So the question arises in the mind of the majority of people who are interested in practicing law is how much do lawyers make? In 2017, the average salary of lawyers, which they can earn, was $119,250. The highest pay that they earned in that year was $178,480 and the lowest pay was about $78,130.
What is the Outlook for Lawyers?
In 2026, about 65,000 new jobs are opened in the field by the BLS projects. By the year 2026, the growing age of the attorney jobs will be set to 8 percent.
Seven years of education must be completed to become a lawyer, the first four years are for the undergraduate program. The next step is to attend the school of law to receive the doctorate degree to pass the state bar, this is a big and critical stage that basically analyze your persuasive, legal and analytical skills. This is never ending training, as some states require continuing education status.
What you will get in return for this much hard work? In the year 2016, the average salary for the median lawyer was $118,160 each year which means half of all the attorneys which you earn will be more than the amount mentioned. $56,910 is the minimum 10 percent amount, which is earned every year. In reality, you are expecting the salary of a junior lawyer to fall near the lower amount.
For the minimum few years, most of the juniors attorney take a start from the law firms in which they work as in house counselor may start with the solo practice. To bring the criminal defendants to the trial Public prosecutors work for the government in this regard. Moreover, each lawyer must do the specialization in the field of law that includes tax, real estate, crime, corporate law, family law or patent litigation. There are further some subfields in specialization like a corporate lawyer that deals with the mergers and acquisitions only.
Years of Experience
In comparison with most of the professions, the lawyers are the one who earns more with time and experience. The progression of salary generally looks like this:
- With 0-5 years’ experience, the average salary is $70,000
- With 5-10 years’ experience, the average salary is $98,000
- With 10-20 years’ experience, the average salary is $119,000
- With 20 plus years’ experience, the average salary is $139,000
Keep in mind above mentioned is the average salary progression of any legal profession. According to the above-mentioned salaries, the salary of corporate lawyers is 40 percent higher and earn more than the other professions. Moreover, the public prosecutors in comparison will start earning with 18 percent less than this.
Best-Paying Cities for Lawyers
The important thing is how much do lawyers make a year according to the cities? So here are mentioned some of the best-paying cities for Lawyers that pay them with the great average salary. The pays are mentioned from high to low. Have a look at it.
- In San Jose, California average salary is $198,100
- In San Francisco, California average salary is $189,660
- In Anaheim, California average salary is $189,150
- In Bridgeport, California average salary is $182,160
- In San Rafael., California average salary is $180,530
Best-Paying States for Lawyers
The question is how much do lawyers make a year according to the states? So here are mentioned some of the best paying states and district that pay the lawyers with the great average salary include:
- In District of Columbia average salary is $189,560
- In California average salary is $168,200
- In New York average salary is $165,260
- In Massachusetts average salary is $157,450
- In Connecticut, the average salary is $152,540.
Top 10 Law Careers
The field of law is as broad as it is diverse – as are the related earnings. As one might expect, lawyers working in state government earn significantly less than their counterparts in the private sector.
According to PayScale.com’s data for 2014, the median annual salary of lawyers in the United States is $75,803.
- CORPORATE LAWYER SALARY
The main focus of corporate lawyers is to make sure the validity of company transactions. These legal practitioners on different problems act as a consultee, for example, collecting and inspecting data for legal activities, developing contracts, guiding companies on their lawful rights and responsibilities in business transactions, and helping in issues related to taxation.
If the requirements of the job are large and wide than the corporate lawyers has to specialize more than one aspects of the law. There are some vital specialties that can be related to corporate law and these are such as tax law, accounting law, contract law, and security law. The Major focus of the corporate lawyers is to know about the companies and their various aspects of law employed by them.
- Starting Salary
In the majority of the cases, the salary of a corporate lawyer starts from $30,000 and $100,000 a year. The salary depends on the employer’s size, location, and financial condition. The salary of Graduates from the best law schools can be expected more and might have profitable careers right after their graduation. If the graduate has performed well in their internship proving that they have the right skill set for this job then their salary can be expected more. $165,000 salary can be expected from the Columbia Law School.
Other institutes such as Stanford University, the University of Chicago, Harvard University, and the University of Virginia produce graduates with most salaries. Other graduates from US Law Schools if they land a job will settle a paycheck with a profitable corporate law field.
