Missing Big Law = Poverty?

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thelawyler
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Re: Missing Big Law = Poverty?

Postby thelawyler » Tue Sep 18, 2012 4:33 pm

jonjon1324 wrote:Ive been living in Gainesville for 4 years, 16,000 is WAYY too high an estimate for cost of living

Okay then gl with your goals and career.

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SuperCerealBrah
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Re: Missing Big Law = Poverty?

Postby SuperCerealBrah » Tue Sep 18, 2012 4:34 pm

IAFG wrote:
jwinaz wrote:
Bronte wrote:The problem is no so much that other jobs don't pay enough it's that other jobs are scarce. Government hiring has been very slow. Most importantly with regard to your question, the ideal of a midsize law firm that pays $80,000 to freshly-minted JDs is very rare. Midsize and small law firms do not have the resources to train new JDs and thus usually only hire experienced attorneys.

Here's a good article on law firm salaries: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/ ... wyer-jobs/. It will confirm that your $80,000 a year salary is very, very rare.



Hmmm. This is interesting.

I'm very surprised that a lawyer could make $40K or less. I'll try to confirm these numbers elsewhere. My only question is how this looks, if it's true, years later for these graduates? Let's suppose a new law graduate really does make $50K a year, but what about 5 years down the line? I noticed that data was for the class of 2011. So, these are entry level salaries.

Why on earth would that surprise you?

Image

And yes, those are starting salaries, but lawyers making $50k yr one aren't making $160k at yr 10.

That is why law school is generally regarded as a bad idea, leading to a decrease in applications for law schools.


The bolded is not necessarily true at all. Also, citation needed there.

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Aberzombie1892
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Re: Missing Big Law = Poverty?

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Tue Sep 18, 2012 4:35 pm

^^^^^

Also note that the above chart only takes into account 41% of all first year salaries. That means that the 59% with lower salaries are not included.

Also, I read on Campos blog that 25% of ALL attorneys in Alabama made less than $25k in 2009. Believe it.

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thelawyler
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Re: Missing Big Law = Poverty?

Postby thelawyler » Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:46 pm

Having worked previously as an assistant at a firm of about 30-40 where the attorneys started at 35-40k and lasted an average of about 8 months, yeah, it is very real. And no, they did not really have any room for advancement. In fact, an attorney who was there for two years (total veteran at the firm) quit because he was making 45k without a single raise for the entire two years. They all laugh at the idea of ever making 100k there. In fact, the starting salary was going DOWN as the managing partners realized the market was so bad out there that they could hire people for less (hence the two year guy who started at 45k two years ago, but the new starting salary being 35-40k).

I'd say my experience is not abnormal, otherwise wtf are everybody still doing there? They would move if there was other substantially better jobs out there that could absorb them. And from what I understood, many of them were tossing resumes around but had trouble finding a better deal. And yes, most of them told me not to go to law school. And after seeing that, I wouldn't have had I not gotten into T14.
Last edited by thelawyler on Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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SuperCerealBrah
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Re: Missing Big Law = Poverty?

Postby SuperCerealBrah » Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:50 pm

flem wrote:
SuperCerealBrah wrote:The bolded is not necessarily true at all. Also, citation needed there.


The problem is, the type of firms that start you at 45K a year don't exactly have a ton of room for advancement. You don't just work your way up - you work for someone who will church and burn you until the wheels fall off for 45-50K a year (often without benefits) until you can't take it anymore and quit - with no exit options.


That may often be true. But, after a lot of experience and a solid client network, there is nothing stopping somebody from going solo and brining in their own fees. Personally, if I were at year 10 and my boss was still giving me scraps, I would try striking out on my own. Sure, these people may fail as do a lot of businesses, but this does not mean the group starting out low necessarily ends up in the same income range. On the contrary, anecdotally, I know a fair number of people IRL and some JDU posters actually who started out low and make now a substantial amount more. Maybe not models and bottles, but still a respectable income.

