Law School Discussion

Deciding Where to Go => Choosing the Right Law School => Topic started by: BAFF213 on April 05, 2005, 02:59:29 PM

Title: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: BAFF213 on April 05, 2005, 02:59:29 PM
Anyone else notice that private sector salaries for most of the schools went down a lot?  I didn't look at every school, but at least for the schools I'm interested in, salaries went to significantly.  UConn's 75th went from 110K to 95K, Northeastern's 75th went from 125K to 115K and I believe BU's 25th went down to 50K!!!  What the hell is going on here?

Note:  I think there's a one-year lag time in the salary statistics (i.e. the salaries listed are for the Class of 2003).
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: St. Shaun on April 05, 2005, 07:15:20 PM
Anyone else notice that private sector salaries for most of the schools went down a lot?  I didn't look at every school, but at least for the schools I'm interested in, salaries went to significantly.  UConn's 75th went from 110K to 95K, Northeastern's 75th went from 125K to 115K and I believe BU's 25th went down to 50K!!!  What the hell is going on here?

Note:  I think there's a one-year lag time in the salary statistics (i.e. the salaries listed are for the Class of 2003).

I didn't notice that, but I did notice that UVA's 75th went up to 135K.  That's better than HYS.
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: A.J on April 05, 2005, 07:19:08 PM
Are you getting this info from a USNWR subscription? 
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: St. Shaun on April 05, 2005, 07:21:38 PM
Are you getting this info from a USNWR subscription? 

No, I went to Barnes and Noble and read it.  It's in the directory in the back.
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: BAFF213 on April 05, 2005, 08:36:22 PM
Same here - it's really annoying though.  If I spent all that money to go to BU (which is now ranked top 20) and put in three years of hard work, and I came out making $50K a year (their new 25th percentile in the private sector), I'd kill myself.  And I can't even get into BU!

This is ridiculous - maybe I should find a different profession...

No seriously though, these are 2003 statistics, maybe it was cuz the economy was bad back then.  The stats are probably better now.

Are you getting this info from a USNWR subscription? 

No, I went to Barnes and Noble and read it.  It's in the directory in the back.
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: St. Shaun on April 05, 2005, 09:12:03 PM
Same here - it's really annoying though.  If I spent all that money to go to BU (which is now ranked top 20) and put in three years of hard work, and I came out making $50K a year (their new 25th percentile in the private sector), I'd kill myself.  And I can't even get into BU!

This is ridiculous - maybe I should find a different profession...

No seriously though, these are 2003 statistics, maybe it was cuz the economy was bad back then.  The stats are probably better now.

Are you getting this info from a USNWR subscription? 


Profits were up over 5% generally for law firms (I read this a vault.com), however associates were complaining that
partners were keeping it for themselves.  That will most likely change this year however.  I'm guessing the drop in
pay has more to do with big firms hiring less associates.  That is definately likely to change this year.  Three
years from now is still up in the air.
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: the REAL desi on April 05, 2005, 09:30:13 PM
you'd kill yourself if you made $50k?

outside the t14, those 6 figure jobs are hard to come by.  at BU and other top XX schools, you have to be top quarter or top 1/3 to get 6 figs.  or else, you are scrounging for a job, hoping to make $50k or $70k. 

i'm guessing BU's biglaw cut off is top 1/3
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: BAFF213 on April 05, 2005, 09:41:27 PM
Then why is/was UConn's (USNWR ranking between 40 and 50) median salary for the class of 2002 in the private sector $85,000?  (source: USNWR - Ultimate Guide to Law Schools).

In addition, the majority of students were employed in CT, a state which doesn't even house one of the major BigLaw cities (e.g. NYC, D.C., Boston).



you'd kill yourself if you made $50k?

outside the t14, those 6 figure jobs are hard to come by.  at BU and other top XX schools, you have to be top quarter or top 1/3 to get 6 figs.  or else, you are scrounging for a job, hoping to make $50k or $70k. 

i'm guessing BU's biglaw cut off is top 1/3
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: Neub on April 05, 2005, 09:49:47 PM
Most of the median salaries for the private sector through the top 30 are still 6 figures, or 125k to be more specific. So the top 50% are still earning 6 figures.  That applies to even BU, which maintained a 125k median for the 2003 cycle.  However, the issue comes in how fast the drop off is after that point. For instance, BC still kept their 25th percentile relatively high with a private sector salary of 95k, and at the same time BU's fell to 50k.
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: ScurvyWench on April 05, 2005, 10:03:06 PM
If I were to take out $150-$160k in loans I would be pissed about making $50k too. I was making way more than that before I started this law school journey, if it was about the money, I sure wouldn't think it was worth it. I will probably make that or less going in to public interest, but I'm taking out very few loans to compensate.