- Average Salary
In 2014, the average annual salary according to PayScale was $98,823. Salary of corporate lawyers is affected by knowledge and experience deeply. The paychecks of corporate lawyers increases if they find their field in corporate law and remains a part of the same company. The paychecks will increase every year.
Based on practice, the lawyers that are in-house has less salary than lawyers that are employed by big law organizations that also charge unreasonable fees. Lawyers that are earning more are partners with large law organizations. Mostly, peers conditions are financially worsted then, in-house lawyers.
- PATENT LAWYER SALARY
In short, patent lawyers are given tasks related to assessing and examining an invention if it can be qualified for a patent or not. Moreover, they guide and tell the inventors and corporations that are a part of the process of securing a patent for the inventor. Once the patent is obtained, the inventor then has to protect his/her patent in case of any infringement by other people.
In the aspects of intellectual property rights, the patent lawyers are trained and are highly skilled. They advise clients and employers if there is are any problems. These problems can be related to design or trademarks. According to the PayScale.com, in 2014, $129,500 was the median salary of the patent lawyer. There are several factors on which paycheck depends and these are; industries they are working in, the company size in which they are working, time in years they have spent in the company, and lastly their education level. For a specialized skill set, a patent lawyer should have a background related to engineering or biology field.
- CRIMINAL LAWYER SALARY
For a criminal lawyer’s job, their work is to defend the individual, organizations, and companies that are charged under criminal activities in state, federal, or appellate court. Moreover, the lawyer job is to investigate the case at hand, interview the witnesses, should know about the case and procedural law, and make out a defensive plan with a strategy for the case. Furthermore, in less serious cases negotiating plea deals is also the expertise of a criminal lawyer.
In order to successfully argue in a case, the criminal lawyer must have to be
superior written with oral advocacy skills in the front of the judge and a jury. Moreover, skills such as creative thinking and analytical skills also play an important part in developing a strategy and help in research when dealing with a complex case. Colleagues in the private sector earn more than a criminal lawyer in public significantly. The public defender’s median salary is $51,810, which is below average. Any associate in a large firm who practices criminal law earns $115,000 in the first year making it a more profitable option.
- TAX LAWYER SALARY
Lawyers of tax act as a spokesperson of a company, organization, or any individual who is indulge with federal, state, and local tax agencies. With regard to tax legislation, the tax lawyers give advice to businessperson and individuals on daily basis. They advises their clients on the matter of changes on their finances and checks if there are any modifications in legislation. Extraordinary skills related to math and accounting is required for practicing law that may make an analytical mind and an ability to think in extreme conditions.
In 2014, the median annual salary for tax lawyers was $99,690. Their starting salary was tend to be in between $55,000 and $83,000. There was a steady increase for lawyers who remain in the field of tax in their annual earnings as they proceeds in their field.
- REAL ESTATE LAWYER
There are different ways for a real estate lawyer to deal with clients such as
commercial, residential real estate, tenants, zoning, and property development etc.
Complex legal documents are required for a real estate transactions and that is why most of the lawyers spend their time in office reviewing and making contracts or documents, and getting consultations ready for their clients. The key skill of this job is creating an accurate document. Moreover, attention is given to all the details with analytical skills that are important for any real estate lawyer who is willing to perform extraordinary in his field.
The real estate lawyers represent clients in the court. For example, a property owner in a property law case who is suing a tenant for not paying rent. Moreover, real estate lawyer’s files documents of the court find and collect proof to support their claim in the court. They also interview witnesses to make sure the case is strong.
According to PayScale.com, the median salary in 2014 of a real estate lawyer was $90,125. In the real estate law, negotiators that are highly skilled has more earning but experience and location also affects the earning of the lawyer.
- FAMILY LAWYER SALARY
Family lawyers are engaged with the arrangements in custody, adoption, prenuptial and divorce cases. Family law is a very large field. Majority of the lawyers selects one or two categories becoming experts. For instance, a divorce lawyer will work to solve the cases related to divorce determining the best possible way to divide a common asset. Other categories are child support, child custody and domestic abuse.
According to PayScale.com, the annual median salary of a family lawyer is
$70,828. The lawyer’s degree of specialization and experience in family law both corresponds with compensation. In this group, family lawyers that are experienced in private sector are top earners. Moreover, they have high potential in earning counterparts in the public sector.
- PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER SALARY
Personal Injury Lawyers task is to work with the clients who professed physical and mental harm in the result of the wrongdoing of the opposition party. In the condition of any harm due to an accident or injury, the personal injury lawyer work for their clients to provide them justice and compensation of all the loss they are suffering from.
