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Statistics reported to the National Association of Law Placement show salaries for the most recent Philadelphia area law school graduates rose dramatically compared to 1999, a trend that could be short-lived considering the economic downturn. The numbers, reported to NALP in early March by the law schools at Dickinson College, University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers University-Camden, Temple University, Villanova University and Widener University, held few surprises. Salaries increased dramatically at Temple, where the average 2000 graduate working in a full-time legal position was making $87,285, compared to $65,939 in the previous year. Dickinson saw its numbers increase from $51,811 in 1999 to $73,631 in 2000. Numbers for Penn could not be obtained by press time. Temple Law Dean Robert Reinstein said his school’s graduates, 72 percent of whom took jobs in Pennsylvania, were affected tremendously by the salary increases at large Philadelphia firms. “Law firms in Philadelphia are now paying $105,000 or $110,000, which is way up from the year before,” Reinstein said. “And I think that is pulling up the salaries across the board. But I also think that some of the smaller firms also raised salaries in an effort to compete. “It’s a very strong job market now. If the [economic] downturn is only temporary, I don’t think you’ll see much of a change [for the class of 2001]. But if it sustains, you might see the same situation as we had in the early 1990s.” Gicine Brignola, director of career planning at Dickinson, said the 42 percent salary increase from her school’s 2000 class resulted in an increase of graduates taking positions in the private sector. In terms of employment rate, Penn not surprisingly led the way with 98 percent, followed by Rutgers-Camden at 94 percent, Villanova at 90 percent, Temple at 88 percent, Dickinson at 83 percent and Widener at 79 percent. The combined employment average for all six schools was 88 percent, with 6 percent unemployed, 4 percent whose whereabouts were unknown to the schools and 2 percent pursuing an advanced degree. Villanova, which has a Ph.D. program in psychology that complements its law degree, had the highest number (about 4 percent) pursuing post-graduate degrees. When combining the statistics provided by all six schools, 73 percent of all 2000 graduates took full-time legal positions and only 3 percent took part-time legal jobs. More than half (53 percent) are working at law firms and 22 percent are serving judicial clerkships. Only 12 percent entered the public interest or governmental realms, while about 10 percent took business positions in which they were not practicing law. Villanova had the largest percentage of graduates employed in full-time legal positions (95 percent), followed closely by Penn (94 percent), Dickinson (93 percent), Rutgers-Camden (90 percent). Temple had 79 percent in full-time legal positions while Widener had 63 percent. Penn had the largest percentage working at law firms with 72 percent, followed by Villanova at 65 percent, Dickinson at 64 percent, Temple at 42 percent, Widener at 31 percent and Rutgers-Camden trailing with 26 percent. The reason Rutgers-Camden brought up the rear in the law firm sector was because it had the highest percentage of graduates taking clerkships, with a whopping 54 percent. The next closest was Dickinson at 29 percent, while Penn and Villanova both were at 18 percent, Widener at 16 percent and Temple at 13 percent. Most of those clerkships, with the exception of those taken by Penn grads, were for state or local judges and not federal. Roughly 87 percent of Penn grads pursuing clerkships were working for federal judges, with Temple the next closest (35 percent), followed by Villanova (22 percent), Dickinson (14 percent) and Rutgers-Camden (7 percent). Temple, which has a trial advocacy program that again is ranked first in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, leads the way with graduates taking public interest or government jobs. About 22 percent of the school’s graduates pursued one or the other, followed by Dickinson (12 percent), Villanova (11 percent), Rutgers-Camden (10 percent), Widener (9 percent) and Penn (4 percent). Temple’s aforementioned 72 percent of graduates currently employed in Pennsylvania was also tops, followed by Dickinson and Villanova (both at 66 percent), Rutgers-Camden (22 percent) and Penn (21 percent). While many Philadelphia firms have tried in recent years to curb the number of Penn Law grads heading to other markets such as New York, it appears little had changed, according to the school’s director of career planning, JoAnne Verrier. Verrier said 38 percent of the 2000 graduates went to New York, 10 percent went to California, almost 7 percent went to Washington, D.C., and 4 percent went to Boston. The New York numbers represent a return to normal for Penn Law, after the highest number ever (44 percent) went to the Empire State in 1999. The bad news is that instead of staying in Philadelphia, other markets benefited from the drop in New York numbers. The 10 percent in California, for instance, was double the number of Penn Law grads who chose it as an employment destination in 1999 (5 percent). Boston’s 4 percent also represents a slight increase from the roughly 3 percent of Penn grads that chose to go there in the previous two years. Pennsylvania numbers actually dropped from 22 percent in both 1998 and 1999. Washington, D.C., also dropped from 10 percent in 1999 and 8 percent in 1998.

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