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Current Law Students / If Only I Had Known Then
« on: April 11, 2006, 05:36:44 AM »

4. Don't be seduced by the headlines that read, "entry-level lawyer salaries top $100,000." Your future salary as a lawyer is primarily dependent on the clients that you serve. According to the National Association for Law Placement, jobs and J.D.'s Employment and Salaries of New Law Graduates, Class of 1998 (hereafter Class of 1998 Report), the median starting salary for members of the Class of 1998 was $45,000 with salaries of $70,000 or more being the exception versus the rule. It may surprise many students to learn that $40,000 and $30,000 were the most frequently reported salaries in the Class of 1998 Report. Individuals who serve corporate clients earned more than individuals serving indigent persons (median salary of $60,000 versus median salary of $31,000); and the median salary for government positions was $36,000.

5. If you are interested in pursuing a position in the private sector, you will most likely work for a law firm of 50 attorneys or less. More than 50% of the private sector entry-level positions for the Class of 1998 were in firms of .50 attorneys or less. Small law firms of 2-10 attorneys accounted for the largest percentage of the positions with more than 30% of all private sector positions. The median starting salaries for firms of this size is $37,000. For firms of 11-25 attorneys the median salary is $43,500, and for firms of 26-50 attorneys, $52,000. Hiring at law firms of 100+ attorneys has increased over the past few years with approximately one-third of the Class of 1998 obtaining positions with these firms. The starting salaries have increased as well with the median salary for firms of 101-250 attorneys at $62,000; 251-500 attorneys at $85,000 and firms of more than 500 attorneys at $90,000. One should not count on obtaining one of these positions. Hiring criteria for these firms are very strict and usually confined to the students in the top 10% - 20% of their class and to those who hold law review membership. In addition, we do not know how long the current hiring trend for the larger firms will continue. In the late 1980's/early 1990's the economy changed—many lawyers were laid off—it could always happen again.

6. From a financial standpoint plan to be in the middle of the class versus the top 10%. Be aware that the average law student graduates with more than $50,000 in debt. A recent article in the American Bar Association journal reported that the Nellie Mae Corporation found "lawyers who have been out of school between one and three years made an average of $37,200 in 1996 but had average educational related debt of $52,600." (June 1999) The monthly repayment amount on this debt would be more than $650.00 per month (at a 9% interest rate). This means that more than one-third of an individual's monthly income is going to this one item alone! Another way to look at this -- if you purchase a pizza every week at an average cost of $15.00 with loan money, that pizza will actually cost you $27.00 at the end of ten years. Do you really need that pizza every week?

Often law students expect a large payoff in terms of salary when they graduate and feel entitled to treat themselves well during school. DO NOT DO THIS. The payoff is not immediate upon graduation and you may experience a lifestyle that is very different from what you imagined once you have graduated. Therefore, my advice is to "live like a law student while a student." This means borrowing as little money as you can to finance your legal education, limiting credit card and other debt, learning what it means to borrow $30,000, and being careful how you spend your money.

Current Law Students / Re: poor lawyers
« on: April 11, 2006, 05:23:32 AM »
My undergrad major was criminology. I had a few adjunct profs. who were lawyers by day. They mostly worked for the state. They all complained about massive loans and drove pretty crummy cars. I'm sure they weren't there for fun, but were teaching to make ends meet.

Maybe lawyers that are poor don't like to advertise the fact they're poor lawyers?

Salaries for government lawyers generally are lower than for their private practice counterparts, with median annual salaries for entry-level government lawyers around $38,000. Yet perks such as pensions, loan repayment assistance (under certain circumstances), mentoring opportunities, flextime, and predictable work schedules can outweigh the lower compensation.

Government lawyers seem to enjoy the best of both worlds. Working for the government—whether as a prosecutor, public defender, attorney for an agency or department, or military officer in the JAG's Corps — enables you to practice law, serve your country, and have time to maintain some balance in your life.

Current Law Students / Harvard Student Arrested Following Flashing
« on: April 11, 2006, 04:48:35 AM »
An allegedly inebriated Harvard Law School student learned he did not have the luck of the Irish this past St. Patrick's Day when he was arrested for flashing his pot of gold in public. Benjamin E. Huston was arrested last Friday at 5:20 p.m. for exposing his genitals to oncoming traffic, according to Boston Police Department (BPD).

"There was an officer performing a traffic detail on Cambridge Street," BPD officer Michael P. McCarthy said. "Fifteen individuals exited the Sports Depot Bar and crossed the street, and one of the individuals remained on the street pointing and waving at cars, trying to get their attention."

Huston was impeding traffic, McCarthy said, so the officer went over to attempt to get him out of the street. "The officer then noticed that he was showing his genitals to the traffic," McCarthy said. "It wasn't even mooning. Maybe he was about to, but he pulled the front of his pants down and exposed himself to all the cars."

When the officer attempted to arrest him, Huston was allegedly resistant. "He made it a point to make it known he was a Harvard Law School student and that he would see us in court," McCarthy said. "It seems he thought it would make a difference in the outcome of the incident."

A court hearing was held yesterday morning in Brighton, and Huston was charged with one count of open and gross lewdness and one count of disorderly conduct. He was released without bail and ordered to return to court on April 3, said Jake M. Wark, spokesman for Boston's District Attorney's Office. Huston could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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