The real point is, there is no data giving percentages on this at this point. Saying what IAFG said was just a gut reaction on what is perceived as likely rather than on real data. The transparency on starting salaries is becoming better by the day. However, thats where it ends at this point. Also, this is how the real world generally works. You either become a rainmaker and your boss recognizes your value, you become a rainmaker and your boss doesn't recognize this, or you just are going to have to deal with the fact you aren't successful at brining in business. Nothing will ever change this reality in any profession or endeavor. Just because somebody went to school and listened to a professor lecture, does not entitle them to profits. But at the same time, this does NOT excuse the law school's behavior either.

Edited for clarity. I wrote it fast initially so it was kind of a mess lol
Last edited by SuperCerealBrah on Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Missing Big Law = Poverty?

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:51 pm

SuperCerealBrah wrote:
IAFG wrote:And yes, those are starting salaries, but lawyers making $50k yr one aren't making $160k at yr 10.

That is why law school is generally regarded as a bad idea, leading to a decrease in applications for law schools.

The bolded is not necessarily true at all.

It's not "necessarily" true, there are exceptions of course, but it is quite the norm. Please name one job where you can make $50K/yr starting out and expect to make $160K/yr after 10 years.

That was, of course, the point; you can't expect to be making over $100K/yr if you don't start there.

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Re: Missing Big Law = Poverty?

Postby SuperCerealBrah » Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:51 pm

thelawyler wrote:Having worked previously as an assistant at a firm of about 30-40 where the attorneys started at 35-40k and lasted an average of about 8 months, yeah, it is very real. And no, they did not really have any room for advancement. In fact, an attorney who was there for two years (total veteran at the firm) quit because he was making 45k without a single raise for the entire two years. They all laugh at the idea of ever making 100k there. In fact, the starting salary was going DOWN as the managing partners realized the market was so bad out there that they could hire people for less (hence the two year guy who started at 45k two years ago, but the new starting salary being 35-40k).

I'd say my experience is not abnormal, otherwise wtf are everybody still doing there? They would move if there was other substantially better jobs out there that could absorb them. And from what I understood, many of them were tossing resumes around but had trouble finding a better deal. And yes, most of them told me not to go to law school. And after seeing that, I wouldn't have had I not gotten into T14.


lol 2 years is not veteran status. It takes years for people to make money in any endeavor.

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IAFG
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Re: Missing Big Law = Poverty?

Postby IAFG » Tue Sep 18, 2012 7:28 pm

SuperCerealBrah wrote:
lol 2 years is not veteran status. It takes years for people to make money in any endeavor.

Uh... no. Isn't that the whole point?! Put yourself in a position to hit biglaw.

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Re: Missing Big Law = Poverty?

Postby thelawyler » Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:19 pm

SuperCerealBrah wrote:
thelawyler wrote:Having worked previously as an assistant at a firm of about 30-40 where the attorneys started at 35-40k and lasted an average of about 8 months, yeah, it is very real. And no, they did not really have any room for advancement. In fact, an attorney who was there for two years (total veteran at the firm) quit because he was making 45k without a single raise for the entire two years. They all laugh at the idea of ever making 100k there. In fact, the starting salary was going DOWN as the managing partners realized the market was so bad out there that they could hire people for less (hence the two year guy who started at 45k two years ago, but the new starting salary being 35-40k).

I'd say my experience is not abnormal, otherwise wtf are everybody still doing there? They would move if there was other substantially better jobs out there that could absorb them. And from what I understood, many of them were tossing resumes around but had trouble finding a better deal. And yes, most of them told me not to go to law school. And after seeing that, I wouldn't have had I not gotten into T14.


lol 2 years is not veteran status. It takes years for people to make money in any endeavor.

It is when you're the only one at the firm willing to work there for that long. And it's not like this was most people's first jobs - they moved in thinking things were different. They weren't. I'm talking guys with families in their 40s. so lol yourself, brah.

And you know your job sucks when being a 2 year "veteran" is being one of the people who have been there the longest because of the pay and lack of opportunities.

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Re: Missing Big Law = Poverty?

