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51
I can't imagine many law school grads going to the police academy....but I like the idea and the kind of experience you would gain.  I wonder how many grads pursue this route.

I know one person who became a police officer, but not right out of law school.  Also, this person was not making very much money as a lawyer.  I find it hard to imagine that many biglaw associates quit their jobs to join a police force.

Although you get overtime as a police officer, the hours are long and you work nights and weekends.  Sometimes you pull "all-nighters" just as a lawyer does -- for example, if your regularly scheduled 12-hour shift ends at 7 AM, and you are subpoenaed to testify in court at 8:30 AM, and you sit around all day in court waiting for your turn until 5 PM, and then have to work your next regularly scheduled shift from 6:30 PM that night until the following 7AM (12 hours + 30 min unpaid lunch), I think it's safe to say that you'd feel like crap, especially since you are working on the streets instead of in a cushy office.

52
Does Philly generally have lower minimum billables than NYC? I think COL should also be a factor, and Philly is cheaper than NYC.  Not sure about the CA cities.

Minimum billable hour requirements seem to be the same across all offices of the same firm.  As for the biglaw firms that have their main presence in Philadelphia, their stated minimum billable hour requirements are generally the same as in other cities.  However, I get the impression that the actual number of hours billed is less in Philly than in some other cities (such as New York).  Also, if you take a look at the bonus requirements, at least one Philly biglaw firm pays a maximum non-discretionary bonus when 2,200 billable hours are met, while at least one New York biglaw firm pays a maximum non-discretionary bonus when 2,400 billables are met.

How much cheaper would you say Philly is than NYC?  I've used the CNN Cost of Living calculator, but it provides very generalized figures.

53
Law Firms / Re: Real deal on law firm life
« on: August 17, 2008, 07:33:36 PM »
Is there a good resource to find out a firm's true minimum billables (especially for those that don't list a minimum billable requirement on NALP). I just don't believe some NY firms when they say 1850 is their minimum on NALP and would like some concrete numbers. Also, what firms require different levels of billables for different levels of bonuses? Infirmation doesn't seem to have updated info.

Some NALP forms show the average billable hours worked and the average total hours worked.  These numbers, however, can be misleading.

54
With the heavy loan debt many lawyers have the day after graduating from law school, it hardly seems worth it to take a $35-70k associate position.  Rather, a better deal can be had by becoming a government lawyer or a police officer (if you can hack it) and taking advantage of income-based repayments (which are limited to 15% of your adjusted gross income in excess of 150% of the federal poverty level) and loan forgiveness after 10 years.

If you pick the right police department, you can be making $70k to start plus fully subsidized health/dental/vision, with upward income potential of $150k-$250k (depending on department size) as you climb the career ladder, all while enjoying the security of a civil service position.  Additionally, you can have a 90% pension with cost of living adjustments after 30 years of service, in addition to almost fully subsidized health/dental/vision and income from any other deferred compensation plans that you participated in (457b plans, which are the government version of 401ks, and IRAs).

55
Law Firms / Re: A question for people working in Biglaw...
« on: August 17, 2008, 10:57:11 AM »
I don't know and I don't much care. Minimum billables are a poor indicator of how much work you will do. My group's hours are roughly comparable to US groups in the other City firms. I probably bill a bit more because I get "borrowed" by a British partner who does a lot of CIS work and he keeps very long hours. I love working with him, though, so I don't mind.

LittleRussianPrincess,

What led you to move from TN to London?

56
Law Firms / Re: A question for people working in Biglaw...
« on: August 17, 2008, 07:40:13 AM »
Most attorneys prefer to work at home rather than in the office, but that's not always possible with every task/project. Staying late is not an indication that a firm is a sweatshop. My minimum billables are 1500 and few people here bill over 2000, but legal work is cyclical. There are weeks when I stroll in late and go home at 5:30 on the dot because there's nothing to do and there are weeks when I pull several all-nighters a week. It just depends on the group, the project and the market. And while it may not be true across the board, the timelines for most corporate deals are such that work is slow in the summer. It's usually quite busy before the winter holidays though because the banks want to push deals through before the end of the calendar year.

