Grantee Research


Are Law Degrees as Valuable to Minorities?

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



labor economics, earnings premium, law school, lawyers, legal profession, race, minorities, earnings gap, discrimination, inequality, productivity, law firm, education, economic value of a law degree, SIPP, ACS, Census, American Community Survey, Survey of Income and Program Participation


We estimate the increase in earnings from a law degree relative to a bachelor’s degree for graduates of different race/ethnic groups. Law earnings premiums are higher for whites than for minorities (excluding individuals raised outside the U.S.). The median annual law earnings premium is approximately $41,000 for whites, $34,000 for Asians, $33,000 for blacks, and $28,000 for Hispanics. Law earnings premiums for whites, blacks and Hispanics have trended upward and appear to be gradually converging. Approximately 90 percent of law graduates are white compared to approximately 82 percent of bachelor’s degree holders.