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News Roundup--Texas Wins (Again); GC=Simple, Happy People; Wiser but Still Dumb

Vivia Chen

November 3, 2011

Rick-perry-flag-capitolRoundup of recent news:

1. Another reason to move to Texas (besides the cute governor!). Guess what cities gives law graduates most bangs for the bucks? Dallas and Houston, of course! That's according to  NALP which recently put together a buying power index for the class of 2010. Here's what The National Law Journal reports:

The index uses the $160,000 median starting salary in New York as a benchmark. Despite that high salary figure, 41 cities enjoyed a higher buying power index than New York, meaning that the reported median salaries in those cities (which were all $160,000 or below) afforded more buying power.

That means, says the NLJ, that Dallas, with the "reported median salary of $150,000, actually affords more than twice as much buying power as does a $160,000 salary in New York." Imagine shopping at Neiman's for all your basic needs--even dishtowels!

If you work in New York, though, you might want to join Costco. The NLJ notes that "new associates at a Dallas firm would need to earn just $67,870 a year to wield the same buying power as their counterparts in New York." (Click here for post on how University of Texas beats out NYU as "life style" law school.) But getting a job in Texas is becoming harder--Texas Lawyer reports that there's been a 13 percent drop in first-year hiring in the state.

And where do lawyers have the worst buying power? Would you believe the capital of the Empire State? "New lawyers in Albany reported a median salary of $50,000, but would need to earn $79,850 annually to have the same buying power as new associates in New York," says the NLJ.

As if anyone needed a reason to bypass Albany. 

2. What are they putting in the company water cooler? I always assume that most lawyers wished they had pursued another line of work—like going to medical school or learning a useful trade like carpentry or bagel-making. But the top in-house folks are perfectly happy where they are. 

According to the annual Association of Corporate Counsel survey, a whopping 92 percent of chief legal officers say they are satisfied with their careers, reports Corporate Counsel. In fact, despite that dreary economic forecast, the quality of life for corporate counsel hasn't really changed for the worse, reports CC.

So what's the biggest gripe of the top in-housers? It's not those hefty outside counsel bills or dealing with tougher regulators, says Corporate Counsel, "but shoring up in-house communications." Of the 1,165 chief legal officers surveyed, 35 percent said their "most pressing issue was 'keeping apprised of company activities that may have legal implications.'"

Internal communications is the hot issue of the day? Snore.

3. Still dumb. You might see this as a hopeful sign, but I see this as a continuation of arrested development. From The National Law Journal:

In a survey by law school admissions consulting firm Veritas Prep, 68 percent of the prospective lawyers queried said they would still apply to law school even if they understood that a significant number of graduates would be unable to find jobs in their desired field. That figure had fallen from 81 percent one year ago.

Yes, that's a 13 percent improvement. But 68 percent still plan to apply to law school even with bleak employment prospects? Are they just knuckleheads? You betcha.

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Do you have topics you'd like to discuss or tips to share? E-mail The Careerist's chief blogger, Vivia Chen, at VChen@alm.com.



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Perry is no reason to move to Texas. I live here, I know.

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The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: VChen@alm.com

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