TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, September 21, 2012

BigLaw Salaries, Jobs Plummet for First Year Associates

The Legal Whiteboard:  Drop in the Big Law Median Salary is Only Half the Story, by William D. Henderson (Indiana-Bloomington):

NALP just announced that the median salary for first year associates in Big Law has dropped from $160K to $145K.  I think that is very significant.  We are now back to to the entry level price point of 2007.

But to my mind, there is much bigger story here. In 2011, firms of 500+ attorneys hired 2,856 entry level lawyers. In 2007, that figure was 4,745. So, after five years, Big Law is paying the same wage but hiring 40% few lawyers. Compare 2007 NALP Nat'l Summary with 2011 NALP Nat'l Summary. ...

[T]here is a longterm trendline showing a declining number of private practice jobs -- and that is the economic engine that enables law schools to exist at current tuition levels.

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