The NY Times talks about salary freezes at law firms:
I found the section on legal salaries illuminating:
According to the National Association for Law Placement, 16 percent of the class of 2007 law school graduates employed full time make $160,000 or more, while 38 percent make $55,000 or less.
If you do the math, 46% of new lawyers make between 55K and 160K. Assuming most mid-sized and small law firms pay around 70K starting, 84% of new lawyers probably make between 25K and 70K. If you're a law school student, remember those salary numbers when you're taking out loans and dining out. Cut back on expenses while in law school, and you'll have an easier time paying off debt if you don't land the big firm position or the big money position right away.
I managed to pay off my loans fairly soon after law school because I practiced self-denial religiously. For example, I ate PB&J almost every day in law school and for a year after law school. I also didn't go to Starbucks or Peet's more than once a month while in law school. Anyway, I haven't had a PB&J sandwich in a long time. Like the 99 cent Jack in the Box chicken sandwich I ate all the time while at UC Davis, it tastes like poverty--disgusting and dry. But these days, I go to Peet's and drop three bucks on coffee almost every day. It doesn't sound like much, but if I hadn't denied myself the good things in life while in law school, I'd still be eating PB&J and drinking fountain water for lunch and dinner.