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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, March 31, 2011

U.S. News Law School Rankings: Financial Value (Salary-to-Debt)

U.S. News Logo U.S. News & World Report has released a list of the ten law schools with the best financial value (first year salary to student loan debt ratio):

With tuition increasing at nearly every law school for the 2011-12 school year, incoming students may want to consider the initial value a law degree will render. A legal education can cost upwards of $150,000, and students, on average, graduate from law school with $93,359 in debt, according to an analysis of school-reported data to U.S. News. ...

Of 190 law schools surveyed each year by U.S. News, 188 schools reported both the average indebtedness of their 2010 graduates and the median starting salary of graduates who accepted jobs in the private sector. The salary-to-debt ratio, used in the table below, is a calculation of how many times a student's reported starting salary covers their debt load. For this list, only private sector starting salary data was considered, and schools that were designated by U.S. News as Unranked are not included. ...

Based on an analysis of school-reported data, this list comprises 11 law schools whose students leave with the least amount of debt relative to their first year salaries in the private sector.



Salary/DebtUS News Rank
1.   Southern   $100,000 $18,603 5.4 Bottom Tier
2.   Georgia St.   $80,000 $19,136 4.2 61
3.   Rutgers-C   $115,000 $32,235 3.6 84
4,   T. Southern   $63,837 $22,500 2.8 Bottom Tier
5.   BYU   $120,000 $52,315 2.3 42
6.   N. Carolina   $130,000 $60,212 2.2 30
7.   Texas   $160,000 $78,408 2.0 14
8.   Cincinnati   $115,000 $58,455 2.0 61
9.   Loyola-N.O.   $84,500 $45,350 1.9 143
10. Georgia   $130,000 $71,283 1.8 35
11. UC-Berkeley   $160,000 $91,277 1.8 9

Above the Law, The Best Law Schools — Ranked by Financial Value at Graduation

Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

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The explanatory material says the law schools reported "average indebtedness of their 2010 graduates and the median starting salary of graduates who accepted jobs in the private sector." Is Texas actually reporting a median starting salary of $160k? Or do I not understand the table?

Posted by: Publius Novus | Mar 31, 2011 7:49:32 AM

We're Number Three!!!

Posted by: mike livingston | Mar 31, 2011 7:25:38 PM

The salary is not guaranteed-the debt is guaranteed.

Posted by: Nick Paleveda MBA J.D. LL.M | Apr 1, 2011 8:08:46 AM

Wow, this is a pretty brutal reality for recent law graduates. I'd like to share with you, though, that even for those who land fantastic legal jobs, good salaries, and job security ... it won't necessarily make you happy. I didn't realize this until I "had it all" yet landed in a hospital bed a few years ago and had a near-death experience. I had pursued individual achievement and accolades all my life, and when it looked like my end might have arrived, I realized very quickly that all that achievement had NOT fulfilled me. It felt empty.

Fast forward a few years, little do most lawyers know, we have SKILLS. Following pure intuition, I started a blog, which turned eventually into a life coaching business, and I recently said goodbye to my legal dream job (which wasn't easy because the people I worked with were wonderful). Now I devote myself full time to helping other people realize YOU HAVE OPTIONS. You do not have to accept doing a job you hate just because of the "economy."

Global consciousness is changing, and now more than ever before, if you can imagine it, you can live it. Don't let yourself be a "victim" of herd mentality.

Erika Awakening

Posted by: Erika Awakening | Apr 10, 2011 9:29:44 PM