Postby SuperCerealBrah » Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:54 pm

IAFG wrote:
SuperCerealBrah wrote:
lol 2 years is not veteran status. It takes years for people to make money in any endeavor.

Uh... no. Isn't that the whole point?! Put yourself in a position to hit biglaw.


If you are going into a lot of debt and you want to work for a big firm only, then yes. However, I think that what is unusual about the bimodal salary distribution as compared to other fields, is not that there are a lot people at the lower end. Entry level employment across the board categorically does not pay well. Law is the exception where you are given a six salary figure right out of the gate...well, for the top schools and/or top students. Not even Medical Doctors make six figures right out of school. They make about the same as the lower end of this bimodal chart for years (depending on the residency) before they finally hit good money. But yea, IMO, law school shouldn't even be considered a graduate education and is obscenely and laughably expensive. Not to mention, law school isn't hard. At all. The curve is the only thing that makes it hard, really. 3 years is way, way overkill.
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Re: Missing Big Law = Poverty?

Postby SuperCerealBrah » Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:57 pm

thelawyler wrote:
SuperCerealBrah wrote:
thelawyler wrote:Having worked previously as an assistant at a firm of about 30-40 where the attorneys started at 35-40k and lasted an average of about 8 months, yeah, it is very real. And no, they did not really have any room for advancement. In fact, an attorney who was there for two years (total veteran at the firm) quit because he was making 45k without a single raise for the entire two years. They all laugh at the idea of ever making 100k there. In fact, the starting salary was going DOWN as the managing partners realized the market was so bad out there that they could hire people for less (hence the two year guy who started at 45k two years ago, but the new starting salary being 35-40k).

I'd say my experience is not abnormal, otherwise wtf are everybody still doing there? They would move if there was other substantially better jobs out there that could absorb them. And from what I understood, many of them were tossing resumes around but had trouble finding a better deal. And yes, most of them told me not to go to law school. And after seeing that, I wouldn't have had I not gotten into T14.


lol 2 years is not veteran status. It takes years for people to make money in any endeavor.

It is when you're the only one at the firm willing to work there for that long. And it's not like this was most people's first jobs - they moved in thinking things were different. They weren't. I'm talking guys with families in their 40s. so lol yourself, brah.

And you know your job sucks when being a 2 year "veteran" is being one of the people who have been there the longest because of the pay and lack of opportunities.


I am sorry real life is so hard. This is not unique to law. Some people make money. Some people don't. The best way to ensure making good money is to be a good rainmaker. So I guess my point is, what the hell is your point? Law is just now becoming how other endeavors have always been. Unfortunately, the people traditionally attracted to law are extremely risk adverse and therefore think anything not guaranteed is atrocious. No, that is real life. Deal with it. HOWEVER, the debt is definitely atrocious though, that is for sure. And much, much fewer people should be admitted. I do not deny that the legal education system is a travesty.

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Re: Missing Big Law = Poverty?

Postby SuperCerealBrah » Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:05 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
SuperCerealBrah wrote:
IAFG wrote:And yes, those are starting salaries, but lawyers making $50k yr one aren't making $160k at yr 10.

That is why law school is generally regarded as a bad idea, leading to a decrease in applications for law schools.

The bolded is not necessarily true at all.

It's not "necessarily" true, there are exceptions of course, but it is quite the norm. Please name one job where you can make $50K/yr starting out and [b]expect to make $160K/yr after 10 years.[/b]

That was, of course, the point; you can't expect to be making over $100K/yr if you don't start there.


Of course you can't expect it. But that does not mean it does not happen. Also, just because it may technically be the exception also does not mean it does not happen often. I know a fair number of people who make it work and eventually bring in good income in many industries, including law. That is anecdotal and yes, they may not be the majority. However, that does not mean that it hardly ever happens. But gee, you know, it would be a lot easier if we actually had some real data on that. And I wish they did.

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Re: Missing Big Law = Poverty?

