Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

BigLaw to 190k

https://abovethelaw.com/2018/06/new -york-to-190k-no-cravath- irishlaw06/04/18
And now the lemmings will line up for law scam. jbthealmightyprophet06/04/18
According to CPI inflation calculator (https://www.bls.gov/d 6figuremistake06/04/18
This means the non-BigLaw newgrads will average at least $13 wutwutwut06/04/18
Ding ding. There's the problem. Most people, and quite ratio onehell06/04/18
I wish we could print this thread onto a pamphlet and distri williamdrayton06/05/18
The scammers have won, again. The "pre-law" students I speak wolfman06/05/18
One movie is all it will take. Let them enjoy this dead cat wearyattorney06/05/18
Two thirds of student loans are owed by women. No wonder bi chicagoloser06/05/18
People also assume that if they get biglaw, and 190k is the wearyattorney06/05/18
This is also a good point that needs to be emphasized. The l flharfh06/06/18
All very true, but I'm not so down on biglaw. For those who onehell06/12/18
Just a company announcement...I bet many lemmings are thinki mrlollipop06/07/18
(h/t sanka) https://abovethelaw.com/2018/06/sor ry-law-stu wutwutwut06/08/18
Surprisingly, it may not be that far off: https://www.jdj onehell06/11/18
Nice post. The magnitude of the difference between NYC and themapmaster06/11/18
Cravath just dropped a bomb, allowing for the fact that nobo biglawdrone06/11/18
As other posters have already told so, the relationship betw ternarydaemon06/12/18
You couldn't pay me enough to live in a closet and work 80 h jmoney06/12/18
irishlaw (Jun 4, 2018 - 2:24 pm)

https://abovethelaw.com/2018/06/new-york-to-190k-no-cravath-didnt-make-the-first-move/2/

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jbthealmightyprophet (Jun 4, 2018 - 2:56 pm)

And now the lemmings will line up for law scam.

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6figuremistake (Jun 4, 2018 - 3:07 pm)

According to CPI inflation calculator (https://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm):

$190k today has as much buying power as $161K in (April) 2009. As I recall, that was the going rate at the time ($160k). Essentially, BigLaw is just keeping up with inflation (and there were some leans years when it lagged behind in real terms). Demand for new JD's hasn't exactly skyrocketed.

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wutwutwut (Jun 4, 2018 - 3:22 pm)

This means the non-BigLaw newgrads will average at least $130K, amiright?

Milk-n-honey, Honey.

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onehell (Jun 4, 2018 - 3:47 pm)

Ding ding. There's the problem. Most people, and quite rationally so, assume that salary distributions are a bell curve like they are in almost every other job. So if the top 10% makes 190, the median must be still in the six figs and even the bottom 10 percent must be in the 80s or thereabouts.

In any other career, those would be rational assumptions. But not law. The bimodal salary distribution that exists in law, is pretty much unique to law. Also, there are very few other careers where your placement on the curve depends so completely on school prestige and class rank.

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williamdrayton (Jun 5, 2018 - 7:44 am)

I wish we could print this thread onto a pamphlet and distribute it at every college holding an undergrad LSAC workshop/presentation. Wutwutwut and onehell nail the absolute crux of the scam. I bet most lemmings know that everybody isn't going to be top 10%/law review. But they naively assume that there must be relatively lucrative midlaw jobs for the "middle" of the class. I would also think that even if I finish at the bottom, I'll get half of that biglaw salary.

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wolfman (Jun 5, 2018 - 9:48 am)

The scammers have won, again. The "pre-law" students I speak with (and these are mostly decent kids, not the obvious gabbing sociopaths who increasingly dominate the lower-LSAT applicant pool) have no idea. They just assume they'll make six figures even if they don't get biglaw; after all, the boomer small-time lawyers their parents/grandparents know look like they are doing well.

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wearyattorney (Jun 5, 2018 - 1:39 pm)

One movie is all it will take. Let them enjoy this dead cat bounce. One movie and one recession and the number of closures are going to be spectacular.

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chicagoloser (Jun 5, 2018 - 10:29 am)

Two thirds of student loans are owed by women. No wonder birth rates have collapsed for all but the oldest women (40+).

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wearyattorney (Jun 5, 2018 - 1:31 pm)

People also assume that if they get biglaw, and 190k is the starting salary, by the time they hit 40, they’ll be in the 500k-1mil range. 90 percent of those who get biglaw will peak financially (salary wise) between 30-35, as after biglaw they’ll likely never earn as much, assuming they make six figures at all.

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flharfh (Jun 6, 2018 - 12:49 pm)

This is also a good point that needs to be emphasized. The lemmings don't know that even if they get a biglaw job, it's more likely than not that they'll be out of Biglaw by around the five year mark due to the "up or out" nature of how big firms handle their associates.

Additionally, if you consider the fact that you'll be working 60-80 hours a week, that big salary is not nearly as impressive on a per hour basis as it appears at first glance.

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onehell (Jun 12, 2018 - 10:09 pm)

All very true, but I'm not so down on biglaw. For those who do manage to get it, and pretty much no one else, law school remains a very good investment.

