Friday, September 10, 2004

I just got off the phone with Anonymous Wife. She accepted my proposal: we spend 10% less on the kitchen than she was planning, and in exchange I take 10% more days off from work this year. She liked that. So I'm feeling a bit better about the day.

To address something in the comments on the previous post: I didn't go to a top ten school, so I don't know what all the fuss is about people not ending up like me if they don't go to Stanford. Maybe you don't start at a place like this, but we do hire laterals, and they come from more places than the places we recruit from on campus. You want to end up here? You stick it out long enough, after the years of attrition steal away 95% of the associates who start, and we might get desperate enough to read your resume.

To address something else in the comments: Yes, the paralegal wants the money. I understand. I'm not stupid. But if I was a paralegal, I'd go to business school instead of this. At least at McKinsey you get to stay in fancy hotels and travel the country.

I think my secretary cracked the crystal I got from a client while she was dusting my shelves. I don't remember if the crack was there before or not. I don't know why clients think their service providers enjoy getting plaques, crystals, trophies, and other worthless trinkets commemorating the hours we spent sorting through their lease agreements. I'd rather have a gift basket.

Ha! 10% more than one week? Your wife must not like you very much. Then again, she probably knows you'll never take more time off (at least to be with her) so she'll go 10% over budget anyway.

And, oh, if you think there is more money in business school, you need to do some research:,15114,644753,00.html?promoid=cnn?yes=cnn

B-School is for chumps.
>B-School is for chumps.

Another incorrect, irrelevant opinion. The median direct compensation package from graduates of Stanford in 2002 was $165 500/a. The average for the top 5 MBA schools was $157 700/a. Guess what the average was for the top 5 law schools? Here's a hint: Less than half of that.

If you're going to have a job which you hate, you might as well have one where you can travel in first class (yes, everyone at McKinsey really does hate their life, too).
No, I agree with the first post. B-school really is for chumps. MBAs are a dime a dozen. It's a joke.
I believe the context is a top 10 law school vs. top 10 MBa school. In that light, the relevent piece of information is that the average MBa is going to be making a lot more money than the average JD. I'm not exactly sure what a McKinsey or Deloitte Touche MBa actually does with their money, though. Rent apartments in downtown Manhattan, but never be there to actually enjoy them, I guess.
Lonely at the top, in the middle and at the bottom. But the view's better higher up. I crawled up several flights in my line of work and then life intruded and I took a slide about halfway back down.
Deep sigh. Such sad news! Is there any such thing like as an ideal career? One where you can like balance working hard, raising a family, and also having a fun or enjoyable job? I graduated from a good public school here in California with a liberal arts degree, but I have no idea what to do with my life. So I'm studying for the LSAT now but after reading some of this stuff I don't know if I even want to go to law school anymore. I know, I'm sad. But I think one thing that's important for me and maybe a lot of other immigrants is that being a lawyer your family and freinds really respect you and think you're really smart, so I like that about being a lawyer. But I also like computers, maybe I should have tried to study computer science since I'm on the internet 24/7 anyways! Anyways thanks Anonymous Lawyer your posts are informative and helpful though.
Not all lawyers hate their jobs. Some of them appear to love it.

And a lot of people hate their jobs just as much, and make 20% as much.
The last comment is quite correct. Not all lawyers hate their jobs, lots of other people hate their jobs, and a lot of jobs people hate pay less than the average attorney's salary.

However, something to keep in mind is this. Not all law jobs pay all highly, contrary to the popular myth. Job dissatisfaction if higher amongst lawyers than other classes of educated occupations, according to the various state bars and the ABA that have looked into it. Indeed, it is so high that some various state bars have programs to try to rescue, for lack of a better wored, those lawyers who are slipping off into depression as a result of their jobs.

I mention these things as what is important is for a person entering this line of work to have some idea as to what it is actually like. Those who are going into it because it offers "prestige", or wealth, are likely in for a very rude awakening. They might, indeed, obtain the prestige of a selected few for whom, in their view, it matters, and they might end up rich. But they might not.

