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2011 Lawyer Starting Salaries

Bridge Team Member

For the nerds out there: A classic bimodal distribution.A really interesting look at lawyer starting salaries and the shrinking number of top corporate law jobs in the US as the legal market continues to shrink.

The key passage:

Few newly minted lawyers actually earn salaries close to the median (or mean) their pay tends to fall much higher or lower. In other words, the salaries for have for years been"bimodal, meaning they've generally sorted into two levels: the $160,000 earned by first-year associates at big, white-shoe law firms, and the $40,000-to-$65,000 range earned by lawyers at smaller law firms, government jobs and so on.

I suppose that fits into our broader societal trend of heightened gaps between those who are at the top and those who are not. Which is kind of depressing.

The silver lining: Firms are creating more second-tier, non-partner track jobs that earn respectable wages ($60,000) while requiring normal 40 hour weeks. That's great for work-life balance, and perhaps it's a good thing for there to be more lower-paying jobs than fewer higher-paying ones.

(Original research paper from the Association of Legal Professionals here)

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