Guys, I am here at the office and picking up the digital camera to take some pics. Should be up tonight.
The law firm salary discussion is really interesting. I started practicing 17 years ago at one of the ten largest firms in the country. I graduated near the top of my class, which was my goal throughout law school. The starting salary was lush, and I jumped at it. I rode that train for ten years before I had the courage to leap off. I was miserable. I am not an organization man by nature, and I perpetually felt like the proverbial square peg in a round hole.
Six years ago I sucked it up and made the leap to a very small boutique firm doing high end, catastrophic personal injury work. Two years ago I split off and started my own firm.
I've learned some surprising things about law firm compensation. For one, I never realized until very recently that the truly big money is not the exclusive province of big, white shoe firms. I'm not saying this to brag, but only to offer encouragement to those out there in this group who did not or are not going to graduate in the top 10% of their class. I am going to make roughly ten times more this year than I did in any single year while working at a large firm. Plus, I get to go home when I want to and am having a ball practicing with two golfing and drinking buddies.
And what's even more amazing, now that I've become close friends with lots of guys in the plaintiff's bar, I've learned that many of them are making scary large money. And this is North Carolina, not New York, Texas or Chicago!
So for those of you out there who are bemoaning the first-year riches your curve-busting classmates will be reaping next fall, take heart and take aim!