Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Years in; starting pay; current pay; in law practice?

3; 40k; 57k; yes vohod08/08/17
18, 58k, approx. $250-300k, yes malumprohibitum08/16/17
4; 70k; 135k; yes lolwutjobs08/08/17
10; 50k; 125k; yes nofaultkillself08/08/17
7; 38k; 105k; yes pauperesq08/08/17
Is this years since graduation? I was unemployed, worked wolfman08/08/17
Ahh 2008 was a splendid year to graduate 9; 52k no benef sobeitunion08/09/17
6; 55k; 136k; yes readingrainbow08/09/17
10; 60k; 150k, no jdu1234432108/09/17
8; 45k; ~200k; yes newsolo08/09/17
8; 48k; 125k; yes lqclamar08/09/17
4 (although worked 1st year in a non-legal capacity); 105k; bucwild08/09/17
3; 22k; 79k; no flyer1408/09/17
I thought your were a gs14. clocker108/09/17
5; 44k; 90k; yes. trollfeeder08/09/17
6; 52k (no bonus); 83k (10-24k bonus potential); yes (unfort jd4hire08/09/17
3; 60k; 55k; yes (private practice to state law clerk) junkwired08/09/17
20, 55k, 200K, yes blakesq08/09/17
double entry blakesq08/09/17
8; 44k (after nearly two years unemployed/temp roles); 110k, 6figuremistake08/09/17
Yes and no... It's true that many starting salaries are arou thirdtierlaw08/09/17
I wouldn't say that six figures (at least in present dollars 6figuremistake08/09/17
20; starting 73k; now 500k-700k; yes - General Counsel lionelhutz08/09/17
What practice area bucwild08/09/17
General counsel stuff - Corporate, finance, SEC, M&A, contra lionelhutz08/09/17
Hot damn Lionel...what type of Co. jd4hire08/09/17
its a public company. small industry so I dont want to spec lionelhutz08/09/17
16, 100, 410, yes. dogdaypm08/09/17
5 excluding gaps; $40k no benefits; $90k with benefits; yes. loblawyer08/09/17
4, $32, $60 yytd08/09/17
19, ~22K in flyover, Now 45-80K in DC (income varies w/ doc bittersweet08/09/17
I mean no disrespect, but I am curious as to how you've been junkwired08/09/17
How? It's doc review. The average rate in DC is now in the bittersweet08/09/17
4; 50k (no bonus potential); 60k (w/bonus potential); yes ollieg7508/09/17
7; $50k; $90k; kinda (state court law clerk) tacocheese08/09/17
6;$46K; 75K; yes. ipesq08/09/17
20 months / $48k / $67k Went from $h!tlaw to the Feds as lawrunner31708/09/17
4 years; 55k; 62k; yes. Almost the entire 4 years was sp redwhineo08/09/17
6; 38k; 80k; yeah flawed08/09/17
80k; 250k; no cali222208/09/17
7; 38k; 80k; yes, though I've only practiced maybe half the perkinwarbeck08/09/17
8; 19k (started firm with 1 partner); 75k; yes (still in own hankstamper08/09/17
5; 100k; 180k; inhouse. jdtrash08/09/17
21; 29,000; 185,000. yes. defensivelawyer08/09/17
4; 160; 235; yes. interveningrights08/09/17
Averages after 32 compliant responses: Years___Starting P wutwutwut08/09/17
Maybe I'm an underperformer, but I don't know anyone who get mrtor08/10/17
I agree. I doubt for most people commenting here the increa wutwutwut08/10/17
15 years; starting pay: $40k; 2016 gross income: $145k in fl legalwiter108/09/17
These threads always bring the people out of the woodwork. 3lol08/09/17
This one actually resembles what I would expect from JDU; so loblawyer08/09/17
Considering I'm now a second year lolyer, I tend to agree, b 3lol08/09/17
4 years; $70k; $165k unemployable08/09/17
6 years, 70k (which decreased after being laid off), 120k, y 2breedbares08/09/17
11 years; $10/hr; 70k; no finklebots08/09/17
5 years; $62K; $98K; Yes. anonattempt08/09/17
9 years; $28K; $80K; NO seemedwiseatthetime08/09/17
10 yrs. $60k ID; $68k Gov; Yes e36m308/09/17
9 years out; started at $50k; current income ~$175k (dependi notiers08/10/17
This board is doing very well, and no, these sort of salarie pherc08/10/17
I think there is bias. Just like how people report salaries jdtrash08/10/17
No doubt. I have a hard time believing that the same person 6figuremistake08/10/17
I agree that lower earners are probably more reluctant to po mrtor08/10/17
"Doing well" is relative. Sure, I'm doing well with my sala pauperesq08/10/17
Haha, probably true in general; not true for me, but then I wolfman08/10/17
2 years; $60k (no benefits); $76k (full benefits); No mrtor08/10/17
4.5; 42+OT; 92+Bonus; Yes, I like practicing law. jorgedeclaro08/10/17
Thread seems to have run its course, so, not a whole lot dif wutwutwut08/10/17
4 years; 120k starting; 157k now (plus bonus potential); yes brassica708/12/17
Dang, I feel like such a loser. 15+. 45k. This year prob won cranky08/12/17
5 years; $70k (I think); $145k and yes....unfortunately. cocolawyer08/16/17
You were making loads of money before your current gig thoug 2breedbares08/16/17
Graduated in 2011, made ~42k in a quasi-law field, went back elle30108/21/17

