school.
This. Also, it is a signal to the clients. The elite law schools are full of people who came from consulting, finance, etc before law school. The young analysts at those industries do look at law school as an alternative. But they also talk to each other while pondering of their future. If law as a career looks bleak, they'll tell each other not to go. And then they may tell their mentors and senior people what they found out, etc. Facts like "salaries have no gone up for a decade" looks bad and makes law firms look desperate. And if firms are desperate for business, then clients may start to think they can start negotiating down the hourly billing rate. They can refuse to pay for juniors. They can do all the sort of shit that you could do to a desperate firm.
Maybe I'm talking about of my ass. But surely the doom and gloom of the legal industry puts downward pressure on prices. One way for the elite firms to differentiate themselves may be to start paying more and create a two-tier big law industry - the newer normal - as a way to brand themselves as above the gloom. I'm just a student so what do I know though.