Employment Data

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, 2019, 92.7 percent of the Class of 2018 was employed in long-term, full-time positions that required passage of the bar exam or were “JD Advantage,” rising to 93.6 percent including 0.9 percent in a school-funded position.

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 2016 , Class of 2017, and Class of 2018

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
2018
Class of
2017
Class of
2016
Total Graduates 220 225 224
Employed 210 219 216
Bar Passage Required 201 211 208
JD Advantage 3 4 3
Professional Position 0 0 2
Non-Professional Position 0 0 0
Law School/University Funded 6 4 3
Undeterminable 0 0 0
Pursuing Graduate Degree 1 0 3
Employed - Start Date Deferred 3 1 1
Unemployed - Not Seeking 2 1 2
Unemployed - Seeking 2 1 2
Employment Status Unknown 2 3 0

See further detail on employment data

Visit the ABA website for term definitions.

 

Short-Term and Law School/University-Funded Positions

  Class of
2018
Class of
2017
Class of
2016
Not School Funded Short-Term 0 0 1
Law School/University-Funded      
   - Short-Term 4 3 2
   - Long-Term 2 1 1

 

 

Employment Type

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

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

 

Employment Type - Law School/University Funded Positions

  Class of
2018
Class of
2017
Class of
2016
Clerkship 1 Short-term    
Education 1 Long-term 1 Long-term; 1 Short-term 1 Long-term
Government 1 Short-term 1 Short-term 1 Short-term
Law Firm   1 Short-term  
Public Interest 1 Long-term, 2 Short-term   1 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
2018
Class of
2017
Class of
2016
Federal Courts 29* 38 35
State Courts 8 7 6
Other Courts 0 0 0
Total by Class 37 45 41

*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
2018-19

Term
2017-18

Term
2016-17
Federal Courts 59 61 67  
U.S. Supreme Court 0 0 1
U.S. Circuit Courts 20 23 23
U.S. District Courts 37 33 40
Other Federal Courts 2 5 3
State Courts 12 16 9  
International Courts 1 1 0  
Total by Term 72 78 76  

 

 

Geographic Destinations of Duke Law School Graduates

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
2018
Class of
2017
Class of
2016
Northeast
ME, NH, VT, MA, CT, RI, NY, NJ, PA, DE
42.4% 39.7% 38.0%
Mid-Atlantic
DC, VA, MD, WV
11.4% 14.6% 13.0%
South Atlantic
NC, SC, GA
10.5% 10.5% 14.4%
Midwest
OH, IN, IL, MO, KS, NE, IA, ND, SD, MI, MN, WI, KY
2.9% 7.3% 5.6%
South
TX, LA, MS, OK, TN, AR, AL, FL
17.1% 14.6% 13.9%
West
AK, HI, CA, NV, WA, OR, AZ, NM, UT, CO, WY, ID, MT
13.3% 10.5% 12.0%
International 2.4% 2.7% 3.2%

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 Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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%
   
Class of 2016 % of Total Employed
New York 29.2%
Washington, D.C. 11.6%
North Carolina 10.2%
California 8.3%
Florida 6.0%
Texas 6.0%

 

 

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

  Private
Practice
Judicial
Clerk
Govt., Public Interest, Military
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
Class of 2016      
(number reporting/total number in long-term, full-time category) 99%
146/148
100%
41/41
100%
15/15
75th Percentile $180,000 $60,000 $60,000
50th Percentile $180,000 $59,000 $51,000
25th Percentile $160,000 $55,000 $44,000

 

Loan Repayment

Duke Law recently expanded its Loan Repayment Assistance Program to provide greater assistance to graduates working in the public sector. See our Financial Aid site for more information.