Highlights of NALP's 2009 Law School Career Services Survey

NALP Bulletin, November 2009

During this past summer, NALP conducted its biennial Law School Career Services Survey, continuing a practice of benchmarking law school career services staffing and facilities that dates back almost as long as NALP has existed.

A total of 129 law schools responded to the survey, but not all answered all questions, particularly with respect to salaries. Table 1 highlights some key findings from the 2009 survey. For example, the median salary for the primary career services professional (typically an assistant dean and/or director of career services) is $81,000, and the average number of years in the field is 12.

Table 2 provides some trends on items that this survey has measured over the years. Not surprisingly, career services office staff sizes have grown, as have experience levels of the primary professional. Since 2005, about 80% of primary career services professionals have had a JD degree. The median salary has increased only modestly in the past two years.

The full report will be available later this fall and posted on NALP's website as a member benefit.

Table 1.  Selected Findings from the 2009 Law School Career Services Survey

  MEDIAN FULL-TIME SALARIES Average
Number of Years
in the Field
Overall Public Schools Private Schools JD Enrollment
Less Than 550
JD Enrollment 550-750 JD Enrollment
751 or More
Primary Professional $81,000 $78,000 $85,000 $70,000 $85,000 $95,000 12
Second Professional 61,680 60,000 64,000 49,500 60,000 65,000 8
Third Professional 55,000 60,000 55,000 46,300 60,000 6
   STAFFING (Median # of Full-time Professional Staff)    
3.0 2.0 3.5 2.0 3.0 5.0


Table 2.  Career Services — 1975-2009

  1975 1986 1997 2005 2007 2009
% of offices with only one professional full-time staff member 75% 68% 36% 25% 17% 17%
% of offices with two or fewer full-time professional staff members 100% 94% 72% 54% 44% 43%
% of primary professionals with JD/LLB 37% 40% 59% 78% 81% 79%
% of primary professionals in current job less than two years 61% 17% 30% 24% 25% 20%
% of primary professionals in current job five or more years 13% 32% 33% 46% 43% 49%
% of primary professionals in field three years or less NC NC 32% 18% 16% 9%
% of primary professionals in field more than 11 years NC NC 28% 39% 40% 47%
Median salary for primary professional $12,000* $29,000* $47,800 $70,000 $79,600 $81,000
Number of schools responding to survey** 56 101 133 159 137 129

Note:  The 1974-75 survey did not distinguish between "primary" and "second" professionals when tabulating education, experience levels, and salaries. Since a number of these second individuals were described as secretaries or administrative assistants, the figures may be somewhat deflated.  However, the vast majority of individuals covered by the survey, about 80%, were the primary, and only, individual in the office.
*    Salary median is estimated because salary information was reported in ranges.
**    Number shown is number of surveys received. The number of responses to specific questions may be less.

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