I've Been Admitted to Law School. The Question is...Can I Survive?

Narkoleptomania

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Andy Havens has an interesting response to Howard Scher of Buchanan Ingersoll’s Philadelphia office (who recently increased associate starting salaries from $105K to $115K) who said:

"We have clients who want first-class legal representation, so we have to compete for the best people. While I don't think that $5,000 or $10,000 should be the basis for making a career decision, it is for people at that stage of their careers. So we hope this shows law students that Buchanan Ingersoll is a first-class firm."

Havens' entire response is pretty interesting and worth a read but he closes with this bit:

"You are sending them a bad, wrong, unhealthy and, ultimately, self-defeating message. If the only way you can get "the best" students to come to your firm is to pay them $10k more a year... Let them go to other firms. Take the "Tier-2" kids who want to work somewhere with heart, guts, moxie, brains and staying power. I guarantee that in a few years your clients will love those kids way, way more than they ever would any shiny, greedy "A-Team" gold-diggers."

It sounds like a good plan…in theory…I’m just not sure how it’d work. How do you ensure that the people willing to work for a lower salary are the ones with “moxie, brains and staying power”? What makes them not the folk who couldn’t get one of the $125K jobs and are going to have to settle for the lower paying one? Additionally, since the general perception of associate positions at BIGLAW is pretty similar, i.e. consisting of grunt work and dissatisfaction, at most firms why would I want to take a lower paying one?