A. Nony Mouse wrote:Academia's also not lucrative.
I disagree with this. Most academics don't chase money, but they certainly have the time to if they choose. My required weekly commitment is 8 hours. I make a solid salary for eight hours per week. I could work another full-time job on top of that. You can teach at more than one university if there are many in your area. My hourly take-home rate is higher now than it was in biglaw.
The OP is in sociology, and if I was unclear, let me say that I was talking about non-legal academia (since that's what the OP would be leaving). Non-legal (or business) academia is absolutely and utterly different from legal academia. Most non-legal academics get paid about $3000-4000 per course. (Although it varies, the average in one recent study is $2,987 per 3 credit course: http://chronicle.com/article/Adjunct-Pr ... de/136439/
). Teaching, say, 5 courses a semester - which gets you to a princely $40K annual salary - is absolutely more than 8 hours a week of work, nor does it allow you time for working other jobs. If you teach at more than one institution at a time, you're usually not full-time at any of them, so you don't get benefits (never mind factoring in commuting and dealing with more than one bureaucracy). I mean, you could teach one course a semester and work a full-time job on top of that, but then you're not really making a living as an academic - you just do it on the side - which doesn't really suggest that academia itself is particularly lucrative.
Tenured profs in non-legal academia can do reasonably well, if they are superstars hired at Yale or Harvard or the like, and depending on their field. Full professors in history at state flagships, who've been working for 20+ years, make ~$125K depending where in the country you are. Someone (in history) at a branch campus who's been in the job nearly 40 years may make about $85K. I think sociology is fairly similar to history in terms of the the salary options (things like computer science and econ are obviously going to be different). Salaries vary a great deal, however, depending on the individual institution's financial position. But really, I think one of the whole points of tenure is that you can pay people less because job security makes up for it.