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Author Topic: Life As An Associate  (Read 169098 times)

EEtoJD

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Re: Life As An Associate
« Reply #120 on: January 12, 2007, 01:26:55 PM »

Ah, but you'll notice that I never claimed that plumbers can make 145k. (union regulations only allow so many hours)  I just pointed out that many get paid 60/70 dollars per hour.  Thus, the compensation for their time is better rewarded on an hourly basis than many law firm associates.

Very true. I was just saying that it's not really possible for them to make that much money... you said that there are easier ways to earn $100k+. While this is true, I think that biglaw is likely the quickest (with the exception of i-banking) and most secure (unlike i-banking) route to this kind of money. Hell, I'd eventually make that much as an EE, but not after at least my Master's and about five years of experience (or Ph.D. and a year or two, either way) -- and there's a ceiling in these professions that lawyers can cross more easily (without an MBA, that is).



I'd have to strongly disagree with that proposition.  I think that's the common misconception that's shared by a lot of undergrads and pre-laws that drives the masses to enter law school.  Law School is perceived as this "get rich quick" scheme or something that anybody with a degree can jump into in order to significantly increase their financial status.

Don't get it twisted, BigLaw makes you upper middle class at best, but not rich by any stretch of the imagination.  Especially in New York City.

As far as being the quickest path to this level of financial status, I can easily point to a few of my friends from back home who have started their own businesses while working for somebody else during the day, and one who has chipped away at the residential real estate market with only a 35k/yr salary who both started around the same time as I started law school - both of whom have since quit their day jobs and are clearing 10 to 15k per month.  Straight chillin. (in the mid-west I might add where cost of living is nada)  No law school loans, no med school loans, no MBA loans to worry about.  No federal or state income tax taking 33% of their checks each month.   Whatever they make is whatever they make.  Truth be told that's where I'm trying to be.  I'm using the law firm to get there.

You brought up stability - As long as you're working for somebody else, regardless of your profession, your financial status is never stable.  You can be fired at any time for no reason at all by your employer. Law firms are no exception.  Associates get canned all the time for a multitude of reasons, or, for no reason at all.  At will employment, baby.  Gotta love it.

So fastest track?  Not hardly.  Most stable?  Not really.  If we limit the scope of our debate to the fastest and most stable among professional/graduate degrees only then I'll concede that the JD's earning potential is usually superior to  that of the MBA, but below that of the MD; and the JD is typically more stable than the MBA but typically less stable than the MD.  But that's if we limit our scope to only consider graduate degrees.  Outside of that, regardless of what degree we all run out and get, that tends to, at best, make us the #1 person to work for somebody else's business/partnership/corporation who probably didn't even finish college (vis a vie Bill Gates).

Just my 2 cents.

I don't think I made myself clear. I didn't mean that it is the quickest and most stable way. I meant that of the ways that are both quick and stable to make that kind of money, biglaw is tops.

Stability is a condition that depends on many factors. The strength of the economy, how well the industry you're in is doing (over time), if you're not a @#!*-up, etc. The most stable positions are tenured professorships (once you get your tenure, of course). You'd have to murder the president of the university to be fired, and even then, you'd probably get a verbal warning first, so you can murder the next one also. Then they'd say, "Oh, well, once was pretty bad. But twice? I think we're going to have to give you a written warning this time, bub!" Working for yourself, especially when you first start, is never "stable". You're pretty much completely responsible for your own salary, and that salary can fluctuate, especially if you're not established.

Quickest is a relative term. What I said was, "biglaw is likely the quickest... route to this kind of money." No where did I imply that this kind of money == rich. Although eight years to the possibility of being pretty damn well off is fairly quick. But I digress. Your evidence is anecdotal, and for each of your friends that's made it, there are probably (and I'm sure I'm getting this number wrong because I'm too lazy to look it up, but this is probably a rosy view) fifty people who don't. In fact, for each of your friends that's doing so well, I can point to a friend of mine who has not made it.

At will employment? That's just the way employment works. Especially in right-to-work states (where I live), they can just tap you on the shoulder and say, "See ya." But they usually don't. Employees don't generally like to see people they've put a bunch of money into training and hiring get canned unless there's a good reason - or, yes, unless they want to replace you with cheaper labor. That's why you work very hard to make yourself indispensable. Being employed by an established company is usually less risky than going into business on your own.

"Get rich quick", no way. Besides, with the exception of being the luckiest bastard on earth and winning Megabucks your first time to Vegas on the first twenty bucks you've ever spent on gambling (and these people are always, without exception, at least seventy-five years old with and oxygen tank in one hand and a cigarette in the other), there is no such thing.

So, back to what I originally said... imagine a matrix that values each possible profession on "stability" and "how fast you can make $150k", biglaw would probably have the highest combined number. Biglaw; not other areas of law, only biglaw. MBA's have a much tougher time, as there isn't a well-defined sector called bigbusiness that generally guarantees a certain salary range - it depends on the company, the industry, your experience, etc. MD's take seven more years than JD's to actually start making real money. I-banking is almost completely dependent on the strength of the economy, and I don't think that can ever be considered "stable". Being your own boss is a very risky venture. Most people fail. For people like us, though, this will be less risky because we'll only go for it when we think we're established enough, have the right contacts and resources, and have a solid business plan. I plan to go into business for myself just as you do. In fact, I want two businesses, so double the risk/reward for me.
I can't believe these obnoxious Michigan students, who use the board not to share information, but to socialize (as pathetic as that is)

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Burning Sands, Esq.