Life doesn't continue endlessly, and after a certain point, in spite of what people like to think, it becomes exceedingly difficult to change careers. Better that a person enter a career they will be satisfied with, than one they are stuck with.

The "Vet"
Very, very well put, "The Vet"!
Some lawyers do like their jobs. Putting aside the debate over whether MBAs make the same money as JDs, what about other factors?

Most MBAs--I say most--work as true cogs in a machine, no different than most accountants, whereas most lawyers, even those at Biglaw firms, even the biggest megafirms, get to feel they are "special" or that they are a "professional," sort of doing their own thing or in charge of their careers.

Though it may be difficult, even Biglaw associates can, if they are lucky or very good, push the direction of their careers as far as practice area(s) and client development and management.

Heck, any lawyer could, if she were so inclined and were brave enough, "hang her own shingle" and operate as a solo, thus enjoying the feeling of being "the professional" in the office, just like dentists and small practice medical doctors. Not many MBAs can do that (yes, I guess some can open "consulting" businesses on their own); MBAs NEED to work for corporations that are the equivalent of our Biglaw firms--we lawyers don't have to.

And all lawyers have the option of doing what all of us reading this blog are doing: reading, writing, and thinking about societal issues and, well, law. Aside from blogging, most of us get to do that as part of the work we get paid for. I personally think that is pretty neat.

Perhaps it is my bias (I'm a lawyer and I chose to be one because I chose reading and words over math), but I don't think as many MBAs engage in the sort of thing we on this blog are doing right now.

I also agree, as arrogant or biased as it might sound, with the comment that MBAs are less special than JDs--just as I'd admit that JDs are less special than MDs.

Also,'s newly posted analysis of AL's recent post about posing as a summer associate on a conference call is right on, in my opinion. If AL is real and really did that, I'd say his actions are an example of a very negative lawyer event, to say the least. I think AL should read after he checks out my blog.
Well, Cis, you must be an MBA, because your research skills are for shite.

Here's a breakdown of average starting salaries, including bonuses, for MBA graduates from the Top Ten Ranked Business Schools:

Harvard $105,896
Stanford $107,320
Wharton (Penn $101,404
MIT $ 99,539
Northwestern $ 98,358
Columbia $ 98,611
Chicago $ 97,872
Berkeley $ 91,934
Dartmoth $ 96,714
Michigan $ 97,039

Here's a breakdown of starting salaries (_not_ including bonuses) for the Top Ten Ranked Law Schools:

Law Schools (2002)

Yale $125,000
Harvard $125,000
Stanford $125,000
Columbia $125,000
NYU $125,000
Chicago $125,000
Michigan $125,000
Penn $125,000
Virginia $115,000
Duke $125,000
(Northwestern $125,000)

Let's do a side-by-side comparison of schools that are on both lists:

School MBA JD
Harvard $105,896 $125,000
Stanford $107,320 $125,000
Penn $101,404 $125,000
Northwestern $ 98,358 $125,000
Chicago $ 97,872 $125,000
Michigan $ 97,039 $125,000

I'm just fine with the JD, thanks.

Besides, you missed the point of my original post *entirely*. If you'd bothered to go read the article I linked, or the paper that it referenced, you would see that the "value" of an MBA is seriously diminished if you don't graduate from one of those top schools. If, like the vast majority of people, you go to a good, regionally respected, but not top in the nation school, your MBA is worth far less than a JD.

And, as you can see, if you do happen to be fortunate enough to go to one of the Top Ten schools, you're going to earn more as a JD... not to mention, you won't have to deal with clueless MBAs.
So those are the Top 10 law schools? Hmm. I don't see a significant difference between the last few schools on that list and, say, Berkeley, Georgetown, or Cornell. Why the need to pigeonhole everything into factors of five?
Well, "anonymous," you must be a new associate given your utter inability to cite your sources that you "researched." Here's how someone with at least half a brain would have approached the problem:

BusinessWeek publishes a B-school survey annually. It is trivial to get the data online. Here are the Top 5 average, annual compensation packages for MBA graduates:

Kellogg - $142 000
Chicago - $140 000
Harvard - $160 000
Stanford - $165 500
Wharton - $156 000
Average - $152 700

Note: If we replace Kellogg and Chicago with Sloan and Tuck, the average jumps to $156 000.

