With fewer jobs available at high-paying law firms, 2010 law school graduates saw their median starting salaries fall by 13 percent from 2009, according to data from the National Association for Law Placement.
NALP’s research also reveals that aggregate starting private practice salaries fell a whopping 20 percent for the class. [...]
Just a note: we tend to think in terms of averages (and then get annoyed when those averages don't apply in a good way).
Law salaries have long been bimodal: there are a handful who make, well, a handful . . . even in a bad market. And there are many who scrounge far below. There really isn't an "average" as we would see in a normal distribution. The point is that it is highly misleading to speak of even "median" salaries. In law, there is no such thing (at least not in any meaningful way beyond the statistical average).
For all, there is hope. But don't get upset over these various prognostications. You're not looking for a statistically-driven average salary. You're looking for a single job, with a single salary . . . with luck a good one, with time left over so that you'll actually get to watch Harry Potter with your kids (and not, a few years hence, in the nursing home when you have a bit more time).
Hang in there,