NALP Bulletin, July 2002
Data from the Class of 2001 reveal that the percentage of law firm jobs paying salaries in excess of $95,000 was 46%, compared with 39% for the Class of 2000, and that the overall median increased from $80,000 to $90,000. Continuing increases in law firm salaries in recent years certainly contributed to this rise, as did a continuing increase in the share of jobs taken in large firms. However, a closer look at specific geographic markets, which can be assumed to reflect roughly the same mix of jobs with respect to firm size, reveals some interesting contrasts.
With some exceptions, salary medians in the 20 largest markets, which are highlighted in the table at right, were either steady or showed only small increases, while in many smaller markets, the median increased considerably. Birmingham, Milwaukee, and Orlando are examples. While the medians clearly are lower in the smaller markets than in the largest markets, the difference is not as great as it was in 2000. Without exception, the cities in which the median, or more accurately, the prevailing salary, was $125,000 in 2000, the median remained at $125,000 in 2001.
Change in Median Starting Salary in Law Firms
Selected Cities Ranked by Change from 2000 to 2001
|MEDIAN IN:||NO. OF SALARIES REPORTED IN:||PERCENT |
|San Diego, CA||85,000||125,000||162||156||47.1|
|New Orleans, LA||64,500||72,000||62||64||11.6|
|Salt Lake City, UT||66,000||72,100||64||62||9.2|
|Kansas City, MO||74,000||80,000||118||107||8.1|
|Las Vegas, NV||52,000||55,000||59||68||5.8|
|St. Louis, MO||74,000||75,000||119||138||1.4|
|Los Angeles, CA||125,000||125,000||553||572||0.0|
|Menlo Park, CA||125,000||125,000||29||52||0.0|
|Palo Alto, CA||125,000||125,000||206||218||0.0|
|San Francisco, CA||125,000||125,000||300||344||0.0|
|New York, NY||125,000||125,000||1,584||1,165||0.0|
Note: Cities in this table had at least 50 salaries reported for the Class of
Source: Based on data published in Jobs & JD's: Employment and Salaries of New Law Graduates for the Classes of 2000 and 2001.