How common are these pathetic salaries?

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How common are these pathetic salaries?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 23, 2016 12:54 am

i am currently two years out of undergrad and make about 55k in a job i hate. i will be enrolling in law school next fall. i have been reading a lot about how hard it is to crack biglaw unless you're at a t14 or at the very top of a TT.

But for the average graduate at a TT school (TT being anything ranked from 25-60 for the purpose of this discussion), how common are salaries below 60k? i will likely end up at a school within this range, and although i plan to graduate at the top of my class, i understand that this is easier said than done. is it really that likely that i could graduate from a respectable law school (although not t-14), and end up making less than i did before i got my JD?

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Re: How common are these pathetic salaries?

Postby Mullens » Tue Aug 23, 2016 12:59 am


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nunumaster

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Re: How common are these pathetic salaries?

Postby nunumaster » Tue Aug 23, 2016 1:00 am

Damn dude, definitely don't do it for the money. Can't you find a different job/career? If you're borrowing money for school at all, then you're already messing up.

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Re: How common are these pathetic salaries?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 23, 2016 1:03 am

nunumaster wrote:Damn dude, definitely don't do it for the money. Can't you find a different job/career? If you're borrowing money for school at all, then you're already messing up.


i have credentials to go to one of those TT schools for free - or very close to free. I dont want to be a lawyer because of the money, but im also not interested in making exactly what i make right now after 3 years of law school

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nunumaster

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Re: How common are these pathetic salaries?

Postby nunumaster » Tue Aug 23, 2016 1:04 am

Anonymous User wrote:
nunumaster wrote:Damn dude, definitely don't do it for the money. Can't you find a different job/career? If you're borrowing money for school at all, then you're already messing up.


i have credentials to go to one of those TT schools for free - or very close to free. I dont want to be a lawyer because of the money, but im also not interested in making exactly what i make right now after 3 years of law school


Well in that case you can try and do 1L, see if you score grades in the top 5%, and go from there. You're still losing out on the time spent in school and the opportunity of lost income, so take that into account in your cost-benefit analysis.

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Re: How common are these pathetic salaries?

Postby Hikikomorist » Tue Aug 23, 2016 1:14 am

Retake until you can attend WUSTL for free.

lavarman84

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Re: How common are these pathetic salaries?

Postby lavarman84 » Tue Aug 23, 2016 1:26 am

Just a head's up, schools in the 15 to 50 range are considered T1. Schools in the 51 to 100 range are considered TT.

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Re: How common are these pathetic salaries?

Postby Johann » Tue Aug 23, 2016 1:32 am

be prepared to make less or what you make now at graduation. the benefits of a legal career starting in shitlaw reap rewards once youve got enough experience to either go out on your own or bring in business where you are at (3-5 years for most competent people). until then, youll probably make about 50-65k a year. once you can start getting clients, youll be over 6 figures.

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Re: How common are these pathetic salaries?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 23, 2016 1:39 am

JohannDeMann wrote:be prepared to make less or what you make now at graduation. the benefits of a legal career starting in shitlaw reap rewards once youve got enough experience to either go out on your own or bring in business where you are at (3-5 years for most competent people). until then, youll probably make about 50-65k a year. once you can start getting clients, youll be over 6 figures.


i guess this situation doesn't seem QUITE as dire as some make it out to be. and this is sort of a worst-case-scenario, right? i'll be at a tier 1 school (thanks to the other poster for correcting me), and if i cant finish at the top of my class, i am confident that i will at least be above the median.

Are most of these people who literally cant get a job graduates of TTT schools? i read posts on that "T14 Paradise" blog that have really started to scare me, but then i look at the numbers on LST, and the situation, although somewhat bleak, does not seem nearly that bad.

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Re: How common are these pathetic salaries?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 23, 2016 1:40 am

Anonymous User wrote:
JohannDeMann wrote:be prepared to make less or what you make now at graduation. the benefits of a legal career starting in shitlaw reap rewards once youve got enough experience to either go out on your own or bring in business where you are at (3-5 years for most competent people). until then, youll probably make about 50-65k a year. once you can start getting clients, youll be over 6 figures.


i guess this situation doesn't seem QUITE as dire as some make it out to be. and this is sort of a worst-case-scenario, right? i'll be at a tier 1 school (thanks to the other poster for correcting me), and if i cant finish at the top of my class, i am confident that i will at least be above the median.

Are most of these people who literally cant get a job graduates of TTT schools? i read posts on that third tier reality blog that have really started to scare me, but then i look at the numbers on LST, and the situation, although somewhat bleak, does not seem nearly that bad.

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Re: How common are these pathetic salaries?

