“John,” a third-year student at a top Ivy League law school, has visions of dollar signs dancing in his head. Up until the first week of February, he was leaning toward taking an offer with New York’s Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Then he found out that he could make thousands a year more in Silicon Valley.

“This past fall I hadn’t bothered to interview in California,” he says. But money is a big issue, says John, who owes well over $100,000 in student loans. Now, even though Cravath has upped its first-year associate salary to $125,000, John is starting to send job letters to better-paying high-tech firms.

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