Denver Bar Association
July 2000
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About Those Six-Figure Salaries

A few people called in and e-mailed responses to our June 2000 front page
article about lawyer salaries. Here's what they had to say.

As a soon-to-be law grad, I enjoyed your article on those fantastic salaries, but I don't think it was representative. Most of us are looking for experience and a place to learn. Some us would be more than willing to work for $40,000 and, in fact, some of us would get down on our knees and beg for that kind of salary.

I am an attorney in the public sector and my firm just raised its rates to $51 per hour, but I still can't afford a house. I don't even begin to make enough. It makes me wonder if the whole economy is becoming unstable. It makes me understand why people look at you the way they do when you say you're a lawyer.

The Denver legal community seems to apologize to its clients for charging them "so much" to perform work that the clients cannot get anywhere else but from a qualified professional. It's not plumbing, painting or other do-it-yourself work. Yet, these firms clearly do not understand the value of their services. We cut our time, charge too little, comp time, whatever, to keep the client happy. Where are the clients going to go? They want quality legal work, and I believe clients are willing to pay for it.

The part of the issue that was not touched in your article is the ability of public sector and non-profit organizations to recruit and retain good lawyers. . . Although most of us long ago made the decision that quality of life issues were more important to us than money, it sticks in the craw when junior associates who make more money than you do flit in and out of depositions, answering their cell phones, while you take a deposition.

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