Law students among the lowest earners in new graduate salary list

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By Thomas Connelly on

Even sociology graduates pull in more than their law counterparts — but figures vary widely between universities

Studying law isn’t the path to riches many it assume it to be, new research has found.

Data compiled by the Sunday Times has placed law graduates among the lowest earners — with the average salary for law just £19,598.

That puts law students below graduates of subjects such as sociology (£19,652), history (£20,045), geography (£21,252) and philosophy (£21,869) in the entry-level money ranks. Only those who studied psychology, architecture, history of art, English and music earn less.


However, figures vary widely between universities. Salaries at the top universities for law graduate earnings are well above the national average — with, somewhat surprisingly, Bangor University heading the list.

According to the Sunday Times‘ graduate salary calculator, law graduates at the north Wales university begin work on a chunky average starting wage of £34,038. Could a recent cohort have been hired en masse by one of the big north west law firms? The next highest is City University (£30,367), followed by LSE (£28,320), Glasgow University (£26,271) and UCL (£25,571).

At the bottom of the list is Ulster University, where law students make just £15,223 in their first year of graduate employment. Huddersfield University is next lowest (£15,561) followed by Essex University (£16,000) and Swansea (£16,466).

Meanwhile, Oxford comfortably beats Cambridge in the law earning stakes, with graduates of the former pulling in £24,714 and the latter just £21,808. That figure places Cambridge lower in the list than Durham (£23,822), King’s College London (£22,476) and even the University of Greenwich (£23,813).

The findings give a sense of how relatively few law graduates end up in top paying City law training contracts where trainees at many firms earn over £40,000 in their first year. For all the latest salary of information about the top UK law firms, check out the Legal Cheek Most List.