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Employment Data

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Employment opportunities available to graduates of Duke Law School consistently rank among the nation’s best and most prestigious. 

Graduating students go on to positions with a wide range of organizations around the United States and abroad, including law firms, businesses, government agencies, and nonprofits, as well as judicial clerkships and academic employment.

As of March 15, 2020, 94.1 percent of the Class of 2019 was employed in a long-term, full-time position that required bar passage and were not school funded, rising to 95.5 percent when including “JD Advantage” positions.  

If you are considering law school, we encourage you to use the data available to compare institutions and ask detailed and probing questions that will help you make the most informed decision based on your career goals and aspirations.

Employment Ten Months after Graduation

The chart below shows the numbers of Duke Law students in various types of employment ten months after graduation. This information is reported annually to the American Bar Association (ABA) and/or the National Association for Law Placement (NALP). Data reported to the ABA may be downloaded in full for the  Class of 2017,  Class of 2018 , and Class of 2019

Duke University School of Law is approved by the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association, 321 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60654, 312-988-6738.

  Class of
2019
Class of
2018
Class of
2017
Total Graduates 221 220 225
Employed 215 210 219
Bar Passage Required 208 201 211
JD Advantage 3 3 4
Professional Position 0 0 0
Non-Professional Position 0 0 0
Law School/University Funded 4 6 4
Undeterminable 0 0 0
Pursuing Graduate Degree 3 1 0
Employed - Start Date Deferred 0 3 1
Unemployed - Not Seeking 0 2 1
Unemployed - Seeking 1 2 1
Employment Status Unknown 2 2 3

See further detail on employment data

Visit the ABA website for term definitions.

Short-Term and Law School/University-Funded Positions

  Class of
2019
Class of
2018
Class of
2017
Not School Funded Short-Term 0 0 0
Law School/University-Funded      
   - Short-Term 3 4 3
   - Long-Term 1 2 1

Employment Type

Duke Law graduates find employment in all sectors of the legal profession and beyond.

  Class of
2019*
Class of
2018*
Class of
2017*
Class of
2016*
Law Firms 149 147 154 148
Solo 0 0 0 0
2-10 0 1 4 2
11-25 1 1 2 3
26-50 1 1 0 1
51-100 2 3 3 3
101-250 8 7 12 7
251-500 13 19 12 19
500+ 124 115 121 113
unknown 0 0 0 0
Business and Industry 7 4 3 5
Government (includes Military) 9 12 9 13
Public Interest 10 8 4 6
Clerkship 38 37 45 41
Education 2 2 4 3
Other/unknown 0 0 0 0

*This table includes short-term and Law School/University-funded positions to align with the ABA Employment Summary reporting. Below is the breakout of the employment type for the law school/university-funded positions.

Law School/University Funded Positions

  Class of
2019
Class of
2018
Class of
2017
Clerkship   1 Short-term  
Education 1 Long-term 1 Long-term 1 Long-term; 1 Short-term
Government 1 Short-term 1 Short-term 1 Short-term
Law Firm     1 Short-term
Public Interest 2 Short-term 1 Long-term, 2 Short-term  

Clerkships

Many Duke Law students secure clerkships each year. Below are the numbers of alumni that were in clerkships ten months after their graduation.

Graduates Clerking 10 Months
After Graduation
Class of
2019
Class of
2018
Class of
2017
Federal Courts 31 29* 38
State Courts 7 8 7
Other Courts 0 0 0
Total by Class 38 37 45

*For the Class of 2018, 1 graduate clerking was employed in a short-term Duke Law-funded position.

In addition to students who accept clerkships that begin after graduation, many graduates work for a year or more before beginning a clerkship.

Total Clerkships by Term Term
2019-20
Term
2018-19
Term
2017-18
Federal Courts 58 60 61
U.S. Supreme Court 1 0 0
U.S. Circuit Courts 19 20 23
U.S. District Courts 34 38 33
Other Federal Courts 4 2 5
State Courts 9 12 16
International Courts 0 1 1
Total by Term 67 73 78

Geographic Destinations 

Duke Law School has more than 11,000 alumni presently in all 50 states and in more than 70 countries around the globe. (Please note that percentages may not add up to 100 because numbers are rounded to the nearest tenth.)

  Class of
2019
Class of
2018
Class of
2017
Northeast
ME, NH, VT, MA, CT, RI, NY, NJ, PA, DE
38.1% 42.4% 39.7%
Mid-Atlantic
DC, VA, MD, WV
15.3% 11.4% 14.6%
South Atlantic
NC, SC, GA
13.5% 10.5% 10.5%
Midwest
OH, IN, IL, MO, KS, NE, IA, ND, SD, MI, MN, WI, KY
4.7% 2.9% 7.3%
South
TX, LA, MS, OK, TN, AR, AL, FL
16.7% 17.1% 14.6%
West
AK, HI, CA, NV, WA, OR, AZ, NM, UT, CO, WY, ID, MT
7.4% 13.3% 10.5%
International 4.2% 2.4% 2.7%

Most Popular Employment Locations

Duke Law graduates are employed throughout the United States and the world. The locations with the consistently highest concentrations of Duke graduates are listed below; other popular locations include Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

Class of 2019 % of Total Employed
New York 31.2%
Washington, D.C. 14.4%
North Carolina 10.7%
Texas 10.7%
California 6.0%
Non-US 4.2%
   
Class of 2018 % of Total Employed
New York 33.3%
California 10.5%
Washington, D.C. 10.5%
Texas 10.0%
North Carolina 9.0%
Florida 4.8%
   
Class of 2017 % of Total Employed
New York 31.5%
Washington, D.C. 12.8%
North Carolina 8.7%
California 8.2%
Florida 6.4%
Texas 5.0%

Salaries by Sector (Long-Term, Full-Time Employed Graduates Only)

  Private
Practice
Judicial
Clerk
Govt., Public Interest, Military
Class of 2019      
(number reporting/total number in long-term, full-time category)

99%
148/149

100%
38/38
88%
14/16
75th Percentile $190,000 $65,000 $74,792
50th Percentile $190,000 $64,000 $51,500
25th Percentile $190,000 $60,000 $48,000
Class of 2018      
(number reporting/total number in long-term, full-time category)

100%
147/147

100%
36/36
94%
16/17
75th Percentile $190,000 $63,420 $65,000
50th Percentile $190,000 $61,000 $58,000
25th Percentile $180,000 $55,000 $52,000
Class of 2017      
(number reporting/total number
in long-term, full-time category)
99%
151/153
100%
45/45
92%
11/12
75th Percentile $180,000 $65,000 $65,000
50th Percentile $180,000 $60,000 $60,000
25th Percentile $180,000 $55,000 $56,000