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When do you start making money? T3

Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:50 pm
by Anonymous User
Hey so I have done 4 years of undergrad, some work experience and now 3 years of law school. I was told that lawyers always start off making low salary because " law school doesn't teach you how to be a lawyer".

I have had a few interviews ( which I am appreciative of) but the starting salaries are all abysmal. Some of the salary offers were so low that I would be making more doing pretty much any job post undergrad.

My question is if I am looking to the future, when do lawyers "catch up" so to speak? Like after 10 years have you been surpassing the people you graduated undergrad with?

I was doing some math and even if I start at these salaries and receive a 10% raise each year (unrealistic). I wont be even with their salaries until the seventh or eighth year assuming they receive raises barely above inflation...

If you factor in the extra debt its not even close. Am I missing something? Do attorneys start making good money at around 15-20 year mark enough to surpass their peers without law degrees? Can the economics of the extra education be this far off?

If you start in a decent small firm and get experience can you lateral upwards to a $100k+ pay or are you pretty much stuck at the equivalent of where you start?

Re: When do you start making money? T3

Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:56 pm
by JusticeJackson
It doesn’t end up panning out at all for a lot of people. The guys I know that did well coming from your background went into personal injury (either at a small plaintiff’s firm or at an insurance defense firm), learned the skills, and ultimately opened up their own firm. At that point, the trick is getting clients to sign up with you and not another lawyer.

Re: When do you start making money? T3

Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:14 pm
by Anonymous User
fml

Re: When do you start making money? T3

Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:36 pm
by Anonymous User
Is there anyone hope in a non-PI related field? Maybe like tax or business? I need something to hold on to....

Re: When do you start making money? T3

Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:45 pm
by JusticeJackson
Anonymous internet strangers probably can’t help you out. You should spend some time on google identifying graduates of your school and finding if any of them ended up in a place you’d like to go. Then you should go to your school’s career services and see if they can help tell you what those firms are looking for in terms of experience and credentials.

Re: When do you start making money? T3

Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:31 am
by sgd19
Going to be echoing what is being implied here.. yes you been lied to by society thinking law is a profession that rewards you back for having studied and having sacrificed so much of your life. Not all lawyers make six figures as you have brutally discovered. Sure, there are some lawyers who rake in the big bucks, but then there are many lawyers who sadly don't. If you wanted to make six figures starting out after having worked so hard, you should have gone the doctor route. After residency, you'd be awarded with the six-figure salary. Lawyers salaries are on a spectrum ranging from what anyone with an undergrad degree can do (or even someone at McDonalds who instead spends 3 years working than going to law school) to what a doctor makes. And the economics of school are never going to justify the cost of being a lawyer.

You are going to make little in your first year because you don't know have any skills that law school thought you. You'll make more in your second year. But after that, it's about getting clients and building a practice or finding a niche, all things that involve running a business, to increase your salary. PM me if you want to talk more about it (or anyone else)

Re: When do you start making money? T3

Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:13 am
by Anonymous User
You'll need to hustle, keep an eye out for opportunities, network, build up experience in a desirable practice area at a small firm, and then use your experience to transfer to a larger firm.

Re: When do you start making money? T3

Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:14 am
by nealric
Anonymous User wrote:Is there anyone hope in a non-PI related field? Maybe like tax or business? I need something to hold on to....


You can always try the LLM hail Mary if you get into GULC or NYU. That means a lot of extra debt though and no guarantee of a remunerative career. Your best bet is to try and build the skills necessary to open your own practice, and then hustle. You will never get ahead expecting small business owners to give you raises out of the goodness of their hearts.

Re: When do you start making money? T3

Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:20 am
by silenttimer
Did you go to law school solely for the purpose of making money?

Re: When do you start making money? T3

Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:17 pm
by 1styearlateral
You can lateral from a small firm to a larger firm and make more money. I did it ($65k -> $75k -> $130k within 2 years). But like others said you have to hustle, but more importantly, you have to learn as much as you can during your first couple of years. If you don't learn how to appear for a PC conference, manage and prepare discovery demands/responses, write briefs, and manage clients, you won't be marketable and other firms won't want to hire you.

But if you did go to LS thinking your JD will print money, those days are over. In the 80s and earlier you could go to LS if you didn't know what to do with your life and still make a decent living (maybe even make partner in biglaw), but that just doesn't cut it these days.

Re: When do you start making money? T3

Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:25 pm
by albanach
silenttimer wrote:Did you go to law school solely for the purpose of making money?


Did you attend law school without first understanding the bimodal salary distribution in the legal profession?

https://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012 ... wyer-jobs/

Re: When do you start making money? T3

Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:26 pm
by ur_hero
Unfortunately, it's not a matter of "catching up" purely by time by virtue of having your degree. You need to still beat your competition in landing the better jobs with higher pay. Obviously your grades, current experience and connections will play into where you start. Aside from that, how fast you grow is going to be a mix of working hard, working smart, hustling, and being in the right place at the right time in front of the right people.

Re: When do you start making money? T3

Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:43 pm
by jchiles
nealric wrote:You will never get ahead expecting small business owners to give you raises out of the goodness of their hearts.


This is a really good point and something people should keep in mind when applying to a small firm.

OP are you still in school? Because if you are you still have time to be choosy to some degree and even if you’re already out you would be smart to stay away from a firm giving truly lowball offers and saying in the interview/offer some stupid justification for paying you poorly.

