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Private versus public - stupid question

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Private versus public - stupid question
« on: February 09, 2006, 05:34:55 PM »
Okay, so this is a stupid question. But if I can't ask a stupid question in an anonymous forum, where can I?

What exactly is the difference in public/private salaries and jobs. Are public jobs like government? And private big and small firms? Or what? I note private salaries are almost always higher, so it's a distinction I'd like to have made more clear.

Thanks

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Re: Private versus public - stupid question
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2006, 10:17:50 AM »
Okay, so this is a stupid question. But if I can't ask a stupid question in an anonymous forum, where can I?

What exactly is the difference in public/private salaries and jobs. Are public jobs like government? And private big and small firms? Or what? I note private salaries are almost always higher, so it's a distinction I'd like to have made more clear.

Thanks

One other distinction you should consider is the benefits and job security that almost always accompany a government job.  As a family man, it's tough to ignore that, if it can accompany a reasonable salary.

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Re: Private versus public - stupid question
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2006, 11:34:38 AM »
Okay, so this is a stupid question. But if I can't ask a stupid question in an anonymous forum, where can I?

What exactly is the difference in public/private salaries and jobs. Are public jobs like government? And private big and small firms? Or what? I note private salaries are almost always higher, so it's a distinction I'd like to have made more clear.

Thanks

One other distinction you should consider is the benefits and job security that almost always accompany a government job.  As a family man, it's tough to ignore that, if it can accompany a reasonable salary.

And the much better hours that usually go with government jobs. I met a guy who makes 60-70K a year in the government. He said that he makes much more money per hour than his friends from school who were working in private practice. It really comes down to setting different priorities.

Re: Private versus public - stupid question
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2006, 01:06:41 PM »
As someone who wondered the same thing, I've looked into all of this quite a bit and, though I'm no expert, I'd be happy to pass on what I know:

A friend of mine switched from working at a huge NY firm, working around 80 hours a  week, to a small firm where she worked about 50-60 hours a week and the salary at the small firm was a THIRD of what it was at the big firm. That's pretty standard.  The bigger the firm - generally - the more hours you'll work and the more you'll get paid. This isn't a hard-fast rule, just what's typical.

The options:

Govt law: you'll usually start at around 45K and then will be able to move up rather quickly (over 4 - 5 years) to around 60-75K.  The 45k is if you go there straight from law school. If you work in the Justice Dept. or another dept., as opposed to being an assitant district attorney, you can eventually make more than 75k . . . the salary seems to cap at about 135k (which you might earn after being there 10-15 years).   

At a big firm, depending on the firm, you can start at around 70-100K (unless you're at a top school/top firm - then you're looking at 100k-125k). All of this is related to big-city firms too, not small southern/midwestern firms. In those, you'll probably make less (and the cost of living will be less too). 

You can also work in business, for a company, and make a salary somewhere in between govt. work and firm work - though you may be able to get closer to a big-firm salary if you get with the right company. 

Hope that helps! (I know that these numbers are what broadly tends to be true - there are always exceptions.)