Our economy is ill-conceived.
With the highest school superintendent salary in the United States in the form of Philadelphia School District CEO William Hite's $300,000-a-year salary, it should be no surprise that educators don't want to keep doing what they know and love. In terms of pay, of course, teachers in Philadelphia make up about a third of America's average teacher salary.
For teachers in any profession, higher education isn't enough, but for some, it's the only path to a stable career. That's how the so-called law of supply and demand works. A recent statement released by the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) says that law schools are holding off on accepting applications to boost salaries, down 1.1 percent from 2017.
That comes as a surprise, because this year's graduating class is entering a labor market that's way more stressful than recent ones. High-skilled jobs used to pay better, and why graduate with a J.D. when you can do this instead?
There's also a struggle for legal representation, who'll always need to earn their living, especially when it comes to corporations and the governmental system. The price of legal representation has risen 50 percent over the past decade, though there are exceptions — your credit union might have a nice discount on private practice.
But do we need legal representation? After the last decade of lawsuits and the success of legal reform, maybe not, especially when you consider that a firm is pretty good at denying you legal representation and making you pay a fee. That's why American firms are paying $200,000 on average for the services of a partner, while a solo lawyer may charge $160,000. That raises the question, what type of lawyer is needed?
Generally, it's the nicer ones, because a jury would probably like the fact that you got sick, or you knew too much about someone, or you got cancer and don't want to die because that would suck for your family. Apparently the quality of your character is worth more than the same value in your court-defending skills. (You're not surprised, are you?)
Don't get me wrong. It's nice to get paid to do something you love, and that's certainly the case for me. I've never looked at the job of a lawyer with anything but fondness. Law means that every day I'm made more aware of issues in my community, in society, and on an international level, and I have no excuse for not knowing how to make a difference in any of these arenas.
But then again, the job of a lawyer isn't full of potential disappointments, it's largely a job of extraordinary contributions that you rarely see and that in my opinion isn't even paid enough for the hassle you have to go through to do it. So it comes down to the principle. Who should I hire as my lawyer, someone who will make me a lot of money, or the most fulfilling person on the planet?
Nothing is guaranteed as they say, or that you're ever wrong. No, in the heat of it, I'm sure we can all agree that a great lawyer shouldn't charge you $200,000. Instead, we should open our minds to all the people who teach our children every day and get paid the least amount, the most respected, and the most fascinating people in the world.