How Much Do Lawyers Make?

Lawer job descriptionIn the legal field, lawyers are the most prominent faces. Lawyers have doctoral degrees, or a professional law degree, with which, they are responsible for informing clients on the practice of law whether the client be a business, government organization, or an individual.

Clients may be handling legal problems or disputes and need to be counseled for recommended legal action.

Their job is to listen to a client’s legal concern and recommend the best legal action, can guide the client through the process, and even represent them in a trial or court case, as they will often spend most of their time.

Lawyer Salary

The answer to the question “how much do lawyers make?” can vary. The average lawyer salary is $120,910 in the United States.

How Much do lawyers makeThe lowest earners make approximately $58,220, and the highest earners upwards of $208,000.

The lawyer starting salary is largely based upon the type of law being practiced.

They start making $58,000 up to $70,000 depending upon many different factors, which is greatly determined by the industry of law. 

The salaries are influenced by other factors as well, including education, experience, location, and employer. When considering a career in law, it is important to consider how each of these factors can affect your earning potential.

Prospective lawyers should keep this in mind when determining how to have the greatest earning potential.

Top 5 Paying States

Flag
State
Employment per 1000 Jobs
Hourly mean wage
Annual mean wage
California Flag
California
4.67
$76.06
$158,200
New York Flag
New York
8.08
$74.20
$154,340
Delaware flag
Delaware
6.79
$70.16
$145,940
Massachusetts Flag
Massachusetts
5.17
$69.24
$144,030
Texas Flag
Texas
3.58
$67.91
$141,240

Top Paying Industries

Industry
Percent of industry employment
Hourly mean wage
Annual mean wage
Machinery Manufacturing
0.04
$100.83
$209,730
Metalworking Manufacturing
$97.35
$202,480
Semiconductor Manufacturing
0.11
$96.90
$201,560
Securities and Commodity Contracts Brokerage
0.41
$96.49
$200,700
Information Services
0.49
$95.98
$199,640

What Does a Lawyer Do?

What does a lawyer doLawyers have an advanced knowledge and understanding of the practice of law, and use this to help clients with their legal issues. Thy may represent their clients in a trial, or in a court case.

When representing in a trial, they will also present facts and research relevant information for their client’s benefit. They must give support to their clients, and will argue with other legal professionals for the benefit of a client’s case.

They are expected to actively communicate with clients, while also researching, analyzing, and interpreting for the benefit of the client’s legal situation. While working with clients, lawyers must also process and file paperwork and important documents, although, they may have a paralegal assist in the clerical work.

The daily duties of a lawyer depend on the industry, or specialty of law.

Types of Lawyers and Specialties

  • Taxation
  • Environmental
  • Criminal law
  • Legal aid/Civil rights
  • Litigation
  • Securities/Investments
  • Prosecutors
  • Family law
  • Intellectual property
  • Defense
  • Government counsel
  • Corporate counsel

The individual duties for each of these specialties and titles may vary greatly. For example, a government counsel lawyer may spend their time writing laws and analyzing options to implement legal proceedings, while a family lawyer may spend their days listening to personal legal disputes, and representing clients throughout a divorce.

They can work in a variety of environments, including finance and insurance establishments, state, local, and federal governments, and legal service providers, such as a law firm. Nearly 25%  are self-employed, and may practice law out of their homes. They  typically spend time in a courtroom as well.

This is not a business hours career, as lawyers of all specialties work long hours not only working with clients, but also researching, analyzing, and preparing for the following day, or upcoming trials. Being in this field can translate to large amounts of stress due to pressure from clients and trials, and even exhaustion due to a heavy workload.

Job Outlook

Types of lawyersThe projection for employment throughout the next ten years is positive. It is expected to maintain a 8% increase in-between 2016 to 2026.

Although, it is anticipated that legal fees may need to be reduced due to current client interests, and consequently, could potentially result in lower salaries to legal professionals.

They will always be a necessity for local, federal, and state governments, so these specialties are considered secure. The need is greatly dependent upon the current state of the economy, and the amount of disposable incomes that clients may have.

It is expected that the legal industry will continue to be competitive, so having the finest credentials, such as education and experience, is very important to thrive in this industry. An aspiring lawyer with an impressive education, in a thriving area should expect to do extremely well in the United States.

Overall, the future of legal professionals in the United States is positive, and shows continued growth.