Postby thelawyler » Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:08 pm

SuperCerealBrah wrote:
thelawyler wrote:
SuperCerealBrah wrote:
thelawyler wrote:Having worked previously as an assistant at a firm of about 30-40 where the attorneys started at 35-40k and lasted an average of about 8 months, yeah, it is very real. And no, they did not really have any room for advancement. In fact, an attorney who was there for two years (total veteran at the firm) quit because he was making 45k without a single raise for the entire two years. They all laugh at the idea of ever making 100k there. In fact, the starting salary was going DOWN as the managing partners realized the market was so bad out there that they could hire people for less (hence the two year guy who started at 45k two years ago, but the new starting salary being 35-40k).

I'd say my experience is not abnormal, otherwise wtf are everybody still doing there? They would move if there was other substantially better jobs out there that could absorb them. And from what I understood, many of them were tossing resumes around but had trouble finding a better deal. And yes, most of them told me not to go to law school. And after seeing that, I wouldn't have had I not gotten into T14.


lol 2 years is not veteran status. It takes years for people to make money in any endeavor.

It is when you're the only one at the firm willing to work there for that long. And it's not like this was most people's first jobs - they moved in thinking things were different. They weren't. I'm talking guys with families in their 40s. so lol yourself, brah.

And you know your job sucks when being a 2 year "veteran" is being one of the people who have been there the longest because of the pay and lack of opportunities.


I am sorry real life is so hard. This is not unique to law. Some people make money. Some people don't. The best way to ensure making good money is to be a good rainmaker. So I guess my point is, what the hell is your point? Law is just now becoming how other endeavors have always been. Unfortunately, the people traditionally attracted to law are extremely risk adverse and therefore think anything not guaranteed is atrocious. No, that is real life. Deal with it. HOWEVER, the debt is definitely atrocious though, that is for sure. And much, much fewer people should be admitted. I do not deny that the legal education system is a travesty.


My entire point is that, yes, it is real life and it is reality. My anecdote was clearly about showing how expectations of lawyer jobs always turning into major money making careers were clashing with reality in a real life setting. This was obviously in response to the "I can't believe lawyers actually make less than 50k" comment. So my point is that if you don't start off high rolling, life is tough shit as a lawyer and not the models and bottles that many expect going in, and it only gets tougher with six figure debt.

lol you're such a fucking aggressive prick because you're setting all your preconceived prejudices on me. go fuck yourself and learn to read, brah.

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Re: Missing Big Law = Poverty?

Postby SuperCerealBrah » Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:13 pm

lawlyer:

My comment was mainly related to IAFG's comment not you (you just chimed in). Also, I was going to agree with everything you said in the above post until you said that so fuck you to, brah.

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Re: Missing Big Law = Poverty?

Postby thelawyler » Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:19 pm

ITT:
(quote somebody in an obnoxious manner)

(later claim you were talking to somebody else and that you actually agree with them)

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Re: Missing Big Law = Poverty?

Postby SuperCerealBrah » Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:37 pm

SuperCerealBrah wrote:
IAFG wrote:
jwinaz wrote:
Bronte wrote:The problem is no so much that other jobs don't pay enough it's that other jobs are scarce. Government hiring has been very slow. Most importantly with regard to your question, the ideal of a midsize law firm that pays $80,000 to freshly-minted JDs is very rare. Midsize and small law firms do not have the resources to train new JDs and thus usually only hire experienced attorneys.

Here's a good article on law firm salaries: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/ ... wyer-jobs/. It will confirm that your $80,000 a year salary is very, very rare.



Hmmm. This is interesting.

I'm very surprised that a lawyer could make $40K or less. I'll try to confirm these numbers elsewhere. My only question is how this looks, if it's true, years later for these graduates? Let's suppose a new law graduate really does make $50K a year, but what about 5 years down the line? I noticed that data was for the class of 2011. So, these are entry level salaries.

Why on earth would that surprise you?

Image

And yes, those are starting salaries, but lawyers making $50k yr one aren't making $160k at yr 10.

That is why law school is generally regarded as a bad idea, leading to a decrease in applications for law schools.


The bolded is not necessarily true at all. Also, citation needed there.


