Here’s a tale of woe. According to this story in the American Lawyer, lawyers in Manhattan’s elite law firms—the kinds of places where partners make $1 million a year and more—are depressed because they don’t make as much money as financial professionals. Alas, it’s true. Top investment bankers have long made a multiple of what top lawyers make, and private equity types and hedge fund managers can make considerably more than that.
Apparently the differences are becoming undeniably apparent in social settings. The article describes a fund-raising auction at a private school in Manhattan: when a home-cooked meal by a famous chef was being auctioned off, the doctors dropped out of the bidding at $7,000, the lawyers at $15,000, and then the bankers, private equity and hedge fund crowd got serious and fought it out among themselves, with the winning bid coming in at $40,000.
“‘Face it, we have no status,’ says an Am Law 100 [i.e., one of the one hundred most profitable law firms in the U.S.] partner of the pecking order at his sons’ private school. ‘We go to these school functions, and this well-heeled group looks right through you. They won’t give you the time of day. You’re just one step ahead of the doorman.’”
Indeed, there is no misery so small that it cannot fill the human heart.