Law School Discussion

Research on salaries

Research on salaries
« on: February 01, 2007, 08:36:47 AM »
I posted this also on the pre-law board.  I have been doing research for one of my first year profs on the legal community, and along with legal education.  Recently, I have been doing work regarding salaries, loan debt etc...  I have found some stats on salaries.

Doing research for a professor over the past few weeks, I have come across interesting statistics compiled by the Labor Department regarding salaries of attorneys.  While these stats do not show beginning salaries, it is interesting to note that attorneys do make 6 figures, but on average they are in the low 6 figure range. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm#b29-0000

I also found an interesting article that studied new attorneys over a 10 year period to see how things faired.  It is interesting to read. 

http://www.nalpfoundation.org/webmodules/articles/articlefiles/87-After_JD_2004_web.pdf

Re: Research on salaries
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2007, 09:08:59 AM »
The Bureau of Labor Statistics includes all lawyers (i.e. public defenders, NGO, public service, first year) to figure its averages. I don't think the stats are an accurate depiction of what a private firm lawyer would make a few years into his/her career.

Look at what 'professional athletes' make on average according to the BLS: $76,000. So that includes minor league baseball players and professional curlers. Then look at the health professionals section. Anesthesiologists, unlike lawyers, do not have an entire section of their profession accepting lower wages to perform public service. Thus, the mean income is much higher.

If you split the pool into public practice and private practice attorneys you would see a much higher mean for private attorneys and a much lower mean for public attorneys. 

The "After the JD" article is interesting though.

Re: Research on salaries
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2007, 09:15:30 AM »
Yeah, I know why the stats are the way they are for the BLS.  The "After the JD" article is interesting.  The real weird part about of all this is being a 2L and seeing all of the information on jobs.  Then comparing to what you knew before you entered college and thought of being an attorney.  It is interesting because of the conception, particularly of pre-laws, that they are going to be rolling in cash after graduation.  When in fact, most starting attorneys in the private sector start out making between 50 and 76K, not paltry sums by any means.  However, I think these numbers scare the hell out of some people. 

Re: Research on salaries
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2007, 10:08:30 AM »
Yeah, that's a good article.  I didn't read it word for word but I think the overall message was that the legal profession isn't as gloomy as some would have you believe.  I found it refreshing to read something with a more positive tone instead of hearing from the disgruntled attorneys who seem to have a very powerful voice.