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Re: Life As An Associate
« Reply #121 on: January 12, 2007, 02:22:39 PM »

So, back to what I originally said... imagine a matrix that values each possible profession on "stability" and "how fast you can make $150k", biglaw would probably have the highest combined number. Biglaw; not other areas of law, only biglaw. MBA's have a much tougher time, as there isn't a well-defined sector called bigbusiness that generally guarantees a certain salary range - it depends on the company, the industry, your experience, etc. MD's take seven more years than JD's to actually start making real money. I-banking is almost completely dependent on the strength of the economy, and I don't think that can ever be considered "stable". Being your own boss is a very risky venture. Most people fail. For people like us, though, this will be less risky because we'll only go for it when we think we're established enough, have the right contacts and resources, and have a solid business plan. I plan to go into business for myself just as you do. In fact, I want two businesses, so double the risk/reward for me.


I feel what you're saying, but your entire analysis presupposes one minor detail that unravels the conclusion that you arrive at concerning BigLaw - that is, Biglaw itself is NO guarantee.  In fact, the vast MAJORITY of law students never see the promised land of BigLaw straight out of law school.  And for those that end up there, you are overlooking the fact that they must take alternative routes for several years before Biglaw will consider them, thereby detracting from your "quickest & most stable" conclusion of Biglaw.

For those who are lucky, a year or two at a respectable clerkship after graduating from law school will buy their price of admission into the $145k/yr associate position of Biglaw.  But don't be too hasty in assuming that BigLaw is the norm, because it is not the norm.  If you go to Columbia, sure, its the norm.  But there are somewhere around 188, 189, let's just call it an even 190, ABA approved law schools in this country.  14 of which, as I'm sure you're well aware by now, have the ability to be constant feeders into BigLaw.  The other 176 have varying degrees of success at sending their graduates directly into BigLaw.  Sure, many graduates at T1, T2, and T3 law schools enjoy the benefit of working at "A" law firm directly out of law school, but don't mistake "A" law firm with "Big" law.  There are 10's if not 100's of thousands of law firms out there who will gladly take you and your JD and promptly pay you about 50k/yr and call it a day. Maybe $70k if you're lucky.  This is reality for most.  I can take you to several law schools right now in the NYC area where over half the class of '07 is still looking for employment. I'm not kidding.

If there's one thing I wish somebody would have told me before I jumped into this law school experience is that BigLaw is not guaranteed at all for the non-T14 law students.  You really have to work at it and rise above the curve to even have a chance of having chance of having a chance.  I think a lot of lay people, myself included before I got here, have a very firm conviction (based perhaps on the movies/TV?) that "if you go to law school, you automatically come out making the big bucks."  Sorry to disappoint. Law is not that profession.  Is it possible?  Sure.  Is it automatic?  Not usually.  We are a profession where you can come out making $40k or $140k, all depending on what school you're at, how you did at that school, did you make law review, did you make moot court, is your GPA above 3.5, your school's regional rep, national rep, area of expertise (if any), connections of alumni, etc.  So many variables.

AND THEN...

Let's just say you do get into BigLaw, we could go on for days about all the expenses that come along with that. But that may be a different debate for a different day.
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EEtoJD

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Re: Life As An Associate
« Reply #122 on: January 12, 2007, 02:29:40 PM »
Everything you say is true, but that's not what I meant. I'm saying for those that make it directly to biglaw, it is the quickest and most stable. You can go to Wharton, get an MBA, but there is still no obvious route like biglaw.

My assumption presupposes that we're talking about people who are able to go directly to biglaw, just as it presupposes we're talking about the best of the MBA's, MD's, whatever. Sorry that I didn't clarify.

The expenses, yeah. They suck. But no matter what, one thing is for sure: I'll make more money as a lawyer than I ever could have as an engineer. The ceiling for even the best EE's is about what a fifth-year associate in biglaw makes. (Again, I'm assuming that I'll make it to biglaw).
I can't believe these obnoxious Michigan students, who use the board not to share information, but to socialize (as pathetic as that is)

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Burning Sands, Esq.

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Re: Life As An Associate
« Reply #123 on: January 12, 2007, 02:43:07 PM »
Everything you say is true, but that's not what I meant. I'm saying for those that make it directly to biglaw, it is the quickest and most stable. You can go to Wharton, get an MBA, but there is still no obvious route like biglaw.

My assumption presupposes that we're talking about people who are able to go directly to biglaw, just as it presupposes we're talking about the best of the MBA's, MD's, whatever. Sorry that I didn't clarify.