1500 hours per year is a very, very low billable hour requirement.  Is that standard in England?

57
Law Firms / Re: A question for people working in Biglaw...
« on: August 17, 2008, 04:40:32 AM »
I summered at two V50 firms this summer, and 80% of the attorneys were bone by 6:30 every night. It really just depends on the market.

My groups at both firms said the summer had been their busiest time of the year. While your point may very well be true generally, it doesn't account for my particular firms. The attorneys left early because a) the firms aren't sweatshops and b) some of them prefer to do extra work at home, rather than at the office.

Hey LonghornDub,

What city did you work in?

58
you really want to spend more than a couple years billing 2200 hours...? You know you only have so much living you can do before you die right?


Yes, I am already considering my exit strategy, but I thought I'd save that for another thread at a later time. ;D

I know that I can transfer to a different city at a later time, although I think it would be difficult to do, and I also know that I may not be practicing law a few years down the road.  However, in the event that I do remain in the legal industry, I would like to be compensated at a competitive rate.

Also, I think the big bonuses come at 2400 hours. 8)

59
Is it worth it to practice biglaw in Philly over NYC, LA, SF, and SD?

Philly firms pay first-years a salary of 145k, while the other aforementioned cities pay 160k.  This 15k difference may seem minor until one reviews:

1. Base salaries for second- through eighth-year associates
2. Annual bonuses
3. City and state income tax rates


At its best (some of the top Philly biglaw firms pay less), Philly pays the following base salaries...

1st Year: $145k
2nd Year:  $152k
3rd Year: $160k
4th Year: $170k
5th Year: $180k
6th Year: $190k
7th Year: $200k
8th Year: $210k

...while New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego pay the following:

1st Year: $160k
2nd Year: $170k
3rd Year: $185k
4th Year: $210k
5th Year: $230k
6th Year: $250k
7th Year: $265k
8th Year: $280k

And those are just the base salaries.  In terms of bonuses, New York firms seem to pay $15k-$60k per year more than do Philly firms.

As for tax rates...

Philadelphia City Wage Tax: 4.5% (3.9127% if you live outside the city)
Pennsylvania State Income Tax: 3.07% (flat rate regardless of income)

New York City Income Tax: 3.648% (on income in excess of $50,000) + $1,706 [single filing status]
New York State Income Tax: 6.85% (if your income is more than $150,000)

Los Angeles/San Francisco/San Diego: No city income tax
California State Income Tax: 9.3% (maximum rate)

Without any deductions, credits, or pre-tax contributions, and without any local/state tax credits for federal taxes paid, the following is one's take-home pay (based on BASE SALARIES ONLY) after paying federal income tax, social security tax (6.2% on a maximum of $102,000), Medicare Tax (1.45%, no limit), state income tax, and city income/wage tax as a city resident [single filing status, where applicable, for all taxes]:

*** BASED ON BASE SALARIES ONLY ***

PHILADELPHIA
1st Year: $91k
2nd Year: $95k
3rd Year: $100k
4th Year: $106k
5th Year: $112k
6th Year: $118k
7th Year: $124k
8th Year: $130k

NEW YORK
1st Year: $96k
2nd Year: $102k
3rd Year: $110k
4th Year: $124k
5th Year: $135k
6th Year: $146k
7th Year: $154k
8th Year: $162k

LOS ANGELES/SAN FRANCISCO/SAN DIEGO:
1st Year: $100k
2nd Year: $106k
3rd Year: $114k
4th Year: $128k
5th Year: $139k
6th Year: $151k
7th Year: $159k
8th Year: $168k

Remember that these calculations are based on base salaries only and do not include annual bonuses.

Now that you see the figures, do you think it's worth it to practice in Philadelphia over NY/LA/SF/SD based on...