In short, this is scary.
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: the REAL desi on April 05, 2005, 10:10:13 PM
connecticut is a big suburb of NYC on one end and Boston on the other end.  presumably their grads are working in either of those two cities

i just did a quick NALP search.  NYC/Boston firms are hiring at UCONN at regular biglaw rates.  the firms in stamford, bridgeport, etc, are b/n 70 and 100
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: BAFF213 on April 05, 2005, 10:15:50 PM
connecticut is a big suburb of NYC on one end and Boston on the other end.  presumably their grads are working in either of those two cities

67% of their 2002 graduates (most recent statistics I could find) are/were employed in-state upon graduation (Ultimate Guide to Law Schools).
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: A.J on April 06, 2005, 02:59:07 PM
Ya'll need to put this debt thing into perspective.  Even at 50k you only owe what is essentially a mortgage on a condo for crying out loud and probably at a lower interest rate.  The reality is that you should expect AT LEAST a 12% return on your investment and probably more given the nature of the degree.  I dont want to say that you should take this thing lightly but I think you guys should relax about it.
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: St. Shaun on April 06, 2005, 03:18:04 PM
One thing that I noticed that seemed suspicious was that Northwestern Grads
made more on there 25%-75% than University of Chicago Grads.  That seems really
odd to me. 

Even at top schools the average indebtedness is only around 70K. 
Of course this is thrown of by big scholarships and rich parents, but
I wouldn't think it would throw it off enough to put people over
100K in debt.
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: HURLEY- L.S.D. on April 06, 2005, 03:57:06 PM
Keep in mind also that that 50k/yr salary is not static.  You'll get salary bumps every year or two, and if you can make parter at a big firm after 6-9 years it will increase at least fourfold. 

My friend's Dad went to a small law school, worked for five years at 45k/yr, and now he makes over $200k after transferring to a larger firm. 
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: A.J on April 06, 2005, 04:00:27 PM
Ah yes, to be upwardly mobile is a wonderful thing indeed.
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: Neub on April 07, 2005, 06:29:08 AM
I hear what you all are saying about how 50k isn't all that bad and that there is a whole lot of upward mobility.  However, I think the point is that you can go to ANY law school and make at least 50k upon graduation.  A top tier, much less top 20 school, should put its graduates in an even "better" situation.
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: Monkey on April 07, 2005, 07:54:40 AM
Ya'll need to put this debt thing into perspective.  Even at 50k you only owe what is essentially a mortgage on a condo for crying out loud and probably at a lower interest rate.

Sure - but after you pay your "mortgage," you still haven't paid for an actual place to live - and if you're in a city, try shelling out the equivalent of two mortgages a month on $50K.  Won't leave much for things like, say, eating. :)  The expectation (or even strong possibility) of a salary of $50K is probably just not enough for most people to reasonably justify three years of law school and the debt that comes with it - even those who aren't in it for the big money need to know they'll have enough to pay off their debt AND have some semblance of a life, besides.  $50K, at least in any mid-size-to-large city, ain't gonna do it.
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: BAFF213 on April 07, 2005, 08:40:16 AM
Exactly.  I think BU's 25th percentile for the private sector of 50K is ridiculous...

I hear what you all are saying about how 50k isn't all that bad and that there is a whole lot of upward mobility.  However, I think the point is that you can go to ANY law school and make at least 50k upon graduation.  A top tier, much less top 20 school, should put its graduates in an even "better" situation.
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: A.J on April 07, 2005, 10:06:44 AM
Ya'll need to put this debt thing into perspective.  Even at 50k you only owe what is essentially a mortgage on a condo for crying out loud and probably at a lower interest rate.

Sure - but after you pay your "mortgage," you still haven't paid for an actual place to live - and if you're in a city, try shelling out the equivalent of two mortgages a month on $50K.  Won't leave much for things like, say, eating. :)  The expectation (or even strong possibility) of a salary of $50K is probably just not enough for most people to reasonably justify three years of law school and the debt that comes with it - even those who aren't in it for the big money need to know they'll have enough to pay off their debt AND have some semblance of a life, besides.  $50K, at least in any mid-size-to-large city, ain't gonna do it.

