Starting salaries increase slightly for 2013 law grads

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The median starting salaries for 2013 law school graduates rose slightly to nearly $62,500, according to data released by NALP Thursday. More grads also found jobs nine months out of school, but the unemployment rate rose due to the increased size of the graduating class.

The national median salary for the Class of 2013 was $62,467; the Class of 2011 saw a median starting salary of $61,245. But, the overall salary median and the median for law firm jobs specifically remain below those of 2008 and 2009, when the overall median was $72,000.  NALP reports median salaries in other sectors have remained relatively flat in recent years.

Class of 2013 graduates found more jobs nine months after graduation as compared to the Class of 2012, but because last year’s graduating class was larger, the employment rate for 2013 fell 0.2 percentage points from the 84.7 percent rate for the Class of 2012.

Only 64.4 percent of 2013 graduates found a job that required bar passage, and for the second year in a row that is the lowest percentage NALP has measured. The data notes that employment in business reached a historic high of 18.4 percent and has exceeded 15 percent since 2010.

Solo practice jobs accounted for 4.8 percent of law firm jobs and 2.5 percent of all jobs for the Class of 2013. Public service jobs accounted for 27.6 percent of jobs taken by employed graduates, compared with 28.2 percent in 2012. NALP notes that this percentage has remained around 26 to 29 percent for more than 30 years.

“Law graduates must enter law school with the understanding that the jobs picture, while strengthening, is one that will continue to evolve, and in the course of that evolution it is almost certain that new opportunities will present themselves, just as it is certain that some traditional opportunities that law school graduates have long counted on will continue to erode,” said NALP Executive Director James Leipold. “It is not true that there are too many lawyers — indeed even today most Americans do not have adequate access to affordable legal services — but the traditional market for large numbers of law graduates by large law firms seeking equity-track new associates is not likely to ever return to what it was in 2006 or 2007, and thus aggregate earning opportunities for the class as a whole are not likely to return to what they were before the recession.”

The full data and text on the employment for the Class of 2013 is available on the NALP website.

The June 18-July 1, 2014, issue of Indiana Lawyer also includes data about the Class of 2013 and how law students have to think about employment long before graduation day.


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.