Take a look at this Craigslist ad (credit to JD Underground).
To summarize, a Northern Virginia firm (right outside of DC) wants to hire an entry level, licensed attorney with "excellent academic credentials". Starting salary: $35k.
I assume by excellent academic credentials they mean graduating from one of the VA or DC tier one schools in the top quarter (or maybe the top third) of the class.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, here is your reward: for studying hard enough in college and for the LSAT to get into one of these top 50 schools, working yourself silly to be in the top of your class, and paying the big bucks for the prestige, you get $35k at a small firm doing traffic and PI work. The DC area is also one of the most expensive areas in the country. Good luck getting by on $35k with sky high rental prices and hefty student loan payments.
To underscore just how lousy of a deal this is: I made the exact same salary coming out of college. I also worked for a NOT FOR PROFIT (which today would make me eligible for the 10 year loan forgiveness unlike this joke of a job). Furthermore, I didn't have the stress of being an attorney. In fact, on most days, the most difficult task I had was determining which take out restaurant I was going to go to for lunch.
Game over, man. Game over.