You do realize that payments are prorated based on income level right?  If you are hurting that badly you just might have to put yourself out a little more and try to make more money. 
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: Happy_Weasel on April 09, 2005, 12:24:18 AM
Well, I just don't want to be a JD holder making BA money...that's all. I mean, its just a bad investment to spend 100,000 and have no returns, even if it is fun and stimulating. This just makes the JD degree a luxury. All in all, I just want to know if my Higher T3(all my T3s have ratings comparable to T2s) and my lower T2s will do if I graduate from one of them. Will they just hang on the wall or will I actually get the respect that a lawyer is due. What tier do you have to be not be just a paralegal or a clerk the rest of your life? I'm just happy making the average 90,000/yr that is considered the AVERAGE in the profession.
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: the REAL desi on April 09, 2005, 07:56:46 AM
Well, I just don't want to be a JD holder making BA money...that's all. I mean, its just a bad investment to spend 100,000 and have no returns, even if it is fun and stimulating. This just makes the JD degree a luxury. All in all, I just want to know if my Higher T3(all my T3s have ratings comparable to T2s) and my lower T2s will do if I graduate from one of them. Will they just hang on the wall or will I actually get the respect that a lawyer is due. What tier do you have to be not be just a paralegal or a clerk the rest of your life? I'm just happy making the average 90,000/yr that is considered the AVERAGE in the profession.

call the career services at each of the school and request their salary information.  specifically, ask what percent of student actually responded to at graduation and 9-month employment surveys.  if they show 95% employment 9 months out, but only 62% reported, then you can happily assume that the othher 38% are unemployed and bitter.

as for making a respectable $90k - it's hard to make that coming out a T1 law school, so you have a bigger challenge coming out of a T2 and T3.  $90k where?  NY?  That is medium law.  Phoenix?  That is biglaw, so you'll have to be top of your class and law review.
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: Happy_Weasel on April 09, 2005, 10:13:20 AM
Well, I mean what would you consider good salary from a school ranked 70-110? I am thinking of making 50K to 65K my first year...something that says I made a good investment. Is it worth waiting to hold out for a job like that and if I do search the market...does that job exist?
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: the REAL desi on April 09, 2005, 07:51:22 PM
this is my philosophy - take your starting salary coming out of undergrad.  for most t.t.t. liberal arts majors, that is $31k.  add $10k for each year of grad school/law school, so after a JD, if you're getting $61k, you should be very happy.

if you were engineering, then start at $55k and add $30k = $85k.  if i get a job that pays $85k (which i'm sure i will), then i iwll be happy.
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: A.J on April 10, 2005, 09:52:22 AM
Well, I mean what would you consider good salary from a school ranked 70-110? I am thinking of making 50K to 65K my first year...something that says I made a good investment. Is it worth waiting to hold out for a job like that and if I do search the market...does that job exist?

I was looking at Oregon's stats for 04 the other day.  In a very rough NW legal job market they had people in PI coming out at like 28k and guys in private practice on the top end at 150k.  I think the median was around 50k despite how tight things are here.
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: Happy_Weasel on April 10, 2005, 03:11:08 PM
However, the average for new lawyers is 60K. I am going to an average law school (T2 or T3)...and the average in ten years is about 150,000 for private practice....So, I don't think im not being unrealistic.
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: SuicideNixon on May 18, 2005, 01:11:40 AM
However, the average for new lawyers is 60K. I am going to an average law school (T2 or T3)...and the average in ten years is about 150,000 for private practice....So, I don't think im not being unrealistic.

I don't know anything about the situation you are talking about, but of course it could be that the salary numbers look like that because you have people on both ends of the spectrum. That is, it could be that lots of tier 1 students make 70K+ and that most tier 2-4 students make 50K to make an average of 60K. Similarly it could be that ten years down the line you have plenty of folks stuck below 100K, but then you have a relatively few number of people making 250K+. You can't assume that achieving a certain salary number will be of average difficulty just because the number is average for the profession.
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: St. Shaun on May 18, 2005, 09:12:12 AM
However, the average for new lawyers is 60K. I am going to an average law school (T2 or T3)...and the average in ten years is about 150,000 for private practice....So, I don't think im not being unrealistic.

I don't know anything about the situation you are talking about, but of course it could be that the salary numbers look like that because you have people on both ends of the spectrum. That is, it could be that lots of tier 1 students make 70K+ and that most tier 2-4 students make 50K to make an average of 60K. Similarly it could be that ten years down the line you have plenty of folks stuck below 100K, but then you have a relatively few number of people making 250K+. You can't assume that achieving a certain salary number will be of average difficulty just because the number is average for the profession.