vohod (Aug 8, 2017 - 10:12 pm)

3; 40k; 57k; yes

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malumprohibitum (Aug 16, 2017 - 1:12 pm)

18, 58k, approx. $250-300k, yes

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lolwutjobs (Aug 8, 2017 - 10:19 pm)

4; 70k; 135k; yes

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nofaultkillself (Aug 8, 2017 - 10:50 pm)

10; 50k; 125k; yes

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pauperesq (Aug 8, 2017 - 10:59 pm)

7; 38k; 105k; yes

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wolfman (Aug 8, 2017 - 11:41 pm)

Is this years since graduation?

I was unemployed, worked a dead-end state job for a few years, was unemployed again, did doc review, and then got another state job, if "years in" means all that (years in this hell would be more accurate haha):

9; 41.5K; 55.5K; no (I guess I'm technically in law practice, but not as a lawyer)

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sobeitunion (Aug 9, 2017 - 2:06 pm)

Ahh 2008 was a splendid year to graduate

9; 52k no benefits; 52k with benefits; in law, not currently in practice

Made double that in between working in bars after being laid off in mid-2010 and unemployed for a year.

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readingrainbow (Aug 9, 2017 - 5:32 am)

6; 55k; 136k; yes

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jdu12344321 (Aug 9, 2017 - 6:30 am)

10; 60k; 150k, no

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newsolo (Aug 9, 2017 - 6:34 am)

8; 45k; ~200k; yes

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lqclamar (Aug 9, 2017 - 7:30 am)

8; 48k; 125k; yes

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bucwild (Aug 9, 2017 - 7:46 am)

4 (although worked 1st year in a non-legal capacity); 105k; 180k; yes

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flyer14 (Aug 9, 2017 - 8:04 am)

3; 22k; 79k; no

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clocker1 (Aug 9, 2017 - 4:04 pm)

I thought your were a gs14.

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trollfeeder (Aug 9, 2017 - 8:44 am)

5; 44k; 90k; yes.

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jd4hire (Aug 9, 2017 - 9:12 am)

6; 52k (no bonus); 83k (10-24k bonus potential); yes (unfortunately)

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junkwired (Aug 9, 2017 - 9:12 am)

3; 60k; 55k; yes (private practice to state law clerk)

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blakesq (Aug 9, 2017 - 9:23 am)

20, 55k, 200K, yes

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blakesq (Aug 9, 2017 - 9:23 am)

double entry

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6figuremistake (Aug 9, 2017 - 9:26 am)

8; 44k (after nearly two years unemployed/temp roles); 110k, no

I'd like to point out that for even those who have stuck it out in law and have seen their salaries increase, this is almost exactly the same trajectory professionals outside the law experience. Of course, by ditching law school, you get to skip the debt and aggravation. Not to mention the number of people who never are able to land the first law job or those who wash out before they can get a better salary.