Lawlyer:

Almost this entire page has been a discussion of the above right here. It was a reply to IAFG's absolutist statement, which bugged me. When I look at your first quote after that, I think I did unfairly quote you as it looks like you were only giving your experience with it and not really responding to me per se. I apologize for that. I had assumed you were saying that as some sort of "evidence" to counter me on what I had said. And I was not agreeing with everything you said. Just your post a couple posts up.

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Re: Missing Big Law = Poverty?

Postby ksllaw » Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:15 pm

This is a good topic actually, despite some initial arguing here (let's let calmer heads prevail a bit!). The overwhelming majority of law graduates will not land a $160K biglaw job right out of school. That is a statistical fact and certainty. No ifs, ands, or buts.

And that certainly raises some serious questions about the legal education system, prevailing myths about law degrees, tuition costs, and other structural problems...But, one thing we might ask - to steer the conversation in a slightly different direction - is what can one do if they're now or soon to be in that situation of having missed biglaw (assuming they wanted it in the first place)? This is not to say that going to law school was necessarily a good idea to start with - maybe it was or maybe it wasn't. I'm putting that aside and want to ask about what options one has now that they're in this situation of having not landed a biglaw job and having median law school graduate debt?

I agree it would help to have more data on small law firm lawyers' salaries beyond the entry level wage - something I'll try to search for when I have time. And, also, I see where both of you guys are coming from (SuperCerealBrah and thelawyler). One side is addressing what appears to be the norm (low wage and dead-end, small firm jobs) and the other is saying that there are exceptions to that rule that might be more common than one thinks (although, maybe still relatively rare). And, of course, data here would be helpful! ...But, still, both of you may not really be in disagreement, so much as trying to point out just one particular aspect/side to the question/issue.

But, to return to my point above, why don't we take a look at what may be possible for those who are already in the situation of having missed big law and may want to work in small law as a possible career?

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=183482
In this thread, "Big Law vs. S*** Law..." there seem to be a number of blueprints for how to build a successful small law practice. I can't vouch for their accuracy and viability, of course, but they do appear to be from genuinely successful and helpful posters.

I invite you all over to join the discussion, as it seems a potentially great educational tool. Here are some small law success stories mentioned to give you a small sample (with more detailed discussion inside the thread):

One of my colleagues went to a regional TTTT and he's making more than a million dollars a year. I'm not saying it's an easy alternative. It's incredibly hard, but it is doable with hard AND smart work. By smart work I mean, ascertain just what kind of legal demand is in your area. Then go out there and meet that demand. And when you market, do it intelligently. Market to those people who most likely need your services and market to those people who can likely PAY for your services. This, folks, is extremely valuable business advice. It's simple, but essential.

I think the key difference that the stats don't bear out is that there are those lawyers who are terrible businessmen and those who are good businessmen. But those are factors you can control to a large degree. You have to work to network. You have to be smart about it. Most lawyers are not. But there are far too many that are smart about it and they are the ones who mkae yearly salaries that put biglaw associate salaries to shame. And some of those put biglaw partner revenue sharing amounts to shame. And they are not as rare as you think. I think some of this depends on the market you live in. But a lot of it depends on what kind of entrepreneurial acumen you have.

A DUI lawyer who gets volume is generally making 200k to300k a year. A DUI in Texas costs about $5000 upfront and then an additional $10,000 if it goes to trial. Any good DUI lawyer is going to have volume. If you get just 4 of those in a month, that is $20,000. And that is just in a month's time.
Last edited by ksllaw on Wed Sep 19, 2012 4:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Missing Big Law = Poverty?

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:14 am

SuperCerealBrah wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:Please name one job where you can make $50K/yr starting out and [b]expect to make $160K/yr after 10 years.[/b]

Of course you can't expect it. But that does not mean it does not happen. Also, just because it may technically be the exception also does not mean it does not happen often. I know a fair number of people who make it work and eventually bring in good income in many industries, including law. That is anecdotal and yes, they may not be the majority. However, that does not mean that it hardly ever happens. But gee, you know, it would be a lot easier if we actually had some real data on that. And I wish they did.

