law firm partner salaries

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mho11
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law firm partner salaries

Postby mho11 » Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:59 am

Does anyone have information about how much law firm partners make? I can't find any good data but here is something from Forbes for the richest lawyers: http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2001/0514/132.html.

If you look at richest corporate lawyers Herb Wachtell only makes 5 million. Now, 5 million is a good chunk of money but seems little when considering he is the chief named partner of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen and Katz. I believe these figures are all-in costs.

Another question: If you are a trial lawyer at a big law firm, do you get a special bonus if you win a case, a bonus greater than non-trial lawyers? If you are a senior partner at a law firm representing big clients why wouldn't you branch out on your own and keep all the money you make?

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nealric
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby nealric » Sat Nov 20, 2010 11:14 am

It's exceedingly variable. The absolute richest lawyers are trial lawyers who basically won the lottery- they were in the right place at the right time for stuff like the state tobacco litigation. They usually are not big firm lawyers.

The profits per partners numbers posted in the Amlaw 100 / NLJ250 are a very rough guide of how much partners make. Rainmakers will make more than the PPP, most partners will make somewhat less.

The reason why big firm partners don't branch out on their own is because they would have trouble attracting the same type of business as a solo. Many cases require the resources of a big firm. Of course, a few do break away and start their own firms- but they are a minority.

Overall, biglaw is the "safe" option- it's not the big money option.

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Cavalier
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby Cavalier » Sat Nov 20, 2010 12:14 pm

As a partner in big law you're not going to make more than a couple million or so, tops, and most partners make under a million. The way to make the most money as a lawyer is to represent plaintiffs and win huge amounts of damages (which you'll get a percentage of), but most plaintiffs' attorneys don't even do nearly as well as a typical big law associate, so good luck.

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Adjudicator
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby Adjudicator » Sat Nov 20, 2010 12:19 pm

We had this discussion in the Lounge, in the "Wealthy Lawyers" thread; bottom line, lawyers make a very good salary, sometimes even an amazing salary, but law is not going to allow you to become the next Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, or Mark Zuckerberg.

To amass vast wealth, you need to own or invest in business.

mho11
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby mho11 » Sat Nov 20, 2010 12:32 pm

Let's use John Edwards as an example. From his bio it appears during his law career that he was always part of a law firm. He was a plaintiff lawyer who managed to win several million dollars. Based on the amount he won it appears he earned a large percentage of the winnings that went to him rather than the firm. I don't quite understand how the earnings works out when in trial law and how much goes to the lawyer vs the firm.

mho11
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby mho11 » Sat Nov 20, 2010 12:33 pm

Adjudicator wrote:We had this discussion in the Lounge, in the "Wealthy Lawyers" thread; bottom line, lawyers make a very good salary, sometimes even an amazing salary, but law is not going to allow you to become the next Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, or Mark Zuckerberg.

To amass vast wealth, you need to own or invest in business.


Nobody mentioned anything about becoming the next Bill Gates et al.

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SeymourShowz
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby SeymourShowz » Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:01 pm

Cavalier wrote:As a partner in big law you're not going to make more than a couple million or so, tops, and most partners make under a million.


Man, that really sucks.

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ResolutePear
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby ResolutePear » Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:07 pm

SeymourShowz wrote:
Cavalier wrote:As a partner in big law you're not going to make more than a couple million or so, tops, and most partners make under a million.


Man, that really sucks.


Yeah, totally. :roll:

Aqualibrium
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby Aqualibrium » Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:10 pm

I swear there is a thread about this every week. People start splitting hairs on the definition of wealth ---> Hurl insults at "elitist, entitled TLS users" ---> Thread balloons to 6-8 pages in a few hours ---> etc...

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ResolutePear
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby ResolutePear » Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:12 pm

Aqualibrium wrote:I swear there is a thread about this every week. People start splitting hairs on the definition of wealth ---> Hurl insults at "elitist, entitled TLS users" ---> Thread balloons to 6-8 pages in a few hours ---> etc...


I still say the site owners should put up Google Ads. They'd making a killing.

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JazzOne
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby JazzOne » Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:14 pm

ResolutePear wrote:
Aqualibrium wrote:I swear there is a thread about this every week. People start splitting hairs on the definition of wealth ---> Hurl insults at "elitist, entitled TLS users" ---> Thread balloons to 6-8 pages in a few hours ---> etc...


I still say the site owners should put up Google Ads. They'd making a killing.

They probably would, but Ken's not an elitist, entitled TLS user.

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quakeroats
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby quakeroats » Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:20 pm

Diminishing marginal utility aside, what exactly can't one afford as a junior partner in a big firm? Assuming there's an answer, savings should make up for it. If you save 250k a year for 40 years at 9% you'd have $100 million.

Aqualibrium
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby Aqualibrium » Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:20 pm

quakeroats wrote:Diminishing marginal utility aside, what exactly can't one afford as a junior partner in a big firm? Assuming there's an answer, savings should make up for it. If you save 250k a year for 40 years at 9% you'd have $100 million.



Here we go...

