Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"Two lawyers walk into a bar . . .

...One orders a round of drinks for the house. The other one puts on an apron and serves it."

Last month, an article by Greg Burns in the Chicago Tribune began with the above quote. The quote certainly is provocative, particularly for law students and new lawyers, but the article touches upon many of the concerns and expectations law students and new lawyers have. It is worth a read.

"Prosecutor Jeanne Wrenn clutches a foot-high stack of case files against the chest of her blue business suit as she dashes from hearing to hearing in the Criminal Courts Building at 26th Street and California Avenue. Her high heels click down the hallways as she passes a prisoner work crew clad in yellow jump suits and small clusters of defendants with their families and friends, waiting for cases to be called.

She has a court date with Jahson Rosemond, a 24-year-old two-time felon accused of dealing cocaine. She's willing to let him plead to a lesser charge of possession with a prison term attached. He wants probation."He's not going to get it," she vows. If it's a trial he wants, she'll give it to him.

For a 36-year-old single mother barely seven years out of law school, Wrenn bears a weighty responsibility, and it's exactly what she had in mind when she borrowed $100,000 to attend the Loyola University School of Law. Of all her friends from those law-school days, she enjoys her job the most, she says.

Except for the paycheck. At $59,000 a year, the assistant Cook County state's attorney makes $100,000 less than the average first-year associate at big corporate firms, and millions of dollars less than the elite partners at those firms. If she chucked public service and went for the bucks, she probably could make a bit more money. But contrary to what many Americans believe, she'd need to overcome long odds to earn a lot more. Increasingly among the nation's 761,000 working lawyers, admission to the bar no longer guarantees a gold-plated lifestyle, or even financial security."

Go here to read the rest of this very interesting article.

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