OK, then, let's have some data: In 2010, the median annual salary for a lawyer was $112,760 (see http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/lawyers.htm). If you visit that site and click on the pay tab, it tells you the following:

Bureau of Labor Statistics wrote:The median annual wage of lawyers was $112,760 in May 2010. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $54,130, and the top 10 percent earned more than $166,400.

Only the top 10 percent of all lawyers nationwide earned more than $166K per year. That 10 percent of all lawyers includes, of course, every BigLaw associate at market pay ($160K+ salary plus typical bonuses means more than $166K income starting the first full year). Given that a number of law firms that pay market are highly leveraged and thus don't intend to permanently keep most of their associates earning that pay, this means even those who get BigLaw, not even those who are in the top 10 percent of earners today will still be there 10 years from now. Many will accept lower-paying jobs once their firm lets them go; some will leave the legal profession entirely.

90% of all lawyers in the country made $166K or less last year. So, yes, I would say that starting at $50K/yr and then finding a way to earn over $160K/yr, even after 10 years, hardly ever happens.

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Re: Missing Big Law = Poverty?

Postby SuperCerealBrah » Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:35 am

vanwinkle wrote:
SuperCerealBrah wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:Please name one job where you can make $50K/yr starting out and [b]expect to make $160K/yr after 10 years.[/b]

Of course you can't expect it. But that does not mean it does not happen. Also, just because it may technically be the exception also does not mean it does not happen often. I know a fair number of people who make it work and eventually bring in good income in many industries, including law. That is anecdotal and yes, they may not be the majority. However, that does not mean that it hardly ever happens. But gee, you know, it would be a lot easier if we actually had some real data on that. And I wish they did.

OK, then, let's have some data: In 2010, the median annual salary for a lawyer was $112,760 (see http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/lawyers.htm). If you visit that site and click on the pay tab, it tells you the following:

Bureau of Labor Statistics wrote:The median annual wage of lawyers was $112,760 in May 2010. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $54,130, and the top 10 percent earned more than $166,400.

Only the top 10 percent of all lawyers nationwide earned more than $166K per year. That 10 percent of all lawyers includes, of course, every BigLaw associate at market pay ($160K+ salary plus typical bonuses means more than $166K income starting the first full year). Given that a number of law firms that pay market are highly leveraged and thus don't intend to permanently keep most of their associates earning that pay, this means even those who get BigLaw, not even those who are in the top 10 percent of earners today will still be there 10 years from now. Many will accept lower-paying jobs once their firm lets them go; some will leave the legal profession entirely.

90% of all lawyers in the country made $166K or less last year. So, yes, I would say that starting at $50K/yr and then finding a way to earn over $160K/yr, even after 10 years, hardly ever happens.


The point, vanwinkle, is that it does not necessarily mean that someone starting out with a "low" salary will forever not make a "respectable" income. Look at IAFG's quote again. Even $80,000 is respectable. Hell, even $70,000, debt aside, is OK. The fact that only 10% make over $166,000 says that only 10% make over exactly $166,000. So only a few lawyers get ultra rich? Shocker. But guess what, it also says, as you noted, that less than 10% make under $50,000. So it goes both ways. That means few are staying at under $50,000 over the years (well, those who at least obtained legal jobs). I would bet also that the lower salary spectrum represents a very high amount of entry level people.

This is why we probably shouldn't have quoted specific salary levels...just ranges.

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Re: Missing Big Law = Poverty?

Postby SuperCerealBrah » Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:05 am

vanwinkle wrote:
SuperCerealBrah wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:Please name one job where you can make $50K/yr starting out and [b]expect to make $160K/yr after 10 years.[/b]

Of course you can't expect it. But that does not mean it does not happen. Also, just because it may technically be the exception also does not mean it does not happen often. I know a fair number of people who make it work and eventually bring in good income in many industries, including law. That is anecdotal and yes, they may not be the majority. However, that does not mean that it hardly ever happens. But gee, you know, it would be a lot easier if we actually had some real data on that. And I wish they did.

