Between 2008 and 2012, the median debt burden for newly minted JDs increased by 54 percent, from $83,000 to $128,000. (That compares with a 22 percent increase in medical student debt.) It is the responsibility of every aspiring law student to understand the implications of taking on such a financial commitment. For law grads who have already accumulated the debt, there may be options for you to better manage repayment. Thanks to our friends at DRB, today’s infographic takes a look at law student debt, including the possible benefits of refinance or consolidation. Click here for more details.
[A] focus on profit undermines the differences between the practice of law being a profession rather than solely a business. It is easy to anticipate the assertion that we choose not to report aggregate annual average profit numbers because they are not as high as some other firms. But that assertion simply assumes that the way things have been done in the past is the way they should be done in the future.
– Global chief executive officer Elliott Portnoy and global chair Joe Andrew of Dentons, explaining in a letter to the American Lawyer the reasons why the firm will no longer report its average profits per equity partner.
(Dentons, a verein that recently merged with two firms, had PPP of $625,000 in 2013, which put the firm in 96th place on the Am Law 100 when ranked by PPP.)
This should be a no-brainer.
– President Barack Obama, who once profited from ridiculous tuition rates, after signing a memorandum expanding a program to cap student loan repayments at no more than 10 percent of what borrowers actually earn in the workplace. The President’s comment was directed at a related bill in Congress to allow student borrowers to refinance their loans at lower rates.
If you’re a frequent reader of this website, you know that we continuously talk about the effects of law school debt and the need for tuition decreases so young lawyers can go on to lead normal lives after graduation instead of wearing their debt around their necks like slowly tightening nooses.
As time goes by, more and more law schools are starting to listen and reform — though in some cases, we imagine it’s only because they’re now feeling the pain of a decrease in tuition dollars due to low enrollment and smaller classes.
Until all law schools get in gear with the way things work now, we’ve got a list of law schools where life could be good after graduation. At these law schools, the average graduate has a starting salary that outweighs his average debt load…
- Airplanes / Aviation, Federal Circuit, Federal Judges, Free Speech, Law Schools, Morning Docket, Police
* Federal judges frequently fly across the globe on other people’s dime for conferences and symposia, but 2012’s most frequent flyer is a judge who was recently embroiled in an ethics scandal: Randall Rader of the Federal Circuit. [National Law Journal]
* Even though she claims nothing is “fundamentally broken,” Securities and Exchange Commission chairwoman Mary Jo White proposed “sweeping” new stock market regulations in an attempt to get with the times. [DealBook / New York Times]
* U. of Maine wants to combine its business and law schools, but professors are concerned about pressing questions like, “What will the diploma say?” rather than, “Do I get to keep my job?” [Portland Press Herald]
* Law schools are seen as cash cows for their affiliated undergraduate universities, but this law school is hurting so bad for cash due to low enrollment the university is infusing it with millions. [Minnesota Daily]
* A Pennsylvania man is suing his local police department for First Amendment violations after he was arrested for cursing in front of officers. N.W.A has a song this guy would like. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
To quote a recent headline, Midyear Bonus Bonanza Unlikely In 2014. We’d agree with that, at least as a general matter. Midyear bonuses are so “unlikely,” in fact, that we haven’t received any emails from anxious associates asking us about the possibility of midyear bonuses.
But there are exceptions to every rule. Which highly profitable, finance-focused law firm just announced bonuses for both lawyers and staff?
[T]he experience [of working at Cahill Gordon & Reindel] tested my ethical compass, and it coarsened my behavior. I was sometimes a jerk in dealing with my adversaries. I was sloppy in accounting for my time. I managed to care deeply about whether associates at the firm across the street were making a few dollars more. I did almost no pro bono work.
Don’t get me wrong. You get excellent training at big law firms. Many of the lawyers there do good and honorable work. But the big firms are built on a set of ethical tensions.
– Adam Liptak, the Supreme Court correspondent of the New York Times, offering commentary on his time spent in Biglaw in an article written for the Harvard Crimson. Liptak worked at Cahill from 1988 to 1992.
- Biglaw, Billable Hours, Intellectual Property, Litigators, Mergers and Acquisitions, Money, Partner Issues
If you plan to work in Biglaw, you know it’s likely you’ll be able to command a very high hourly rate. Just how high we’re talking, though, depends on the area of law in which you choose to practice.
We already knew that litigators handling bet-the-company cases collected nice fees — in some instances up to $1,500 per hour — but there are other practice groups that rake in crazy cash, too.
Keep reading to find out where you’ll be able to make the most bank in Biglaw…
Law firms are relatively secretive institutions. Since they’re not public companies — at least not here in the United States, in the year 2014 — they aren’t required to reveal that much about their internal workings. Here at Above the Law, we do what we can to shed light on how law firms work, but there’s only so much we can do.
Every now and then, public filings disclose information about law firm operations — including information about one of the most sensitive subjects, partner pay. Sometimes we learn about partner compensation when a partner files for bankruptcy. Sometimes we hear about it when a partner goes through an ugly divorce.
That’s once again the case today. A complicated divorce, complicated enough to spawn ancillary litigation in the form of contempt proceedings, sheds light on how one white-shoe law firm pays its partners….