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thirdtierlaw (Aug 9, 2017 - 12:37 pm)

Yes and no... It's true that many starting salaries are around 40-50k, but I don't believe that most people, outside large cities are making 100k per year.

I'm not arguing that law school is the right decision but I just don't know that the earning potential is guaranteed in other white collar jobs.

The other big issue you hit on is the debt. The law grad making 100k/year is likely in the exact same financial position as the compliance specialist making 75-80k a year just do to student loan payments and lost 3 years.

3, 50k, 85-100k depending on whether my two new clients have a contested divorce or not. Yes.

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6figuremistake (Aug 9, 2017 - 2:22 pm)

I wouldn't say that six figures (at least in present dollars) is guaranteed for all non-attorney professionals outside of major metro areas, but likewise, I don't know if it's exactly a slam dunk for attorneys who stay within the field outside of major cities either. For attorneys and non attorneys alike, the low six figures isn't amazing money in SF, NYC, or DC.

It's impossible to tell by anecdotes alone if there's some edge to being an attorney, but I'd say anyone with the ambition and qualifications to get into a decent law school is likely to have the ability to make similar money in another field.

I'm in the six figure range, and my job seems far less stressful than most attorney positions (I never stay past 5), and I'm not exactly doing rocket science here. I could have gotten to the same place (probably sooner) without the JD, and it would have been nice to have done so without paying blood money to Sallie Mae/Navient along the way.

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lionelhutz (Aug 9, 2017 - 10:12 am)

20; starting 73k; now 500k-700k; yes - General Counsel

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bucwild (Aug 9, 2017 - 11:15 am)

What practice area

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lionelhutz (Aug 9, 2017 - 12:14 pm)

General counsel stuff - Corporate, finance, SEC, M&A, contracts, random crap.

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jd4hire (Aug 9, 2017 - 12:16 pm)

Hot damn Lionel...what type of Co.

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lionelhutz (Aug 9, 2017 - 12:18 pm)

its a public company. small industry so I dont want to specify. comp varies due to value of stock awards and bonuses.

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dogdaypm (Aug 9, 2017 - 10:29 am)

16, 100, 410, yes.

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loblawyer (Aug 9, 2017 - 10:58 am)

5 excluding gaps; $40k no benefits; $90k with benefits; yes.

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yytd (Aug 9, 2017 - 11:18 am)

4, $32, $60

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bittersweet (Aug 9, 2017 - 12:01 pm)

19, ~22K in flyover, Now 45-80K in DC (income varies w/ doc review market, no bennies).

I'd kill for an income like some of you guys above are making.

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junkwired (Aug 9, 2017 - 12:09 pm)

I mean no disrespect, but I am curious as to how you've been in the game for 19 years but are making less than 100k. Were you making more before but scaled down?

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bittersweet (Aug 9, 2017 - 1:05 pm)

How? It's doc review. The average rate in DC is now in the 29-33/hr range, when it was $35 or more in 2008. Even with X years experience, you are paid the same as the attorneys next to you, whether they have 25 years experience with the DOJ, or were sworn in yesterday. With experience you may work more often, but it won't affect the pay rate. With experience you might get a PM gig, which pays better, but it's still another temp job.

And with doc review, you often only wind up working 8 months of the year (less in smaller markets).

Overtime, which used to be very common, is now rare.

I'm good enough that firms will ask for me by name when they have a project, but they don't seem to think I'm good enough to be on staff (believe me, I've tried).

