Lawyer Income: Consider The Global Perspective And Think Long Term.

Perhaps you have recently heard that the lawyer income for recent law school graduates is low for the majority of new lawyers? My grandfather always used to say that you should never believe anything you hear and only half of what you see… Some people might tell you never to become a lawyer, while others will do their best to convince you to go to law school; the truth always exists somewhere in the middle.

It is true that only the top 10% of law school grads in a large market will receive the fabled $160,000 lawyer income after graduation. Whereas, the majority of graduates will start at between $45,000 – $65,000 in salary. (Statistically, a much smaller percentage of law school graduates earn between $65,000-$160,000 for their starting salary for their first legal job.)

However, this data only represents a law school graduate’s first job out of law school. Do not be frustrated by these facts! A law degree is a LONG TERM investment, not a short term investment. Just because your starting lawyer income is $45,000 - $65,000 does not mean that your salary will remain so low for very long.

Put yourself in the shoes of an employer…Newly graduated lawyers do not know anything about how to actually practice law, they only have the skills on HOW TO LEARN to practice law. Therefore the income for a recent graduate may be low because that lawyer is essentially useless for the first six months of employment. After a year or so the new lawyer will begin to become profitable as that lawyer starts to handle matters with less supervision.

The legal business model requires the ability to delegate so that the partners can obtain greater quantities of work, and after two years a lawyer is skilled enough to handle (certain) work on their own. It is at this point that the new lawyer now starts to take matters and handle them with little or no supervision. (As a side note this is also the time when those young lawyers begin to seek new employment, frustrating the firms who have trained that lawyer.)

You need to think long term! The value of your first job is not your lawyer income, the value is the experience you receive which will set you up for greater success in the future. Case in point: one of the younger contributors at started out at $50,000 and after two years left his job for a position with a legal salary of over $100,000 and has been receiving $5000 salary increases every year + $2,500 bonuses ever since. It is not unusual to be earning a lawyers salary of $120,000 within four or five years of graduating from law school (subject to your geographic market and experience).

In conclusion give little weight to any information you have read or heard others discuss, that advise for or against going to law school based solely on the lawyer income. Law school is a long term investment… only you can make the decision, and you should only do so after a full investigation of the legal practice, and process to become a lawyer. If you properly prepare for law school, know the requirements and have a plan, you can find personal AND financial success in the law.

Continue your pre law investigation into law school and a legal career by reading more of our free information!

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