The strange thing is that you could pay these young associates 120k and they would still be ecstatic. There's no need to put it at 160. It doesn't even give an incentive for people to study harder, because law school is a zero sum game, anyway.
I generally assume this is probably true. But, I wonder about this. I wonder if new associates compare their starting salaries just to one another, or to first year doctors as well.
Would it be enough for BIGLAW kids to know they make more than any other type of attorney? Or are they secretly jealous of doctors and (until recently) finance kids?
I grew up dirt poor, so for me, that much money so early in life is just unreal numbers, so what's the difference between a bajillion and five dollars and just a bajillion? But, I wonder if people from different economic backgrounds feel different.