Law Students

SoFi’s Top 20 Law Schools Producing the Highest Salary Averages
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Summary: Finance company SoFi took data from law school graduates looking to refinance their loans to form their top 20 schools with the highest average salaries.

Future law school students diligently study out which law schools to attend, preparing a list of their top choices based on the prestige of the faculty, cost of tuition, academic qualifications of the other students in attendance, graduation rates, bar passage rates, job placement rates, and more. However, money is likely one of the biggest factors.


SoFi examined the salary earned upon graduation from different law schools compared to the cost of the education. They looked at 60,000 student loan refinancing applications that had been submitted to them between January 2014 and December 2016. They took that data and formed SoFi’s Return on Education (ROED) Law School Rankings. The ranking uses the average salary and student debt load of the graduates three years out of law school that is reported to them by graduates looking to refinance their loans. They have verified data to form their list, but not complete data, as some students graduating from law schools may have scholarships or money to pay for school so no loans were needed. There are also graduates that pick public service jobs, so their loans are eligible for forgiveness, and would not be included in the data.

Generally, the top law schools are the top because they offer their graduates the best chances of getting top salaries, among other things. If receiving a top salary is your number one priority and debt does not scare you, then this list will interest you. The top 20 law schools with the highest average salaries are:

  1. Cornell University – $183,377
  2. Columbia University – $177,962
  3. New York University – $177,203
  4. University of Chicago – $174,238
  5. Harvard University – $173,578
  6. Georgetown University – $173,464
  7. Northwestern University – $173,204
  8. Yale University – $171,779
  9. University of Pennsylvania – $170,954
  10. Duke University – $169,096
  11. University of Virginia – $166,396
  12. University of Michigan Ann Arbor – $164,713
  13. University of California Berkeley – $163,940
  14. University of Southern California – $161,823
  15. Fordham University – $160,590
  16. Stanford University – $158,088
  17. George Washington University – $153,302
  18. University of California Los Angeles – $152,469
  19. Vanderbilt University – $149,475
  20. University of Texas at Austin – $147,444

The average salary for these law schools is $166,155, so there is a good chance of getting a top salary from any of the law schools. However, the top three on the list are all New York schools. New York City is the top place to be for attorneys. All big law firms will have an office in the city because they know it is where the clients go to get the best service.

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The law schools on this list also boast quality legal training, valuable networks, and high placement rates. Several of them are located in the New York area so their graduates are able to get jobs either in New York City or nearby in Pennsylvania or Washington DC.

Which factor is most important to you when deciding on a law school to attend? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about law school rankings and attorney salaries, read these articles:




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