law firm partner salaries

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RVP11
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby RVP11 » Sat Nov 20, 2010 5:18 pm

BruceWayne wrote:I meant it's ironic that the city where most posters want to end up and make six figures+ is a city where making six figures plus isn't really a big deal.


Do that many people really want to "end up" in NYC? I don't think I've met a single person who does. A lot of people want to start out there, and some get sucked into the vortex for life. It's the place you go if you're single, need to pay off debt, and don't know where you want to be, yet.

BruceWayne wrote:In addition, this notion that there are very few partners outside of NYC making big bucks is a prominent myth perpetuated on TLS.


There could well be more attorneys making $1m or more in NYC than in all other cities combined. It might be overstated, but it's not a myth.

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BruceWayne
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby BruceWayne » Sat Nov 20, 2010 5:21 pm

nealric wrote:
That's not what I meant by irony. I meant it's ironic that the city where most posters want to end up and make six figures+ is a city where making six figures plus isn't really a big deal. In addition, this notion that there are very few partners outside of NYC making big bucks is a prominent myth perpetuated on TLS. In many of the large metro areas in the US you can find law firm partners who make large sums of money. There are plenty of them in DC, Chicago, LA, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Miami etc. Living in Chicago or Atlanta as a law firm partner gives you a much, much higher standard of living than doing so in NYC.


I didn't get that notion from TLS. Sure, you can find biglaw partners making big bucks everywhere, but they are far fewer outside of NYC. I know quite a few of non-NYC biglaw partners, and most of them aren't making $1M a year. Moreover, there are far fewer biglaw partners numerically outside of NYC. I can't find it offhand, but a month or two ago ATL posted a map of how many biglaw attorneys there were in each city. NYC dominated by a huge margin.


Of course NYC has more partners than everywhere else in the U.S. by a large margin; NYC is the largest metro area in the U.S by a huge margin. When you look at the size of a city like Chicago, DC or Atlanta, the number of partners in those cities makes sense in comparison to the size of the city. Contrary to TLS lore there are a significant number of law firm partners in most major U.S cities. As far as most non NYC biglaw partners not making $1 million a year, that also makes sense when you look at the COL in other big cities. In Chicago or Atlanta making 500K as a partner is going to take you further than making $1 million as a partner in NYC--by a wide margin at that. There was a special on msnbc a year or 2 ago talking about how making $1 million a year in NYC was nice but nowhere near what the average person has in mind with that kind of salary. They showed the woman who was making 1 mill a year and her home was nice, but definitely not what comes to mind with that kind of money. Go to Chicago or Atlanta on 500K and see what it gets you; hell even LA or DC.

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RVP11
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby RVP11 » Sat Nov 20, 2010 5:24 pm

BruceWayne wrote:Go to Chicago or Atlanta on 500K and see what it gets you; hell even LA or DC.


Welcome home, partner.

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BruceWayne
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby BruceWayne » Sat Nov 20, 2010 5:26 pm

RVP11 wrote:
BruceWayne wrote:I meant it's ironic that the city where most posters want to end up and make six figures+ is a city where making six figures plus isn't really a big deal.


Do that many people really want to "end up" in NYC? I don't think I've met a single person who does. A lot of people want to start out there, and some get sucked into the vortex for life. It's the place you go if you're single, need to pay off debt, and don't know where you want to be, yet.

BruceWayne wrote:In addition, this notion that there are very few partners outside of NYC making big bucks is a prominent myth perpetuated on TLS.


There could well be more attorneys making $1m or more in NYC than in all other cities combined. It might be overstated, but it's not a myth.


That's because of where we go to school. People on here bash UVA as a " lower top 14" because of it's "poor" vault placement; but the reality is that we are kind of like Stanford and Boalt in terms of our graduates interest in where they want to live: a lot of us are not interested in NYC. I heard someone talking to Holly Duke the other day saying "I definitely don't want to live in NYC". I've heard that a lot around here. Many of us want to go to DC, Atlanta, Texas, and other non NYC markets. A lot of posters on TLS do want to live in NYC, and that's why you hear them talk about how amazing Penn's placement is or how Cornell "actually places better than UVA" etc. People at Columbia, Penn, NYU, Cornell etc. dream of working in a big vault firm in NYC. Most people at Boalt, Stanford, UVA, and to a lesser extent Chicago and NU don't.

