The New York Times recently posted a piece on the growing popularity of “career associate” positions at large law firms. What I find most interesting are the comments. Here are some snippets:
Real Money from Orange Co says:
lawyers charge way too much for what they do. Rates still need to come down 30-40%. I’m tired of getting ripped off for legal bills for mediocre work.
AA from Cambridge, MA says:
A few years ago I hired a lawyer for the first time and was amazed that a very expensive billable hour often involved him doing nothing more than reading and sending a few e-mails. It’s about time they found ways to reduce their fees like this and by using software to do routine investigative work.
It’s too bad for these people who are stuck with mountains of debt, but frankly the country does not need so many lawyers. Hopefully this will reduce the number of people attending law school when it’s not seen as a guaranteed ticket to a high salary.
Joseph from San Francisco says:
Nobody has told the law schools that the $160,000 jobs are dying out. Tuition has skyrocketed and wages are collapsing. Take it from a 2007 graduate, get thee to plumbing school. A J.D. isn’t what it used to be. Prestige won’t pay your mortgage.
Dave E. from St. Paul, MN says:
Having spent several years in a large law firm where non-partnership track positions were nonexistent, I can confidently say there are many, many attorneys who would jump at the chance to get paid less for lower billable hours and a regular schedule.
You quite simply cannot dedicate yourself to your family as a full time partner or partnership-track associate in private practice, unless you can literally survive on less than five hours of sleep at night. There simply are not enough hours in the day to do both effectively.
I know countless attorneys who left firms not because they disliked the work, but because they disliked the lifestyle. It’s not as if these attorneys are stamping in an manufacturing plant.
Trudy from RI says:
Many well-educated, highly competent people would be happy to have a $60,000 job that also let them have a life. Like one individual quoted in the article, not all of us are driven to acquire large piles of cash.
AnnieNYNY from New York, NY says:
I wish that my firm would offer a second-tier track. I would gladly accept less pay for more flexibility. As it is, I wonder how I can possibly maintain a decent work-life balance when my husband and I are both at big firms working 12 hour + days and don’t want to farm our children out to nannies. Instead, we’re all stuck on the treadmill with few options for getting off of it that don’t involve a massive pay cut (we’re not talking 60-70K less, we’re talking 100-140K less) and/or much less sophisticated work. Law firms need MORE flexibility, not less.