Firms like Kirkland & Ellis and Skadden lurk law school campuses and offer big six-figure salaries. Despite some students wanting to shun a career in Big Law, many don't have a choice as debt loads mount.
Many students dream of a career as public servants, but Big Law comes calling with hefty six-figure salaries, and for many kids, that is an offer that is too good to refuse.
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1. Many law students don't fancy a job in Big Law, but some might not have a choice. There are students who want to be public servants, but then Big Law comes calling with hefty six-figure salaries, and that can be hard to turn down.
Law firms regularly frequent law school campuses to round up their next batch of juniors. While students sometimes scoff at the idea of a career in corporate law, their professors doubt some can say no to a lifestyle akin to the fictional corporate lawyer of "Suits" fame, Harvey Specter.
They're also often plagued with thousands of dollars in unpaid student loans. And a gig in corporate law is the quickest way to whittle down their debt.
There can also be a certain ease in tracking down a job in corporate law. Every year, law firms interview students for summer internships, and those who get selected are exposed to roughly three months of the Big Law life.
Kirkland & Ellis, often the law firm of choice for Wall Street's biggest banks and investment firms, welcomed more than 500 summer associates in 2021.
Yes, the hours are long, and the work can be arduous, but you're doing it from a fancy skyscraper with a towering view of the big city. Sometimes you also get treated to a night out with expensive wine or box seats at the ball game.
"People will do things they don't care a whole lot about if they get paid enough," said Stephen Bright, a professor at Yale Law School who teaches capital punishment and issues of race and poverty.
Read the full feature story from Insider's Senior Correspondent Casey Sullivan on why some law students, despite finding a career in corporate law unthinkable, might struggle to say "no" to that $200,000 salary.
ICYMI, Casey has a bevy of stories on Big Law that are worth a read:
- Here's why so many lawyers hate their jobs — and are desperate to quit.
- Brad Karp, lawyer to the rich and powerful, wrestles with his future.
- Jonathan Schiller helped build Boies Schiller, but behind the scenes, he drove people away.
- Paul Weiss' relationship with Apollo has been lucrative. It has also sowed tensions within the firm and altered its DNA.
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