Not too sure what you're talking about, but I'll try... 1) Do you HOPE to work at a big firm? If yes, your salary will be whatever "market" is for that city (e.g. NY, Chi, DC, LA, Boston, etc. is $160k, Philly, Atlanta, etc. is around $145k, Denver is roughly $120k, and so on down the line). 2) If you end up at a mid-size firm, your salary will be 40-65% of whatever "market" is for that city (with a few rare exceptions). 3) Most big firms, as well as some mid-size firms (i.e. ones that aren't just insurance defense sweatshops), do some type of (transactional) construction work. For many, it's based out of their real estate practices. All associates are generally paid the same salary within a given firm, based on their class year (e.g. first year, fourth year, etc.), regardless of practice area (with the exception of some IP work, noted below). 4) Some firms, particularly mid-size (and some smaller firms), do a good amount of construction-related litigation (if mid-size, it's likely defense-oriented; if small, more likely plaintiffs). 5) Your engineering background would matter (for salary purposes) only for "hard" intellectual property work (i.e. patent), in which case some firms are paying a bit more to their patent lawyers. But I don't think electrical engineering would count for much in IP. Perhaps there is some rare niche practice area reserved for folks with electrical engineering backgrounds, but I'm not aware of it. 6) By "contract law," do you mean that you want to be a transactional lawyer (i.e. drafting contracts, closing deals, etc. related to construction/development), or a litigator (i.e. bringing or defending lawsuits for breach of contract or warranty, e.g. faulty construction, building product defects, etc.)? 7) For the city in which you plan to practice, research law firm websites for construction-related work. This should give you a sense of what the firm does in the practice area. Look at the bio's of the associates and partners in the construction/development practice groups, looking at both their undergraduate educations (i.e. for any signs of engineering backgrounds) as well as their recent legal work (if listed). If nothing else, their bio's should be informative as to what exactly a "construction" lawyer does. Here's some bonus insights: given the crises in the credit and housing markets, it stands to reason that transactional work in construction/development will be increasingly scarce (however, such is not the case internationally, in emerging or rapidly developing markets). My guess would be that construction-related litigation will be on the rise over the next few years (as are most litigation practices when the economy hits the skids). 9) Good luck.
I thought the majority of patent work (at least the work pursued by the big IP firms) tended to be bio-chem stuff, which would mean that an EE degree wouldn't be all that helpful?
Wow, you've become so well informed and authoritative. Just a week and a half ago, you wrote that you "would like to pursue construction / engineering / contract law," but were unable to find "any information on typical salaries for construction law." "Contract law"?! Unable to find information on salaries? And now you're an authority on the (hard) IP market? Jee whiz, what a waste it would be if you opted for "construction law"!I must confess, I think my firm only has around 100 IP lawyers, including both hard and soft. So perhaps I'm a bit ignorant. Could you please enlighten us as to what it is that makes electrical engineering-related work the "majority" of the IP market? Some examples of clients, or at least client types, along with some products, might help to clear up the extremely widespread (and, according to you, incorrect) belief that bio-tech, chemical, and software work account for the vast majority of the (hard) IP market.
If you want to work in construction law so bad, why not go in house with John Deer?