Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

January 26, 2017

Cornell Law Graduates Boast Highest Average Salaries, Study Finds

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Cornell University Law School graduates are above average — at least, their salaries are.

According to a recent report conducted by Social Finance, Inc., Cornell Law graduates receive a higher average salary — approximately $183,377 three years after graduation — than other law school graduates across the United States.

This average salary trumps the average national salary of law school graduates by nearly $20,000, with a national average of $166,155, according to the report.

One factor contributing to the financial success of Cornell Law graduates is a recent increase in the student financial aid budget, according to Dean of Cornell Law School, Prof. Eduardo M. Peñalver. In an article for Big Law Business, Peñalver said that Cornell Law School now has a financial aid budget of $12 million, a figure that has nearly doubled over the past five years.

“The money comes from philanthropy and through watching our costs and making sure we’re being prudent in how we spend money,” Peñalver said. “Where it hasn’t come [from] is increased tuition.”

The Cornell Law School website states that annual tuition and additional estimated expenses for 2016-2017 is $84,921. This figure has risen each year by one to two percent, according to Peñalver.

Social Finance, Inc. — an online company commonly known as SoFi that helps people finance student, mortgaged and personal loans — analyzed over 60,000 student loan refinancing applications from January 2014 to December 2016, its report claimed. SoFi then examined the salaries and remaining debts of students three years out of law school for a country-wide comparison.

Cornell Law’s average graduate debt is $148,443, which is slightly above the national average of $140,900, according to SoFi. Its average salary is 1.2 times its average debt, which is equal to the national average.

Though Peñalver told Big Law Business that at least two-thirds to three-quarters of Cornell Law students work at firms with over 100 lawyers after graduation, he noted that this statistic is standard.

“We think our graduates are basically where they were pre-recession in terms of the mix of jobs they are finding,” he said.