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Author Topic: Good Starting Salary  (Read 2012 times)

USC313

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Good Starting Salary
« on: June 23, 2009, 09:30:05 AM »
I have read a lot on this board about BigLaw and $160K/year starting salaries (at least until last year anyways); I've alread read about toilet law firms and doc review starting at $35-$40K/year. What types of firms and what kind of law must one practice to be paid "well" right out of law school (i.e. $80-$90K) without being paid ridiculously well? You never hear about salaries somewhere in the middle.

'blueskies

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Re: Good Starting Salary
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2009, 09:37:03 AM »
The reason is because there is a bimodal distribution of salary for lawyers, with most jobs paying about 40k or 120k I believe. Someone posted a graph of this before but I don't know where to find it, hopefully someone can post it for you
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'blueskies

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Re: Good Starting Salary
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2009, 09:38:47 AM »
To add, it doesn't mean jobs paying 80-90k don't exist, but based on that graph they appeared few and far between, thus why they aren't talked about as much
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lawguy09

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Re: Good Starting Salary
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2009, 10:11:22 AM »
Good question...it seems everyone here only talked about t14 schools. are there THAT many people at those schools?


CTL

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Re: Good Starting Salary
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2009, 11:12:13 AM »
Good question...it seems everyone here only talked about t14 schools. are there THAT many people at those schools?



Judging by class sizes, I would say there are between 10,000 and 13,000 students at the T14 at any given time.
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asiangirl

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Re: Good Starting Salary
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2009, 11:41:59 AM »
www.howarth-smith.com/attorney.htm

I heard this firm pays quite well (hitting the 6-figure mark, though it's a super tiny firm)

CTL

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Re: Good Starting Salary
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2009, 11:57:18 AM »
There are plenty of firms that would pay in the range you're looking at, particularly in smaller markets.  I'm thinking Buffalo/Richmond/Portland sized places.  That salary would be pretty good in cities of that size anyway.  I know there is a firm in Rochester that pays I think 80K to first-year associates.  They can make a good 15-20K bonus on that, and the hours aren't terrible either (I think 1750 billable). 

In short, medium sized firms are what you'd want to be targeting if you want a salary in that range, but a mid-size market is probably the real key. 
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Number81

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Re: Good Starting Salary
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2009, 09:17:29 PM »
Here is the 2006 one.  The 2008 one would be a good bit different I guess since most firms bumped 30k that year IIRC.  I would be much more interested in the 2009 one, though.
http://www.adamsmithesq.com/archives/2008/07/the-bimodal-starting-sala.html

(The rest of this post, I am going to assume we are in 2007 or 2008)

Anyway, yeah it's bimodal, but it's not "you're making 160k or 40k" for most of the posters on this board.  Almost everyone here will have better credentials than T3/T4 lawyers and better than people that finish in the bottom half of a T2.  That covers 5/8's of the distribution, which would be like the entire group making under 65k.  So, the posters with pretty much the worst credentials on this board should start out at 65k.  That's not that bad, especially consider that of the remaining 3/8, most of the posters here are in the top half of a T14, which makes them around the top 8% of the remaining 1/3.

Also, even though there's definitely 2 humps, just from eying it, probably 1/6 or so of the legal market is at 70-120k, which is a pretty significant amount.

And finally, I really doubt the people making 40k/y continue to make that their whole career, despite the fact that posters here will want you to believe that.  The median salary for attorneys is like 100k, and the median starting salary is like 62k.  That first hump moves.
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Re: Good Starting Salary
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2009, 10:04:17 PM »
The *&^% county attorney's pays 50k a year and brings on more new hires per year than many large law firms. Their salaries TOP OUT below a NYC biglaw starting salary, though.

nealric

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Re: Good Starting Salary
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2009, 10:22:36 PM »
Fed govt usually ends up in the 70-80k range after a year.

Big4 accounting if you are tax oriented will also pay in that range.

A handful of midsized firms in smaller markets do too.
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