Being in the final year of my fellowship (the three years of pediatric hematology/oncology specialty training that more or less finishes my formal training), I’ve started thinking about the future. I know that, in my world, satisfaction is derived from about a million different things, only one of which is compensation — but that doesn’t make stories like this any less depressing. In addition to the sheer salary numbers that are being thrown around (here’s a salary chart from the online message board discussed in the article), the idea that New York City law associates are spending any amount of time whining on message boards about their relative poverty is a bit disheartening, and certainly doesn’t elevate the esteem of the legal profession in the eye of the average outsider looking in. (It also doesn’t engender any sympathy from those of us in the medical profession who might be considered analogous to “Year 6” associates in that table and yet don’t make anywhere near those salaries.)


Keep in mind that you are looking at a small subset of lawyers - those who graduated at the top of their class from the top law schools in the country. These people are essentially the smartest people in the country who are no good at math (law is the best paying profession that doesn’t require math skill).

On average, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a physician makes $57.38 an hour, where-as lawyers make only $48.63 an hour.

• Posted by: PLC on Feb 16, 2006, 2:28 PM

It’s never too late to join the dark side, Jason. We’re always looking for patent attorneys! And with your ace science and debate background, I’m sure you could find a firm to foot the bill for your law degree …

• Posted by: Steve R on Feb 21, 2006, 2:29 PM

One of my favorite lines in any movie is in “Citizen Kane” when Mr. Bernstein tells the interviewer, “Well, it’s no trick to make a lot of money… if what you want to do is make a lot of money.” The truth is that both law and medicine are hard ways to make a lot of money— but they are rewarding for other reasons.

Physicians in other countries don’t make the kind of money they do here in the US, but people still want to be doctors— and the same is true of lawyers. These are callings, I think, it it demeans our professions when we reduce it to dollars.

• Posted by: Bill Altreuter on Feb 27, 2006, 3:38 PM
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