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Author Topic: 1 year later....still glad u went to law school?  (Read 129247 times)

factorial

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Re: 1 year later....still glad u went to law school?
« Reply #240 on: May 10, 2007, 05:53:24 AM »

What's worse, a one bedroom apartment in SF (home for me) is about 1400/month = ~17K/year. ouch.
:)


But of course, let's assume you're paid $150K in SF -- employers in Chicago, for example, pay 10% less than those in San Francisco. If you take the same type of job in the same type of company in Chicago, you are likely to earn something like $135K.

The cost of living in Chicago is 45% lower than in SF -- you need a salary of just $80K to maintain your current standard of living.

veganvenus

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Re: 1 year later....still glad u went to law school?
« Reply #241 on: May 10, 2007, 04:19:55 PM »
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (New York)
1st year: $125,000
2d year: $135,000
3d year: $150,000
4th year: $165,000
5th year: $190,000
6th year: $205,000
7th year: $215,000
Bonuses in all classes

Since we're law students who will enter the workforce in 2007-2010, I don't see how salary figures from five years ago are relevant.  I'm not bored enough to go find all the problems with your numbers, but suffice it to say that your numbers for Weil are way off, so whatever your source is, it is unreliable.

Next time try this http://www.lawfirmdiscussion.com/compensation/newyork07salary.php, NALP, Infirmation.com or the company's own website, all of which indicate a starting salary of $160k for Weil.

Nearly every BigLaw firm in NY, and many in other markets pay these rates.  If you would have paid attention, we were discussing the value of the degree from top schools:  If you go to a top school and then take a job in Newark with hideously below-market pay, that is your own fault and you are not permitted to complain.  It is not relevant to the positive value of the degree.

Edited to Add: Just checked Covington and Jenner, both are also at $160k to start. 

torturedbylawschool

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Re: 1 year later....still glad u went to law school?
« Reply #242 on: May 10, 2007, 10:09:08 PM »
jeesh that really sucks - i'm sorry to hear it's such a nightmare for you. I'm curious...when you worked at that law firm, why did you like it so much? Can't you imagine getting a similar job to the lawyers who employed you and enjoying that?

Do you think that the kind of classmates you cant stand are particular to your school or do you feel like all law students are like that?



I'm at a top 40 school and have hated just about every minute of it since I walked in the door. I feel like I'm in high school all over again. The people are preppy, arrogant, greedy, selfish, judgmental.
I've wanted to be an attorney for a really long time. I worked for almost four years for a sole practitioner in a small-medium sized town prior to coming to law school (on top of various other jobs I had throughout undergrad and beyond), and loved it. But now? "Love" is soooo far from how I fell. I hate reading 24/7 and doing NOTHING else. I miss interacting with people (real people..not the above described kind). I hate looking at my potential earning "power" in the public interest sector (which is the only work I could really see myself doing) and realizing that I would have been better off NOT going to law school, fiscally speaking. I hate being stressed out...feeling like no matter how hard I work it is never enough. Basically, I just miss living. So I'm thinking about dropping out. Very seriously thinking about it. I came very close to leaving after the first semester, but told myself that I would stay if my grades were favorable. I was in the top 5% of my class after the first semester, so I stayed. But my finals did not go very well this time around, and I know that that number is going to drop significantly. But regardless of grades, I cannot help asking myself "do I really want this to be my 'life'?" Since finals ended, I've had a week to myself (in which I originally was supposed to be competing for law review/journals, but I've blown that off) and I've been incredibly depressed. I start my internship at a local PDs office on Monday. If I hate that anywhere near as much as I hate law school, I'm done. Life is too short to feel so horrible all the time.