Postby lavarman84 » Tue Aug 23, 2016 1:44 am

Anonymous User wrote:
JohannDeMann wrote:be prepared to make less or what you make now at graduation. the benefits of a legal career starting in shitlaw reap rewards once youve got enough experience to either go out on your own or bring in business where you are at (3-5 years for most competent people). until then, youll probably make about 50-65k a year. once you can start getting clients, youll be over 6 figures.


i guess this situation doesn't seem QUITE as dire as some make it out to be. and this is sort of a worst-case-scenario, right? i'll be at a tier 1 school (thanks to the other poster for correcting me), and if i cant finish at the top of my class, i am confident that i will at least be above the median.

Are most of these people who literally cant get a job graduates of TTT schools? i read posts on that "T14 Paradise" blog that have really started to scare me, but then i look at the numbers on LST, and the situation, although somewhat bleak, does not seem nearly that bad.


Statistically, yes. Most of the people who can't get a job are at TTT and TTTT schools. But depending on what T1 school you're at, 20% to 30% of your class might not get a job within 9 months of graduation.

So in order to get one, you need to both be a good interviewer/a normal person and do fairly well. But yes, at a T1 school, odds are that you'll find a job. Just make sure to minimize the debt you're taking on.

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Re: How common are these pathetic salaries?

Postby cookiejar1 » Tue Aug 23, 2016 1:53 am

What are you doing now? If you're looking for an advanced degree to spark a career change, I'd suggest just getting an MBA. I think about this all the damn time. If only I decided to arbitrarily decide to study for the GMAT instead of the LSAT...

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Re: How common are these pathetic salaries?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 23, 2016 1:57 am

lawman84 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
JohannDeMann wrote:be prepared to make less or what you make now at graduation. the benefits of a legal career starting in shitlaw reap rewards once youve got enough experience to either go out on your own or bring in business where you are at (3-5 years for most competent people). until then, youll probably make about 50-65k a year. once you can start getting clients, youll be over 6 figures.


i guess this situation doesn't seem QUITE as dire as some make it out to be. and this is sort of a worst-case-scenario, right? i'll be at a tier 1 school (thanks to the other poster for correcting me), and if i cant finish at the top of my class, i am confident that i will at least be above the median.

Are most of these people who literally cant get a job graduates of TTT schools? i read posts on that "T14 Paradise" blog that have really started to scare me, but then i look at the numbers on LST, and the situation, although somewhat bleak, does not seem nearly that bad.


Statistically, yes. Most of the people who can't get a job are at TTT and TTTT schools. But depending on what T1 school you're at, 20% to 30% of your class might not get a job within 9 months of graduation.

So in order to get one, you need to both be a good interviewer/a normal person and do fairly well. But yes, at a T1 school, odds are that you'll find a job. Just make sure to minimize the debt you're taking on.


This is very helpful. Thank you.

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Re: How common are these pathetic salaries?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 23, 2016 1:58 am

cookiejar1 wrote:What are you doing now? If you're looking for an advanced degree to spark a career change, I'd suggest just getting an MBA. I think about this all the damn time. If only I decided to arbitrarily decide to study for the GMAT instead of the LSAT...


I am a paralegal. I really want to be a lawyer, and have for quite some time.

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Re: How common are these pathetic salaries?

Postby Sprout » Tue Aug 23, 2016 2:01 am

Anonymous User wrote:
cookiejar1 wrote:What are you doing now? If you're looking for an advanced degree to spark a career change, I'd suggest just getting an MBA. I think about this all the damn time. If only I decided to arbitrarily decide to study for the GMAT instead of the LSAT...


I am a paralegal. I really want to be a lawyer, and have for quite some time.

Retake and get a scholarship somewhere better to decrease the debt risk and go for it. It's easier to improve your LSAT a few points than your class rank by half or even a third (probably, so I hear). If you have a job that pays well, keep working and study more. Get your score up and go loan-free with nothing to lose.
-Someone who should have done this

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Re: How common are these pathetic salaries?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 23, 2016 2:01 am

are any of you familiar with the blog i am talking about? if so, is it mainly bitter, alarmist propaganda, or do you think the situation is as bad as they make it out to be - even for people who attend and do well at decent (non t14) law schools?

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Re: How common are these pathetic salaries?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 23, 2016 2:03 am

Sprout wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
cookiejar1 wrote:What are you doing now? If you're looking for an advanced degree to spark a career change, I'd suggest just getting an MBA. I think about this all the damn time. If only I decided to arbitrarily decide to study for the GMAT instead of the LSAT...


I am a paralegal. I really want to be a lawyer, and have for quite some time.

Retake and get a scholarship somewhere better to decrease the debt risk and go for it. It's easier to improve your LSAT a few points than your class rank by half or even a third (probably, so I hear). If you have a job that pays well, keep working and study more. Get your score up and go loan-free with nothing to lose.
-Someone who should have done this


yeah, this seems to be the best option!!

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Re: How common are these pathetic salaries?