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ollieg75 (Aug 9, 2017 - 12:09 pm)

4; 50k (no bonus potential); 60k (w/bonus potential); yes

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tacocheese (Aug 9, 2017 - 12:27 pm)

7; $50k; $90k; kinda (state court law clerk)

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ipesq (Aug 9, 2017 - 12:31 pm)

6;$46K; 75K; yes.

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lawrunner317 (Aug 9, 2017 - 12:42 pm)

20 months / $48k / $67k

Went from $h!tlaw to the Feds as a non-attorney. Best decision ever.

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redwhineo (Aug 9, 2017 - 1:13 pm)

4 years; 55k; 62k; yes.

Almost the entire 4 years was spent not in law. I actually took a pay cut to get into a gov attorney position hoping it pays off in the long run.

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flawed (Aug 9, 2017 - 1:15 pm)

6; 38k; 80k; yeah

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cali2222 (Aug 9, 2017 - 1:16 pm)

80k; 250k; no

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perkinwarbeck (Aug 9, 2017 - 1:35 pm)

7; 38k; 80k; yes, though I've only practiced maybe half the time since law school.

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hankstamper (Aug 9, 2017 - 1:38 pm)

8; 19k (started firm with 1 partner); 75k; yes (still in own firm).

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jdtrash (Aug 9, 2017 - 1:45 pm)

5; 100k; 180k; inhouse.

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defensivelawyer (Aug 9, 2017 - 2:17 pm)

21; 29,000; 185,000. yes.

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interveningrights (Aug 9, 2017 - 3:05 pm)

4; 160; 235; yes.

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wutwutwut (Aug 9, 2017 - 3:10 pm)

Averages after 32 compliant responses:

Years___Starting Pay_____Current Pay____YOY Pay Increase
__ 8 _____ 50.8K __________ 127.2K ________ 9.2K


Without the two high-side outliers:

Years___Starting Pay_____Current Pay____YOY Pay Increase
__ 7 ____ 48.4K __________ 103.7K ________ 8.4K

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mrtor (Aug 10, 2017 - 10:31 am)

Maybe I'm an underperformer, but I don't know anyone who gets 8-16% salary increases per year.

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wutwutwut (Aug 10, 2017 - 12:57 pm)

I agree. I doubt for most people commenting here the increases have been too much due to salary (other than interveningrights, whose profile looks like biglaw lockstep progression).

For most, the increases are more likely due to routine increases in job-1, then a job hop that increased them significantly, followed by some more years of routine increases, then another big increase for another job hop. It'd be interesting to know what people like lionelhutz or dogdaypm were making just before they moved into their current, very high paying jobs.

As has been suggested several times here, starting salary also seems to impact eventual outcome, at least in this limited dataset. When I sort the numbers by starting salary, it's crowded with 6 out of 8 of those having the highest YOY average pay increases, ranging from 16K to 24K a year. The 2 outliers rounding out the top 8 YOY winners are folks like flyer who started extremely low then quickly GTFO law for something better.

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legalwiter1 (Aug 9, 2017 - 3:35 pm)

15 years; starting pay: $40k; 2016 gross income: $145k in fly-over country; law-related

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3lol (Aug 9, 2017 - 4:17 pm)

These threads always bring the people out of the woodwork.

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loblawyer (Aug 9, 2017 - 5:01 pm)

This one actually resembles what I would expect from JDU; some of the salary threads make me think I'm on autoadmit.

Some people, like the poster below, need screen name updates. Amusing when people with screen names like
toiletlawloser123 are posting about their $140k salaries 5 years out. Still better off than the general public even with the debt (I won't comment on the hours which are unfortunately omitted from these polls and I think are crucial).

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3lol (Aug 9, 2017 - 5:21 pm)

Considering I'm now a second year lolyer, I tend to agree, but 3LOL I will stay.

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unemployable (Aug 9, 2017 - 4:24 pm)

4 years; $70k; $165k

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2breedbares (Aug 9, 2017 - 4:39 pm)

6 years, 70k (which decreased after being laid off), 120k, yes.

