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High-Paid Law Clerks Don't Accurately Reflect Attorneys Working for a Living

July 24, 1988

How do you reconcile your story about the high-paid law clerks ("The $1,100 a Week Summer Job: L.A. Law Clerks Even Get a Free Lunch," June 11) with the American Bar Assn.'s 1987 salary survey showing that the median income for lawyers is $68,922? The ABA concluded that most lawyers earn only upper middle-class incomes, contrary to the implications of your story.

It would seem that a good portion of those high-priced clerks will be in for a disappointment when they get out in the real world. Your article, however, was a disservice to the legal community and only served to reinforce the attitude that we're a wealthy, money-grubbing lot. How about a responsible piece about lawyers who have worked slowly and steadily to achieve--the average lawyer. The summer between my second and third year of law school, I clerked for units toward graduation (for which, incidentally, I paid a per-unit tuition to the law school).

After seven years of practice, I can't complain about my salary, compared to the average American, but the super-salaries that were not paid to me early on can never be made up and the building of my personal financial base did not begin at 24 years of age. I'm not wealthy, probably never will be, spent "only" $20,000 on my American car, but I live easily and comfortably, enjoying the fruits of my education and "status." You owe me, and the thousands like me, an apology.

JANIS ABRAMS

Culver City

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