Starting Salaries

Lowlights from the National Association for Law Placement’s May 2010 employment report on 2009 law-school graduates:

  • The NALP “report is based on information submitted by 192 ABA-accredited law schools on 96% of the graduates in the Class of 2009”
  • 88% were employed
    • This includes graduates whose employment start dates were deferred beyond 1 December 2009
    • This number is inflated by the 25% of 2009 grads in temporary jobs (including judicial clerkships)
      • Sector breakdown of temporary jobs:
        • Public interest–41%
        • Business–30%
        • Academia–69%
          • Law schools apparently created many of these jobs to keep disillusioned gangs of recent grads from roaming the streets
        • Private practice–8%
  • The mean salary for 2009 grads is $93,000
    • The salary distribution ain’t a bell curve; very few 2009 grads actually make $93,000
      • 34% of the salaries are bunched in a mini-bell curve around $45-$60,000, with the peak at $50,000
      • 25% of the salaries form a spike–more like a stick in the eye than a curve–around $160,000
        • The data do not include bar stipends, signing bonuses, and bar review reimbursement
        • Including such non-salary compensation would increase the mean
        • Such non-salary compensation is received disproportionately by graduates at the $160,000 end of the distribution
    • Adjusted for unreported income and for the more complete data at the high end of the scale, the adjusted mean salary for 2009 grads is closer to $85,000

Note to JA:  I take no pleasure in reporting this information.  Really.