If you were running a business, would you hire a 25-year-old, who’s straight out of school, lacks technical training, and has never held a real job before — for $160,000 a year?

Of course not. That king’s ransom is more than the annual salaries of FBI Director Louis Freeh ($130,000) and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan ($141,300). But many large firms, such as Washington D.C.’s Covington & Burling, and Shaw Pittman, and San Francisco-based Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, are dangling that much cash in front of first-year associates.

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