The value of an attorney isn’t what it used to be. While you’re all ravenously pouring over the U.S. News Law School Rankings to figure out which six-figure law degree is closest to its face value, it’s a good time to check out Craigslist and see exactly how rough newly minted lawyers have it out there. Unless they’re willing to hang up their own awesome shingle, that is.
Contractors are struggling to pay off their loans collecting paltry hourly wages, and now there’s a firm willing to pay a young lawyer even less…
The $40-45K salary coupled with the phrase “will be required to work nonstop until they are on top of our system” makes for a low wage. Assuming this means a 65-hour work week (which isn’t “nonstop” by my standards, but let’s be conservative) and maybe three weeks of vacation, that’s about $14/hour. Document reviewers in Atlanta are making around $25/hour. That means finding relatively routine contract work throughout the year, even if held to a mere 40 hours/week, will make a lawyer more. A full-time job is definitely better for the résumé and offers transferable job experience. Plus there are promises of “upward salary mobility” with the firm, although there’s only so much to be gained in a four-lawyer firm. The full-time job may be still be better, but to a law student with $1000/month loan bills, is it worth it to pray for a future raise or suck it up and collect a steady, if unfulfilling, paycheck? When firms are lowballing the contractor market, attorneys might be making decisions as a matter of economic necessity.
Based on the address, this looks like the firm of Jaffe & Haug, and you can’t really blame them for offering small potatoes. Pay what the market will bear.
And the market totally sucks.