You read that right, my friends. And three guesses which career banks that kind of dough right out of the box…that’s right, first-year attorney.

Today’s Dallas News mentions Vinson & Elkins, a large Dallas/Houston law firm, is raising its first-year annual salary to $160,000 and second-year salary to $170,000, up from $135,000 & $145,000, respectively. (I’m including a link to the law firm website in case any parents of soon-to-be first year attorneys want to get their kids’ applications in right away…) No worries if you’re a partner at Vinson & Elkins, though: the American Lawyer publication estimated that Vinson & Elkins partners earned $945,000 last year, so I guess we know who buys lunch.

Anyway, this is apparently a good time to be a newly minted attorney. Just two years ago, a first-year attorney at a so-called "elite" law firm would have started out receiving only $115,000 annually; this compares with a "non-elite" Texas law firm starting salary of $58,439.

The question I have is this: Why didn’t I go to law school and marry a fellow student (hope my wife’s not reading this…) so we could now be banking $1,890,000 this year? Of course, that assumes we’d both be working for an "elite" law firm, but why not assume the best for me and my non-bride?

The other, more meaningful, question: Do any of these numbers actually make any sense? I know lawyers work hard and all, and I know that our society couldn’t survive without them, but geez…

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