Lawyer Salaries in the US

Lawyer Salaries in the US


Lawyers help their clients with varied legal problems or perhaps provide counsel on some business transactions.  Some lawyers defend an individual's injury litigation, criminal trials, and divorce proceedings a name a few areas of law. 

To be a full-fledged lawyer, you must complete a 4-year Bachelor’s degree and a 3-year Juris Doctor degree. After completing your law studies, you need to take and pass the state bar, a difficult and long exam that will test your legal, persuasive and analytical skills.

Once you are a lawyer you are still required to undergo continuing education to keep updated on current and new laws. Some lawyers also decide on taking a Master of Law degree. What is the payoff after the long years of studying?

Salaries and the Areas of Law

You want to specialize in before beginning your law studies.  Knowing the area of law you are most interested in while still in law school can help you choose courses that match the career path you wish to take.

Each area of law has its requirements, demands, responsibilities, as well as its corresponding average salary. There are high-paying and low-paying fields of law.

Types of Lawyers that have the Highest Salaries

After completing your Juris Doctor degree and successfully passing the bar examination for your state, you can work for a  private law firm,  your local, state, or federal government, start a solo practice, or take an alternative career path.

It can be strange that some lawyers become extremely wealthy and some are struggling to make to financially cope with cope. Lawyers choose their areas of specialization and the pay scales are different for each area of law. Here are the areas of law and how much lawyers can potentially earn.

1.   Medical lawyers

Medical lawyers typically have the highest annual salaries. Lawyers specializing in this field provide clients with legal services and advertisements in line with medical law areas of personal injury, health care law, medical malpractice, and other related areas. Medical lawyers also represent hospitals and clinics. Medical lawyers usually earn around $150,000 a year.

2.   Intellectual Property Lawyers

In most cases, IP lawyers are the second highest-earning attorneys. Intellectual property law involves trademarks, patents, and copyrights. A lawyer who specializes in this field protects the rights of inventors from infringement for the period the patent for a product is in force.

Applying for a patent can be extremely challenging thus the expertise of IP lawyers is in high demand. IP lawyers have high salaries because most of the time, intellectual property facts are difficult to prove and dissect. IP lawyers usually earn around $140,000 a year.

3.   Trial Lawyers

Trial lawyers have comprehensive and strong knowledge of the law. They are confident and know how to use precedents for a favorable outcome of their cases. They also need to possess superior writing and verbal skills because they spend a lot of time writing and speaking to others about matters about the trial.

Trial lawyers must maintain sharp memories because they need to remember significant details and facts that are important during a trial. They must also be persuasive and have legal accuracy when stating facts about the cases they handle. Trial lawyers usually earn about $101,000 a year.

4.   Tax Lawyers

Tax lawyers represent organizations when they need to deal with local, state, and federal government taxing agencies. They are responsible for developing plans that help their clients in saving taxes. They also prepare documents of tax liabilities.

Tax lawyers are required to be knowledgeable and updated if all changes in the tax structure of the US. They must also be aware of when proposed changes are expected to take place. This can only be done through constant and extensive research. Tax lawyers usually earn about $ 99,000 a year.

5.   Corporate Lawyers

Corporate lawyers provide clients with legal advice about different business transactions include a business start-up, acquisitions, sale of businesses, mergers, sourcing venture capital, and other business transactions.

They also read prepare a lot of contracts for their clients. They also read and review offers to their clients (businesses and corporations) to make sure the legalese is in their client’s best interests.

Corporate lawyers should possess should have a wide knowledge of the law as well as a high level of intelligence with regards to business and corporations. Corporate lawyers usually earn about $98,000 a year.

6.   Employment and Labor Lawyers

Employment and labor lawyers deal with the relationship between employees and companies. They specialize in matters about compensation and compensation as well as harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

employment and labor lawyers may represent a labor union, an individual client, an employer or a government agency. Employment and labor lawyers usually earn about $82,000 a year.

7.   Personal Injury Lawyers

Personal injury lawyers help clients who have been harmed physically or psychologically either intentionally or unintentionally

Their scope of work includes collision injuries from auto accidents, pedestrian accidents, defective products, insurance claims in bad faith. They also work with clients harmed through defamation. Personal injury lawyers usually earn around $77,000 a year.

8.   Criminal Lawyers

Criminal defense lawyers and district prosecutors or attorneys investigate crimes and file legal proceedings. They work with individuals charged with a criminal offense. Criminal lawyers usually earn around $73,000 a year.

9.   Family Lawyer

Family lawyers focus on the legalities of family relationships. The cases they handle focus on marriage and divorce, child welfare, and domestic abuse. Most family lawyers work with smaller law firms. Family lawyers usually earn around $ 71,000 a year.

10.  Immigration Lawyer

Immigration lawyers specialize in the area of immigration and must have a great deal of expertise with immigration laws. They either work for a small law firm specializing in immigration or a larger firm as the legal representative of the immigration department. Immigration lawyers usually earn $ 66,000 a year.

There is more to choosing an area of law to specialize in than picking one that offers the biggest salary. Your financial expectations for each area of law can help you make a difficult decision.

Alternative Career Paths

Lawyers can also choose to take an alternative career path. They can also pay good salaries.

1.   Managing Partners

Being a managing partner in a law firm is one of the highest-paying jobs for a lawyer. It is not an entry-level position and lawyers will need to work hard and long hours. Salaries of managing partners in a law firm can range from $180,000 to a high of $400,000 if working with a prestigious law firm in larger cities.

2.   Congress Member

A career in politics allows you to make a difference for the betterment of society. It also allows you to have a larger paycheck. While Congress members do not have to be law graduates, this is one of the most common routes taken by some lawyers. Regular members of Congress earn about $174,000 a year. Those with leadership positions earn more.

3.   Judge

Many lawyers also aspire to be a judge who makes a decision or gives the final verdict in court cases. To become a judge you will have to be an experienced lawyer for many years. You also need to go through the process of nomination and election. Judges usually earn about $142,000 a year.

4.   Law Professor

This is more of a passion and a calling. Some lawyers prefer to deal with the theory of law instead of the practice of law. They enjoy and love to help law students complete their Juris Doctor or Masters in Law degrees.

Law professors have more regular working hours than practicing attorneys. They usually earn about $ 138,000. Given the areas of law and possible salaries, is studying to be a lawyer commensurate to the profession’s earning potential? Lawyers can choose to specialize in any area of law. You do not need to know the area of law.

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