NALP finds recent law grads’ starting salaries down

July 13, 2012
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As if new law school graduates don’t have enough negative news coming at them, NALP – The Association for Legal Career Professionals – just released findings on the starting salaries of the classes of 2009-2011. Here’s more bad news: the salaries have been decreasing.

According to the NALP Employment Report and Salary Survey for the class of 2011, those graduates are making anywhere from 15 to 35 percent less than their counterparts from 2009, depending on what figure you look at.

The average firm salary has dropped 15 percent from $115,524 to $97,827 over the last three years. The median firm salary drop is more startling – from $130,000 for 2009 grads to $85,000 for the 2011 class.

The national average salary has decreased from nearly $93,500 for 2009 grads to a little more than $78,600 for 2011 grads. The median salary went from $72,000 to $60,000.

"This drop in starting salaries, while expected, is surprising in its scope," according to NALP's Executive Director James Leipold. "Nearly all of the drop can be attributed to the continued erosion of private practice opportunities at the largest law firms."

Leipold explained that the drop in salaries isn’t because legal employers are paying new graduates less than in the past. It may be the case in some instances, but NALP believes the decrease is due to graduates finding fewer jobs with the highest-paying large law firms. More graduates have found jobs with lower-paying small law firms.

Nearly 60 percent of law firm jobs taken by 2011 grads were in firms of 50 or fewer. Back in 2009, only 46 percent of graduates took jobs in small-sized firms.
 

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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