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Median salaries for new law grads jump to $70K as BigLaw boosts hiring of newbie lawyers

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Median salaries for law school graduates in the class of 2017 was $70,000, up $5,000 from the previous class, according to statistics released Thursday by the National Association for Law Placement.

Average salaries, meanwhile, jumped from $90,305 for the class of 2016, to $95,320 for the class of 2017, according to a press release and a report. The boost comes as large law firms with more than 500 lawyers boosted hiring and BigLaw starting salaries of $180,000 became more prevalent.

The salary statistics are based on information reported for 72 percent of jobs that were full-time and expected to last a year. About one in five of the salaries were reported at $180,000.

That high salary boosted median and average law firm salaries in law firms, which were $117,000 and $119,740 respectively. The average salary was nearly $5,000 more than the previous high in 2009.

BigLaw firms hired more recent law school graduates than at any time since the recession, but hiring levels were still 600 jobs below peak levels, according to NALP.

Large law firms with more than 500 lawyers provided about 370 more jobs to the class of 2017 than to the prior year’s graduating class.

NALP also reported that employment rates for 2017 law graduates are at the highest point since the recession. But the improved market is the result of a decrease in the number of grads, rather than an increase in the number of jobs, according to the press release.

See also: “Fewer entry-level positions in most job categories for 2017 law grads, new ABA data shows”

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