Do better looking people earn more?

by 01 Apr 2010

It's official: if you're a hot lawyer, your pay packet will be hot too - unless you graduated in the 1980s.

In the midst of a recent debate about whether good looking lawyers earn more than their aesthetically challenged colleagues, the editorial team at Above the Law stumbled across a gem of a report completed in 1998 by the National Bureau of Economic Research, titled Beauty, Productivity and Discrimination: Lawyers' Looks and Lucre.

The researchers, Jeff Biddle and Daniel Hamermesh, came to these highly useful statistical conclusions:

* Lawyers in the private sector are better looking than those in the public sector;

* Litigators are the best looking lawyers and regulators the worst;

* Super spunky men have more chances of early partnership;

* Super spunky women, on the other hand, are less likely to become partners;

* Easy-on-the-eye lawyers charge more and thus make more money.

These results are based on graduates from the 70s and 80s, with good-looking lawyers who graduated in the 70s obtaining a definite economic advantage over the 15 years that followed graduation.

Interestingly though, those who graduated in the 80s could not, after a period of time, be differentiated on matters of attractability or otherwise.

Inhuman Resources speculates that the reasons for this are quite simple: no-one looks good sporting a permed mullet while decked out in high-waisted, stone-wash denim or a pastel, ankle-swinging suit with shoulder pads.


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