OK, then, let's have some data: In 2010, the median annual salary for a lawyer was $112,760 (see http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/lawyers.htm). If you visit that site and click on the pay tab, it tells you the following:

Bureau of Labor Statistics wrote:The median annual wage of lawyers was $112,760 in May 2010. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $54,130, and the top 10 percent earned more than $166,400.

Only the top 10 percent of all lawyers nationwide earned more than $166K per year. That 10 percent of all lawyers includes, of course, every BigLaw associate at market pay ($160K+ salary plus typical bonuses means more than $166K income starting the first full year). Given that a number of law firms that pay market are highly leveraged and thus don't intend to permanently keep most of their associates earning that pay, this means even those who get BigLaw, not even those who are in the top 10 percent of earners today will still be there 10 years from now. Many will accept lower-paying jobs once their firm lets them go; some will leave the legal profession entirely.

90% of all lawyers in the country made $166K or less last year. So, yes, I would say that starting at $50K/yr and then finding a way to earn over $160K/yr, even after 10 years, hardly ever happens.


Oh, and one more thing about these statistics. Aside from the fact that 10% made less than $50,000 (again, of those that obtained legal jobs), you realize that somebody could be making $100,000-150,000 per year and still be outside of the 10% of attorneys who made over $166,000. So, again, all it really says is 10% will make over $166,000 not that only 10% will ever reach a six figure income. There is a huge, huge range of possible salary incomes between less than $50,000 and more than $166,000. Those two categories make up about 20% of all lawyers. That means 80% are between these two extremes.

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Re: Missing Big Law = Poverty?

Postby IAFG » Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:19 am

SuperCerealBrah wrote:The point, vanwinkle, is that it does not necessarily mean that someone starting out with a "low" salary will forever not make a "respectable" income. Look at IAFG's quote again. Even $80,000 is respectable. Hell, even $70,000, debt aside, is OK. The fact that only 10% make over $166,000 says that only 10% make over exactly $166,000. So only a few lawyers get ultra rich? Shocker. But guess what, it also says, as you noted, that less than 10% make under $50,000. So it goes both ways. That means few are staying at under $50,000 over the years (well, those who at least obtained legal jobs). I would bet also that the lower salary spectrum represents a very high amount of entry level people.

This is why we probably shouldn't have quoted specific salary levels...just ranges.

Oh God. Enough special snowflake rationalizations, okay?

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Re: Missing Big Law = Poverty?

Postby SuperCerealBrah » Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:25 am

IAFG wrote:
SuperCerealBrah wrote:The point, vanwinkle, is that it does not necessarily mean that someone starting out with a "low" salary will forever not make a "respectable" income. Look at IAFG's quote again. Even $80,000 is respectable. Hell, even $70,000, debt aside, is OK. The fact that only 10% make over $166,000 says that only 10% make over exactly $166,000. So only a few lawyers get ultra rich? Shocker. But guess what, it also says, as you noted, that less than 10% make under $50,000. So it goes both ways. That means few are staying at under $50,000 over the years (well, those who at least obtained legal jobs). I would bet also that the lower salary spectrum represents a very high amount of entry level people.

This is why we probably shouldn't have quoted specific salary levels...just ranges.

Oh God. Enough special snowflake rationalizations, okay?


There is not a single fucking thing in any of my posts that portray special snowflake syndrome. Pointing out a weakness in statistics is not a special snowflake argument, it is a fucking common sense and critical thinking argument. If anything, people expecting six figure incomes just because they went to grad school are suffering that, not me. Also, I am not a 0L and I do not just expect things to work out and that everything will turn out honky dory (sp?).. That makes me categorically not a special snowflake. Stop being upset just because you made a retarded absolutist comment and somebody called you out on it.

Also, pointing out an obvious fact is not rationalizing HTH If I were trying to argue these points as a justification for going, then maybe. However, I am not.

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Re: Missing Big Law = Poverty?

