Harvard Law Grads See Rise In Starting Pay

by John A. Byrne on

The average starting salary paid to a Harvard Law School graduate last year rose just 2.7% to $116,053. The pay, up from an average of $112,975 for the Class of 2011, is still below the average posted two years earlier of $119,685.

As usual, the highest salaries were landed by graduates who headed into private practice, according to Harvard. Newly minted lawyers who signed up with law firms for their first jobs made an average $154,092, up from $150,588 in 2011.

HARVARD LAWYERS SAW A SIGNIFICANT DROP IN AVERAGE PAY FROM BUSINESS

Harvard grads who ventured into business and industry jobs reported making an average starting salary of $116,582 last year, a fairly significant drop from $133,854 in 2011.

Grads who signed up for judicial clerkships averaged $58,849, roughly the same as the year-earlier average of $57,342. The lowest salaries were reported by those who went into education where the average was just $38,571.

Even Harvard grads opting for government or public interest jobs did better. The average pay for lawyers going into the government was $58,604, up from $57,533 a year earlier. The average for grads taking the public interest route was $42,850, up from $39,870.

NEARLY 58% OF HARVARD’S CLASS OF 2012 WENT TO WORK FOR A LAW FIRM

Harvard said that a slightly smaller percentage of its graduates went to work for a law firm. Some 57.75% of the Class of 2012 are working at law firms, down from 62.66% in 2010. Instead, more grads seem headed for either judicial clerkships or jobs in business and industry. Some 23.06% of Harvard’s Class of 2012 accepted clerkships, versus 21.9% two years earlier. About 4.93% took jobs in business, up from 2.87% in 2010.

As expected, Harvard’s employment statistics for the Class of 2012 remained impressive. The law school reported that 92.27% of the class were employed nine months after graduation, better than the two previous years (see table below). In 2011, 95.54% of the class had jobs nine months after commencement, and in 2010, 94.57%.

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Source: Harvard Law School employment report

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