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The Best Law Schools to Make you Boatloads of Cash

By Adam Ramirez on March 15, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Let's be real. A lot of students go to law school with dreams of big paydays. Elite schools advertise starting salaries for their graduates of $160,000.

But only a tiny percentage of students ever get jobs in this pay stratosphere.

So, which law schools set you up for the biggest salaries after graduation?

Thankfully for us, Forbes looked at mid-career compensation of attorneys, when many lawyers are typically on a more lucrative career path. Some of the schools on the list may surprise you:

School     Median Mid-Career Private Sector Pay

  • 1. Stanford - $236,000
  • 2. Duke - $221,000
  • 3. Columbia - $217,000
  • 4. UVA - $212,000
  • 5. Boston University - $206,000
  • 6. NYU - $204,000
  • 7. Harvard - $203,000
  • 8. U. Penn. - $201,000
  • 9. UCLA - $200,000
  • 10. Berkeley - $191,000

So Stanford takes the top spot. Fine. But Duke at No. 2? Really? Being a Blue Devil law grad sets you up better than Harvard?

Yale Law School, the No. 1 school according to U.S. News & World Report, doesn't even crack the top 10. YLS checked in at No. 33 on the Forbes list, with median mid-career pay of $159,000 in the private sector.

So what good is all of this? Aside from bragging rights and/or jealousy, your guess is as good as mine.

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