Similarly, the ILRG publishes compensation figures for graduates of the top 50 American law schools. The top 5 are shown below:

Yale - $82 000
Harvard - $72 000
Stanford - $71 000
Chicago - $70 000
Columbia - $83 000
Average - $75 600


Maybe your problem is that you didn't even manage to do a giggle test on your data. With the top law firms on the west coast paying their junior associates, at most, $120 000/a, how the hell did you manage to conclude that the *average* for each of the top 5 schools would be $125 000/a? You're one of those lawyers who objects if opposing council multiplies two numbers in their head and presents the result to the court, aren't you?
Cis: show me one "top" CA law firm that pays less than 125k per year. My offer was for 130. I don't know anyone (besides keker, which is a lifestlye boutique) who pays 120.

Seattle and Portland may drag down the West Coast average, but those are not first-tier markets, especially portland.

Your average salaries include those clerking (who will then jump on the biglaw gravy train at a higher salary, plus a bonus) and those doing public interest, so are skewed in that respect. I would guess MBAs do much less of those types of jobs (although I know some work for nonprofits).

Furthermore, this is way late, but AL's crack about how mckinsey is better shows that he's never worked in corporate america in a position where travel is expected. You don't see the country at mckinsey (I worked there). You see conference rooms and early-morning flights, and get to know your regular town car driver better than your roommates (or family). It's atrocious and nobody should subject themselves to that life.
Actually, Cis, I get my info from the horses mouth: U.S. News and World Reports. Which is the defacto ranking publisher for school rankings.

Additionally, I don't know a single grad from my school (which is one of those top schools) who got less than those posted salaries -- unless they chose to go work for a government agency. Period. Most got larger salaries than that.

I know a number of MBAs, all chumps like you.
Oh, CIS, the "data" you quoted from the ILRG is from *1996*... or did you not bother to check that either?
Cis, dude, your credibility is slipping. I think it's safe to wrap up the comments on this post by saying Cis got a big fat bitch slap this time around.
>Cis: show me one "top" CA law firm that pays less than
>125k per year.

Irrelevant. You may as well have said, "show me one associate at Fenwick & West which makes less than $125K per year." The fact remains that not everyone works at Fenwick, and not everyone who graduates from a "top 5" law school goes to work in BigLaw®

>Additionally, I don't know a single grad from my
>school (which is one of those top schools) who got
>less than those posted salaries -- unless they chose
>to go work for a government agency

I guess the only people that you use in your mean/median calculations are individuals who make more than $125K/a. I guess you're the kind of useless lawyer who can't do meaningful research that AL is always complaining about.

Or maybe you just suck at math.

>Oh, CIS, the "data" you quoted from the ILRG is from
>*1996*... or did you not bother to check that either?

I checked it. I didn't note it, and that was a mistake on my part, yes. However, do you sincerely believe that the average salaries have jumped by $50 000 in this period of time? Compounded annually, that amounts to a 6.6% raise for junior associates each year. The west-coast IP firms have been paying well since the tech boom, but the rest of the industries haven't followed suit.

Let's put this in another way: in 2003, the median salary for UCLA graduates who went to work in the private sector was $125K/a. The median salary for those who went to work in the public sector was $44.5K/a. The insecure lawyers here are trying to conclude that the *average* is not only going to be well over $125k/a, but it will be above the MBa average of $150K.

As if.

Just wandered onto this site while searching for information on law schools. If this Cis guy is an MBA, then he's not exactly giving me a good impression of MBAs in general.

"Or maybe you just suck at math"? Is Cis in gradeschool or something, or is he seriously trying to converse with mannered professionals? What a jackass.

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