Despite the late night, yesterday was a pretty good day to be a lawyer. But then I think about the judge that's suing the dry cleaner for $67 million for losing his pants, and I remember why most lawyers suck.
There was an interesting article in last week's Miami Herald about how prosecutors and public defenders in Florida aren't being paid enough money to pay their bills -- the current starting salary is $40,000 a year. By way of reference, first year associates at big law firms in New York and other large cities are being paid as much as $165,000, not including bonuses.
In my last semester of law school -- a little more than 8 years ago -- I did an internship at a public defender's office, and loved it. Not to be cliché or anything, but it was a life-altering experience. After graduation I was offered a job to be a public defender in a different city for $28,000. I really wanted to take that job. Alas, I wanted to pay my rent just a little bit more. Ultimately, that was why I went back to get my masters' degree.
When I left the government to go in to private practice, my family -- especially my mother -- seemed really impressed by the salary, and the nice office, and all of the other perks associated with the job. But when I left my big law firm job, my mom said she was proud of me -- because she thought that deciding to do what I wanted to do -- and that all that money wasn't worth not doing it -- couldn't have been easy. I thought it was strange for her to say, but I think I understood what she meant.
At least once a week, someone at work will ask me whether I miss working for a firm. And every once in a while, I make the joke that I only miss it on payday.