*The reporting rate overall is 41.9% (18,630 salaries out of 44,495 graduates). This represents a decline of 21% in the salary reporting rate since 2007.
*High salaries are reported, low ones are not. 93% of salaries for people working for firms of more than 500 attorneys are reported, compared to 40% of salaries for people working for firms of two to ten lawyers. This is a product of at least two factors: people making high salaries are far more likely to report them, and people working for big firms have salaries that are a matter of public record, and can per NALP guidelines be reported by law schools even if graduates don't report them.
*The median reported salary of $60,000 declined 20.5% in real dollars between the classes of 2009 and 2011.
*Graduates working as secretaries for law firms -- a job that in regard to educational credentials usually requires no more than a high school diploma -- reported a higher median salary than graduates working as attorneys for small law firms. (The former category includes only 97 graduates and 38 reported salaries but still).
*In 2007, the average reported starting salary was equivalent to 86% of the average graduate's law school debt load. In 2011 the average reported starting salary was 57% of the average graduate's debt load.
*It's important to keep in mind that salaries were not reported for three out of every five graduates. Approximately 9,500 out of 44,495 graduates had reported salaries of $60,000 or more (the exact number is not known because it's not clear how many graduates had a salary of exactly $60,000). The true median starting salary for the class of 2011 was probably around $45,000, which is 42.8% of the average law school debt load of $105,028. Note that the latter figure does not include other educational debt. Financial planners consider anything above a one to one ratio between total educational debt and starting salary inadvisable.
Meanwhile, a couple of notes from the world of law school recruiting:
*The University of Alabama is sending out emails this week, offering a $20 iTunes gift card to recipients who apply for admission to next month's entering class (1L orientation at Alabama starts a month from today). Alabama is the 29th-ranked law school in the country, and also features much lower than average tuition -- $18K in state and $30K out of state.
* The dean of a top 20 law school (not the admissions dean, but the dean dean) has been calling admitted students this week, in order to personally