Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Annual salary of Los Angeles County's Superior Court judges

This may seem a bit off-topic, but I was reading a fascinating story on CNN about Richard Fine who's been held in solitary confinement at Los Angeles County Men's Central Jail for 14 months, even though he's never been charged with a crime. Fine, a 70-year- old taxpayer's advocate who once worked for the Department of Justice, is being held for contempt of court.

Here's the interesting part of the story:
For the last decade, Fine has filed appeal after appeal against Los Angeles County's Superior Court judges. He says the judges each accept what he calls yearly "bribes" from the county worth $57,000. That's on top of a $178,789 annual salary, paid by the state. The county calls the extra payments "supplemental benefits" -- a way to attract and retain quality judges in a high-cost city.
I have no way of knowing what's true vs. false, but I'm simply quoting a segment from CNN.

So, why am I blogging about this CNN story? It's to talk about the issue of salary. So many people think that doctors make very high salaries. Some certainly do, but so many don't. When we compare ourselves against other professions, how do we view ourselves? If we look at the legal sector, we know that judges aren't necessarily making more compared to private attorneys. Medical attorneys who work in the private sector may bill doctors $300-500 per hour for their services related to medical employment contract review/negotiation, medical malpractice defense, etc. Plus, lawyers get to charge for their time on the phone. Physicians generally don't charge their patients for a phone consultation.

If you're a physician, how do you view your salary expectations if you're considering a career change? Do you expect to see a dramatic change? Maybe you'll still find yourself moonlighting so that you can live and maintain a certain lifestyle.

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