Talent wars led to record-high salaries for class of 2022 law grads, new NALP report says
Talent wars helped push the national median salary for class of 2022 law graduates to a record high of $85,000, according to figures released Wednesday by the National Association for Law Placement.
The average salary for the class of 2022 was $116,398, which is also an increase of 6.3% from the average $109,469 salary for the class of 2021.
The median law firm salary for class of 2022 graduates was $150,000, compared to $131,500 for the class of 2021. The median salary for public-interest jobs was $62,000, up from $58,000 for the class of 2021.
The class of 2022 salary figures are based on reported salaries as of March 15 for law graduates in full-time jobs lasting at least one year.
Other class of 2022 findings include:
- The employment rate for law grads whose employment was known was 92.1%, compared to 91.9% for the class of 2021.
- The percentage of law grads taking jobs for which bar passage is required or anticipated was 79.9%, a high since 2001—when the NALP began using the current job classifications. The figure is based on known employment status.
- The share of firm jobs in firms with more than 500 lawyers increased to 32.8%, another all-time high.
- The percentage of law grads going solo was 0.9% of all firm jobs, a record low.
The full name of the report is Jobs & JDs Employment for the Class of 2022 Selected Findings: Employment Market for Class of 2022 Law Graduates Reaches 35-Year High.
Nikia L. Gray, executive director of the NALP, wrote in the report that market conditions “propelled the class of 2022 beyond even the impressive employment outcomes of the class of 2021, in several cases shattering employment and salary records [altogether].”
Gray warned, however, that the last two years of employment data “should be viewed with a wary eye.”
Gray noted that 2023 “has been marked with news of a cooling legal market, associate layoffs and delayed start dates.” Those conditions suggest that “we have been experiencing a brief market correction after the pandemic recovery and that future graduates may face a more challenging—or at least average—job market,” she wrote.