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How likely is it (without the 100s of variables that come into play) that a person gets his J.D from a 2nd Tier University and gets paid $250 an Hour within the first 3 years of working?

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    Ha! $250 an hour! – LogicalBranch Jun 22 at 14:10
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    Care to elaborate? Lol. @LogicalBranch – Moshe Jun 23 at 3:32
  • Are questions about careers in law considered on-topic here? I couldn't find anything on Law Meta explicit saying one way or the other. – Michael Seifert Jun 24 at 17:09
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    Yeha Yeha they're fine @MichaelSeifert – Moshe Jun 24 at 17:16
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    The only way that would happen in real life would be to be self-employed, get lucky and land a fat contingent fee case client perhaps a relative or friend, and settle it early on into the case so that the number of hours worked is very small. – ohwilleke Jun 24 at 20:00
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It would probably be very easy for a third-year associate to find someone willing to pay him $250 to spend an hour fighting a traffic ticket.

But if you're talking about a full-time job practicing law with a base salary equal to $250/hour, I'll go out on a limb and say the chances are literally zero.

That rate works out to about $520,000 annually, and there is probably not a firm in the world paying that much to third-year associates. Even among the highest-paying firms, the average is closer to $200K, which puts you at $96/hour. The highest associate pay I've hard of is about $330K, and that's for associates at the top of an eight-year pay schedule.

And of course, if you're at a top-paying law firm, you're working closer to 60 hours a week than 40. And if you're at the top of their payscale, you're probably closer to 80 hours than 60. So even at $330K, you're still only at about $105/hour. Luckily, these firms often offer very handsome bonuses, but even if you were somehow pulling down $330K for only 40 hours a week, you'd need a $190,000 bonus to get yourself to $250/hour.

For lawyers, at least, this does not happen. Anywhere. If it did, it would not happen to a third-year associate. If it did, it would not happen to a third-year associate from a second-tier law school.

(It is not at all uncommon for a third-year associate to charge $250/hour, but that associate is not getting paid all or even most of that money.)

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    Also, even if the case of a self-employed attorney, you would typically need to charge $350 to $600 an hour to net $250 an hour, depending upon the economics of your practice, and few clients would pay that for a self-employed lawyer who was just admitted to the bar within the last three years (absent some prior career adding value or incredible connections established prior to practicing law supporting lobbyist compensation or something). $120K in NYC would still be high pay for a first three year associate at a big firm before a bonus. – ohwilleke Jun 24 at 19:57
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    Yeah -- I'm trying to think of any way it's even theoretically possible, and all I can come up with is getting your father to hire you as general counsel for his hedge fund. But even then, if the hedge fund can afford to pay that kind of money, it's probably smart enough not to. – bdb484 Jun 24 at 23:17

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