Statistics Suggest Few Top Law School Grads Employed In Public Sector

News   /   November 14, 2012  / 


According to NerdWallet’s Law School Comparison tool, which pulled post-graduate information from thousands of law school graduates from the classes of 2009 through 2011, Columbia Law School graduates reported the highest average salary across all job categories.

According to NerdWallet’s Law School Comparison tool, 7 percent of of Harvard Law graduates are employed in the public interest sector, compared to 11 percent of Yale Law School graduates, 5 percent of Stanford Law School graduates, and 4 percent of Columbia Law School graduates. The majority of recent graduates at Stanford, Columbia, and Harvard are employed at law firms, while only 37 percent of Yale Law recent graduates are at law firms.

The average salaries of recent Harvard graduates employed at law firms was $154,430, compared to the public interest average salaries of $41,742.

Source: NerdWallet’s Law School Comparison tool

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4 Responses to Statistics Suggest Few Top Law School Grads Employed In Public Sector

  1. FirmlyRefuseToJustSayNo

    Aside from the problematic distinction we’ve created wherein so-called “public interest” means a type of job that fits a particular political left profile (although capitalist enterprise has historically done far more to improve the lot of humanity than any PI nonprofit), crunching the numbers here shows that more than 12 percent of the combined graduating class of these four schools enters PI. I’ve been charitable and not counted clerking as PI, though it clearly is, and not raised the obvious point that a better analysis would look at how these numbers change over time (do people, as I imagine, gravitate out of the law firm world after a few years?). Nonetheless, 12 percent actually strikes me as a pretty high number, relatively speaking. I can think of a few places that graduate more students into PI positions, but not many (top public policy schools obviously, possibly top medical schools).

  2. Also, much government work should be counted as public interest. For example, most prosecutors and public defenders are employed by government, but some/all of their contributions are commonly recognized within the legal community as public interest/public service work. Aggregating government + PI to get the real public interest/service number makes a significant difference at HLS, and even more strikingly essentially doubles the number of public interest alums at SLS, YLS, and CLS.

  3. good premise, bad copy. article needs to be rewritten.

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