I worked for a sole practitioner. What did I like about it? I interacted with people a lot. I delt with people who were at really low points in their lives (facing criminal prosecution) and I helped them...let them know that it was going to be okay and that we (as in the sole practitioner and I) were going to do everything we could to help. I even liked some of the menial work (i.e. filing motions, getting background checks, etc.). I was good at it--told I was the best legal assistant he ever had. It was exciting. Nothing is exciting about reading case after case, alone, at home. Nothing is exciting about the $50,000 debt and the slim job prospects (even for a $35,000/yr. job). Nothing is exciting about a 60 hour work week. How can a person help someone when they are exhausted and overworked like that?
Do I feel like all laws schools are like the one I'm in? I don't know. I would imagine that the better ones are. Law school fosters intense competition, and if you happen to be a person who cares at all about looking good compared to your classmates, or getting a job after law school--and you probably ARE going to be one of those people if you got into a good school in the first place--then you're going to feed into that, and the worst of you is going to "shine" through. You don't have enough time to see the other side of these people, assuming that there is another side. You really don't even have enough time to remember who YOU are.
I start my internship with a local PDs office on Monday. I can't even get them to respond to my email to let me know what time to arrive. Do I think that my life will be so busy that I won't have time to respond to emails if I take a PD position? Yes. Does that make me feel comfortable? Take a guess.

Burning Sands

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Re: 1 year later....still glad u went to law school?
« Reply #243 on: May 11, 2007, 10:45:54 AM »
i think your calculations are pretty good for the most part except that they ignore interest on your loan (not that high if you truly pay it off in three years, and assuming interest was deferred until graduation):

year 1: salary 160K + 30K bonus = 190K - 40% tax = 114K
year 2: salary 180K + 30K bonus = 210K - 40% tax = 126K
year 3: salary 200K + 30K bonus = 230K - 40% tax = 138K
__________________

Total earnings [3yrs]............................. .378K
Total [3 yr] interest accrued on a 180K loan......(~30K)
Living expenses [3yrs]*...........................(~150K)
Principal.................... .....................(~180K)
---------------------------------------------------------
                                      remaining    ~48K



The $160k is taxed about about 35% to 37%
The bonuses (of which there are potentially more than just one per year) are taxed at 40% like you show them here.

Other than that, your numbers are fairly close to real life.

At my firm we can get up to $50k in bonuses the first year on top of the $160k salary.  At others, like Wachtell for example, they get an additional $160,000 bonus (no that's not a typo) on top of their $160,000 salary, for a total of $320,000 (three hundred twenty thousand dollars and 00 cents) in their first year (before taxes, of course).

 
EDIT: and YES I'm glad that I went to law school.  Although I admit that I may be singing a different tune if I was unemployed.
Burning Sands

Burning Sands

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Re: 1 year later....still glad u went to law school?
« Reply #244 on: May 11, 2007, 10:56:29 AM »
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (New York)
1st year: $125,000
2d year: $135,000
3d year: $150,000
4th year: $165,000
5th year: $190,000
6th year: $205,000
7th year: $215,000
Bonuses in all classes

Since we're law students who will enter the workforce in 2007-2010, I don't see how salary figures from five years ago are relevant.  I'm not bored enough to go find all the problems with your numbers, but suffice it to say that your numbers for Weil are way off, so whatever your source is, it is unreliable.

Next time try this http://www.lawfirmdiscussion.com/compensation/newyork07salary.php, NALP, Infirmation.com or the company's own website, all of which indicate a starting salary of $160k for Weil.

Nearly every BigLaw firm in NY, and many in other markets pay these rates.  If you would have paid attention, we were discussing the value of the degree from top schools:  If you go to a top school and then take a job in Newark with hideously below-market pay, that is your own fault and you are not permitted to complain.  It is not relevant to the positive value of the degree.

Edited to Add: Just checked Covington and Jenner, both are also at $160k to start. 


Hey hey hey, not so fast. I feel that I must speak up for the Newark market since I currently live here because they don't have hideously below-market pay.  The average for Newark firms is about $135,000/yr (see Latham & Watkins, Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, etc.), which, when you consider the hideously below-market cost of living for NJ when compared to the hideously above-market cost of living for NY, you are actually saving a bundle.

But you are absolutely correct about those figures being 5 years old.  Market rate in NY is a standard $160,000/yr across the board.


Burning Sands

veganvenus

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Re: 1 year later....still glad u went to law school?
« Reply #245 on: May 11, 2007, 11:52:55 AM »
Hey hey hey, not so fast. I feel that I must speak up for the Newark market since I currently live here because they don't have hideously below-market pay.  The average for Newark firms is about $135,000/yr (see Latham & Watkins, Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, etc.), which, when you consider the hideously below-market cost of living for NJ when compared to the hideously above-market cost of living for NY, you are actually saving a bundle.