The average salary of the personal injury lawyers is around $73,000 annually. There are variety of attorneys in this field who do not have settled any annual income as they work in emergencies. Which means their salary depends on the percentage of any settled compensation, which received by the plaintiff. Mostly in many cases the lawyers, which are working for the organizations without any profit or for the government that gravitate to earn little while on the other sides their partners are earning in the big companies and are the top earners.
- CIVIL RIGHTS LAWYER SALARY
The task of the Civil Rights lawyer is to protect the rights of civilian and the basic liberties of the public. The basic civil rights include the individual who are facing the discrimination, which is based on race, color, age, religion or gender. Cases that are supposed to be the reason of the improper behavior by the law enforcement is also in the field of civil rights law.
The cases involved in the civil rights are based on the excessive force, harassment, cruelty, false arrest and unlawful searches. There are many cases, which are generally based on the rights of human, social freedom and equal rights. The lawyers whom are specialized in this field are too much concerned for the people to obtain the justice for the group of people suffering the issue. Due to this reason, many lawyers of civil rights do specialization in this respective field. Comparatively the lawyers who handle the civil rights cases earn less than those people who start their career in business field like corporate law. The starting average salary for civil rights lawyer is up to $45,000 annually. However, if someone is much experienced and is more capable then he may can earn up to $200,000. The lawyers who are the top earners mostly work for the federal government firms. The lawyers who work for the federal government earn an average salary of $130,210 annually as compared to the government lawyers who earn satisfactory amount of $82,190 annually.
- IP LAWYER SALARY
IP lawyer known as intellectual property lawyer task is to have a deep
understanding of all the laws relevant to the innovation. The criteria of the
intellectual property lawyers is to take care that the innovation and invention that is created by the individual should be able to protect the law and do not have any copyrights issues with the competitors.
The field of specialization for IP lawyer include technology, music, writing, art or design.
The property of intellectual is taken as the most valued type of the property for many companies and firms. According to PayScale.com, the average salary of the intellectual property lawyers is around $131,728 annually.
- MEDICAL LAWYER SALARY
Medical lawyer is the one who have interest in law and in the healthcare, then surely this must be a perfect match. The working of the medical lawyer include to be a professional of healthcare to make the case theories, to manipulate and analyze medical records, malpractice law suits and interview expert witness. This is not the distinct type of the law, but it is a merger of health care law, medical malpractice and personal injury. Some of the medical lawyers work in the hospitals and clinics in which their task is to give advice and guide the team regarding all the rules and conditions and to save them in different cases of medical malpractice
According to Glassdoor.com, the average salary of medical lawyers is around $150,881 annually. The medical lawyers who have done specialization in this field will earn more than this.
Average Lawyer Pay vs. Other Best Jobs
In 2017, the average salary of lawyers, which they earn, was $141,850. Other jobs that are in comparison to this average salary in the year 2017 are as follow:
- The average salary for Financial Managers is $143,530
- The average salary for Actuaries is $114,850
- The average salary for Political Scientists is $112,030
- The average salary for Paralegals is $53,910
Jobs Related to Lawyer
Paralegal – The Average Salary is $53,910
To do the regular job as a lawyer it is must for the office to hire a paralegal.
A Paralegal is someone who helps to summarize the reports of legal precedent, attorney draft motions and it works as a legal assistant.
Political Scientist – The Average Salary is $112,030
Political Scientist is a student who is a constant learner of political theory. They use the data (both quantitative and qualitative) data to learn the procedure and laws how they can force the government, individuals and businesses.
Financial Manager – The Average Salary is $143,530
Financial Manager is responsible to oversees the finances of the largest
companies, firms and all the things included in it. This also includes the teams with whom they coordinate accounting and present the cash-flow statements, profit projections, and financial reports.
Actuary –The Average Salary is $114,850
The Actuary is the scientist that uses the field of statistics, mathematics and
financial theory to manage and measure the financial risk and unreliability. This is important for the insurance industry and they are growingly searching niches in other businesses.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How much does a lawyer make a year?
Ans: The average salary of the lawyer is up to $ 119,250 per year, which is
approximately $9,938 per month.
- Did the lawyers who are practicing privately or are the partners in the law companies have more salary?
Ans: Yes the salary of the partners working in the law firms own more than the one practicing privately.