Lawyer Salary by State

Flag
State
Employment per 1000 Jobs
Hourly mean wage
Annual mean wage
Alabama Flag
Alabama
2.756
$54.33
$113,010
Alaska Flag
Alaska
3.347
$56.69
$117,910
Arizona Flag
Arizona
3.895
$56.43
$117,380
Arkansas Flag
Arkansas
3.16
$48.41
$100,690
California Flag
California
4.669
$76.06
$158,200
Colorado flag
Colorado
5.055
$62.80
$130,620
Connecticut Flag
Connecticut
4.602
$67.32
$140,040
Delaware flag
Delaware
6.791
$70.16
$145,940
Florida Flag
Florida
5.68
$58.66
$122,020
Georgia Flag
Georgia
3.739
$63.72
$132,540
Hawaii Flag
Hawaii
2.934
$50.68
$105,410
Idaho Flag
Idaho
3.404
$48.51
$100,900
Illinois Flag
Illinois
5.17
$59.94
$124,680
Indiana Flag
Indiana
2.501
$49.53
$103,010
Iowa Flag
Iowa
2.161
$51.00
$106,080
Kansas Flag
Kansas
2.842
$47.53
$98,850
Kentucky Flag
Kentucky
2.814
$44.27
$92,090
Louisiana Flag
Louisiana
3.757
$54.73
$113,830
Maine Flag
Maine
3.269
$48.42
$100,720
Maryland Flag
Maryland
4.368
$60.61
$126,060
Massachusetts Flag
Massachusetts
5.17
$69.24
$144,030
Michigan Flag
Michigan
3.635
$56.11
$116,710
Minnesota Flag
Minnesota
3.831
$61.68
$128,290
Mississippi Flag
Mississippi
2.654
$47.82
$99,470
Missouri Flag
Missouri
3.663
$58.42
$121,500
Montana Flag
Montana
4.119
$36.40
$75,720
Nebraska Flag
Nebraska
3.132
$45.11
$93,820
Nevada Flag
Nevada
4.222
$59.54
$123,850
New Hampshire Flag
New Hampshire
2.623
$53.39
$111,050
New Jersey Flag
New Jersey
4.966
$67.68
$140,770
New Mexico Flag
New Mexico
3.696
$46.41
$96,520
New York Flag
New York
8.075
$74.20
$154,340
North Carolina Flag
North Carolina
3.072
$56.88
$118,310
North Dakota Flag
North Dakota
Ohio Flag
Ohio
3.051
$54.42
$113,200
Oklahoma Flag
Oklahoma
4.48
$54.09
$112,520
Oregon Flag
Oregon
3.853
$55.23
$114,870
Pennsylvania Flag
Pennsylvania
4.375
$62.24
$129,460
Rhode Island Flag
Rhode Island
3.616
$57.22
$119,010
South Carolina Flag
South Carolina
2.878
$54.69
$113,760
South Dakota Flag
South Dakota
1.886
$47.29
$98,360
Tennessee Flag
Tennessee
2.598
$54.61
$113,580
Texas Flag
Texas
3.588
$67.91
$141,240
Utah Flag
Utah
3.678
$57.17
$118,910
Vermont Flag
Vermont
3.56
$48.85
$101,620
Virginia Flag
Virginia
4.684
$63.14
$131,320
Washington Flag
Washington
3.688
$58.05
$120,740
West Virginia Flag
West Virginia
3.752
$45.20
$94,010
Wisconsin Flag
Wisconsin
2.763
$49.03
$101,980
Wyomin Flag
Wyoming
3.171
$49.66
$103,290

Top Paying Metropolitan Areas

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA is the top paying metro area with an annual wage of $195.530 and an hourly wage of $94.01

Area
Employment per 1000 jobs
Hourly mean wage
Annual mean wage
San Jose / Sunnyvale / Santa Clara – CA
5.19
$96.75
$201,240
San Francisco / San Mateo /Redwood City, – CA – Metropolitan Division
9.45
$82.65
$171,910
Los Angeles / Long Beach / Glendale, – CA – Metropolitan Division
6.00
$82.27
$171,130
New York / White Plains / Wayne, – NY / NJ – Metropolitan Division
10.29
$80.56
$167,560
Bridgeport / Stamford / Norwalk, – CT
5.17
$79.54
$165,440

Top Paying non-Metropolitan Areas

$146.360 is the hightes annual wage of non metropolitan areas with No.1 being Northern Mountains Region of California nonmetropolitan area 

Area
Employment per 1000 jobs
Hourly mean wage
Annual mean wage
Northern Mountains – Region of California – nonmetropolitan area
1.54
$69.18
$143,880
Northeastern – North Carolina – nonmetropolitan area
2.18
$62.94
$130,920
Sussex County – Delaware – nonmetropolitan area
1.88
$59.47
$123,690
Central Washington – nonmetropolitan area
0.92
$59.44
$123,630
Northwest Mississippi – nonmetropolitan area
2.02
$59.20
$123,140

Lawyer Career Information Video

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Noel Griffith

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