SMU Dedman School of Law graduates build careers in every sector of the legal profession—private practice, business, the judiciary, government, public service and academia—as well as in non-legal professions where a law degree is substantially valued. The Office of Career Services strives to collect, analyze and report complete and accurate employment and salary information of our graduates. We are proud to present the following employment information for the Classes of 2021, 2020, and 2019 as a testament to our steadfast commitment to not only produce talented young attorneys but also successfully place that talent within the market.
The Office of Career Services provides students and recent graduates with one-on-one guidance from counselors and law school staff, whose professional experience ranges from working with prominent international and regional law firms to serving a corporation as general counsel. These dedicated counselors bring numerous law firm, corporate, government and public interest employers to recruit our law students throughout the year, and they facilitate employment in even the most challenging economic times by operating innovative programs such as Test Drive, an incentive hiring program for third-year students and recent graduates.
Employment statistics are collected and reported to the American Bar Association following the Employment Protocols issued by the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar. These statistics are based upon Employment Surveys completed by the graduates and verified by Career Services staff. Employment reports for a graduating class are filed with the ABA and NALP each April reflecting employment as of March 15, ten months from graduation. Note that the ABA and NALP use different definitions for various categories, which may account for differences in the reports. Become educated and fully informed about your employment prospects. Please view the more detailed employment statistics:
American Bar Association (ABA)
- ABA Employment Summary for the Class of 2021 (PDF)**
- ABA Employment Summary for the Class of 2020 (PDF)*
- ABA Employment Summary for the Class of 2019 (PDF)
- ABA Employment Summary for the Class of 2018 (PDF)
- ABA Employment Status of Definitions
* Information on employment outcomes for the Class of 2020 may not reflect a particular law school's typical results in the area. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, bar admission exams were canceled or delayed in many jurisdictions, thus making it more challenging for graduates to secure employment by the annual Graduate Employment Status Date of March 15. Please reference the 3 years of employment outcome data posted on the ABA Required Disclosures webpage of each ABA-Approved Law School or at www.abarequireddisclosures.org.
** One graduate, reported as in a full-time, long-term JD Advantage job on the ABA Employment Summary for the Class of 2021, met the ABA’s requirements to be reported as in a full-time, long-term Bar Passage Required job and was reported as such in the below NALP Employment Report and Salary Survey, Class of 2021. This discrepancy was discovered after the ABA’s deadline for edits and the ABA was notified.
National Association for Law Placement (NALP)
- NALP Employment Report and Salary Survey, Class of 2021
- NALP Employment Report and Salary Survey, Class of 2020
- NALP Employment Report and Salary Survey, Class of 2019
- NALP Employment Report and Salary Survey, Class of 2018
A Note about Salary Information
Salaries of full-time, long-term positions are reported. The salary information contained in the NALP reports provides the average and median salaries overall, as well as a statistical range. Salaries are further reported by employer sector. While most graduates do report salary information, some graduates choose not to report their salary and some salary information is not independently verifiable. The percentage of graduates who do report salary information varies from year to year.
Prospective students, law students and recent graduates, in evaluating salary information, should consider the high and low ranges of reported salaries for each category of employment, in addition to the average and mean reported salaries. Additional, independent research about legal Salaries and Compensation also may be obtained from the NALP website, https://www.nalp.org. – Research & Statistics.
SMU Dedman School of Law makes every effort to report accurate and complete employment statistics and salary information. If you have any questions about these reports, please contact the Office of Career Services.