Postby IAFG » Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:28 am

SuperCerealBrah wrote:
IAFG wrote:
SuperCerealBrah wrote:The point, vanwinkle, is that it does not necessarily mean that someone starting out with a "low" salary will forever not make a "respectable" income. Look at IAFG's quote again. Even $80,000 is respectable. Hell, even $70,000, debt aside, is OK. The fact that only 10% make over $166,000 says that only 10% make over exactly $166,000. So only a few lawyers get ultra rich? Shocker. But guess what, it also says, as you noted, that less than 10% make under $50,000. So it goes both ways. That means few are staying at under $50,000 over the years (well, those who at least obtained legal jobs). I would bet also that the lower salary spectrum represents a very high amount of entry level people.

This is why we probably shouldn't have quoted specific salary levels...just ranges.

Oh God. Enough special snowflake rationalizations, okay?


There is not a single fucking thing in any of my posts that portray special snowflake syndrome. Pointing out a weakness in statistics is not a special snowflake argument, it is a fucking common sense and critical thinking argument. If anything, people expecting six figure incomes just because they went to grad school are suffering that, not me. Also, I am not a 0L and I do not just expect things to work out and that everything will turn out honky dory (sp?).. That makes me categorically not a special snowflake. Stop being upset just because you made a retarded absolutist comment and somebody called you out on it.

It wasn't absolutist. It's fucking retarded to take a generalization like "people making 50k aren't ending up at 160k" and start frothing at the mouth because there are exceptions. Idiocy. Did you really, sincerely think that I believe no lawyer who started out at 50k has ever made over 160k? If so, you're an idiot. If not, you're a pedantic idiot.

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Re: Missing Big Law = Poverty?

Postby SuperCerealBrah » Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:31 am

IAFG wrote:
SuperCerealBrah wrote:
IAFG wrote:
SuperCerealBrah wrote:The point, vanwinkle, is that it does not necessarily mean that someone starting out with a "low" salary will forever not make a "respectable" income. Look at IAFG's quote again. Even $80,000 is respectable. Hell, even $70,000, debt aside, is OK. The fact that only 10% make over $166,000 says that only 10% make over exactly $166,000. So only a few lawyers get ultra rich? Shocker. But guess what, it also says, as you noted, that less than 10% make under $50,000. So it goes both ways. That means few are staying at under $50,000 over the years (well, those who at least obtained legal jobs). I would bet also that the lower salary spectrum represents a very high amount of entry level people.

This is why we probably shouldn't have quoted specific salary levels...just ranges.

Oh God. Enough special snowflake rationalizations, okay?


There is not a single fucking thing in any of my posts that portray special snowflake syndrome. Pointing out a weakness in statistics is not a special snowflake argument, it is a fucking common sense and critical thinking argument. If anything, people expecting six figure incomes just because they went to grad school are suffering that, not me. Also, I am not a 0L and I do not just expect things to work out and that everything will turn out honky dory (sp?).. That makes me categorically not a special snowflake. Stop being upset just because you made a retarded absolutist comment and somebody called you out on it.

It wasn't absolutist. It's fucking retarded to take a generalization like "people making 50k aren't ending up at 160k" and start frothing at the mouth because there are exceptions. Idiocy. Did you really, sincerely think that I believe no lawyer who started out at 50k has ever made over 160k? If so, you're an idiot. If not, you're a pedantic idiot.


Again, stop being so mad because somebody called you out on it. People here want honesty, transparency, data and love nuance...unless of course it doesn't support a point you're making.

And yes, I would not be surprised if you actually believed that. Not that you think that nobody ever achieved that, just that you think it is super, super rare and hardly ever happens. There is a difference.

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Re: Missing Big Law = Poverty?

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:28 pm

IAFG wrote:It wasn't absolutist. It's fucking retarded to take a generalization like "people making 50k aren't ending up at 160k" and start frothing at the mouth because there are exceptions. Idiocy. Did you really, sincerely think that I believe no lawyer who started out at 50k has ever made over 160k? If so, you're an idiot. If not, you're a pedantic idiot.

This. It's about all I have left to say.




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