- cost of living
- hours worked (I think it's safe to say that New York attorneys work more hours than their counterparts in other cities, but I am not sure how the other cities compare)

...assuming that a person is okay with living in any of the aforementioned cities?

I have been pondering this question myself, as I am a 3L and need to decide between two offers (one in Philly, and one in another aforementioned city) for a post-graduate associate position next year.

For anyone else weighing job offers between cities, and even within the same city, please remember to consider the following two factors:

1. The base salary for first- through eighth-year associates (not just the first-year pay!)
2. The annual bonus for first- through eighth-year associates (which can vary greatly among firms!)

I would love to hear everyone's comments on this issue.  Thanks!

60
Is it worth it to practice biglaw in Philly over NYC, LA, SF, and SD?

Philly firms pay first-years a salary of 145k, while the other aforementioned cities pay 160k.  This 15k difference may seem minor until one reviews:

1. Base salaries for second- through eighth-year associates
2. Annual bonuses
3. City and state income tax rates


At its best (some of the top Philly biglaw firms pay less), Philly pays the following base salaries...

1st Year: $145k
2nd Year:  $152k
3rd Year: $160k
4th Year: $170k
5th Year: $180k
6th Year: $190k
7th Year: $200k
8th Year: $210k

...while New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego pay the following:

1st Year: $160k
2nd Year: $170k
3rd Year: $185k
4th Year: $210k
5th Year: $230k
6th Year: $250k
7th Year: $265k
8th Year: $280k

And those are just the base salaries.  In terms of bonuses, New York firms seem to pay $15k-$60k per year more than do Philly firms.

As for tax rates...

Philadelphia City Wage Tax: 4.5% (3.9127% if you live outside the city)
Pennsylvania State Income Tax: 3.07% (flat rate regardless of income)

New York City Income Tax: 3.648% (on income in excess of $50,000) + $1,706 [single filing status]
New York State Income Tax: 6.85% (if your income is more than $150,000)

Los Angeles/San Francisco/San Diego: No city income tax
California State Income Tax: 9.3% (maximum rate)

Without any deductions, credits, or pre-tax contributions, and without any local/state tax credits for federal taxes paid, the following is one's take-home pay (based on BASE SALARIES ONLY) after paying federal income tax, social security tax (6.2% on a maximum of $102,000), Medicare Tax (1.45%, no limit), state income tax, and city income/wage tax as a city resident [single filing status, where applicable, for all taxes]:

*** BASED ON BASE SALARIES ONLY ***

PHILADELPHIA
1st Year: $91k
2nd Year: $95k
3rd Year: $100k
4th Year: $106k
5th Year: $112k
6th Year: $118k
7th Year: $124k
8th Year: $130k

NEW YORK
1st Year: $96k
2nd Year: $102k
3rd Year: $110k
4th Year: $124k
5th Year: $135k
6th Year: $146k
7th Year: $154k
8th Year: $162k

LOS ANGELES/SAN FRANCISCO/SAN DIEGO:
1st Year: $100k
2nd Year: $106k
3rd Year: $114k
4th Year: $128k
5th Year: $139k
6th Year: $151k
7th Year: $159k
8th Year: $168k

Remember that these calculations are based on base salaries only and do not include annual bonuses.

Now that you see the figures, do you think it's worth it to practice in Philadelphia over NY/LA/SF/SD based on...

- cost of living
- hours worked (I think it's safe to say that New York attorneys work more hours than their counterparts in other cities, but I am not sure how the other cities compare)

...assuming that a person is okay with living in any of the aforementioned cities?

I have been pondering this question myself, as I am a 3L and need to decide between two offers (one in Philly, and one in another aforementioned city) for a post-graduate associate position next year.

For anyone else weighing job offers between cities, and even within the same city, please remember to consider the following two factors:

1. The base salary for first- through eighth-year associates (not just the first-year pay!)
2. The annual bonus for first- through eighth-year associates (which can vary greatly among firms!)

I would love to hear everyone's comments on this issue.  Thanks!

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