Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

The Uncivil Litigator has a post that compares law firms to used car dealerships, luring people on the basis of the price (salary) alone. It's a solid post worth reading, as a lot of The Uncivil Litigator's posts are.

Also, more from both sides of the $125,000 question:

If anything, your correspondent understated how hard it is to live on the $125,000 in New York. Inexplicably, he/she didn't mention the more than $10,000 per year that most new associates have to pay in student loans. Once you subtract that, you realize that even the modest "savings" your correspondent referenced are illusory. Furthermore, I'm not sure where you think you can get an apartment for $800, even in Queens or Brooklyn, and have any reasonable commute into Manhattan. Your correspondent's $1,500 apartment is actually quite cheap for Manhattan -- most single people I know in that situation are paying more like $1,800-$2,000 for studios or 1-BRs -- and is probably the going rate for something decent in the boroughs. One can definitely "live" on $125,000, but for most people that's neither a life of luxury nor one that enables them to save much for the future. It's basically a middleclass paycheck-to-paycheck existence.

On the other hand:

First of all, I only pay $700 a month in rent. Granted, I have a pretty small bedroom and don't live in my first choice of neighborhoods, but the UES is generally considered a nice place to live and is in Manhattan.

Secondly, most of my good friends live in Manhattan and make much, much less than $125,000. One of my best friends makes something around $20,000 and lives in Manhattan. Obviously, he probably can't save any money (let alone $25k a year), but if you tacked another $25k net pay onto his salary, he'd still be making less than half a first-year lawyer.

What it comes down to isn't the cost of living in Manhattan, it's how you want to live in Manhattan.If you're willing to sacrifice space and location, you can find deals on apartments in Manhattan. And there are plenty of places to eat, drink, and be entertained that don't cost a ton.

Part of the problem is when you mainly associate with other people who make $125k, then you go to more expensive places and do more expensive things. It changes your view of what normal living in NY is.

I didn't realize this would get me more e-mail than anything else I've ever written. That may not be entirely true, but it's getting close.