vanwinkle wrote:I actually had a partner at a V5 firm comment to me, "You know, doing this job just for the money isn't a great idea. Sure, it's good pay, but if you're at the level you can compete here, you're capable enough to be an entrepreneur, and the ratio of income to hours worked is much higher there. If you're here it's for another reason."
And I kept thinking about that, and he's right. $160K/yr sounds like a lot, but it's fixed, and you're not building anything that'll keep making you money, you have to keep putting work in to get money out. Compare that to (on the extreme) Zuckerberg, who at 26 years old is worth over a billion dollars and could sell the company he's built and retire right now.
That's an extreme example, but you don't have to build a company worth a billion dollars to be more successful than someone making $160K/year at sometimes 80 hours per week.
What that partner said is based on the assumption that the same traits that make you a successful employee at a big law firm can also turn you into a successful entrepreneur, which I don't think is a correct assumption. One may be very competitive as a lawyer and not so much as a businessman. There are overlapping skills (e.g. negotiation) but also polar opposite traits (risk aversion v. risk taking and retrospective v. prospective approach). I would say a successful biglaw attorney could probably be also successful on the business side of a corporation, i.e. working for someone else, (and make more money too) because those two jobs have more in common.