Reason Not to Go to Law School #9

Class of 2008 Median Salary: $72,000

I know I’m been banging away at the reasons not to go to law school, but I really just think this can’t be said enough.  You won’t make the kind of money you think you will.  Nevermind the rosy picture painted by Visualize Law, just take a look at the more realistic data provided by NALP:

A couple things to keep in mind about this data.  First, the class of 2008 benefitted from some sharp increases in salaries while we were in school.  When we got accepted into law school, starting salaries were $125k, when we graduated they were $160k.  But, many firms are now freezing salaries or slashing them, so expect the figures to drop for the next few years, probably settling around $145k.  Now, that still sounds like a lot of money, but look at how few people get it.  The part of the curve below the median is pretty fat, and there’s a good chance that’s where you’ll land.

Even the median of $72,000 sounds like a lot to most people.  But, you need to remember you’re sacrificing three years of working to get that, and you’ll probably have to spend about $12-20k a year in (after tax) income to pay off your loans.

Just to make things worse, if you’re in law school now, don’t expect a median income of $72,000.  Expect it to be closer to the 2006 median income of $62,000:

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