I mean, doctors have to work ridiculous hours during residency too, and they ain't making no 200k during it. The hours and the up or out culture isn't so bad if you just look at it as a training program. And most employers do see it as the best training there is.

So you put in your five years of grueling hours and emerge with that training and (if you were responsible) without student loans. Yeah your income downshifts which is contrary to "normal" expectations, but going in-house for "only" 200k at some F500 (again, hopefully with your loans paid off) is no bad outcome. You will have the upper middle class lifestyle most students are expecting.

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mrlollipop (Jun 7, 2018 - 1:31 am)

Just a company announcement...I bet many lemmings are thinking soon will be industry wide and they are will get that 190K when they graduate

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wutwutwut (Jun 8, 2018 - 9:47 am)

(h/t sanka)

https://abovethelaw.com/2018/06/sorry-law-students-but-your-starting-salary-will-not-be-190k/

ATL still gets it wrong on the bimodal salary distribution issue.

"The right-hand peak shows that salaries of $180,000 accounted for almost 16% of reported salaries. [okay so far, but then... ] Only about 16 percent of law school graduates had starting salaries of $180K, and..."


No, no, no, no, and no.

Only about 16 percent of the 20000 grads of 2016 who reported a salary had starting salaries of $180K.

Once you factor in bias (those making 180k are highly likely to report, those making bupkis much less likely) all you can say about this chart is that maybe 8% were getting 180K.

And the rest were not.

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onehell (Jun 11, 2018 - 8:01 pm)

Surprisingly, it may not be that far off:

https://www.jdjournal.com/2017/07/06/number-of-summer-associate-positions-decreasing/

"New York City is still the place to be for summer associates. There were 2,175 hired for the summer. Chicago had 311 summer associate hires with Los Angeles close behind at 299 and Boston had 222."

That's about 3000 people scoring summer associate jobs at the 92 Amlaw 200 firms that responded to the survey. Of course there are other cities unaccounted for, and other firms as well. But even 3000 would be about 13% of the roughly 40,000 new lawyers that graduate every year.

Problem is, even that is not as high a percentage as it may sound. If you add up the total enrollment at all the top 14 schools and combine it, it's roughly 4500 kids. Roughly 10% of all new JDs are coming out of top 14s. HLS, for example, actually has a massive class of like 600 people.

So you really don't need to dip below the top schools (and the top of the class at a few others) to fill summer associate classes. So the percentage of all JDs who get biglaw actually doesn't need to be that low for the chances for someone from a regular school to be zero or near-zero. I mean sure, some of the top kids will do clerkships or head for academia or DOJ/SEC honors programs instead, but overall, the top schools are quite able to supply enough grads to fill the demand, and they don't leave much left over for the rest of the roughly 200 accredited schools.

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themapmaster (Jun 11, 2018 - 10:05 pm)

Nice post. The magnitude of the difference between NYC and Chicago shocks me. At only 311 it is certainly understandable why Chicago doesn't need to look for students at Wisconsin, WUSTL, ND, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, or Indiana. I went to one of these law schools and the number of students in my class wanting to end up in Chicago compared to the number ending up there was truly pathetic

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biglawdrone (Jun 11, 2018 - 6:40 pm)

Cravath just dropped a bomb, allowing for the fact that nobody will refer to these as the Millbank or Simpson raises.

I will benefit directly from these salary increases, but it feels like anyone in BigLaw has to be worried that an inevitable economic slowdown will cause another round of layoffs. It's hard to imagine fees being pushed much higher, nor do I see partners lower salaries of associates or lowering their own compensation in the next downturn.

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ternarydaemon (Jun 12, 2018 - 1:07 am)

As other posters have already told so, the relationship between big-law and the top 14 schools is still quite stable in number of job openings vs amount of graduates. This 190k is for talent retention, and considering that these firms bill hundreds of millions, and some billions of dollars a year, 190k is just cost.

If you factor in inflation from 2016, it amounts to a 5% increase per year, which is reasonable. Of course, that 190k per year is only applicable to a niche of the legal profession, and not in general.

In the real world, there are dozens of alternative legal providers that offer (almost) the same service at a fraction of the cost, but the value that people adscribe to things is not always logical. This is why people still buy gold, jewelry, designer clothing and Swiss watches: these items range from completely useless to easily replaceable by cheaper, practical and more durable goods. Big law is the same, except for the very top white-shoe areas of the very, very top firms (clue: the top 15, not the other 75 or so big law firms).

Of course, a 26 year old just out of post-graduate school is not worth 190k per year. If you extrapolate it to the rest of the legal market, in reality these people are working three 65k jobs per year. In order to get to 2000 billable hours, you need to work 12 hours per day, every day of the year. So in reality, big-law junior associates are indeed worth more than the average 40k per year, cookie-cuter junior associate from the rest of the 200 or so schools; worth double actually, though they are forced to work harder and longer than almost everybody else.

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jmoney (Jun 12, 2018 - 5:40 pm)

You couldn't pay me enough to live in a closet and work 80 hours a week. Life's too short.

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