A friend sends along the following information regarding lawyers.
This may be true, but don't let that confuse you into believing that law grads are either bound for success or not. In fact, many highly successful students will intentionally end up on the lower side of the graph and shortly thereafter move up.
(1) Many new grads get low paying clerk jobs. Clerking for a Supreme Court Justice puts you in the lower distribution. But nearly every law student would take that position for two years and then move on to the far right hand side of the graph.
(2) Many new lawyers start their own law firms. Lawyers are self employed more often than most other professions. These people will be in the lower parts of your graph too. They will also make more than those working at the big firms in just a few years.
(3) Many public interest positions pay very low salaries, but offer loan forgiveness after N years. So a person with 200K in debt might gladly work for 40k/year in a public interest position, and in 5 years get that loan paid off and move on.