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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, 2021, 92.5 percent (198/214) of the Class of 2020 was employed in long-term, full-time positions that required bar passage and were not school funded.   

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 2018, Class of 2019, and Class of 2020.

Per Interpretation 509-2 of Standard 509, law schools may choose to publicize additional employment outcome data beyond what the Employment Protocols require. This additional data, per Standard 509, must be “complete, accurate, and not misleading to a reasonable law school student or applicant.” Law schools are expected to use “due diligence in obtaining and verifying such information.” The following additional employment outcome data has not been, and will not be, audited by the ABA. It is meant to supplement the annual ABA Employment Summary Report, which reflects the employment status of members of each graduating class as of the annual Graduate Employment Status Date of March 15. Please reference the 3 years of employment outcome data posted on the ABA Required Disclosures webpage of each ABA-Approved Law School or at www.abarequireddisclosures.org.

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
2020
Class of
2019
Class of
2018
Total Graduates 214 221 220
Employed 209 215 210
Bar Passage Required 199 208 201
JD Advantage 2 3 3
Professional Position 0 0 0
Non-Professional Position 0 0 0
Law School/University Funded 8 4 6
Undeterminable 0 0 0
Pursuing Graduate Degree 1 3 1
Employed - Start Date Deferred 1 0 3
Unemployed - Not Seeking 1 0 2
Unemployed - Seeking 1 1 2
Employment Status Unknown 1 2 2

See further detail on employment data

Visit the ABA website for term definitions.

Short-Term and Law School/University-Funded Positions

  Class of
2020
Class of
2019
Class of
2018
Not School Funded Short-Term 3 0 0
Law School/University-Funded      
   - Short-Term 7 3 4
   - Long-Term 1 1 2

Employment Type

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

  Class of
2020
Class of
2019*
Class of
2018*
Law Firms 156 149 147
Solo 1 0 0
2-10 1 0 1
11-25 0 1 1
26-50 6 1 1
51-100 4 2 3
101-250 2 8 7
251-500 17 13 19
500+ 125 124 115
unknown 0 0 0
Business and Industry 5 7 4
Government (includes Military) 6 9 12
Public Interest 12 10 8
Clerkship 28 38 37
Education 2 2 2
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.

Law School/University Funded Positions

  Class of
2020
Class of
2019
Class of
2018
Clerkship     1 Short-term
Education 1 Long-term 1 Long-term 1 Long-term
Government   1 Short-term 1 Short-term
Law Firm      
Public Interest 7 Short-term 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
(% of Total Class)
Class of
2020
Class of
2019
Class of
2018
Federal Courts 25/214
11.7%
31/221
14.0%
29/220*
13.2%
State Courts 3/214*
1.4%
7/221
3.2%
8/220
3.6%
Other Courts 0/214
0%
0/221
0%
0/220
0%
Total by Class 28/214
13.1%
38/221
17.2%
37/220
16.8%

*For the Class of 2020, 1 graduate clerking was employed in a short-term position.
*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
2020-21
Term
2019-20
Term
2018-19
Federal Courts 57 59 61
U.S. Supreme Court 0 1 0
U.S. Circuit Courts 21 19 20
U.S. District Courts 33 35 39
Other Federal Courts 3 4 2
State Courts 7 9 12
International Courts 0 0 1
Total by Term 64 68 74

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.)

% of Total Employed Class of
2020
Class of
2019
Class of
2018
Northeast
ME, NH, VT, MA, CT, RI, NY, NJ, PA, DE
86/209
41.1%
82/215
38.1%
89/210
42.4%
Mid-Atlantic
DC, VA, MD, WV
37/209
17.7%

33/215
15.3%

24/210
11.4%
South Atlantic
NC, SC, GA
22/209
10.5%
29/215
13.5%
22/210
10.5%
Midwest
OH, IN, IL, MO, KS, NE, IA, ND, SD, MI, MN, WI, KY

12/209
5.7%

10/215
4.7%
6/210
2.9%
South
TX, LA, MS, OK, TN, AR, AL, FL
23/209
11.0%
36/215
16.7%
36/210
17.1%
West
AK, HI, CA, NV, WA, OR, AZ, NM, UT, CO, WY, ID, MT
26/209
12.4%
16/215
7.4%
28/210
13.3%
International 3/209
1.4%
9/215
4.2%
5/210
2.4%

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 Ohio, Pennsylvania and Illinois.

Class of 2020 % of Total Employed
New York 34.9% (73/209)
Washington, D.C. 15.8% (33/209)
California 10.0% (21/209)
North Carolina 9.1% (19/209)
Texas 6.7% (14/209)
Florida 2.9% (6/209)
   
Class of 2019 % of Total Employed
New York 31.2% (67/215)
Washington, D.C. 14.4% (31/215)
North Carolina 10.7% (23/215)
Texas 10.7% (23/215)
California 6.0% (13/215)
Non-US 4.2% (9/215)
   
Class of 2018 % of Total Employed
New York 33.3% (70/210)
California 10.5% (22/210)
Washington, D.C. 10.5% (22/210)
Texas 10.0% (21/210)
North Carolina 9.0% (19/210)
Florida 4.8% (10/210)
   

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

  Private
Practice
Judicial
Clerk
Govt., Public Interest, Military
Class of 2020      
(number reporting/total number in long-term, full-time category) 97%
152/156
100%
27/27
91%
10/11
75th Percentile $190,000 $70,000 $69,000
50th Percentile $190,000 $65,914 $60,960
25th Percentile $190,000 $64,000 $57,510
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