Lawyers an exception: pay grows during career

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Hutz_and_Goodman
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Lawyers an exception: pay grows during career

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Wed Feb 11, 2015 12:35 pm

I thought this was interesting. In most professions pay stagnates after ten years, but in the law (on average) pay continues to grow:

http://www.abajournal.com/mobile/articl ... arners_suc

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: Lawyers an exception: pay grows during career

Postby XxSpyKEx » Wed Feb 11, 2015 1:54 pm

Here's the article:
Lawyers see big pay growth after first 10 years of career, a new report shows
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Feb 11, 2015, 07:49 am CST

Most workers see the biggest pay increases in the first 10 years of their career, followed by years of stagnation, according to a new report.

High earners, such as lawyers, doctors and engineers, are an exception, the Washington Post’s Wonkblog reports. The study used U.S. Social Security Administration data gathered from 1978 to 2010.

Workers with median lifetime earnings saw pay increase 38 percent from age 25 to 55, with the biggest increase in the first decade of work, according to the report (PDF) by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Workers with lifetime pay in the 95th percentile saw a 230 percent increase in the same period, while those in the 99th percentile saw a 1,450 percent increase.

The situation is worse for workers whose pay is in the bottom fifth of earnings; their pay declines from age 25 to 55.

A PayScale study in 2011 drew similar conclusions. It found that “pay essentially goes nowhere after age 40,” when adjusted for inflation. Lawyers, however, had better pay growth than those in most professions. “Lawyers have a typical starting pay of $56,000, but this grows to be over $135,000–a total pay growth of 141 percent,” according to the post at PayScale Career News.

“Furthermore, pay growth for lawyers lasts well into their 50s, which is longer than most jobs.”


This isn't really a very good way of determining whether lawyers are seeing significant pay growth later in their careers because it assumes the lawyers who started at $56k remained in the profession until the end of their careers. Truth is that a lot of lawyers leave the profession for a number of reasons. For example, some will leave after burning out. Others will leave because they are better off pursuing a non-legal job--this especially applies to attorneys who started off around $56k /year. For example, if you attended a TTT, couldn't find a job after graduation, and 4 years out, you're still working as a law clerk for a law firm making $18 /hour, and you realize you could make more money working as a high school janitor, so you go do something else. The attorneys who make it into their 50s are typically the ones who are actually good at being lawyers and also enjoy it, at least to some extent---look at all these old baby boomers lawyers that refuse to retire.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Lawyers an exception: pay grows during career

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Wed Feb 11, 2015 2:09 pm

This is because the vast majority of law grads are not practicing after 20 years. Law is a profession that chews up and spits out its young.

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Desert Fox
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Re: Lawyers an exception: pay grows during career

Postby Desert Fox » Wed Feb 11, 2015 2:11 pm

But I think there is some truth that lawyers continue developing and age more like wine than beer.

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: Lawyers an exception: pay grows during career

Postby XxSpyKEx » Wed Feb 11, 2015 2:31 pm

Well, the lawyers who age like beer drop out of the professional altogether (either by choice or by force), and the ones who age like wine are the ones who are making up the $135k median salary at an age of 55.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Lawyers an exception: pay grows during career

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Wed Feb 11, 2015 2:33 pm

Yeah, I'm not sure why a 135k median salary is impressive, given the amount of schooling and bullshit a lawyer has to go through to get there.

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: Lawyers an exception: pay grows during career

Postby XxSpyKEx » Wed Feb 11, 2015 2:51 pm

It's actually quite low for the age of 55, given that it means half off all attorneys still in the profession at that age are making less than $135k /year. That's really low for an attorney who's been practicing for around 30 years (I mean it's kind of sad if you're not even making a 1st year biglaw associate salary after 30 years, unless you're in public interest/government but there aren't that many PI/govt jobs that it would heavily influence that median salary figure).

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Desert Fox
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Re: Lawyers an exception: pay grows during career

Postby Desert Fox » Wed Feb 11, 2015 3:06 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:Yeah, I'm not sure why a 135k median salary is impressive, given the amount of schooling and bullshit a lawyer has to go through to get there.


In ARE country that is pretty good. Average doctor is around there too.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Lawyers an exception: pay grows during career

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Wed Feb 11, 2015 3:24 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:Yeah, I'm not sure why a 135k median salary is impressive, given the amount of schooling and bullshit a lawyer has to go through to get there.


In ARE country that is pretty good. Average doctor is around there too.


lol, no. average doc is above 200k everywhere.

Hutz_and_Goodman
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Re: Lawyers an exception: pay grows during career

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:42 pm

My previous career I was making $42k with no possibility of a raise
$135k has to be top 5-10% of salaries in the us
Also this is across the us, and in a lot of areas you can buy a pimped out 4-5 bedroom house for around 500k
Having said that, it's a valid point that half of attorneys make less and by age 55 a lot of attys have left the profession
Last edited by Hutz_and_Goodman on Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ymmv
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Re: Lawyers an exception: pay grows during career

Postby ymmv » Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:47 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:Yeah, I'm not sure why a 135k median salary is impressive, given the amount of schooling and bullshit a lawyer has to go through to get there.


In ARE country that is pretty good. Average doctor is around there too.


lol, no. average doc is above 200k everywhere.


Sure, specialities like surgeons and dermatologists. But pediatricians, internists, and psychiatrists don't average near that much. And don't forget the 4-8 years of residency/fellowships where any doctor would be lucky to pull more than $50-60k, maybe slightly higher by the time they're senior residents.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Lawyers an exception: pay grows during career

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:38 am

Even if it's accurate now theres no reason to think this will still be true in 20-30 years (i.e. when lawyers of our generation are at the backend of our careers). this should be headlined "boomer lawyers pay grows during career."

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romothesavior
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Re: Lawyers an exception: pay grows during career

Postby romothesavior » Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:47 am

dixiecupdrinking wrote:Even if it's accurate now theres no reason to think this will still be true in 20-30 years (i.e. when lawyers of our generation are at the backend of our careers). this should be headlined "boomer lawyers pay grows during career."

Eh, maybe. I think most people who stay in private practice for 20+ years are going to see similar bumps trajectories. Being able to stick around the profession that long (or even get in to begin with) is a big if though.




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