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quakeroats
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby quakeroats » Sat Nov 20, 2010 5:54 pm

Since the discussion has essentially been dominated by real estate at the very high end, I'm going to draw the reasonable inference: as a big law partner you can pretty much afford the best of nearly everything (food, clothing, company, vacations, cars, boats, etc.), with only minor restrictions in having the absolute best of each and every thing or in having them all at once.

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BruceWayne
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby BruceWayne » Sat Nov 20, 2010 5:59 pm

quakeroats wrote:Since the discussion has essentially been dominated by real estate at the very high end, I'm going to draw the reasonable inference: as a big law partner you can pretty much afford the best of nearly everything (food, clothing, company, vacations, cars, boats, etc.), with only minor restrictions in having the absolute best of each and every thing or in having them all at once.


--ImageRemoved--

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JazzOne
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby JazzOne » Sat Nov 20, 2010 6:07 pm

quakeroats wrote:Since the discussion has essentially been dominated by real estate at the very high end, I'm going to draw the reasonable inference: as a big law partner you can pretty much afford the best of nearly everything (food, clothing, company, vacations, cars, boats, etc.), with only minor restrictions in having the absolute best of each and every thing or in having them all at once.

Oh, don't even get me started about the kinds of boats a biglaw partner can't buy.

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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby cortnf » Sat Nov 20, 2010 6:25 pm

JazzOne wrote:
quakeroats wrote:Since the discussion has essentially been dominated by real estate at the very high end, I'm going to draw the reasonable inference: as a big law partner you can pretty much afford the best of nearly everything (food, clothing, company, vacations, cars, boats, etc.), with only minor restrictions in having the absolute best of each and every thing or in having them all at once.

Oh, don't even get me started about the kinds of boats a biglaw partner can't buy.


this kind Image

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Royal
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby Royal » Sat Nov 20, 2010 6:31 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.


lol.

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ResolutePear
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby ResolutePear » Sat Nov 20, 2010 6:31 pm

JazzOne wrote:
quakeroats wrote:Since the discussion has essentially been dominated by real estate at the very high end, I'm going to draw the reasonable inference: as a big law partner you can pretty much afford the best of nearly everything (food, clothing, company, vacations, cars, boats, etc.), with only minor restrictions in having the absolute best of each and every thing or in having them all at once.

Oh, don't even get me started about the kinds of boats a biglaw partner can't buy.


Or the types of magic school buses, too.

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nealric
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby nealric » Sat Nov 20, 2010 6:42 pm

BruceWayne wrote:
quakeroats wrote:Since the discussion has essentially been dominated by real estate at the very high end, I'm going to draw the reasonable inference: as a big law partner you can pretty much afford the best of nearly everything (food, clothing, company, vacations, cars, boats, etc.), with only minor restrictions in having the absolute best of each and every thing or in having them all at once.


--ImageRemoved--


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1WRs09Xzr4

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quakeroats
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby quakeroats » Sat Nov 20, 2010 7:56 pm

JazzOne wrote:
quakeroats wrote:Since the discussion has essentially been dominated by real estate at the very high end, I'm going to draw the reasonable inference: as a big law partner you can pretty much afford the best of nearly everything (food, clothing, company, vacations, cars, boats, etc.), with only minor restrictions in having the absolute best of each and every thing or in having them all at once.

Oh, don't even get me started about the kinds of boats a biglaw partner can't buy.


Again--and I know your comment's in jest, but it still furthers my point--the instant drift to the world's most expensive yachts strongly suggests that I'm right. The only things off limits are the absolute most expensive things money can buy. An income in excess of $1M a year fits into essentially every definition of the upper/ruling/capitalist class. Millionaire itself means one whose net worth is over $1M, not one who makes that or more every single year. We're in top 0.1% income territory (over $1.6M a year): 145,000 earners in a nation of 300 million people and even smaller if you count the rest of the world. You can walk into Charlie Trotter's and drop $500 every night of the year and not break a sweat. No, you can't toast the Union victory with an 1865 Chateau Lafite-Rothschild or two every night at $18,000 a bottle, but hell, if you want to indulge even once a month, feel free. No, you can't max everything out every minute of every day, BUT SO WHAT? Under any reasonable definition, an income of $1M let's one live like a king.

