According to a recent study, a JD is worth about $1 million more over a lifetime than a bachelor’s degree.

The data does not suggest that law graduates were unaffected by the recession. Rather, earnings dropped for both law graduates and college graduates after the late 2000s recession, and law graduates maintained their relative advantage. It is this relative advantage—not absolute outcomes—that measures the value of the law degree.

Interestingly, about 40% of those surveyed for the study — the smart ones? — were not practicing law.


  1. Paul says:

    Is it just on the average? I have to imagine that the more prestigious schools and BigLaw would skew this to make it effectively meaningless for the vast majority of lawyers who don’t fall into those categories

    • Sam Glover says:

      The mean was about $1 million. The median was about $610,000. 40% of those surveyed were not practicing lawyers, and the study did not segment by firm size or school prestige.

      So yeah, this study probably creates more questions than it answers.

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