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View Diary: A political issue -- teacher pay (255 comments)

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    As mentioned, I am an attorney and couldn't agree more that first-year associates don't really know what they are doing.  There is a big learning curve in law, and the good first-year associates quickly get better though.

    I flatly disagree that first-year associates are unprofitable for the law firms, at least all of the law firms.  At many New York law firms, first year associates are billed at over $300/hour (after they pass the bar).  Assume they bill 2000 hours/year and that is $600,000/year of gross income they are bringing in.

    I don't want to derail this thread any more than necessary.  I also want to reiterate my statement in my original post when I said it was irrational to think they are underpaid.

    •  They're billed at $300/hour (none)
      And how much do the experienced attorneys bill the same client for the hours spent cleaning up after the first-year?

      "Hit a man with a fish, and he'll have a headache for a day. Teach him to hit himself with a fish, and he'll have headaches all his life!"--Karl Rove

      by AdmiralNaismith on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 10:58:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You Forgot (none)
      Overhead - which of course premier firms have disproportionately because they are, after all, premier.  The rents alone per head eat deeply into margins.  It's one of the reasons that there have been so many mergers and acquisitions of firms, going from just large to behemoth - now that there is no longer "lifetime loyalty" from partners and they are now just market commodities that will happily go along with their entire book of business somewhere else, firms can't lower their equity draws for top level rainmakers without serious risk.  What used to be an optional return has now been pretty much mandatory - and it is those $300/hour billable rates, discounted by a significant amount because the clients simply will not pay for the 10 hours it takes a first year to do a 2 hour product, that is paying for it.

      Having said all that I agree with you completely this thread is about teachers and talking about law does indeed derail it unfairly.  My only point is that there is nothing about law or the practice of it that justifies the disproportionate salaries paid to the most unskilled members of its profession in the larger firms, particularly compared to the one profession that is absolutely fundamental to the society's success at large - teaching.  Not the required hours, education, debt, nothing.

      My separate place for mental meanderings: Political Sapphire

      by shanikka on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 11:29:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  2000 billable hours? (none)
      That's 40 hours per week x 50 weeks.  That means every hour of every workweek, with no holidays, sick days, just a two-week vacation, is billable to a client.  

      I think you're seriously underestimating the overhead involved.

      He's Mister Truth Twister; He's Mister Hate. He's Mister Coke Sniffer; He's Mister Torture-Is-Great. They call me Shit Miser, whatever I touch...

      by osterizer on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 12:15:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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