How much do Public Interest Lawyers generally max out at?

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)
User avatar
nematoad
Posts: 421
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2009 3:06 pm

How much do Public Interest Lawyers generally max out at?

Postby nematoad » Tue Jan 12, 2010 5:26 am

and also start out at... I really have no clue. My guess is around 60k with the possibility of moving into the low 6 figure range if your good and have been working at it for a while.

User avatar
nealric
Posts: 2391
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:53 am

Re: How much do Public Interest Lawyers generally max out at?

Postby nealric » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:35 am

Max out, max out?

Technically, probably around a few Million a year if you end up running a major organization. But it really depends quite a bit on how you define public interest and how you define "lawyer".

awesomepossum
Posts: 928
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 12:49 am

Re: How much do Public Interest Lawyers generally max out at?

Postby awesomepossum » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:36 am

FYI, that's actually wrong.

Yimbeezy
Posts: 122
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2009 3:55 pm

Re: How much do Public Interest Lawyers generally max out at?

Postby Yimbeezy » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:40 am

awesomepossum wrote:FYI, that's actually wrong.


Since you seem to know the right and wrong answers, could you answer the OP? I'm also interested in PI pay scales.

awesomepossum
Posts: 928
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 12:49 am

Re: How much do Public Interest Lawyers generally max out at?

Postby awesomepossum » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:45 am

Yimbeezy wrote:
awesomepossum wrote:FYI, that's actually wrong.


Since you seem to know the right and wrong answers, could you answer the OP? I'm also interested in PI pay scales.


I just happen to know that if you head a PI organization, you won't be making million. For example if you were running a UN body you'd be making a few hundred thousand, in government as well you'd never be making that much.

There is no (non-scam) public interest entity that could justify paying it's head 'a few million' a year.

Yimbeezy
Posts: 122
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2009 3:55 pm

Re: How much do Public Interest Lawyers generally max out at?

Postby Yimbeezy » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:50 am

awesomepossum wrote:
Yimbeezy wrote:
awesomepossum wrote:FYI, that's actually wrong.


Since you seem to know the right and wrong answers, could you answer the OP? I'm also interested in PI pay scales.


I just happen to know that if you head a PI organization, you won't be making million. For example if you were running a UN body you'd be making a few hundred thousand, in government as well you'd never be making that much.

There is no (non-scam) public interest entity that could justify paying it's head 'a few million' a year.


Alright. And as an aside to OP - I think most PI stuff starts between 30k and 50k(for a select few in high COL areas), with the majority towards the lower end of that scale.

I'm still interested in PI (nonprofit and legal aid esp.) pay 5, 10, 15 years in.

awesomepossum
Posts: 928
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 12:49 am

Re: How much do Public Interest Lawyers generally max out at?

Postby awesomepossum » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:50 am

And since you ask and I can use this amazing thing called "Google"


Compensation

The National Association for Law Placement studied the 2008 salaries of lawyers who work for public-interest organizations and found the following median salaries:

* Entry-level: $41,000
* Five years of experience: $53,815
* Eleven to fifteen years of experience: $69,195




http://www.collegeboard.com/csearch/majors_careers/profiles/careers/106734.html

User avatar
kumba84
Posts: 125
Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2009 1:40 am

Re: How much do Public Interest Lawyers generally max out at?

Postby kumba84 » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:52 am

I heard from my friend who works at a big-city enviro nonprofit that the attorneys there start out in the 40s/50s, depending on responsibilities, whether their title is "fellow," etc. Another person told me that attorneys at the Illinois EPA start at 90K, but I feel like that one has to be wrong. If you're interested in government, you could go onto USAJobs and at least see what the starting pay is for all the listed jobs.

Esc
Posts: 724
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2008 4:09 pm

Re: How much do Public Interest Lawyers generally max out at?

Postby Esc » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:55 am

nematoad wrote:and also start out at... I really have no clue. My guess is around 60k with the possibility of moving into the low 6 figure range if your good and have been working at it for a while.


I don't think there's a good answer, because there's no set market rate like there is in Biglaw. Public interest includes everything from your local legal aid group to national NGOs (some of which are more like lobbying firms, and may not fulfill everyone's definition of public interest). Obviously, the majority of PI jobs are more like the former, and won't pay very well. The numbers you most often hear for starting salaries are 35k-50k. Pay advancement will likely vary depending on the individual organization, but conventional wisdom states that you don't go up by much.

