Top law schools for making money? What could be a more intellectually rigorous question for an impending law school graduate, or under-graduate, than that?
First there was the US News & World Report Law School rankings but now something far more impressive and important: the Forbes rankings focused on law firm starting salaries.
What are the schools that are, as the legal blog “AboveTheLaw” so delicately put it, are going to make you rich quick.
The Forbes rankings have focused on numbers based on Payscale’s dissection of 35 million users who provide compensation information in order to find which graduates from which law schools make the most money. The search took in almost 100 law schools and the results showed as follows with the median starting private sector pay.
1. Columbia Law School – $165,000
2. Stanford – $147,000
3. University of Chicago – $132,000
4. Harvard – $130,000
5. University of Virginia – $109,000
6. Duke University – $104,000
7. New York University – $104,000
8. Georgetown – $103,000
9. Yale – $102,000
10. Michigan Law School – $101,000
And why Columbia?
“I think the main reason for Columbia being on top is reputation,” [Katie Bardaro, Payscale’s lead economist] says. “According to our data, the graduates are working in notable firms throughout the country and not just in New York. This proves that branding of the law degree seems to have a strong correlation with earnings.”
Is there a common factor about the ‘get rich quick’ law schools?
“Reputation and a strong alumni network; both of which drive graduates into full-time, private sector jobs–the best paid jobs for law graduates,” Bardaro says.
Ten schools in all show a median starting salary in private sector jobs of more than $100,000. Grads at all 98 law schools on the list earn six figures, on average, by the middle of their career.