Becoming a lawyer is a long and difficult process. It requires years of schooling and preparation, followed by a grueling bar exam. But for those who are willing to put in the time and effort, the reward can be a lucrative career with a handsome salary. So, just how much does a lawyer make? The answer is not so simple, as it varies depending on a variety of factors. Let’s take a look at the average salary of a lawyer.
Factors that Affect a Lawyer’s Salary
The salary of a lawyer will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of law they practice, the size of the firm they work for, the number of years of experience they have, and the geographical location of the firm. A lawyer who works for a large firm in a major city is likely to make more than a lawyer who works for a small firm in a rural area. Additionally, the type of law they practice can also have an effect on their salary. For example, corporate lawyers tend to make more than criminal defense lawyers.
Average Salary of a Lawyer
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for lawyers in 2019 was $122,960 per year. However, the salary range can vary greatly depending on the factors previously mentioned. For example, lawyers who work in government positions may earn significantly less than those who work for large corporations or have their own law practice. The highest-paid 10 percent of lawyers earned more than $208,000, while the lowest 10 percent earned less than $58,220 for the year.
Salary by Type of Law
When it comes to the type of law a lawyer practices, the salary can vary greatly. For example, corporate lawyers can earn significantly more than criminal defense lawyers. According to PayScale, the average salary for a corporate lawyer is $118,923, while the average salary for a criminal defense lawyer is $64,179. The salary for other types of lawyers can vary widely depending on the type of law they practice. For example, family lawyers may earn an average of $90,125, while patent lawyers may earn an average of $150,881.
Salary by Location
The geographical location of a lawyer’s practice can also have an effect on their salary. According to PayScale, the highest-paying states for lawyers are California, New York, and Massachusetts. In California, the average salary for a lawyer is $128,619, while in New York, it is $127,862. Massachusetts is close behind, with an average salary of $125,321. On the other hand, the lowest-paying states for lawyers are Wyoming, Montana, and South Dakota, with an average salary of $76,369, $76,811, and $78,890, respectively.
Salary by Experience
Experience also plays a major role in a lawyer’s salary. The longer a lawyer has been practicing, the more they are likely to earn. According to PayScale, lawyers with 1 to 4 years of experience typically earn an average of $72,734. However, lawyers with 5 to 9 years of experience can earn an average of $98,955. Those with 10 to 19 years of experience earn an average of $118,844, while those with 20 or more years of experience can earn an average of $139,153.
The average salary of a lawyer is $122,960 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the salary can vary greatly depending on the type of law, the size of the firm, the geographical location, and the years of experience the lawyer has. Corporate lawyers tend to make the most money, while criminal defense lawyers tend to make the least. Additionally, lawyers who work in large cities and have more experience tend to make more money than those who work in smaller cities and have less experience.