Law School Discussion

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Messages - Jake_MONDATTA

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51
so much drama.

52
General Board / Re: Was BigLaw a Bubble?
« on: March 24, 2009, 03:27:37 PM »
Well, we'll see.  If you're right and biglaw salaries appropriately indicate the value provided by junior associates to the overall economy, those salaries will stay where they are.  If I'm right, they won't.  We'll just have to wait and see what happens.  For both of our sakes, I hope I'm wrong.

53
General Board / Re: Was BigLaw a Bubble?
« on: March 24, 2009, 03:02:53 PM »
So "knights in white" or whatever means economically productive?

Well, regardless, I suppose we understand each other now. 

I still don't think pointing out that senior engineers aren't always economically productive has much bearing on whether or not they are more economically productive than junior biglaw associates. 

54
General Board / Re: Was BigLaw a Bubble?
« on: March 24, 2009, 02:49:27 PM »
LOL.  I see, so it's the greedy underpaid engineers and researchers who wrecked the economy, not the financial services industry.

Some bubbles are psychological in addition to being financial.

I'm not saying that.  I'm just saying, they're not knights in white either.

Okay... so help me understand how pointing out that engineers are not altruistic is relevant to whether or not biglaw salaries are inflated.  I don't get it.


It's not.  It is relevant to the earlier point that you made about biglaw being unproductive for the economy, while engineering firms were.  Correct me if that's not the implication that you made.

The point I made is that biglaw salaries were inflated by the financial services bubble.

I understood what you were saying to be that they were not.  As support for this contention, your offered your theory that the difference in salary between a junior associate in biglaw and a senior engineer at IBM or Intel is merely due to the fact that the associate, presumably, works longer hours.  The theory seems to imply that a biglaw junior associate's time is equally valuable, in an economic sense, as that of an IBM or Intel senior engineer.  When I pointed this out, you responded by asserting that some engineers behave immorally.

Have I misunderstood?

55
General Board / Re: Was BigLaw a Bubble?
« on: March 24, 2009, 02:19:56 PM »
LOL.  I see, so it's the greedy underpaid engineers and researchers who wrecked the economy, not the financial services industry.

Some bubbles are psychological in addition to being financial.

I'm not saying that.  I'm just saying, they're not knights in white either.

Okay... so help me understand how pointing out that engineers are not altruistic is relevant to whether or not biglaw salaries are inflated.  I don't get it.

56
General Board / Re: Was BigLaw a Bubble?
« on: March 24, 2009, 02:05:49 PM »
LOL.  I see, so it's the greedy, though admittedly relatively poorly paid, engineers and researchers who wrecked the economy, not the financial services industry and its handmaidens in legal services.

Some bubbles are psychological in addition to being financial.

57
General Board / Re: Was BigLaw a Bubble?
« on: March 24, 2009, 01:36:46 PM »
Yea, I think biglaw economics make sense.  You're probably paying those people about the same as the senior engineer, if you compare hours.

But that thinking assumes that time spent on vastly different activities is equal in terms of economic output.  I think that's wrong-headed.  I mean, is a 25 year old without any real world experience spending 40 hours reviewing email correspondence for some frivolous litigation equal, in an economic sense, to an experienced professional spending 40 hours designing a new type of DRAM or new heart valve? 

That may make sense to you, but in terms of creating a productive economy, in the long term, I don't think it does.  I suppose we'll see who's right in the coming 2-5 years...

58
General Board / Re: Was BigLaw a Bubble?
« on: March 24, 2009, 01:15:57 PM »
Absolutely it was a bubble inflated by financial services... especially in NYC.

Think about which law firms are hardest hit - those that were heavy into banking practices.  Look at the layoff numbers for firms like White and Case and compare it to firms at the top of other practices (e.g., Finnegan Henderson or Covington Burling).  

At the end of the day, stare Biglaw economics in the face and ask yourself if it makes sense.  First year and second year associates have great educations but have little real-world experience.  They do not make a great deal of money for firms and they certainly, on average, do not draw in business.  Does it make sense to pay these people $160k?  But it's not just the junior associates in Biglaw who were overpaid.  Legal secretaries for Biglaw firms in NYC make six figures.  HR people make six figures.  

Compare these numbers to their counterparts at brick and mortar businesses and you see how overvalued people in legal services have been.  A senior engineer at IBM is doing well if he's above $80k.  Managers of departments make around what second or third year associates have been pulling in.  Secretaries at Intel make less than $50k.  The head of the NIH makes around as much as the average Skadden associate, as does the chair of a department at MIT.  

59
Since we obviously haven't seen the bottom of this yet, I would suggest that what to do isn't really clear to any one at this point.  No one in the working world today has experienced a financial meltdown as severe as this one, so everybody's advice is of questionable value.

I would only say that firms aren't necessarily looking for the same things they were looking for in good times.  They generally need people who will hit the ground running and make money for them sooner rather than later.  Experience is more important than it used to be even 6 months ago.  Having a unique skill set (e.g., background in some obscure, but lucrative, field, language skllls, political or business connections, etc.) is something that appears to help.  If you're looking to work in DC, government experience is a plus... even if it is unpaid. 

From my limited view, the take-home seems to be:  be conscious of what might make you a valuable player in a business sense.  This may mean getting extra experience, or it may mean figuring out a way to sell the experience you have in a business context.  Either way, if you want to work in the private sector, you need to recognize that academic excellence is still necessary but possibly no longer sufficient.




60
General Board / Re: Any non-working students in Part Time programs?
« on: March 19, 2009, 05:31:19 PM »
Is it fair? Life isn't fair. Besides, just because someone isn't working doesn't mean they don't have a good reason to be in the part time program.

What are the good reasons for a non-working student to be in the part time program, just out of curiosity?  I just assumed they were there because they didn't have the LSAT score or grades to get them into full time.

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