Postby bk1 » Tue Aug 23, 2016 8:26 am

Reminder: the legal employment forum is not for 0Ls. This thread has been moved to the appropriate forum.

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Re: How common are these pathetic salaries?

Postby Voyager » Tue Aug 23, 2016 4:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:i am currently two years out of undergrad and make about 55k in a job i hate. i will be enrolling in law school next fall. i have been reading a lot about how hard it is to crack biglaw unless you're at a t14 or at the very top of a TT.

But for the average graduate at a TT school (TT being anything ranked from 25-60 for the purpose of this discussion), how common are salaries below 60k? i will likely end up at a school within this range, and although i plan to graduate at the top of my class, i understand that this is easier said than done. is it really that likely that i could graduate from a respectable law school (although not t-14), and end up making less than i did before i got my JD?


REALLY common. Income distribution is virtually bi-modal: top schools push out grads making $160k-$180k in big law while everyone else is... not.

Yes, you could easily graduate from a non-top school and make less or the same as your current salary.

Are you SURE you want to do this? The work appears to suck. Also, the hours are super long.

Why law school? Why not become an electrician? School costs way less and a journeyman electrician can easily make over $70k a year working 40 hour work weeks.

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Re: How common are these pathetic salaries?

Postby MKC » Tue Aug 23, 2016 4:16 pm

Voyager wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:i am currently two years out of undergrad and make about 55k in a job i hate. i will be enrolling in law school next fall. i have been reading a lot about how hard it is to crack biglaw unless you're at a t14 or at the very top of a TT.

But for the average graduate at a TT school (TT being anything ranked from 25-60 for the purpose of this discussion), how common are salaries below 60k? i will likely end up at a school within this range, and although i plan to graduate at the top of my class, i understand that this is easier said than done. is it really that likely that i could graduate from a respectable law school (although not t-14), and end up making less than i did before i got my JD?


REALLY common. Income distribution is virtually bi-modal: top schools push out grads making $160k-$180k in big law while everyone else is... not.

Yes, you could easily graduate from a non-top school and make less or the same as your current salary.

Are you SURE you want to do this? The work appears to suck. Also, the hours are super long.

Why law school? Why not become an electrician? School costs way less and a journeyman electrician can easily make over $70k a year working 40 hour work weeks.


TLS should probably lay off the whole "just go into the trades and you'll be fine" schtick. Construction is cyclical as fuck, and the union guys making $30-$50 an hour don't work literally half of the time.
Last edited by MKC on Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How common are these pathetic salaries?

Postby Voyager » Tue Aug 23, 2016 4:20 pm

MarkinKansasCity wrote:
Voyager wrote:
REALLY common. Income distribution is virtually bi-modal: top schools push out grads making $160k-$180k in big law while everyone else is... not.

Yes, you could easily graduate from a non-top school and make less or the same as your current salary.

Are you SURE you want to do this? The work appears to suck. Also, the hours are super long.

Why law school? Why not become an electrician? School costs way less and a journeyman electrician can easily make over $70k a year working 40 hour work weeks.


TLS should probably lay off the whole "just go into the trades and you'll be fine" schtick. Construction is cyclical as fuck, and the union guys making $30-$50 an hour don't work literally half of the time.


Ha! Lower tier law school grads often have no work whatsoever! I'd prefer the electrician gig.

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Re: How common are these pathetic salaries?

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Aug 23, 2016 5:01 pm

MarkinKansasCity wrote:
Voyager wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:i am currently two years out of undergrad and make about 55k in a job i hate. i will be enrolling in law school next fall. i have been reading a lot about how hard it is to crack biglaw unless you're at a t14 or at the very top of a TT.

But for the average graduate at a TT school (TT being anything ranked from 25-60 for the purpose of this discussion), how common are salaries below 60k? i will likely end up at a school within this range, and although i plan to graduate at the top of my class, i understand that this is easier said than done. is it really that likely that i could graduate from a respectable law school (although not t-14), and end up making less than i did before i got my JD?


REALLY common. Income distribution is virtually bi-modal: top schools push out grads making $160k-$180k in big law while everyone else is... not.

Yes, you could easily graduate from a non-top school and make less or the same as your current salary.

Are you SURE you want to do this? The work appears to suck. Also, the hours are super long.

Why law school? Why not become an electrician? School costs way less and a journeyman electrician can easily make over $70k a year working 40 hour work weeks.


TLS should probably lay off the whole "just go into the trades and you'll be fine" schtick. Construction is cyclical as fuck, and the union guys making $30-$50 an hour don't work literally half of the time.


Amen to that.

Also, just think of how many times you've had a plumber/electrician/construction worker tell you, "Oh yeah, I was gonna go into [finance/law/professional hockey]." No one likes working a job that they don't actually want to do. So going into a skilled trade that you aren't interested in is no wiser than going to law school if you don't actually want to practice law.