Also stop comparing yourself to people in other fields with different backgrounds, you are never going to be happy no matter what you make if you keep that shit up.

Re: When do you start making money? T3

Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:05 pm
by Anonymous User
"You can lateral from a small firm to a larger firm and make more money. I did it ($65k -> $75k -> $130k within 2 years). But like others said you have to hustle, but more importantly, you have to learn as much as you can during your first couple of years. If you don't learn how to appear for a PC conference, manage and prepare discovery demands/responses, write briefs, and manage clients, you won't be marketable and other firms won't want to hire you."

This is exactly what I was looking for. I was wondering if something like this was possible and it seems that it is. Can you elaborate on how you did this? I will do my best to learn as much as possible. I know I will have to work hard and fight for it, but I am absolutely willing to do whatever it takes.

Any advice you can offer on lateraling or learning as fast as possible would be awesome!

Re: When do you start making money? T3

Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:48 pm
by Anonymous User
Anonymous User wrote:"You can lateral from a small firm to a larger firm and make more money. I did it ($65k -> $75k -> $130k within 2 years). But like others said you have to hustle, but more importantly, you have to learn as much as you can during your first couple of years. If you don't learn how to appear for a PC conference, manage and prepare discovery demands/responses, write briefs, and manage clients, you won't be marketable and other firms won't want to hire you."

This is exactly what I was looking for. I was wondering if something like this was possible and it seems that it is. Can you elaborate on how you did this? I will do my best to learn as much as possible. I know I will have to work hard and fight for it, but I am absolutely willing to do whatever it takes.

Any advice you can offer on lateraling or learning as fast as possible would be awesome!


I haven't personally done this, but some of my friends have. Here's what worked for them

1) Do something super niche that's currently hot in big law. M&A, Cap markets, investment pool funds, etc. If you get super good at something, when you're a second or third year, it doesn't matter where you started, Biglaw will suck yo' d***.

2) A couple of my friends worked at a well-established small law that was later acquired by big law. Key here is to find a booming small law firm that has great clients in a niche business, preferably tangential to something currently hot in big law. Chances are high that they'll be acquired by a biglaw firm.

3) If you are flexible with location, apply to NY. Biglaw NY is constantly hiring. They need warm bodies.

Re: When do you start making money? T3

Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:27 pm
by Anonymous User
Hmmm its kind of hard to find a small firm that does cap markets and investment pool funds....

Re: When do you start making money? T3

Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:29 pm
by Anonymous User
Anonymous User wrote:Hmmm its kind of hard to find a small firm that does cap markets and investment pool funds....


No one said it'd be easy.

Re: When do you start making money? T3

Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:33 pm
by cavalier1138
Anonymous User wrote:Hmmm its kind of hard to find a small firm that does cap markets and investment pool funds....


You ignored some questions above about what you expected from law school, but it's pretty clear that you expected to land in a pile of money after graduation. That isn't going to happen, but you have an extremely slim chance of clambering your way into the income bracket you want if you put in a few years of solid work and get lucky.

Re: When do you start making money? T3

Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:54 pm
by Anonymous User
False.

I didnt expect to land in a pile of money but I expected a return on investment for my time/ effort at school. It seems like that will be possible with some hard work and luck. As long as I know there is a chance that is enough to keep me going.

Re: When do you start making money? T3

Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:04 pm
by pancakes3
:roll:

Re: When do you start making money? T3

Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:07 pm
by Anonymous User
whats with the eye roll emoji

Re: When do you start making money? T3

Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:10 pm
by sparkytrainer
Anonymous User wrote:False.

I didnt expect to land in a pile of money but I expected a return on investment for my time/ effort at school. It seems like that will be possible with some hard work and luck. As long as I know there is a chance that is enough to keep me going.


After reading this thread, I doubt you will have a return on investment. You go to a t50. The absolute best case for you is making 50k after fighting to get a job at graduation (if you are one of the lucky half of your class that will get a job at all).

Some of the people in this thread were successful, but they are not what is likely.

You should have known all this before heading to school. All this information is publicly available.

Re: When do you start making money? T3

Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:29 pm
by A. Nony Mouse
Just to clarify something - if the OP goes to a T3 they don’t go to a T50 (and T50s don’t place in biglaw anything like the T14 of course, but they do quite a bit better than a coin flip in overall placement).

Re: When do you start making money? T3

Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:49 pm
by Johann
shitlaw --> going solo; shitlaw --> boutique type firm; govt --> private practice midsize firm once you have niche experience/trial experience; stay in shitlaw and become partner; etc. most of my friends salaries stayed kind of stagnant at the same firm but they would network into a better gig or start their own thing. thus, its much more common for a T3 grad salary to look like one of the following:

35, 40, 45, 50, 75, 105 (shitlaw to boutique)
50, 50, 50, 100 (govt to private practice)
35, 45, 55, 65, 75 (networking and grinding that 10k pay bump for new opp, back and forth between shitlaw/govt/in house)
35, 35, (35 open own shop), 75, 150, 250

than this:
35, 38.5, 42, 46, 50, 55, 61, 67, 75 etc (steady raises at same place)

theres no really typical path. its always different depending on the person and their personality. 5+ years after graduating, i dont know anyone thats not making 50%+ more than when they started, or they really love what they are doing.

Re: When do you start making money? T3

Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:50 pm
by Anonymous User
The op right now: "so you're saying there's a chance....."