There are all sorts of numbers flying around about how much students earn right out of law school. $160,000, $15k bonus, $74k median, 115% employment in 9 months (some grads are working two jobs). But, what about further down the line? You know, the other 40+ years you'll spend regretting your life decisions. The at-graduation and at-9 month stats don't take into account life after clerking, attrition rates, and the benefit of having attended class with a future president, CEO, or standup comedian.
Forbes has taken a look at mid-career salaries, using data tracked by PayScales and placed Stanford at #1, with a median mid-career salary of $236,000. Coming in second place was Duke, at $221,000. The salaries were only used for people working in the private sector, though it did consider both legal and non-legal workers. Here's how the rest of the top ten rounds out:
#3 - Columbia, $217,000
#4 - UVA, $212,000
#5 - Boston U., $206,000
#6 - NYU, $204,000
#7 - Harvard, $203,000
#8 - U. Penn, $201,000
#9 - UCLA, $200,000
#10 - (tie) Berkeley, Notre Dame, $191,000
Difference of $45,000 a year between #1 and #10. Sure gives a different picture than schools reporting $160k across the board.