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Legal Professions Major

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Legal Professions

$71,420 Median Salary

The following table lists how many legal professions graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Doctor’s Degree 34,999
Master’s Degree 9,614
Graduate Certificate 1,891

People with careers related to legal professions were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

Legal Professions majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to legal professions:

  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Some of the most crucial abilities to master while a legal professions student include the following:

  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.

Below is a list of occupations associated with legal professions:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Administrative Law Judges, Adjudicators, and Hearing Officers 3.9% $99,850
Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators 11.5% $62,270
Court Reporters 3.6% $57,150
Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates 5.6% $133,920
Judicial Law Clerks 5.7% $53,540
Law Professors 12.3% $111,140
Lawyers 8.2% $120,910
Legal Support Workers 3.7% $58,930
Paralegals and Legal Assistants 14.6% $50,940
Title Examiners, Abstractors, and Searchers 4.3% $47,130

9,614 Master's Degrees Annually
58% Percent Women
17% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
The major attracts more women than men. About 58% of the recent graduates in this field are female.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of legal professions majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Legal Professions Students with Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 270
Black or African American 646
Hispanic or Latino 507
White 1,836
International Students 5,115
Other Races/Ethnicities 1,240

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in Legal Professions, too. About 53.2% of those with this major are international students.

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that legal professions students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a master’s degree made a median starting salary of $52,100 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $36,200 (25th percentile) and $71,900 (75th percentile).


Note that some of these people may have jobs that are not directly related to a legal professions degree.

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $54,500 to $121,130 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to legal professions. This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Legal Professions Major  ( 54500 to 121130 )
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )

Some careers associated with legal professions require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

Find out what the typical degree level is for legal professions careers below.

Education Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 0.8%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 10.2%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 8.1%
Some College Courses 6.3%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 12.2%
Bachelor’s Degree 11.3%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 4.0%
Master’s Degree 2.7%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 1.4%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 18.0%
Doctoral Degree 23.0%
Post-Doctoral Training 1.3%

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 1,056 schools offered some type of legal professions program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 264 43
Certificate (1-2 years) 348 54
Certificate (2-4 Years) 20 3
Associate’s Degree 685 131
Bachelor’s Degree 103 15
Post-Baccalaureate 264 43
Master’s Degree 427 96
Post-Master’s 43 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 62 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 234 5
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 1 0

The median salary for a legal professions grad is $71,420 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 79% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $630,400 after 20 years!


You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to legal professions.

Major Number of Grads
Public Administration & Social Service 52,234
Homeland Security, Law Enforcement & Firefighting 12,074
Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies 9,491
Military Technologies & Applied Sciences 1,512


*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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