In 2018, a New York attorney would make $128,902 a year on median base pay, according to Forbes. The New York Times says otherwise and gives them a whopping $160,000 on their first year.
Point being, attorneys in New York (or more like, in general) make a ton of money. The mastery of their craft is carefully learned through paralegal school. After college, they will be weeded out some more during board exams season.
A lot of people might be wondering why firms pay ridiculous sums of cash for an entry-level position. Well, before anything, we just wanted to clear up that it’s more than an entry-level position. Lawyers have gone through two degrees before getting to wherever they are right now. They take an undergraduate degree as their pre-law and then their law degree. After that, they are screened through a rigorous exam that would test their entire law school experience.
Putting that aside, what else do these attorneys do that earns them a lot of money? First, they are based in New York. This city is said to be the capital of the legal profession. A lawyer positioning themselves at the hub of where everything in their career comes together may also put them at the forefront of receiving the most excellent salary.
For example, corporate associates get to work on most significant and most intricate transactions that the world will ever see – the kind that lands on the pages of The Wall Street Journal.
It can only be appropriately described as an extreme environment; one that will require entry-level associates to work for up to fifteen hours or more per day if you think that their suffering had ended when they finally passed through law school and the boards, think again. Sleep is rarely within the vocabulary of these robotic creatures as allnighters are often pulled just to meet deadlines.
Though this may sound like a bad deal, associates get to enjoy the privilege of working with the best in their field. It’s like being a vocal student under Mariah Carey.
Second, the long hours can numb their minds. Associates tend to be abused and overworked. Going through 18 hours a day merely studying an assigned document is not uncommon. They are also tasked to draft closing documents – a simple assignment that they would keep doing for their first few years on the job.
There are also specific quotas that they are required to meet to be compensated with the shiny figure that everyone else sees. Not meeting the quotas may result in termination.
Third, the field in itself is filled with old entitled white men who believe that insults and an abusive teaching system can help produce the best. Having tough skin is said to be essential to climb the ranks of the legal field.
Lawyers who are passionate about helping others have to remind themselves every day why they’re doing what they’re doing. Remembering your why’s is a great way to motivate one’s self of the bigger picture in all of this.
There are pros and cons to all fields, and this article just showed what happens behind the coveted salary.