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Re: How common are these pathetic salaries?

Postby MKC » Tue Aug 23, 2016 5:07 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
Amen to that.

Also, just think of how many times you've had a plumber/electrician/construction worker tell you, "Oh yeah, I was gonna go into [finance/law/professional hockey]." No one likes working a job that they don't actually want to do. So going into a skilled trade that you aren't interested in is no wiser than going to law school if you don't actually want to practice law.


Eh, I think the "I was going to do something else" deal is probably more related to the stigma attached to working in any profession that doesn't require a degree. People that go to college judge the fuck out of people who don't.

I doubt my best day as a lawyer will ever beat my best day as a carpenter. Climbing a million dollar jungle gym whilst building it is fun as fuck when the weather's nice. There's no retirement plan though, and every joint in your body is guaranteed to be fucked by 50. Rolling out tools when its 10 below zero or 110 also blows goats, as does getting zapped by power tools when you're working outside in the rain. It has its ups and downs.
Last edited by MKC on Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How common are these pathetic salaries?

Postby bacillusanthracis » Wed Aug 24, 2016 3:02 am

Anonymous User wrote:i am currently two years out of undergrad and make about 55k in a job i hate. i will be enrolling in law school next fall. i have been reading a lot about how hard it is to crack biglaw unless you're at a t14 or at the very top of a TT.

But for the average graduate at a TT school (TT being anything ranked from 25-60 for the purpose of this discussion), how common are salaries below 60k? i will likely end up at a school within this range, and although i plan to graduate at the top of my class, i understand that this is easier said than done. is it really that likely that i could graduate from a respectable law school (although not t-14), and end up making less than i did before i got my JD?


You'll have to make up your own mind about whether or not it's worth it for you to go to law school. But I will tell you this: working for a big firm isn't the only way to make good money. A lot of law students and potential law students seem obsessed with it and are certainly so-called biglaw's most vocal proponents. But there are other routes that can make you good money too. I personally find the idea of working in a big corporate firm both vomitous and oppressive, but that's just me and I don't project that onto anyone else. If you want to do that kind of work, cool, I really do hope you make a mint and that you enjoy every minute of it. :)

As for those making 55-60K, many are likely PDs, DAs, or work in some capacity for the government. And that's what they went to law school for. The benefits of doing that kind of work are the payoff of student loans, the excellent benefits, and the notion that the work is just and satisfying. Why anyone would deride such work as being of no value is beyond me. Or, think of the person who wants to do work in pure Constitutional law. In that case, an organization like the ACLU is right up their alley. But the ACLU doesn't pay that much. Same with attorneys who work in disability law. They do work that helps the most vulnerable of us and they make society a better place, and they often do it for not a lot of money. But to people who work in such fields, the tradeoff is worth it. Would you tell a lawyer who just helped a kid with spina bifoda get accommodations in a classroom so that he can go to school that they're working in "shitlaw" because their employer is only paying them 60 grand a year?

If your concern is purely financial--that is, if you want to go to law school just to make a lot of money, then maybe the best advice is that you shouldn't go. The shock of realizing that you are no longer the smartest person in the room is real. The competition is real. And no matter how hard you work, if you're not naturally adept at law school, you're not going to be at the top of the class. And if you only "get it" by halfway through the second semester of your 1L year, it's too late, at least as it pertains to the traditional method of entry into the world of big corporate law. Personally, I think it's really, really odd that it is that way; but it is that way and it's not going to change.

Finally, think of something that you would really love to do; whether it's writing, becoming a college professor, a yacht salesman, Whatever. Picture it, then spend roughly 10-14 hours a day, 6-7 days a week for the next 3 years making it happen. And it probably will happen. Go do that instead of law school.

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Re: How common are these pathetic salaries?

Postby rwhyAn » Wed Aug 24, 2016 11:59 am

I would be very careful to weigh all the costs and benefits in your situation. I was making a similar salary when I was thinking about going to law school in 2014. Two years and a promotion later, I'm at $70k. Not only do you have to factor in the lost salary into your decision, but think about raises, bonuses, promotions that you may miss out on. From a purely financial perspective, it's a risky decision, especially since the legal market sucks.

That said, I'm in school part-time at a TT on a full-ride. We don't rank, but I'm somewhere within the top 10%. OCI was brutal. I only got four screeners and already two dings. Others similarly situated are also having a tough time. For people who miss the OCI boat (like I probably will), they would be lucky to make the salary you're making now...but with $100k+ debt. There's a 90% chance you won't get any Biglaw interviews (if you're not in the top 10%), and even then, only some of the top ten-percenters will be extended an offer. Are those odds you're willing to take?

Also, I know this is purely anecdotal, but my gf is also a law school grad. One of her classmates took a job as a law clerk out of law school making $28k, and the other is working at a DA's office in the northeast for around $40k. Think long and hard.



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