Law School Admission Test

When law school is worth the cost

January 20, 2011: 10:34 AM ET

Despite arguments to the contrary, law school can still lead to a lucrative career, but only if you plan properly and set your sights on one of the top 35 schools.

By Shawn O'Connor, contributor

Not all of today's law school graduates can expect six figure starting salaries, and as as a recent, in-depth New York Times article illustrated, many will struggle to pay back their school loans. This has long been the case. However, the Times article alludes to -- but doesn't fully address -- an important distinction: The future is still very bright for graduates of the country's top law schools.

While law school tuition continues to increase, so does the average starting salary of new lawyers. From 2006 to 2009, the mean salary for new lawyers increased from $62,000 to $85,198, and the percentage of first-year lawyers earning over $160,000 increased by about 10% from 2008 to 2009, according to a report by The National Association for Legal Career Professionals.

In 2010, most large firms reinstated associate bonuses and annual salary increases. For those who can secure a position at a premier firm, law is still a compelling career choice. More

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