Granted - I know zero about the Newark market.  I was just referring to the numbers quoted for one Newark firm, which were disgusting even for 5 years ago.

The COL thing is a myth though - one premised on the idea that everyone who works in NY lives in Manhattan.  There are lots of safe and affordable places to live in the Bronx, Queens, and maybe in Brooklyn.  If you're willing to sacrifice neighborhood prestige, you can even find a place with a 15 minute commute and very cool restaurants.  Considering the relative livability of Newark, I'd imagine a lot of those associates live in the same neighborhoods as the commuter set anyway.

Either way, a $25k/year paycut seems awfully steep for an office less than an hour away.

Burning Sands

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Re: 1 year later....still glad u went to law school?
« Reply #246 on: May 11, 2007, 05:40:58 PM »
Did you just use "safe" and "the bronx" in the same sentence?   ;D


I agree though, there are definitely plenty of places to live outside of Manhattan while still working for a Manhattan law firm.
Burning Sands

veganvenus

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Re: 1 year later....still glad u went to law school?
« Reply #247 on: May 11, 2007, 05:50:54 PM »
Did you just use "safe" and "the bronx" in the same sentence?   ;D

Well, it all depends on who you ask, since it hinges on considering Riverdale to be part of the Bronx.

JudasPriest

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"Anchor Men"
« Reply #248 on: May 11, 2007, 09:55:17 PM »

[...] Everyone I know who went to a T14 and wanted BigLaw got it. Of course, maybe the people I know at, say GULC are at the top of their class, but even those at the bottom here get those offers. [...]


Not really! As the glut of excess lawyers continues unabated (and as technology makes many things possible with far fewer lawyers) further adjustments are not far behind. Currently, the top 10-15% (gradewise) from 1st tier schools (roughly, the 40 or so best schools in the U.S.) go to two kinds of jobs. They go to "traditional firms" (these firms used to hire from the top 50%) and government jobs (that used to go to the bottom 50% of the class from the bottom 50% of the schools). Worse, after a year of so of looking for work, the very status of length out of law school is a permanent barrier to most employment. A history in a small firm, as a solo or in a District Attorney's Office qualifies an attorney only to go to work for herself or himself.

The "ticket punching" era has come to an end -- in some states slowly, in some states with great drama. In one instance (when the great "crunch" hit Texas) schools went from full placement by Christmas of the senior year to 20% placement at graduation in the course of one class. Virtually all of the Harvard class of '75 made partner by the 10-year reunion. Of the Harvard class of '85, so few made partner by the 10-year reunion it was a Section B front page story in the Wall Street Journal.

secndmortgage

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Re: 1 year later....still glad u went to law school?
« Reply #249 on: May 12, 2007, 07:33:51 AM »
i think your calculations are pretty good for the most part except that they ignore interest on your loan (not that high if you truly pay it off in three years, and assuming interest was deferred until graduation):

year 1: salary 160K + 30K bonus = 190K - 40% tax = 114K
year 2: salary 180K + 30K bonus = 210K - 40% tax = 126K
year 3: salary 200K + 30K bonus = 230K - 40% tax = 138K
__________________

Total earnings [3yrs]............................. .378K
Total [3 yr] interest accrued on a 180K loan......(~30K)
Living expenses [3yrs]*...........................(~150K)
Principal.................... .....................(~180K)
---------------------------------------------------------
                                      remaining    ~48K



The $160k is taxed about about 35% to 37%
The bonuses (of which there are potentially more than just one per year) are taxed at 40% like you show them here.

Other than that, your numbers are fairly close to real life.

At my firm we can get up to $50k in bonuses the first year on top of the $160k salary.  At others, like Wachtell for example, they get an additional $160,000 bonus (no that's not a typo) on top of their $160,000 salary, for a total of $320,000 (three hundred twenty thousand dollars and 00 cents) in their first year (before taxes, of course).

 
EDIT: and YES I'm glad that I went to law school.  Although I admit that I may be singing a different tune if I was unemployed.


When I was in college I took a law course (First Amendment Law) and my black professor (teaching part-time on the side while working for Sidley Austin LLP) kissed one of my classmates' ass to go with him (the former was really hot granted) but we were all speechless to see him, being a 125K practicing lawyer, beg the guy to go with him!
- I guess babies love you automatically, don't they?
- They don't have much of a choice.