The expenses, yeah. They suck. But no matter what, one thing is for sure: I'll make more money as a lawyer than I ever could have as an engineer. The ceiling for even the best EE's is about what a fifth-year associate in biglaw makes. (Again, I'm assuming that I'll make it to biglaw).

As an engineer myself, please allow me to say "you damn right!"

I remember they showed us what the regional Vice Presidents made in our firm during our orientation. There are 42 of them in the whole engineering firm of about 5,000 employees nationwide.  They were each making about $110k/yr.  It took them about 25 years to get there. 

I remember thinking to myself "shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit, damn that. Ya'll some suckas! Straight up. Do you get a free pocket protector with that?"
"A lawyer's either a social engineer or a parasite on society. A social engineer is a highly skilled...lawyer who understands the Constitution of the U.S. and knows how to explore its uses in the solving of problems of local communities and in bettering [our] conditions."
Charles H. Houston

Eugene Young

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Re: Life As An Associate
« Reply #124 on: January 12, 2007, 02:46:49 PM »
Everything you say is true, but that's not what I meant. I'm saying for those that make it directly to biglaw, it is the quickest and most stable. You can go to Wharton, get an MBA, but there is still no obvious route like biglaw.

My assumption presupposes that we're talking about people who are able to go directly to biglaw, just as it presupposes we're talking about the best of the MBA's, MD's, whatever. Sorry that I didn't clarify.

The expenses, yeah. They suck. But no matter what, one thing is for sure: I'll make more money as a lawyer than I ever could have as an engineer. The ceiling for even the best EE's is about what a fifth-year associate in biglaw makes. (Again, I'm assuming that I'll make it to biglaw).

As an engineer myself, please allow me to say "you damn right!"

I remember they showed us what the regional Vice Presidents made in our firm during our orientation. There are 42 of them in the whole engineering firm of about 5,000 employees nationwide.  They were each making about $110k/yr.  It took them about 25 years to get there. 

I remember thinking to myself "shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit, damn that. Ya'll some suckas! Straight up. Do you get a free pocket protector with that?"


or as an accountant...even with a CPA (unless you're partner at a Big 4 firm)

intent06

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Re: Life As An Associate
« Reply #125 on: January 12, 2007, 02:48:42 PM »
I'll take BIGLaw for $400 Alex!!!!
Damn...it's the third year already!!

EEtoJD

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Re: Life As An Associate
« Reply #126 on: January 12, 2007, 02:49:14 PM »
Everything you say is true, but that's not what I meant. I'm saying for those that make it directly to biglaw, it is the quickest and most stable. You can go to Wharton, get an MBA, but there is still no obvious route like biglaw.

My assumption presupposes that we're talking about people who are able to go directly to biglaw, just as it presupposes we're talking about the best of the MBA's, MD's, whatever. Sorry that I didn't clarify.

The expenses, yeah. They suck. But no matter what, one thing is for sure: I'll make more money as a lawyer than I ever could have as an engineer. The ceiling for even the best EE's is about what a fifth-year associate in biglaw makes. (Again, I'm assuming that I'll make it to biglaw).

As an engineer myself, please allow me to say "you damn right!"

I remember they showed us what the regional Vice Presidents made in our firm during our orientation. There are 42 of them in the whole engineering firm of about 5,000 employees nationwide.  They were each making about $110k/yr.  It took them about 25 years to get there. 

I remember thinking to myself "shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit, damn that. Ya'll some suckas! Straight up. Do you get a free pocket protector with that?"


Holy *&^%, that's hilarious!  :D That is one long *&^%.

What type of engineer are you? Oh, BTW, where do you go?
I can't believe these obnoxious Michigan students, who use the board not to share information, but to socialize (as pathetic as that is)

LSN</

Burning Sands, Esq.

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Re: Life As An Associate
« Reply #127 on: January 12, 2007, 03:22:02 PM »
Architectural Engineer, licensed in KS & MO.

Univ. of Kansas undergrad. (Go Jayhawks!!!)

Now I'm a lowly 3L over here at Rutgers - Newark.
"A lawyer's either a social engineer or a parasite on society. A social engineer is a highly skilled...lawyer who understands the Constitution of the U.S. and knows how to explore its uses in the solving of problems of local communities and in bettering [our] conditions."
Charles H. Houston

EEtoJD

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Re: Life As An Associate
« Reply #128 on: January 12, 2007, 04:11:15 PM »
Architectural Engineer, licensed in KS & MO.

Univ. of Kansas undergrad. (Go Jayhawks!!!)

Now I'm a lowly 3L over here at Rutgers - Newark.

Interesting. Are you planning on going into IP law? BTW, how do you like Rutgers?
I can't believe these obnoxious Michigan students, who use the board not to share information, but to socialize (as pathetic as that is)

LSN</

LittleRussianPrincess, Esq.

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Re: Life As An Associate
« Reply #129 on: January 12, 2007, 05:43:17 PM »
Architectural Engineer, licensed in KS & MO.

Univ. of Kansas undergrad. (Go Jayhawks!!!)

Now I'm a lowly 3L over here at Rutgers - Newark.

shush! you ain't lowly! >:(
Russian by birth, Southern by the grace of God.