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nealric
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby nealric » Sat Nov 20, 2010 8:10 pm

You can walk into Charlie Trotter's and drop $500 every night of the year and not break a sweat. No, you can't toast the Union victory with an 1865 Chateau Lafite-Rothschild or two every night at $18,000 a bottle, but hell, if you want to indulge even once a month, feel free. No, you can't max everything out every minute of every day, BUT SO WHAT? Under any reasonable definition, an income of $1M let's one live like a king.


Just for the sake of keeping the argument going. Here is a proposed budget for someone making $1M a year in NYC.

Pre-Tax Income $1M
Post-Tax Income (Including City/State Income tax): $500k
Minus 401k, Health Insurance, Life Insurance: $450k
Minus private school tuition for two kids: $390k
Minus nanny for said kids: $350k
Minus $10k/mo Mortgage: $220k
Minus other COL expenses for a family in an expensive city: $150k
Minus 100k/yr annual savings: $100k

Amount left to blow on champagne: 50k
And that's assuming no expensive divorce settlement.

So no, you can't really spend 18k in champagne a month making $1m a year.
Last edited by nealric on Sat Nov 20, 2010 8:22 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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pany1985
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby pany1985 » Sat Nov 20, 2010 8:17 pm

What's the argument even about anymore? Whether someone making a million a year is rich? Because they definitely are.*



*Unless their next-door neighbor makes more.

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JazzOne
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby JazzOne » Sat Nov 20, 2010 8:20 pm

pany1985 wrote:What's the argument even about anymore? Whether someone making a million a year is rich? Because they definitely are.*



*Unless their next-door neighbor makes more.

The question is, if you made $1M/year, would you still feel inferior to the folks in the world who could spend more recklessly than you? If I ever make $1M in a calendar year, I will consider my career and finances to be successful.
Last edited by JazzOne on Sat Nov 20, 2010 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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nealric
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby nealric » Sat Nov 20, 2010 8:21 pm

What's the argument even about anymore? Whether someone making a million a year is rich? Because they definitely are.*



*Unless their next-door neighbor makes more.


I think they are unequivocally rich. By global standards, 1st year associates are unequivocally rich. All I'm saying is they can't afford to spend money like drunken sailors.

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ResolutePear
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby ResolutePear » Sat Nov 20, 2010 8:22 pm

JazzOne wrote:
pany1985 wrote:What's the argument even about anymore? Whether someone making a million a year is rich? Because they definitely are.*



*Unless their next-door neighbor makes more.

The question is, if you made $1M/year, would you still feel inferior to the folks in the world who could spend more recklessly than you? I will consider my career a success if I ever make $1M in a calendar year.


I'll consider my career a success when I can start naming random crap after my alter ego:

pearmobile
peararang
pearboat
pearwife
pearfirm
pearetc

..and people believe me.

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JazzOne
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby JazzOne » Sat Nov 20, 2010 8:24 pm

ResolutePear wrote:
JazzOne wrote:
pany1985 wrote:What's the argument even about anymore? Whether someone making a million a year is rich? Because they definitely are.*



*Unless their next-door neighbor makes more.

The question is, if you made $1M/year, would you still feel inferior to the folks in the world who could spend more recklessly than you? I will consider my career a success if I ever make $1M in a calendar year.


I'll consider my career a success when I can start naming random crap after my alter ego:

pearmobile
peararang
pearboat
pearwife
pearfirm
pearetc

..and people believe me.

lol @ pearwife

That's going to be tough one, I think. Easiest: pearfirm

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pany1985
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby pany1985 » Sat Nov 20, 2010 8:26 pm

They could spend money pretty damn recklessly... it just wouldn't leave them with as much money to spend on practical-for-millionaires things like a nanny and private school tuition for their kids, 100k a year in savings, etc.

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ResolutePear
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby ResolutePear » Sat Nov 20, 2010 8:27 pm

JazzOne wrote:
ResolutePear wrote:
JazzOne wrote:
pany1985 wrote:What's the argument even about anymore? Whether someone making a million a year is rich? Because they definitely are.*



*Unless their next-door neighbor makes more.

The question is, if you made $1M/year, would you still feel inferior to the folks in the world who could spend more recklessly than you? I will consider my career a success if I ever make $1M in a calendar year.


I'll consider my career a success when I can start naming random crap after my alter ego:

pearmobile
peararang
pearboat
pearwife
pearfirm
pearetc

..and people believe me.

lol @ pearwife

That's going to be tough one, I think. Easiest: pearfirm


I think you're right. I'll take w/e works.