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clintonius
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby clintonius » Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:22 pm

quakeroats wrote:Diminishing marginal utility aside, what exactly can't one afford as a junior partner in a big firm? Assuming there's an answer, savings should make up for it. If you save 250k a year for 40 years at 9% you'd have $100 million.
But I want my jet nooooooooowwwww :(

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JazzOne
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby JazzOne » Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:22 pm

quakeroats wrote:Diminishing marginal utility aside, what exactly can't one afford as a junior partner in a big firm? Assuming there's an answer, savings should make up for it. If you save 250k a year for 40 years at 9% you'd have $100 million.

I can't wait to save 250K/year.

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JazzOne
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby JazzOne » Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:22 pm

Aqualibrium wrote:
quakeroats wrote:Diminishing marginal utility aside, what exactly can't one afford as a junior partner in a big firm? Assuming there's an answer, savings should make up for it. If you save 250k a year for 40 years at 9% you'd have $100 million.



Here we go...

lol

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ResolutePear
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby ResolutePear » Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:23 pm

quakeroats wrote:Diminishing marginal utility aside, what exactly can't one afford as a junior partner in a big firm? Assuming there's an answer, savings should make up for it. If you save 250k a year for 40 years at 9% you'd have $100 million.


Er - there are many things you can't afford.

There's this thing called "taxes" and if you make 6-figures, you are going to get royally fucked up the ass with no lube.

Aqualibrium
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby Aqualibrium » Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:24 pm

ResolutePear wrote:
quakeroats wrote:Diminishing marginal utility aside, what exactly can't one afford as a junior partner in a big firm? Assuming there's an answer, savings should make up for it. If you save 250k a year for 40 years at 9% you'd have $100 million.


Er - there are many things you can't afford.

There's this thing called "taxes" and if you make 6-figures, you are going to get royally fucked up the ass with no lube.



F'd in the A
Lawrence v. Texas style

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nealric
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby nealric » Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:30 pm

If you save 250k a year for 40 years at 9% you'd have $100 million.


Except you won''t start saving 250k a year until you are making ~1M a year, which probably won't happen until you are in your late 30s at the earliest. And you probably won't make a 9% return for 40 years. I know the market has done that over the last century, but the last century was one of the biggest growth periods any country has had ever. I'm not convinced the next 50 years of the stock market will be quite so rosy.

I don't think there are too many biglaw partners, even at the end of their career, worth more than $10-$20 million.

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quakeroats
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby quakeroats » Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:44 pm

nealric wrote:
If you save 250k a year for 40 years at 9% you'd have $100 million.


I don't think there are too many biglaw partners, even at the end of their career, worth more than $10-$20 million.


Perhaps that's because accumulating $100 million isn't necessary. Again, what exactly can't one afford with $1-3 million a year--which is increasing well over the rate of inflation--and a modest rate of savings?

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quakeroats
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby quakeroats » Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:52 pm

ResolutePear wrote:
quakeroats wrote:Diminishing marginal utility aside, what exactly can't one afford as a junior partner in a big firm? Assuming there's an answer, savings should make up for it. If you save 250k a year for 40 years at 9% you'd have $100 million.


Er - there are many things you can't afford.

There's this thing called "taxes" and if you make 6-figures, you are going to get royally fucked up the ass with no lube.


Taxation isn't the obstacle you think, especially at the high end.

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/07intop400.pdf

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nealric
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby nealric » Sat Nov 20, 2010 2:35 pm

Taxation isn't the obstacle you think, especially at the high end.

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/07intop400.pdf


Biglaw partners do get hit with taxes particularly hard compared with corporate executives of similar income. Biglaw partners don't get stock options (more ordinary income, less capital gains), they have to pay 100% of payroll taxes, and they usually end up paying 100% of their health insurance premiums.

Again, what exactly can't one afford with $1-3 million a year--which is increasing well over the rate of inflation--and a modest rate of savings?


In NYC, where a large percentage of biglaw partners are, quite a lot actually. For example: this is what $6 Million gets you in the Upper East Side: --LinkRemoved--. A very nice place, to be sure, but not crazy extravagant. At 2,500 sq feet, people in the midwest burbs have houses the same size that cost under $200k. Someone making $1M a year couldn't afford it.

mho11
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby mho11 » Sat Nov 20, 2010 2:55 pm

mho11 wrote:Let's use John Edwards as an example. From his bio it appears during his law career that he was always part of a law firm. He was a plaintiff lawyer who managed to win several million dollars. Based on the amount he won it appears he earned a large percentage of the winnings that went to him rather than the firm. I don't quite understand how the earnings works out when in trial law and how much goes to the lawyer vs the firm.


Back to my previous post, please. Does anyone have an answer? :D

mho11
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby mho11 » Sat Nov 20, 2010 2:57 pm

nealric wrote:
In NYC, where a large percentage of biglaw partners are, quite a lot actually. For example: this is what $6 Million gets you in the Upper East Side: --LinkRemoved--. A very nice place, to be sure, but not crazy extravagant. At 2,500 sq feet, people in the midwest burbs have houses the same size that cost under $200k. Someone making $1M a year couldn't afford it.


surely after a few years they could afford it but it wouldn't be pocket change :lol:

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nealric
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby nealric » Sat Nov 20, 2010 3:00 pm

surely after a few years they could afford it but it wouldn't be pocket change


Mayyybe some bank would give someone making $1M a year a $6M mortgage (though I somewhat doubt it these days). But they would be leveraged to the hilt. When you consider the ratio of after tax income to the cost of the property that's like someone making $100k buying a $1M place.




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