More like a relative few making over 600K.
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: LawyersGunnersnMoney on October 23, 2005, 07:38:54 AM
I can't speak for the entire country, but in the southeast there are a lot of jobs to be had at or very close to 6 figures if you do reasonably well in law school.  you dont have to be top 5 in your class.  there are people who dont go after the top paying jobs. maybe it comes down to interview/networking  skills, but ive been given good reason to believe i can start around $100k even coming from a school like south carolina if i finish top 1/4 
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: bruin on October 23, 2005, 01:09:27 PM
Anyone else notice that private sector salaries for most of the schools went down a lot?  I didn't look at every school, but at least for the schools I'm interested in, salaries went to significantly.  UConn's 75th went from 110K to 95K, Northeastern's 75th went from 125K to 115K and I believe BU's 25th went down to 50K!!!  What the hell is going on here?

Note:  I think there's a one-year lag time in the salary statistics (i.e. the salaries listed are for the Class of 2003).

I didn't notice that, but I did notice that UVA's 75th went up to 135K.  That's better than HYS.

 ;D
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: Oilguy3 on October 26, 2005, 07:17:08 AM
Well, I just don't want to be a JD holder making BA money...that's all. I mean, its just a bad investment to spend 100,000 and have no returns, even if it is fun and stimulating. This just makes the JD degree a luxury. All in all, I just want to know if my Higher T3(all my T3s have ratings comparable to T2s) and my lower T2s will do if I graduate from one of them. Will they just hang on the wall or will I actually get the respect that a lawyer is due. What tier do you have to be not be just a paralegal or a clerk the rest of your life? I'm just happy making the average 90,000/yr that is considered the AVERAGE in the profession.

Lawyers are due respect? I thought they were due a law degree...If you just want to be wealthy there are lots of options that require far less education.  Go to law school because you want to be a lawyer.
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: adverb on October 26, 2005, 05:50:18 PM
Uhhh... no.  Market salary at top firms, even in NY, is still 125K, with the exception of a very select firms.  I don't know where you are getting that number from, but from a person who has actually worked at these firms, I can tell you that 135K is NOT likely.  If you include bonus, MAYBE -- but that wouldn't be salary anyway.

I didn't notice that, but I did notice that UVA's 75th went up to 135K.  That's better than HYS.
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: bruin on October 27, 2005, 11:19:38 PM
A few firms do pay 135-140 in NYC and LA, thought often this is in place of a bonus.
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: Thikighoros on November 30, 2005, 02:22:36 PM

I didn't notice that, but I did notice that UVA's 75th went up to 135K.  That's better than HYS.

 Many of UVA's graduates take their bar exam in New York, and they are looking for employment in New York, in the private sector. That percentage may exceed HYS graduates (a good portion of which go into professorial jobs).

you'd kill yourself if you made $50k?

outside the t14, those 6 figure jobs are hard to come by.  at BU and other top XX schools, you have to be top quarter or top 1/3 to get 6 figs.  or else, you are scrounging for a job, hoping to make $50k or $70k. 

i'm guessing BU's biglaw cut off is top 1/3

Modification: Outside Tier 2 schools, 6 figure jobs are extremely hard to get. Even at that, your starting salary will eventually move up. But it is possible if you're in the top 15 percent, even at a Tier 3 school. 

Also remember that you school's location affects your starting salary. A Tier 3 school in New York for example may bring you  a higher salary than a Tier 2 school in a more remote location.

A $50K to $70K salary is a still a wonderful starting salary in most of the country. When you look at the figures, one has to take into account the costs of living which is the real determinant of affluence. A $50K salary is nothing in New York, because it disappears in the exorbitant amount of taxes, bills, housing costs, etc. But a $50K (or even $40K in some places) salary in a smaller city like Pittsburgh, or Austin would be very nice.

Most people think about starting salary, but they forget costs of living. The comaprisons of starting salaries are just that: comparisons. But remeber, it is the cost of living that would determines your future; it affects how much money available, and also how soon you would be able to pay off your student loans.

just my thoughts...
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: shae on December 07, 2005, 07:31:28 PM
40k in Austin is nothing.  I know everyone thinks Texas has a very low cost of living (and it does in the rural areas), but if you want to live in the city you will be paying quite a bit, and you cannot afford it making 40-50k.
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: sck on December 08, 2005, 07:32:27 AM
Well... I live in Houston on under 40K, and I do OK. I can't afford a lot, but I have a decent apartment, a nice car, and enough disposable income to treat myself to things sometimes. No big screen TVs, but I can buy clothes and eat out frequently, and pay my bills without hurting. Most of my money goes to bills, though. I tend to break even each month. It's a hell of a lot better than when I lived on 25K and couldn't afford to fix my car. Austin is, however, more expensive than Houston.