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nealric
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby nealric » Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:07 pm

They could spend money pretty damn recklessly... it just wouldn't leave them with as much money to spend on practical-for-millionaires things like a nanny and private school tuition for their kids, 100k a year in savings, etc.


With fixed costs that high you had better be saving 100k a year. Otherwise you would go bankrupt within weeks of any disruption to income. It's important to note that partners get paid quarterly, and their income can swing quarter to quarter- they can't live paycheck to paycheck.

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quakeroats
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby quakeroats » Sat Nov 20, 2010 11:01 pm

nealric wrote:
You can walk into Charlie Trotter's and drop $500 every night of the year and not break a sweat. No, you can't toast the Union victory with an 1865 Chateau Lafite-Rothschild or two every night at $18,000 a bottle, but hell, if you want to indulge even once a month, feel free. No, you can't max everything out every minute of every day, BUT SO WHAT? Under any reasonable definition, an income of $1M let's one live like a king.


Just for the sake of keeping the argument going. Here is a proposed budget for someone making $1M a year in NYC.

Pre-Tax Income $1M
Post-Tax Income (Including City/State Income tax): $500k
Minus 401k, Health Insurance, Life Insurance: $450k
Minus private school tuition for two kids: $390k
Minus nanny for said kids: $350k
Minus $10k/mo Mortgage: $220k
Minus other COL expenses for a family in an expensive city: $150k
Minus 100k/yr annual savings: $100k

Amount left to blow on champagne: 50k
And that's assuming no expensive divorce settlement.

So no, you can't really spend 18k in champagne a month making $1m a year.


Charlie Trotter's is in Chicago and Lafite-Rothschild isn't champagne, but on the substantive issues:

1. While the numbers would indicate an marginal tax rate of 50% there are 101 ways to get that way down.

2. Why stop at $1 million? By this logic, as soon as you're at $2 million you're set, and that's readily achievable as a big law partner.

3. Why children, and if children why not well after you've made partner?

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nealric
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby nealric » Sun Nov 21, 2010 1:13 pm

1. While the numbers would indicate an marginal tax rate of 50% there are 101 ways to get that way down.

2. Why stop at $1 million? By this logic, as soon as you're at $2 million you're set, and that's readily achievable as a big law partner.

3. Why children, and if children why not well after you've made partner?


1. There are, but a lot of them involve spending more money. High income non-corporate professionals tend to have the hardest time (legally) reducing their tax liability.

2. My point, I guess, is that fixed costs tend to go up with income. The $2 Million partner probably spend double on his/her home, probably has a place in the Hamptons (which becomes almost mandatory in that kind of social circle).

3. You won't be making $1M until well after you've made partner unless you are at Wachtell.


I really don't know what we are arguing about anymore, but I know I'm having a good time. :mrgreen:

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wiseowl
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby wiseowl » Sun Nov 21, 2010 1:14 pm

Herb Wachtell from page 1 is not a great example since WLRK purposefully structures compensation so that younger partners make more than older partners.

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rayiner
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Re: law firm partner salaries

Postby rayiner » Sun Nov 21, 2010 2:29 pm

nealric wrote:
You can walk into Charlie Trotter's and drop $500 every night of the year and not break a sweat. No, you can't toast the Union victory with an 1865 Chateau Lafite-Rothschild or two every night at $18,000 a bottle, but hell, if you want to indulge even once a month, feel free. No, you can't max everything out every minute of every day, BUT SO WHAT? Under any reasonable definition, an income of $1M let's one live like a king.


Just for the sake of keeping the argument going. Here is a proposed budget for someone making $1M a year in NYC.

Pre-Tax Income $1M
Post-Tax Income (Including City/State Income tax): $500k $603k
Minus 401k, Health Insurance, Life Insurance: $450k$553k.
Minus private school tuition for two kids: $390k Good public schools: $0
Minus nanny for said kids: $350k $510k
Minus $10k/mo Mortgage: $220k $390k
Minus other extravagant COL expenses for a family in an expensive cheap city: $150k $320k
Minus 100k/yr annual savings: $100k $220k

Amount left to blow on champagne: $220k (= 12 mo x $18k/mo)
And that's assuming no expensive divorce settlement.

So no, you can't really spend 18k in champagne a month making $1m a year. You can spend $18k a month on champagne making $1m a year if you don't live in a shitty city with shitty public schools funded by ridiculous taxes.


Compare to Chicago.




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