For the past few months, the NALP, the Association for Legal Career Professionals, has been delivering some bad news. This summer, the organization reported that starting salaries for recent law school graduates were on the decline. And last month, the NALP released data showing that the median salary for first-year associates at large law firms has dropped to $145,000, a figure that was last seen in 2007.
The NALP released more sobering statistics last week. According to the latest figures, salaries for government and public interest law jobs have barely increased since 2004. The median entry-level salary for a legal services lawyer is about $43,000, and a legal services lawyer with between 11 and 15 years of experience earns a median salary of about $65,000. Meanwhile, the median entry-level salary for public defenders is about $50,500, and the median salary for a public defense lawyer with between 11 and 15 years is $78,600. Local prosecuting attorneys earn a starting salary of $50,000, and they earn $77,000 when they have between 11 and 15 years of experience. And public interest organization lawyers who handle civil rights issues earn a starting salary of $45,000; those with 11 to 15 years of experience earn $75,000.