How Much Do Law Firms Make – Do any of the following scenarios sound familiar? You’ve worked for years in a high-level career that didn’t get you where you wanted to go. Or you’ve been working on your Ph.D. And faced more years of relatively menial work in another country’s lab on a student salary before seeing any chance for autonomy or recognition. Or you have one of those degrees (like in electrical engineering, computer science or physics) that you’ve heard all the intellectual property law firms are looking for. If you are a sophisticated and intelligent individual who has tried a little, you may have come to the conclusion that studying law as a mature student and getting your law degree will be the solution to all your problems – your ticket to nirvana, Track to wealth and prestige! And it can also lead to interesting work.
Before you start filling out law school applications, it’s important that you understand the legal lifestyle and the right strategies for creating a successful legal career. Just earning a JD is not enough. Depending on your ultimate goal, making the smart transition to law as a non-traditional law student requires you to consider a number of factors before taking the leap.
How Much Do Law Firms Make
This article will examine what an individual with an advanced degree or an established career should consider when he or she wants to go to law school later in life and approaches the transition to law. The next article will examine how to have a successful career as a law firm associate if you come to the firm with an advanced degree (or degrees) or relevant career experience.
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So you want to be a lawyer? Do you think you might be too old for law school? How much do you know about what lawyers do? Do you have a friend in law? Have you perused law firm websites, read bios, and heard about entry-level salaries for associates at top firms? Don’t get caught up in the fantasy. Do your research. Talk to people who do work you think you might like. Take them out to lunch. Ask about hours. Ask about how they spend their days. Ask about client relationships and participation (or lack thereof) in law firm management. Take inventory of what you enjoy in your professional life and what drives you crazy. Find out what wise people do, and decide if that reality will make you happy.
The salary is potentially tempting, but realistic. Most top dollar earning associates at large firms bill between 2,000 and 2,300 hours per year. And that doesn’t include “non-billable” hours. This can come as a surprise to someone considering law school after age 35 and trying to balance family needs with the demands of being a junior associate. Many firms expect you to work evenings and weekends. Many firms expect you to take on projects in a rush with little notice. Many colleagues will say, “Your life is not your own.” All of this is delicious if you’re doing something stimulating that you enjoy, but it can be taxing if you’re doing work just to make a paycheck. Firms that pay the highest salaries will also expect you to have top qualifications in terms of your law school and grades.
Some people may choose law school at age 40 or so as a second career for philosophical reasons. They want to be advocates for people, animals or causes. Many of them choose to work for governments, non-profit organizations or smaller firms, where profit per partner may not be the only criterion for judging success. If the spirit of advocacy, rather than the vision of making a partner, is your driving motivation, you can take a more flexible path through law school as an older law student.
Some choose law as a second career based on fascination or experience with a particular subject. Many experienced individuals have exposure to certain areas of law in their professional lives, such as employment law, employer law or real estate, and can further their careers by earning a JD. Again, the path through law school can be more flexible for these individuals. , depending on the size of the firm they hope to join.
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A JD can open the door to many opportunities within a firm, in a corporate environment, in the non-profit sector, in government and for individual entrepreneurs. BCG specializes in placing lawyers in law firms; Therefore, this recommendation will focus on individuals pursuing a JD with employment at a law firm as their immediate goal.
Before considering where to apply to law school, it’s important to know what type of law firm you might want to go to.
Top-tier national and international law firms tend to be large, with multiple offices, high-profile clients and significant profits per partner. These firms offer access to leading lawyers in their practice, sophisticated and challenging work, the prestige associated with association with leading firms and the opportunity to develop a career that can lead to national and international recognition. This is the firm that pays the highest associate salaries. However, most of these firms are very strict in their hiring criteria. Many will only consider candidates from the top 20 law schools, as listed by
. Many also require a GPA in the top 10-20 percent range, law review experience and, in some cases, judicial clerkship experience. Competition for a job offer for an entry-level associate at this firm is fierce. And you need to understand the process involved.
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These firms hire the majority of their associates through their summer programs. The firm conducts on-campus interviews during students’ first and second years of law school to consider who they might invite to work for them as summer associates. If you have a successful on-campus interview, you will be invited to the company for one or more call-back interviews. If you do well in the interview, you may get an “offer” to be a summer associate. Depending on your experience during the summer, the company may extend an offer to join them after you graduate.
If you have your sights set on a prestigious firm, you need to think about this process when choosing your law school, approaching your studies and exams, and getting involved in extra law school activities. Don’t expect to receive special notice or credit for life experience in law school. If you want to get into a top company, your GPA will be a critical consideration.
Many people with focused experience in a particular subject area will set their sights on a boutique law firm that specializes in an area of law that complements their background. Some examples include boutiques specializing in health care law, employment law, real estate and environmental law, municipal law or intellectual property. Often, these boutiques may be more locally or regionally based. Attending a local law school with a good reputation (ranked in the top 100) and having a solid background in a relevant subject may be enough to land you the first job. Grades still matter, but hiring a partner will likely take a broader view of what you bring to the table and the subjects you emphasized during law school. If you know the area of law you want to practice in, it may be wise to consider the best law schools for older students and highly rated programs specific to your area of interest. For example, in some cases, attending a school that ranks highly in environmental law may be more important than attending a school in the top 20 that may not have a strong environmental program.
However, be aware that boutique national law firms that have prestige and serve well-known clients may be as demanding as large national and international general firms. High-profile boutiques want to flaunt top-tier credentials on their lawyer bio web pages, and top-notch writing skills are a prerequisite.
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Firms with 50 lawyers or fewer are highly variable in terms of their practice mix and the types of young lawyers they may want to hire. Some of the smaller firms are just as elite and different from the big international firms. A good rule of thumb is to explore the firm’s website and look at the lawyer’s background and academic pedigree. The firm will be looking for young associates with the same type of background. If you find a small firm that emphasizes a practice that interests you, contact one of its attorneys and find out if and how they bring in new attorneys. Most lawyers like to talk to people who want to learn about what they do, as long as they don’t ask for anything but information. The recruitment process for junior associates in these firms can be informal, based on word-of-mouth referrals or Internet advertising,
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