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, 2018, 95.6 percent of the Class of 2017 was employed in long-term, full-time positions that required passage of the bar exam or were “JD Advantage,” rising to 96.0 percent including 0.4 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 2015, Class of 2016, and Class of 2017.

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
2017
Class of
2016
Class of
2015
Total Graduates 225 224 208
Employed 219 216 202
Bar Passage Required 211 208 187
JD Advantage 4 3 7
Professional Position 0 2 1
Non-Professional Position 0 0 0
Law School/University Funded 4 3 7
Undeterminable 0 0 0
Pursuing Graduate Degree 0 3 1
Unemployed - Start Date Deferred 1 1 0
Unemployed - Not Seeking 1 2 1
Unemployed - Seeking 1 2 4
Employment Status Unknown 3 0 0

See further detail on employment data

Visit the ABA website for term definitions.

 

Short-Term and Law School/University-Funded Positions

  Class of
2017
Class of
2016
Class of
2015
Not School Funded Short-Term 0 1 3
Law School/University-Funded      
   - Short-Term 3 2 6
   - Long-Term 1 1 1

 

 

Employment Type

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

  Class of
2017*
Class of
2016*
Class of
2015*
Law Firms 154 148 148
Solo 0 0 0
2-10 4 2 5
11-25 2 3 1
26-50 0 1 1
51-100 3 3 2
101-250 12 7 13
251-500 12 19 24
500+ 121 113 102
unknown 0 0 0
Business and Industry 3 5 9
Government (includes Military) 9 13 7
Public Interest 4 6 4
Clerkship 45 41 32
Academia 4 3 2
Other/unknown 0 0 0

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

 

Employment Type - Law School/University Funded Positions

  Class of
2017
Class of
2016
Class of
2015
Clerkship     2 Short-term
Education 1 Long-term; 1 Short-term 1 Long-term 1 Long-term
Government 1 Short-term 1 Short-term 2 Short-term
Law Firm 1 Short-term   2 Short-term
Public Interest   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
2017
Class of
2016
Class of
2015*
Federal Courts 38 35 20
State Courts 7 6 12
Other Courts 0 0 0
Total by Class 45 41 32

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

 

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
2017-18*
Term
2016-17*
Term
2015-16*
Federal Courts 58 65 53
U.S. Supreme Court 0 1 1
U.S. Circuit Courts 24 22 18
U.S. District Courts 31 38 28
Other Federal Courts 3 4 6
State Courts 15 9 14
Total by Term 73 74 67

*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
2017
Class of
2016
Class of
2015
Northeast
ME, NH, VT, MA, CT, RI, NY, NJ, PA, DE
39.7% 38.0% 40.1%
Mid-Atlantic
DC, VA, MD, WV
14.6% 13.0% 10.4%
South Atlantic
NC, SC, GA
10.5% 14.4% 17.3%
Midwest
OH, IN, IL, MO, KS, NE, IA, ND, SD, MI, MN, WI, KY
7.3% 5.6% 5.0%
South
TX, LA, MS, OK, TN, AR, AL, FL
14.6% 13.9% 13.9%
West
AK, HI, CA, NV, WA, OR, AZ, NM, UT, CO, WY, ID, MT
10.5% 12.0% 8.9%
International 2.7% 3.2% 4.5%

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 Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.

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%
   
Class of 2015 % of Total Employed
New York 32.2%
North Carolina 13.9%
Washington, D.C. 9.4%
California 5.9%
Florida 5.4%
Texas 5.4%

 

 

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

  Private
Practice
Judicial
Clerk
Govt., Public Interest, Military
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
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

 

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.