bahama wrote:At least for the grads of the very top schools, there are (and will be) options other than BigLaw (with a new business model) or 45K doing PD.
PD jobs are actually really competitive right now, so that's not something that is just a given for top schools grads (at least not right now)
bahama wrote:Furthermore, the firms at the top of the heap are not just competing with other law firms for the top graduates but also Investment Banking, Consulting, and other places where you can make 6 figures right out of school. So the top law firm salaries can't get too far away from those professions either.
I don't know why so many people think that a JD will open all kinds of doors. It's doesn't. Maybe for someone who goes to Harvard, but outside that I don't see it. I mean just look at law students--most of them can't even do math, and most of law school doesn't touch math so I-banking is out (not to mention how super competitive it is to get those jobs since their isn't a lot of investing going on right now).
Also, consulting is out as well because law school doesn't touch anything remotely close to management.
EDIT- that's not to say that no one has ever left law school and gotten in banking or consulting, but it's not like those firms are "competing" to take law students. There are plenty of b-school students to pick from with backgrounds (i.e. work experience) in banking or consulting to pick from.
There is a link between salaries in law/banking/consulting at the highest levels (such as top ranked vault firms) because to some extent they are looking for the same thing: smart, analytic, driven people, with the right pedigree.
The consulting firms and banks already
actively recruit and hire from the top few
law schools, and I am sure that if all the BigLaw firms cut their starting salaries by half and shifted to some sort of apprenticeship model a lot of the best students at these schools would look harder at these other options. Due to this, and other factors like inertia and prestige, law firms can only change the career path/compensation structure so much without driving some of the most desirable law school grads away to other fields.
This does not apply
to the vast majority of law students (or schools) who are not competitive for these jobs, and certainly not to anyone who can not get an offer in BigLaw.
However, what happens at the top firms and top schools does have somewhat of a trickle down effect on their closest competitors. Even if just the V5 firms stick with the old compensation model ($160k), this will keep a number of the V100 firms close to it (say $100-145k), even if they don't match the salaries the most profitable and prestigious firms.