To spin off of what awesomepossum said, with a few exceptions for the "superstar" organizations, you won't be making a lot of money unless your organization is a scam.

Oh, and keep in mind that public service is different from public interest. Government lawyers have significantly more room for pay advancement than public interest lawyers.

Anonymous Loser
Posts: 568
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 11:17 am

Re: How much do Public Interest Lawyers generally max out at?

Postby Anonymous Loser » Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:13 am

awesomepossum wrote:
Yimbeezy wrote:
awesomepossum wrote:FYI, that's actually wrong.


Since you seem to know the right and wrong answers, could you answer the OP? I'm also interested in PI pay scales.


I just happen to know that if you head a PI organization, you won't be making million. For example if you were running a UN body you'd be making a few hundred thousand, in government as well you'd never be making that much.

There is no (non-scam) public interest entity that could justify paying it's head 'a few million' a year.


While not "a few million" a year, top 6-figure and low 7-figure salaries are not at all uncommon for non-profit/public interest heads.

Raikes, who joined the Gates Foundation a year ago, earned $315,403 from September through December 2008, making his annualized salary $990,000, according to the Chronicle.

A Gates Foundation spokesperson confirmed the compensation figures and said the philanthropy's co-chairs, Bill and Melinda Gates, set the CEO salary "after considering industry standards and what they believe is fair for leading a philanthropic organization of this size and scale."

Other foundation executives earning top salaries include Joan E. Spero, former president of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with compensation of $768,525.

In several cases the chief investment officer earned more than the CEO, such as the $1.6 million compensation of Laurance R. Hoagland Jr. at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; $1.4 million paid to John Moehling at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, or the $1.2 million paid to Susan Manske at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Chronicle reported.

At the Gates Foundation, Tadataka Yamada, president of the global health program, earned $848,390.

The Ford Foundation, which is one-third the size of the Gates Foundation in assets, paid its president, Luis A. Ubinas, $718,084, and vice president, Linda Strumpf, $1,113,590.

Among heads of other non-profits, the highest paid executives include:

James Mongan, chief executive of Partners HealthCare System in Boston, with compensation of $2.7 million in 2008, a 99 percent increase over his 2007 pay.

Glenn Lowry, director of the Museum of Modern Art, in New York, with compensation of $2.1 million in 2008, more than twice his 2007 pay, plus a housing allowance worth $336,000.



Source: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/t ... _pays.html

awesomepossum
Posts: 928
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 12:49 am

Re: How much do Public Interest Lawyers generally max out at?

Postby awesomepossum » Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:15 am

Anonymous Loser wrote:
awesomepossum wrote:
Yimbeezy wrote:
awesomepossum wrote:FYI, that's actually wrong.


Since you seem to know the right and wrong answers, could you answer the OP? I'm also interested in PI pay scales.


I just happen to know that if you head a PI organization, you won't be making million. For example if you were running a UN body you'd be making a few hundred thousand, in government as well you'd never be making that much.

There is no (non-scam) public interest entity that could justify paying it's head 'a few million' a year.


While not "a few million" a year, top 6-figure and low 7-figure salaries are not at all uncommon for non-profit/public interest heads.

Raikes, who joined the Gates Foundation a year ago, earned $315,403 from September through December 2008, making his annualized salary $990,000, according to the Chronicle.

A Gates Foundation spokesperson confirmed the compensation figures and said the philanthropy's co-chairs, Bill and Melinda Gates, set the CEO salary "after considering industry standards and what they believe is fair for leading a philanthropic organization of this size and scale."

Other foundation executives earning top salaries include Joan E. Spero, former president of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with compensation of $768,525.

In several cases the chief investment officer earned more than the CEO, such as the $1.6 million compensation of Laurance R. Hoagland Jr. at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; $1.4 million paid to John Moehling at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, or the $1.2 million paid to Susan Manske at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Chronicle reported.

At the Gates Foundation, Tadataka Yamada, president of the global health program, earned $848,390.

The Ford Foundation, which is one-third the size of the Gates Foundation in assets, paid its president, Luis A. Ubinas, $718,084, and vice president, Linda Strumpf, $1,113,590.

Among heads of other non-profits, the highest paid executives include:

James Mongan, chief executive of Partners HealthCare System in Boston, with compensation of $2.7 million in 2008, a 99 percent increase over his 2007 pay.

