More Proof the J.D. Degree is a Great One to Earn

Here’s more proof of something we’ve known and been saying for years:  the J.D. degree leads to a fulfilling and lucrative career.  So says none other than Fortune magazine.


Fortune Magazine recently collaborated with PayScale to publish a study ranking the value of graduate degrees, finding that the J.D degree is the best non-STEM graduate degree anyone can obtain.

The rankings looked at three factors:

  • long-term outlook for job growth,
  • median salaries at mid-career, and
  • job satisfaction scores.

Here is what the researchers found:

  • Law school graduates placed second in the study for median salary at $138,200, based on salaries at mid-career or 10 years in.

  • The only graduates that earn more at that point are Ph.D. students in Computer Science.

Fortune’s analysis finds the best graduate degrees are in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Statistics tops the list, followed by Computer Science, Human Computer Interaction and Physics. The J.D. degree is the only non-STEM degree in the Fortune top 10.

The study used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine job growth.  From that data, Fortune is projecting substantial growth in the legal profession — 20.1 % — which is higher than all degrees except for a Master’s and Ph.D. in statistics.

Moreover, the study found that 71% of lawyers rate themselves as “highly satisfied” in their careers.

This study echoes our previous postings about the huge economic value of a law degree, how job prospects have been improving, how lawyer employment has jumped substantially, how the aging of the legal profession portends good job growth, and how, indeed, a shortage of lawyers is predicted.

If you combine these factors with Fortune’s findings, you will indeed see that now is a great time to start law school.

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Filed under The Value of a Legal Education

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