Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Finally, the truth about attorney salaries.

This is a must-read for anyone planning to go to law school. From the National Law Journal:

About that huge salary: It's a longshot

Most law grads face lower pay and debt.

Despite news of record-breaking employment figures for law school graduates and first-year salaries of $160,000 at many top law firms, a significant contingent of job seekers — including those with strong credentials — are living a much different story after graduation.


First, the majority of law school graduates obtain jobs at firms with 10 attorneys or fewer... In addition, location makes a big difference in salaries. Most law school graduates across the country who take jobs in private practice can expect to make between $40,000 and $45,000 their first year...


"Fudge factor"

[M]any in academia take issue with the way U.S. News & World Report tracks employment information, which may be prompting schools to create an artificially bright employment picture. U.S. News publishes rankings each year of professional schools and graduate schools.

Critics say that not only does the publication's data fail to distinguish the types of jobs that constitute employment, fudging occurs in the "not seeking" category. Schools may too quickly label some graduates as "not seeking" work in order to remove them from the equation.

In addition, several sources interviewed said that they have known schools to hire their own graduates for short-term research assignments in order to boost employment numbers.

"It's amazing how there were schools at 70% [employment] a few years ago that are now at 90%," said Marcelyn Cox, assistant dean of career planning at University of Miami School of Law. "That's just impossible."
If you are an attorney or law student, please pass this article around, so the massive "puffery" of employment statistics published by law schools can be exposed. This article wasn't written by a disgruntled unemployed 20-something attorney on an anonymous message board. It was published by the NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL. Make sure this message is disseminated far and wide.