Glenn Lowry, director of the Museum of Modern Art, in New York, with compensation of $2.1 million in 2008, more than twice his 2007 pay, plus a housing allowance worth $336,000.



Source: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/t ... _pays.html




Are those PI law jobs?

Anonymous Loser
Posts: 568
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 11:17 am

Re: How much do Public Interest Lawyers generally max out at?

Postby Anonymous Loser » Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:22 am

I was simply responding to your comment regarding "if you head a PI organization." When you mentioned heading a UN body, which is not exactly what I would consider practicing law, I assumed a broader field was being considered that just legal jobs. I guess I was mistaken, sorry for the confusion.

I suppose I am just wary of blanket statements offered without any support whatsoever, although I should be accustomed to that sort of thing on TLS by now.

User avatar
nealric
Posts: 2391
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:53 am

Re: How much do Public Interest Lawyers generally max out at?

Postby nealric » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:13 pm


There is no (non-scam) public interest entity that could justify paying it's head 'a few million' a year.


I was basing this on a few semi-scandals about 7 figure heads of 501(c)(3) orgs. OP asked what they would "top out" at, and one could move from in-house counsel to CEO of an org.

User avatar
nematoad
Posts: 421
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2009 3:06 pm

Re: How much do Public Interest Lawyers generally max out at?

Postby nematoad » Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:22 pm

wow thanks for all the info guys! i knew it would be low but i definitely wasnt expecting the 30k range. would you suspect that class ranking plays as crucial of a factor in job placement in PI as with biglaw? (say top 15/30%) or is it the school you go to that matters most?

Esc
Posts: 724
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2008 4:09 pm

Re: How much do Public Interest Lawyers generally max out at?

Postby Esc » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:08 pm

nematoad wrote:wow thanks for all the info guys! i knew it would be low but i definitely wasnt expecting the 30k range. would you suspect that class ranking plays as crucial of a factor in job placement in PI as with biglaw? (say top 15/30%) or is it the school you go to that matters most?


Again, it depends on the PI group. Superstar PI groups like the ACLU usually require T10 (or even T5 or HYS) with good/great grades. Lots of smaller PI groups don't care about grades, as long as you can prove that you have a commitment to PI and aren't just looking for any job because you failed miserably at OCI. Some of the more radical PI groups may even look at prior private firm experience as a black mark.

User avatar
Blindmelon
Posts: 1708
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2009 11:13 am

Re: How much do Public Interest Lawyers generally max out at?

Postby Blindmelon » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:14 pm

Esc wrote:
nematoad wrote:wow thanks for all the info guys! i knew it would be low but i definitely wasnt expecting the 30k range. would you suspect that class ranking plays as crucial of a factor in job placement in PI as with biglaw? (say top 15/30%) or is it the school you go to that matters most?


Again, it depends on the PI group. Superstar PI groups like the ACLU usually require T10 (or even T5 or HYS) with good/great grades. Lots of smaller PI groups don't care about grades, as long as you can prove that you have a commitment to PI and aren't just looking for any job because you failed miserably at OCI. Some of the more radical PI groups may even look at prior private firm experience as a black mark.


I don't think this is true.. especially since BU places people each summer and upon graduation into the ACLU. I never understood the need to be in a T5 school for the ACLU.

Esc
Posts: 724
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2008 4:09 pm

Re: How much do Public Interest Lawyers generally max out at?

Postby Esc » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:17 pm

Blindmelon wrote:
Esc wrote:
nematoad wrote:wow thanks for all the info guys! i knew it would be low but i definitely wasnt expecting the 30k range. would you suspect that class ranking plays as crucial of a factor in job placement in PI as with biglaw? (say top 15/30%) or is it the school you go to that matters most?


Again, it depends on the PI group. Superstar PI groups like the ACLU usually require T10 (or even T5 or HYS) with good/great grades. Lots of smaller PI groups don't care about grades, as long as you can prove that you have a commitment to PI and aren't just looking for any job because you failed miserably at OCI. Some of the more radical PI groups may even look at prior private firm experience as a black mark.


I don't think this is true.. especially since BU places people each summer and upon graduation into the ACLU. I never understood the need to be in a T5 school for the ACLU.


I've always heard that the national ACLU (I should have specified I was not referring to the state affiliations, which hire locally) usually requires T5-T10 with good grades. I could be wrong, but that's the conventional wisdom, anyway.

User avatar
AlanShore
Posts: 1505
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 4:21 pm

Re: How much do Public Interest Lawyers generally max out at?

