Starting Salary for a Law Graduate

In order to further support our prospective students in their enrollment in law school, we have published employment and salary information for the classes of 2020, 2019 and 2018. This information is provided to potential law school applicants and others interested in starting salaries for new law school graduates. Law schools require applicants to have a bachelor`s degree and pass the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) before applying. Although no specific bachelor`s degree is required, it is useful to take courses related to the field the student wishes to pursue as a lawyer. For example, someone interested in environmental law might consider studying environmental science. A Juris Doctor, or JD, typically requires three years of law school. If a student wishes to specialize further, they can take additional courses such as insolvency law or environmental law. After receiving a JD, graduates must pass the bar exam in the state where they wish to work. Data on graduate salaries come from the National Association of Law Placement.

Columbia Law School graduates earn the highest median starting salary for those with a JD over $193,000. Although alumni are burdened with some of the highest student loan debt compared to their peers, this high gain means they still earn $5,000 more than their total debt at the end of their first year. The law schools on our list have median starting salaries of alumni in the top 5% for graduates who earned their Juris Doctor in 2017 and 2018. This list features some of the most prestigious law schools in the country, which may reflect the importance of the prestige accorded to universities in the legal profession. While this is not always the case, it is clear that these universities have good student results in ensuring their reputation. However, our research shows that there are fewer elite options that still offer the best starting salaries for graduates. Washington University in St. Louis is a particularly strong choice for the salary-to-debt ratio and is slightly less competitive. The minimum average for the incoming class is 3.39 for WashU, and LSAT values range from 160 to 170. The Faculty of Law has a 30% acceptance rate.

Most notably, however, is the wage-to-debt ratio: the median income of first-year graduates is $90,605, which is higher than 77% of law school graduates. However, WashU graduates also tend to graduate from college with less than $100,000 in federal student loans, placing them in the bottom third of borrowers getting their JD. According to a 2017 survey by the National Association of Law Placement, the median starting salary for a new lawyer at all private sector companies was $135,000. This means that half of the new lawyers earned more and the other half less. For law firms with more than 500 employees, the median starting salary was $160,000. However, these high revenues are concentrated in large companies in the major cities of New York, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles. These high salaries are mainly offered to graduates of top law schools such as Yale, Stanford, Harvard, the University of Chicago, and Columbia University. Salaries are grouped into two different groups. The left-wing group is between $45,000 and $70,000. This group accounts for just over half of reported wages. (The average reported salary was $70,000 in 2018.) The left mode is best expressed in the range of $50,000 to $60,000, which represents about 28% of reported wages.

The right-side mode actually consists of two different peaks at $180,000 (8%) $190,000 (14%), the latter being the Biglaw market rate in 2018, totaling about 22% of reported salaries. There are graduates between fields, but the gap indicates a bidding war for top graduates. The bidding war has since resulted in an increase in the salaries of top graduates to $190,000 in 2018. Lawyers in this area represent real estate buyers, sellers and tenants, earning an average of $67,000 per year, with an average salary of $72,730 per year, according to PayScale. For about 20% of real estate lawyers, these salaries do not include benefits. With an average alumnus salary of nearly $166,000, Georgetown is the 9th best law school for post-graduation income. Alumni tend to owe about as much as they earn in their first year, meaning they might not see the full financial gain in the coming years. To give you a better idea of your particular earning potential, here`s what you can expect from a salary in your chosen field. You can find the data written under the infographic if you want to dive further! Cornell is another particularly strong choice for students who want to minimize debt while maximizing profits. Although alumni earn some of the highest starting salaries in the country, they generally owe less than their peers at comparable schools. The average debt of alumni who have used financial aid for college, including federal student loans, is nearly $140,000. Although this is still a significant amount, it is still less than 22% of Young Women graduates.

Want to learn more about the entry-level market for law school graduates? See NALP`s annual Jobs & JDs report. The median, on the other hand, is less sensitive to the much higher wages produced by this part of the labour market. The chart below shows the overall change in median wages over time and by type of employer (e.g., law firm or government). In each group, graduate salaries have steadily increased over time. But full-time is still quite sensitive to the number of jobs in large companies, although the effect is much clearer when looking at median pay in law firms of all sizes. 1 This is a percentage of employed students. * These figures have been updated to reflect the number of graduates reported by the ACA. The overall average salary of law graduates in 2021 for all types of employment was a record $80,000, up from $75,000 for the class of 2020. According to PayScale, law professors earn an average annual salary of $125,000, while the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported a median salary of $111,210 for law professors in May 2016. Permanent professors will earn more money than non-tenured professors, while the reputation, ranking and equipment of the school will also affect the salary.

Lawyers who entered the public sector in 2016 received significantly lower starting salaries, according to an analysis by U.S. News & World Report. The median initial income of public bodies was $53,500. These jobs had a salary range of $34,250 on the low side to a high of $71,200. A look at the 10 law schools with the highest rates of graduates working for America`s most prestigious companies. All salary data comes from the U.S. Department of Education`s college scorecard. Income applies to graduates who graduated in 2017 and 2018, with income measured in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Acceptance rates, GPAs and LSAT scores come from Public Legal, a product of the Internet Legal Research Group. It makes sense that graduates with higher salaries are more likely to report than if they had a lower salary.

That probably explains part of the difference. Another factor, however, is that salaries from larger law firms are publicly available through NALP. Public information also explains why judicial officials and government employees have very high salary response rates. Law school graduates have the prospect of earning very attractive incomes during their careers. However, the average starting salary immediately after graduation from law degree is highly dependent on the location and size of the firm. Starting salaries vary considerably between public and private sector jobs.