plum wrote:...and why exactly does anyone choose to teach??? (when they could be making severe bank at the top of their fields)
This assumes, of course, that the skills that make one a successful professor are the same as those that make one a successful lawyer.
Even assuming they would all be partners somewhere, being a prof has huge benefits. You don't work many hours, you're essentially your own boss, you get massive vacation time and public retiree benefits, there's major prestige associated with the position, and you still make quite a bit of money, particularly given the COL in the area (the lowest-paid of my four non-LRW profs makes $175K, which is equivalent to $300K+ in NYC).
Also, I don't if law profs get the same kinds of consulting opportunities that business profs get, but I know that my b-school profs typically made as much or more in side work as they did in salary.
Now, if the question were "Why does anyone become an administrator?" the case would be a whole lot tougher to make.