Postby AlanShore » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:21 pm

Esc wrote:
Blindmelon wrote:
Esc wrote:
nematoad wrote:wow thanks for all the info guys! i knew it would be low but i definitely wasnt expecting the 30k range. would you suspect that class ranking plays as crucial of a factor in job placement in PI as with biglaw? (say top 15/30%) or is it the school you go to that matters most?


Again, it depends on the PI group. Superstar PI groups like the ACLU usually require T10 (or even T5 or HYS) with good/great grades. Lots of smaller PI groups don't care about grades, as long as you can prove that you have a commitment to PI and aren't just looking for any job because you failed miserably at OCI. Some of the more radical PI groups may even look at prior private firm experience as a black mark.


I don't think this is true.. especially since BU places people each summer and upon graduation into the ACLU. I never understood the need to be in a T5 school for the ACLU.


I've always heard that the national ACLU (I should have specified I was not referring to the state affiliations, which hire locally) usually requires T5-T10 with good grades. I could be wrong, but that's the conventional wisdom, anyway.

I thought if you go on the ACLU website you can see the background of their lawyers. I just went and couldn't find it but I do recall mostly top schools (not necessarily HYS but top 10) and some with biglaw background. ACLU is very selective!

the lantern
Posts: 368
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 8:47 am

Re: How much do Public Interest Lawyers generally max out at?

Postby the lantern » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:23 pm

The director of the ACLU is an attorney and he makes well over a million a year. I think he actually made over two or three million a year but they lost a lot of money and a few critical donors so he had to take a pretty sizeable pay cut.

User avatar
nematoad
Posts: 421
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2009 3:06 pm

Re: How much do Public Interest Lawyers generally max out at?

Postby nematoad » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:30 pm

all of this is really good to know... even if it's just conventional wisdom. there is hope yet. again thank you

User avatar
crazycanuck
Posts: 3040
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:04 pm

Re: How much do Public Interest Lawyers generally max out at?

Postby crazycanuck » Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:10 am

There are always those lucky ones that luck out with a huge lawsuit and end up getting millions and millions and retiring at the age of 35.

Renzo
Posts: 4265
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:23 am

Re: How much do Public Interest Lawyers generally max out at?

Postby Renzo » Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:18 am

the lantern wrote:The director of the ACLU is an attorney and he makes well over a million a year. I think he actually made over two or three million a year but they lost a lot of money and a few critical donors so he had to take a pretty sizeable pay cut.

Bullshit. There are almost no big firms that make $1mm in per-partner profits, and you expect us to believe that a donor-funded organization is out-paying the richest law firms on the planet?

Now, there are some lawyers who are affiliated with the ACLU that have made multi-million paydays on class-actions, but that's not the same as saying the ACLU is paying anyone a million+ a year.

Anonymous Loser
Posts: 568
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 11:17 am

Re: How much do Public Interest Lawyers generally max out at?

Postby Anonymous Loser » Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:25 am

Anthony Romero (Executive Director of the ACLU) only makes $345,000.


Source: http://www.aclu.org/files/pdfs/about/fy ... lu_990.pdf (page 19)

PoliticalJunkie
Posts: 228
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:32 pm

Re: How much do Public Interest Lawyers generally max out at?

Postby PoliticalJunkie » Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:34 am

ACLU Execs are in the 250K + range (http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.c ... orgid=3247)

PI attorney salaries range from 25K for a wet eared law grad to over 600K (forget the org that I saw this number - I will post when I think of it and find it). These are for the traditionally understood PI jobs.

Million-dollar salaries do happen though they don't in organizations traditionally understood as "PI." Many Government consulting firms in the DC area are 501c3 reg- non profits and the execs do in fact get paid millions. Hell, take a look at even Hospitals and their associated systems.

It's not hard to work for a non profit and get compensated very well. It's just like working for a firm, except that you have more internal growth potential if you choose the right industry.

User avatar
vanwinkle
Posts: 9740
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:02 am

Re: How much do Public Interest Lawyers generally max out at?

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:35 am

Anonymous Loser wrote:Anthony Romero (Executive Director of the ACLU) only makes $345,000.


Source: http://www.aclu.org/files/pdfs/about/fy ... lu_990.pdf (page 19)


Not only that, but there's only one Executive Director of the ACLU. It's not like everyone who works there eventually gets paid that much.




Return to “Law School FAQ”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests