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The Argument Why First Year Associates Should Make $190K a Year

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on November 28, 2011 5:47 AM

To all you first-year associates out there: are your six-figure salaries too low? Do you feel like you're worth more than a measly $160,000 a year?

If you're currently spending your days as an indentured servant deep within a BigLaw firm's caverns, you probably wish you had a little more cash.

Who wouldn't, when they're virtually spending all their time at work? In the absence of having a work/life balance, there is only one alternative: buying yourself something pretty to make your life seem happier and more fulfilled.

Maybe that's why Philadelphia Lawyer over at Constitutional Daily wrote a piece about why associates should make $190,000 a year. Of course, the original post was written in 2007, before the economic downturn. But maybe there are still some pertinent lessons to be learned.

Like this one: maybe salaries should get a bump considering the massive amount of debts many law students incur. Law school graduates graduate with an average of $80,081 of debt. Or, $92,937 of total debt, including loans from college years.

In case you're not a math whiz, that calculates to a massive amount of loan payments per month. Add to that expense a luxury car so you can compete with all your other flashy associates. And, add all of these costs to the hunk of gold you'll be spending to buy that fancy condo (that you'll never spend time in).

So yes, maybe first-year associate salaries should get a bump to $190,000 a year. But when that happens, try not to buy something to make yourself feel better. Pay your loans first. And please remember all your fellow unemployed and underemployed law graduates out there. Share the wealth.

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