Earning a law degree was once a sure-fire path to a lucrative career. Law school enrollment remains high, but an oversaturation of lawyers has left graduates struggling in the job market. Even the grads who find jobs aren’t guaranteed a six-figure salary, leaving many stuck under a mountain of student debt.
For its new report exploring the value of a law school degree, online lender SoFi culled data from 60,000 of its student loan refinancing applicants who self-identified as having a law degree and, on average, three years of work experience.
They used the applicants’ self-reported data to determine which schools produce the highest-earning graduates and how that salary compares to the amount of student debt they incurred. About 20% of applicants reached the underwriting stage where their degree and salary were verified by SoFi.
SoFi ranked 218 law school programs, excluding schools for which they didn’t have sufficient data. When ranked solely by average salary, the data shows that while banner laws schools like Harvard and Yale expectedly produce high earners, a degree from a prestigious school isn’t the only ticket to big earnings.
Grads of the top-20 law schools on SoFi’s list earn an average salary of $166,155 three years after graduating. And the top-3 schools — all located in New York — earn upwards of $175,000. Moreover, each school on the list leaves grads with a positive salary-to-debt ratio where they earn more money in a year than they owe in student debt.
Below, check out SoFi’s ranking of the 20 law schools that lead grads to the highest salaries.
SEE ALSO: The 50 best law schools in America
DON’T MISS: The 24 smartest law schools in the US
20. University of Texas at Austin
Location: Austin, Texas
Average salary 3 years after graduation: $147,444
Average total debt: $105,254
Salary-to-debt ratio: 1.40
19. Vanderbilt University
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Average salary 3 years after graduation: $149,475
Average total debt: $130,130
Salary-to-debt ratio: 1.15
18. University of California at Los Angeles
Location: Los Angeles, California
Average salary 3 years after graduation: $152,469
Average total debt: $125,579
Salary-to-debt ratio: 1.21