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Columbia and Harvard Law Schools Top List of Highest Starting Salaries for Graduates

A new study from the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) shows that 92 percent of law students who worked as summer associates in 2013 received job offers. A separate survey from the NALP also showed that 64 percent of 2012 law graduates acquired jobs that required them to pass the bar. This is the lowest percentage ever recorded by the NALP, according to Forbes.

So, with all of this data, which law school diplomas provide graduates with the highest paychecks? Payscale looked into the starting salaries of grads from 97 law schools and discovered that 29,800 students in their database reported salaries.

The first school on the list is that of Columbia Law School, which has a median starting salary of $146,900. The grads at the school also have a mid-career salary of $176,200. Harvard Law School hits the list at number two with a starting salary of $125,400 and a mid-career salary of $201,400.

The third school on the list is Northwestern University School of Law with a starting salary for grads at $110,800 and a mid-career salary of $210,000.



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The lead economist at Payscale, Katie Bardaro, said, “More law schools are graduating people than there are jobs for them. There’s an over-saturated labor market right now. That works to drive down the pay rate.”

The list below consists of the top 25 law schools where graduates earn the most starting salary:

1. Columbia Law School
Starting pay: $146,900
Mid-career pay: $176,200

2. Harvard Law School
Starting pay: $125,400
Mid-career pay: $201,400

3. Northwestern University School of Law
Starting pay: $110,800
Mid-career pay: $210,000

4. University of Chicago Law School
Starting pay: $105,100
Mid-caeer pay: $177,500

 5. Stanford Law School
Starting pay: $104,000
Mid-career pay: $217,300

6. Yale Law School
Starting pay: $101,800
Mid-career pay: $165,000

7. University of Virginia School of Law

Starting pay: $97,400
Mid-career pay: $153,900

8. University of Michigan Law School
Starting pay: $95,500
Mid-career pay: $198,700

9. Cornell University Law School
Starting pay: $93,500
Mid-career pay: $180,000

10. Duke University School of Law
Starting pay: $87,700
Mid-career pay: $206,900

11. University of California at Los Angeles School of Law
Starting pay: $84,200
Mid-career pay: $184,500

12. University of California Hastings College of the Law
Starting pay: $83,900
Mid-career pay: $130,100

13. Georgetown University Law School
Starting pay: $83,700
Mid-career pay: $180,900

14. University of California at Berkeley School of Law
Starting pay: $82,700
Mid-career pay: $160,400

 15. University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law
Starting pay: $82,000
Mid-career pay: $114,300

16. University of Southern California Gould School of Law
Starting pay: $80,300
Mid-career pay: $192,800

17. University of Houston Law Center
Starting pay: $79,400
Mid-career pay: $136,100

18. University of San Francisco School of Law
Starting pay: $79,300
Mid-career pay: $126,000

19. University of Colorado Law School
Starting pay: $77,400
Mid-career pay: $125,700

20. University of Texas at Austin School of Law
Starting pay: $76,700
Mid-career pay: $158,000

21. New York University School of Law
Starting pay: $76,300
Mid-career pay: $177,800

22. Fordham University School of Law
Starting pay: $76,200
Mid-career pay: $155,300

23. Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law
Starting pay: $75,600
Mid-career pay: $146,400

24. University of San Diego School of Law
Starting pay: $75,300
Mid-career pay: $114,700

25. Santa Clara University School of Law
Starting pay: $75,100
Mid-career pay: $192,200

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