January 18, 2010
The Market for Law Associates: Doing the Math
For some reason, an article about the BigLaw slump that is making for a very challenging environment for recent law graduates turned up in the Sunday New York Times Fashion and Style section. "No Longer Their Golden Ticket" describes the current situation, in which even students from top law schools who are hard working and dedicated to their careers may find themselves out of work because the firms simply do not have work for them to do.
I think I can safely say that law professors generally are very concerned and sympathetic to the fate of our graduates. I can't say that I've even heard much grumbling among law professors about the fact that our students have the opportunity to make more as first-year associates at the big law firms than most of us do as full professors. Good for them. We hope they remember their law schools when they need a tax write-off. But one quotation in the article does indicate why some people might be less than 100% supportive of young lawyers earning six-digit figures.
The Times quotes a blogger who posts under the name of Legal Tease complaining that
If you do the math, you’re making less than a baby sitter — not a nanny even, but an actual baby sitter in high school.
This is, of course, not the case. No matter how you do the math, associates at BigLaw get paid far more than babysitters, whether or not they know how to do math.
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