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Sharyn a professional sports team a fullyear subscription to equinox the highheels with the red bottoms on them aKenyan Safari a full body tattoo one ofthese is true it’s publicly availableinformation what first year associatesare making a big law law firms and evenif a particular firm isn’t availableonline there’s a market rate that mostbig law law firms will hit and right nowthat rate is a hundred and ninetythousand dollars as an entry-levelsalary and fifteen thousand dollars asan entry-level bonus and so you’relooking at two hundred and five thousanddollars for a first year associatesalary and bonus which is incrediblewhen you think about the fact

that mostfirst-year associates are coming in withzero practical skills and zero practicalknowledge and have to be trained fromthe ground up and big law law firms havebeen paying high salaries and bonuses tofirst-year associates for years when Igraduated in 2011 the going rate for afirst-year associate was 160,000 dollarsas a starting salary and a $10,000 yearin bonus for a total of a hundred andseventy thousand dollars now of coursethis doesn’t cover all law firms or allmarkets even but it is what the marketrate is for the highest paying big lawlaw firms as of today somewheres say youknow what two hundred and five thousanddollars

is an entry-level positionreally isn’t that much money when youtake into account the hours thatassociates have to bill at a law firmand be physically in the office or ifyou take into account the average debtcoming out of law school which issomewhere around $150,000 but I wouldlike to respectfully disagree and saythey’re two hundred five thousanddollars as an entry-level job with nopractical skills is a ton of money toput this kind of money into perspectiveas an entry-level position the onlyother professions that come close aregoing to be Investment Banking analystsfor big firms like JP Morgan or GoldmanSachs software engineers for big techcompanies like Facebook or Google anddoctors in certain specialty areas

ifyou don’t count their years of residencyyou might ask yourself why law firmswould hire brand-new baby lawyers withvery little skills and pay them thatkind of money and as far as I can tellit’s mainly two things one law firms canbill out young associates are reallyhardfor doing really low-level tasks likedocument review or contract review forreally long hours of the day and – theycan afford to compete with one anotherto get the highest achieving students toget the students from the mostprestigious law schools to make themlook good to give them themselves moreprestige and they can afford to continuecompeting with one another which alsoraises salaries and bonuses year afteryear after yearso when faced with this kind of moneythe question becomes what are you gonnabuy with

it I know that for me I hadnever had this kind of money or accessto this kind of money before in myentire life and I know a lot ofassociates who are in the same positionand so when you’re paid thisastronomical salary what is it thatyou’re going to buy and for a lot of mylaw school classmates they immediatelybought houses really nice cars luxurygym memberships nice electronicstop-of-the-line whatever was coming outand started paying off student loansso what did I buy what the kind of moneyI was making

I didn’t buy a house Ididn’t buy a car to put it simply Ibought a life in Manhattan New YorkI bought the experience of living in a$2,300 studio apartment near UnionSquare I bought about that same amountof money in food every month in baconand egg and cheese bagel sandwiches andwoodfired pizza and cannolis andchocolate cake

I put all of thefurniture from my Dallas apartment intostorage and bought all new mini versionsof that furniture that would actuallyfit in my New York apartment it wasincredible to have that kind of freedomthat money allowed for to be able tolive in a city I never would haveconsidered visiting before law schoolsto be able to go to bars and restaurantswith friends that I was invited to thatI could never have afforded beforegetting this jobI was never a hundred percentcomfortable with this new lifestylethere was always something sort oftugging at me reminding me that this wasgoing to be temporary that this wasgoing to be a temporary season in mylife and that it wasn’t always going tobe like this so enjoy it while you canand that was a feeling I got even thoughI had no plans to leave the firm at thetime

I even enjoyed toying with the ideaof making partner one day butnevertheless there was this feelinginternally that this was not going to bethe lifestyle that I always was alwaysgoing to have and probably if I’m beinghonest not the lifestyle that I alwayswas going to wantso with this in mind I never spent mylaw firm salary on anything that didn’tallow me to walk away I wanted to keepmy options open even though I didn’tknow what those options were what Iwanted them to be we’re not even havingset plans to leave the law firm in anyparticular time I just knew that Iwanted that freedom and that I didn’twant to spend money on any big purchasesor going to dead that would make medependent on the law firm job and

I alsolearned about the concept of the curseof the golden handcuffs early ongoing into debt making these bigpurchases having a lifestyle that makesyou dependent on the salary of a highpaying jobs that you can never walk awayand I saw that happening to so many ofthe associates I’ve worked with thatwere miserable that were tired that wereno longer interested or fulfilled by thejob but didn’t walk away because themoney was too high and they needed itfor the lifestyle that they had createdfor themselvesonly two cures of the golden handcuffsI’ve ever seen and one of them ispretend like you don’t have the moneythat it’s not yours put it in a savingsaccount in an investment account donateit whatever you need to do immediatelyand to make decisions based on whereyou’re gonna live what car gonna drivewhat you’re gonna wear where you’regonna send your kids to school as ifthat money is not yours and it is toughand it is tempting

but it’s still a loteasier than number two and number two iswalk away and walking away from a highpaying job is extremely difficultthere’s always another level to get tothere’s always another raise in thePaycheck or in bonuses and even if youset something in your mind that you wantto make an exit path for so at $300,000I’ll walk away at $500,000 I’ll walkaway at partner all walk away its seniorequity partner I’ll walk away every yearit gets successively harder to dobecause every year comes with a greaterand greater increase in salary andbonuses and so even if you’ve promisedyourself that you’re going to spend moretime at home that you’re gonna leavethis job to travel more that you’regonna leave the job

to pursue a dream inanother career area you’ve already hadmaybe something more creative orsomething very off-the-wall it justmakes it harder and harder torationalize that choice as the moneygets bigger and bigger and so money isjust such a crazy seductive powerfulthing that the longer you wait to walkaway the easier it is to rationalizereasons not to leavepersonally for me it took five years towean myself off of a big lost salary andnow I have come full circle and I’mmaking zero dollars working as a probono attorney on cases that for thefirst time in years I really care aboutwhile I get a postgraduate degree and Iknow that everybody is in a differentsituation has different levels ofcommitments and different needs thatthey’re taking care of but I just wantedto share with you guys what

I have seenhappen to my friends and colleagues overand over in terms of staying at a biglaw firm job not because they love it orthey feel excited or fulfilled by itanymore but because financialcommitments they’ve already made haverequired them to staywhat I hope for you guys and what I wishfor you guys is if you start working ata big law firm to enjoy it to enjoy theexcitement of it the experience of itbut that I also wish you the freedom tobe able to leave and to walk away whenit’s no longer the right place for youanymoreso I hope you guys like the video let meknow if something in particular spoke toyou I’d love to hear from you and I willsee you guys in the next article

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