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finklebots (Aug 9, 2017 - 5:55 pm)

11 years; $10/hr; 70k; no

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anonattempt (Aug 9, 2017 - 6:46 pm)

5 years; $62K; $98K; Yes.

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seemedwiseatthetime (Aug 9, 2017 - 7:15 pm)

9 years; $28K; $80K; NO

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e36m3 (Aug 9, 2017 - 10:06 pm)

10 yrs. $60k ID; $68k Gov; Yes

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notiers (Aug 10, 2017 - 12:05 am)

9 years out; started at $50k; current income ~$175k (depending on bonus and origination)

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pherc (Aug 10, 2017 - 9:00 am)

This board is doing very well, and no, these sort of salaries are not common or easily attainable for most outside the legal community.

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jdtrash (Aug 10, 2017 - 9:06 am)

I think there is bias. Just like how people report salaries to law schools, the people that are doing bad usually don't report.

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6figuremistake (Aug 10, 2017 - 9:53 am)

No doubt. I have a hard time believing that the same person who ends up a successful attorney would be condemned to a lower middle class life but for the JD. No, these salaries aren't typical for the general populace, but they are pretty standard for successful professionals in other fields - particularly those who live in higher COL areas. Anyone who thinks borrowing six figures of debt + time = a greater chance for an upper middle class lifestyle is just a future scam blogger in the making.

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mrtor (Aug 10, 2017 - 10:26 am)

I agree that lower earners are probably more reluctant to post. There is also a tendency for people to over inflate or lie about their earnings to impress others and reinforce their self-worth.

Another major component that was left out is location. Six figure salaries in major metro areas (CA, NYC, Chi, etc.) may only be enough to maintain a comfortable living due to the cost of living. Breaking six figures in my locale would propel one to the top tier.

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pauperesq (Aug 10, 2017 - 10:15 am)

"Doing well" is relative. Sure, I'm doing well with my salary and another 10-15k in bonus potential. I also have $150k in student loan debt, plus another $120k for my wife that we're trying to pay down. We own our home so we basically have two mortgage payments each month. We aren't struggling by any means but we're also not living in the ritzy part of town and driving $60k cars either.

I probably make more than many of my non-attorney high school and college classmates, but considering the cost to make this much, it likely balances out.

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wolfman (Aug 10, 2017 - 9:20 am)

Haha, probably true in general; not true for me, but then I dgf, at least not on here, and increasingly not IRL either haha.

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mrtor (Aug 10, 2017 - 10:28 am)

2 years; $60k (no benefits); $76k (full benefits); No

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jorgedeclaro (Aug 10, 2017 - 12:04 pm)

4.5; 42+OT; 92+Bonus; Yes, I like practicing law.

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wutwutwut (Aug 10, 2017 - 6:26 pm)

Thread seems to have run its course, so, not a whole lot different, but...

Averages after 43 compliant responses:

Years___Starting Pay_____Current Pay____YOY Pay Increase
_ 7.8 _____ 53.2K _________ 125.5K ________ 9.4K


Without the two high-side outliers:

Years___Starting Pay_____Current Pay____YOY Pay Increase
_ 7.3 ____ 51.6K __________ 108.2K ________ 8.8K

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brassica7 (Aug 12, 2017 - 1:59 pm)

4 years; 120k starting; 157k now (plus bonus potential); yes

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cranky (Aug 12, 2017 - 5:46 pm)

Dang, I feel like such a loser. 15+. 45k. This year prob won't make 80k as a solo. Yes, still in law. Seems like earnings have stagnated for me. At least I have no debt.

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cocolawyer (Aug 16, 2017 - 4:09 pm)

5 years; $70k (I think); $145k and yes....unfortunately.

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2breedbares (Aug 16, 2017 - 5:01 pm)

You were making loads of money before your current gig though right?

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elle301 (Aug 21, 2017 - 11:13 am)

Graduated in 2011, made ~42k in a quasi-law field, went back for my tax LLM. I've been at my current job less than a year, started at 60k but have great benefits. Kind of in law practice... jd and bar required.

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