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What Law School Alums Earn Halfway Through Their Careers
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What Law School Alums Earn Halfway Through Their Careers

Summary: PayScale has released mid-career salary data for the top 55 law schools in the country which demonstrates which law schools may provide the best salaries many years after graduation. 

The TaxProf Blog has reviewed a study by Payscale that analyzes mid-career earnings for alumni from various law schools. Harvard Law School grads earn roughly $201,000 per year by the midpoint of their careers, which is more than any other graduate school alumni in the United States.


PayScale, an online salary-information company, analyzed data from over 600 graduate schools in the United States. Only those schools that offered enough responses to be statistically valid in the analysis were used. The findings included that the mid-career median salary for seven of the top ten graduate school programs were in law schools. However, business schools produced eight out of the top ten highest earnings for graduates less than five years after graduation. Eight of the top 17 schools that offered the highest mid-career salaries were in California, primarily in the Silicon Valley area.

After Harvard, the top law schools by mid-career salary were Emory, Santa Clara, UCLA, Pepperdine, Georgetown, Columbia, Fordham, Berkeley, and the University of Texas at Austin. The mid-career salaries ranged from $163,000 (Berkeley) to $201,000 (Harvard).

Many other schools also report excellent salaries for their graduates. Western State University College of Law, the lowest ranking school listed on, still boasted earnings of $89,800 per year. The data implies that where one receives a Juris Doctor does impact your financial earning ability throughout your career.

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Of the public law schools, UCLA has the highest earning potential at $182,900.

Such data will be especially beneficial for prospective law students, who are increasingly demanding detailed salary and employment data from their possible law school choices. Because most students will take out student loans that can be in excess of $200,000, earning ability is an extremely important factor.

Do you think prospective students should consider mid-career salary data as they choose a law school?

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