Saturday, February 26, 2011
The ABA Journal has teamed up with legal job market expert and Indiana Law Professor William Henderson to provide readers with a detailed, geographic breakdown of where the lawyers are and how much they earn. According to the Journal:
Using a variety of government statistics detailed later in these pages, Henderson and the ABA Journal have undertaken a study of the business of law that attempts to define some of the important long-term changes in the industry and to identify the influences that are propelling them.
In this, the first installment of a periodic series, we look at the geography of lawyer salaries, showing where the jobs are and what they pay. Using actual salary data reported to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on employed lawyers—whether they are associates or government attorneys or corporate counsel—we've mapped out average lawyer pay by county. We've also defined the top 35 legal markets, which soak up two-thirds of the jobs and 75 percent of the payroll. And we've identified 10 smaller markets whose average salary figures may surprise you—lesser law markets that are paying big-city bucks.
The article is accompanied by lots of graphs and charts including a map of the U.S. that shows the approximate average salary of lawyers in every market. One slight discrepancy I notice off-the-top of my head is the list showing the top 35 marketplaces based on salary. Included for each city on the list is the average salary per attorney (including private and public sectors), followed by the number of lawyers in that city as well as the number of law schools feeding that market. Students using this information to make a decision about where to go to law school in order to avoid competition upon graduation might be mislead. For example, Denver is listed as a top 30 market having only one law school cranking out new grads. Yet U. of Colorado is a second school only 30 minutes away. Cambridge-Boston is listed as the # 26 top market with only 4 law schools churning out new lawyers but there are at least 2 more schools in that location (not including, I think, the new U. Mass School of Law). The West Palm Beach/Boca area is listed as the 30th top market having no law schools yet if you drive an hour south you'll run into at least 4.
With that caveat, enjoy the article here.