So you CAN afford it making 40-50K without much trouble if you live modestly, but if you've got big bills and loans to pay back it'll be unpleasant and not doable.

Quite honestly, if I get out of law school and am making 70K to start in Texas, I'll be pretty happy.
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: sck on December 08, 2005, 08:49:43 AM
Or if you want to have a family.  If law school loans are equivalent to one mortgage, then how are you going to pay for a real bricks-and-mortar mortgage, plus day care?

They keep having stories about how women who graduated from prestigious law schools are leaving the workforce to have children, but I don't understand how they're making loan payments.  Maybe they all have trust funds and went to law school to meet a husband?   ???

I wonder this too, and it's a fear of mine. I mean.... I'm in my 30s. I graduate from law school, maybe I'm married before I go/finish, and we want to have kids. Paying for daycare + loans + mortgage ... ow.

Maybe they went on a full scholarship or married outrageously rich men, but who knows. My most likely marriage candidate right now is a teacher, so there would certainly be no spare money there...!
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: RocketBot on December 14, 2005, 12:44:05 PM
I didn't notice that, but I did notice that UVA's 75th went up to 135K.  That's better than HYS.

hmm USNWR online says for UVA: Private sector (25th-75th percentile): $100,000 - $127,000

Michigan is 105 - 125, Columbia/NYU/Harvard are all 125 - 125.
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: pgcc on January 07, 2006, 03:00:53 PM
If BU's median is 125,00 that mean as long as you keep your head out of your butt for 3 years get good grades interview well you should make over 100,000 to start. It is the people in the bottom 25% of the class that are making 50,000. Personally I do not plan on being towards the bottom of the class after making such a financial commitment.
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: Happy_Weasel on January 22, 2006, 02:30:57 PM
Actually, 58K is median(not mean) for graduation in private and about 40 in public. Nationally. I'm guessing that public law levels around 50K and private law levels around 150 K in ten years. The median salary in law is about 95-100K according to most stats.

What I understand is that it falls like this for the tiers in private practice:
         City          Town         Rural
T14      125K          100K         80K

T1       100K           80K         60K

T2       80 K           60K         50K

T3       Unemployable   50K         40K
 
T4       Unemployable   40K         30K

..and I guess you make a bout 3 times that much when after 10 years.
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: shae on February 14, 2006, 08:52:26 PM
Actually, 58K is median(not mean) for graduation in private and about 40 in public. Nationally. I'm guessing that public law levels around 50K and private law levels around 150 K in ten years. The median salary in law is about 95-100K according to most stats.

What I understand is that it falls like this for the tiers in private practice:
         City          Town         Rural
T14      125K          100K         80K

T1       100K           80K         60K

T2       80 K           60K         50K

T3       Unemployable   50K         40K
 
T4       Unemployable   40K         30K

..and I guess you make a bout 3 times that much when after 10 years.

i completely disagree with this.
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: SuicideNixon on February 17, 2006, 11:14:34 PM
Actually, 58K is median(not mean) for graduation in private and about 40 in public. Nationally. I'm guessing that public law levels around 50K and private law levels around 150 K in ten years. The median salary in law is about 95-100K according to most stats.

What I understand is that it falls like this for the tiers in private practice:
         City          Town         Rural
T14      125K          100K         80K

T1       100K           80K         60K

T2       80 K           60K         50K

T3       Unemployable   50K         40K
 
T4       Unemployable   40K         30K

..and I guess you make a bout 3 times that much when after 10 years.

i completely disagree with this.

I won't comment on the rest, but I'm pretty sure that a T14 grad going to a rural area doesn't make anymore than a T2 grad doing the same. It's not like there are big firms in truly rural areas.
Title: Re: Anyone notice that private sector salaries went down a lot?
Post by: Slow Blues on February 18, 2006, 05:17:43 AM
I didn't notice that, but I did notice that UVA's 75th went up to 135K.  That's better than HYS.

hmm USNWR online says for UVA: Private sector (25th-75th percentile): $100,000 - $127,000

Michigan is 105 - 125, Columbia/NYU/Harvard are all 125 - 125.

First year associates' salaries starting to creep up. Should be 125-145 or 145-145 for the Top 10 or so schools by the time we graduate or maybe even as soon as next year.