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, 2017, 94 percent of the Class of 2016 was employed in long-term, full-time positions that required passage of the bar exam or were "JD preferred," including 0.4 percent in school-funded 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 2014, Class of 2015, and Class of 2016.

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
2016
Class of
2015
Class of
2014
Total Graduates 224 208 215
Employed 216 202 207
Bar Passage Required 211* 194* 200
JD Preferred/Advantage 3 7 6
Other Professional 2 1 1
Non-Professional 0 0 0
Unknown 0 0 0
Pursuing Graduate Degree 3 1 1
Unemployed - Start Date Deferred 1 0 0
Unemployed - Not Seeking 2 1 3
Unemployed - Seeking 2 4 3
Employment Status Unknown 0 0 1

*The ABA has broken out the school-funded positions for the class of 2016 and 2015. For the Class of 2016, the 1 full-time long-term and 2 other school-funded positions are included here. For the Class of 2015, the 1 full-time long-term and 6 other school-funded positions are included here. See below for how the school-funded positions are broken out.

See further detail on employment data

Visit the ABA website for term definitions.

 

Short-Term and Law School/University-Funded Positions

  Class of
2016
Class of
2015
Class of
2014
Short-Term not school funded 1 3 2
Law School/University-Funded      
   - Short-Term 2 6 4
   - Long-Term 1 1 7

 

 

Employment Type

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

  Class of
2016*
Class of
2015*
Class of
2014*
Law Firms 148 148 135
Solo 0 0 0
2-10 2 5 0
11-25 3 1 4
26-50 1 1 3
51-100 3 2 5
101-250 7 13 11
251-500 19 24 18
500+ 113 102 94
unknown 0 0 0
Business and Industry 5 9 11
Government (includes Military) 13 7 16
Public Interest 6 4 7
Clerkship 41 32 35
Academia 3 2 3
Other/unknown 0 0 0

*This table includes short-term and Law School/University-funded positions.

 

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
2016
Class of
2015*
Class of
2014**
Federal Courts 35 20 30
State Courts 6 12 5
Other Courts 0 0 0
Total by Class 41 32 35

*For the Class of 2015, 2 graduates clerking were employed in Duke Law funded positions, including 1 for a full year.

**For the Class of 2014, 1 graduate clerking was employed in a short-term Duke Law-funded position.

 

In addition to students who accept clerkships that begin after graduation, alumni also obtain clerkships that begin after a year or more of law practice in a firm or public sector position. Duke Law provides comprehensive support to all students and alumni seeking clerkships. Following are the numbers of all Duke Law graduates in clerkships by term.

Total Clerkships by term Term
2016-17*
Term
2015-16*
Term
2014-15*
Federal Courts 65 53 57
U.S. Supreme Court 1 1 1
U.S. Circuit Courts 22 18 25
U.S. District Courts 38 28 26
Other Federal Courts 4 6 5
State Courts 9 14 13
Total by Term 74 67 70

*These numbers do not include Duke Law-funded positions.

 

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
2016
Class of
2015
Class of
2014
Northeast
ME, NH, VT, MA, CT, RI, NY, NJ, PA, DE
38.0% 40.1% 38.2%
Mid-Atlantic
DC, VA, MD, WV
13.0% 10.4% 15.0%
South Atlantic
NC, SC, GA
14.4% 17.3% 10.1%
Midwest
OH, IN, IL, MO, KS, NE, IA, ND, SD, MI, MN, WI, KY
5.6% 5.0% 4.8%
South
TX, LA, MS, OK, TN, AR, AL, FL
13.9% 13.9% 15.9%
West
AK, HI, CA, NV, WA, OR, AZ, NM, UT, CO, WY, ID, MT
12.0% 8.9% 12.6%
International 3.2% 4.5% 3.4%

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 Florida, Georgia, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.

  Class of
2016
Class of
2015
Class of
2014
New York 29.2% 32.2% 27.1%
Washington, D.C. 11.6% 9.4% 12.1%
North Carolina 10.2% 13.9% 8.7%
California 8.3% 5.9% 11.1%
Texas 6.0% 5.4% 6.3%

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

  Private
Practice
Judicial
Clerk
Govt., Public Interest, Military
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
Class of 2015      
(number reporting/total number in long-term, full-time category) 100%
145/145
100%
29/29
89%
8/9
75th Percentile $160,000 $60,000 $75,000
50th Percentile $160,000 $55,000 $61,779
25th Percentile $145,000 $50,700 $50,000
Class of 2014      
(number reporting/total number
in long-term, full-time category)
100%
133/133
100%
34/34
88%
15/17*
75th Percentile $160,000 $61,000 $65,000
50th Percentile $160,000 $60,000 $61,000
25th Percentile $145,000 $57,000 $52,146

*Does not include the three long-term Duke Law-funded positions.

Past ABA Reports

 

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.