All Work And Low Pay: Wage Gap Persists For Legal Aid Attys

While it isn’t surprising that attorneys working for nonprofit groups would receive less pay, the size of the discrepancy — and the low salaries in general — is concerning, Sandman said.

News Story (NATIONAL)

Emma Cueto
Law360
September 29, 2019
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Tags: Access to Justice

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Services Corporation (LSC)


DETAILS

The average salary for a staff attorney at the organizations receiving grants from LSC is about $63,000, according to the report. More experienced supervising attorneys earn an average of $84,000, and a litigation director at one of these organizations might expect to make an average of $107,000, the report found.

Meanwhile, the starting salary for a first-year associate at a BigLaw firm is typically over $150,000, with some firms offering up to $190,000 for first-year attorneys, especially those living in major cities.

While it isn’t surprising that attorneys working for nonprofit groups would receive less pay, the size of the discrepancy — and the low salaries in general — is concerning, Sandman said.

Attorneys often graduate law school with substantial student loan debt. According to Law School Transparency, which tracks data related to law school, law school tuition at a public university costs an average of $27,000 per year for in-state students, and costs $47,000 on average at private universities as of 2018.

The LSC report, however, highlighted how much these attorneys and the organizations they work for are able to do, despite the comparatively low salaries.