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Legal Research Major

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Legal Research

8,089 Master's Degrees Annually
177 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#28 in Popularity (Master's)
$130,710 Median Salary

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

Education Level Number of Grads
Master’s Degree 8,089
Graduate Certificate 696
Doctor’s Degree 177

People with careers related to legal research 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.

This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:

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  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • 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.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

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

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  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Legal Research majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

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

People with a legal research degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Law Professors 12.3% $111,140
Lawyers 8.2% $120,910

8,089 Master's Degrees Annually
57% Percent Women
14% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
Legal Research runs middle of the road when it comes to popularity, ranking #28 out of all the graduate majors we track. In 2019, about 8,089 graduates completed their master’s degree in this field. This major is dominated by women with about 57% of recent graduates being female.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

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

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Legal Research Students with Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 179
Black or African American 406
Hispanic or Latino 379
White 1,309
International Students 4,758
Other Races/Ethnicities 1,058

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in Legal Research, too. About 58.8% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • Saudi Arabia
  • South Korea
  • Japan
  • India

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

The median early-career salary of legal research students with a master’s degree is $63,250 a year according to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $49,975 (25th percentile) and $80,950 (75th percentile).

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

Salaries According to BLS

Legal Research majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $130,710 to $144,230 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

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 Research Major  ( 130710 to 144230 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some careers associated with legal research require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to legal research have obtained the following education levels.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 0.5%
Master’s Degree 7.2%
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. 1.0%
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. 57.0%
Doctoral Degree 32.6%
Post-Doctoral Training 0.7%

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 176 schools offered some type of legal research 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) 1 1
Certificate (1-2 years) 4 2
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 2 0
Bachelor’s Degree 49 6
Post-Baccalaureate 1 1
Master’s Degree 349 71
Post-Master’s 36 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 45 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 12 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

The median salary for a legal research grad is $130,710 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 228% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,816,200 after 20 years!

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

Major Number of Grads
Law 34,727
Legal Support Services 10,947
Non-Professional General Legal Studies 3,620
Legal Professions (Other) 2,570

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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