Looking at a Lawyer’s Salary
Lawyers work as advocates and advisers, helping a party in either a civil or criminal trial by arguing in court and presenting evidence that supports their client. Depending on the field the lawyer specializes in, they can work in different positions, such as working as an in-house attorney for an interest group or advising an insurance company. A lawyer’s salary depends on who the employee or the clients he or she represents.
Many lawyers work in private practices where they concentrate on either criminal or civil law. Others can work at different levels of the government, for example working for the State attorneys general or as a prosecutor. Others can also work for legal aid societies.
Because the positions vary so widely, a lawyer’s salary varies well. Factors that affect a lawyer salary include:
• Size of the employing firm: Larger firms tend to pay a higher salary, but getting into a larger firm often requires coming out of a law school with a very good reputation along with a good academic record.
• Level of education: Most lawyers who have seniority will be paid a higher salary in comparison to a junior lawyer
• Employer location: The geological location or city greatly affects a lawyer salary.
• Specialization and field: Salary can very significantly depending on the field being practiced. This is often because of the financial statuses of the clients represented.
• Work experience: A lawyer salary will be higher due to more work experience, as is typical in any field of work.
• Type of client of employer: Certain employers tend to have certain pay scales. For example, private practices often pay more than government positions while government positions can pay more than non-profit organizations.
Here are some statistics about a lawyer salary, according to the Bureau of labor statistics from 2008:
• Median annual wage of all lawyers receiving wages or salaries: $110,590
o Middle half range: $74,980-$163,320
• Median annual ranges based on industry
o Local government: $82,590
o State government: $78,540
o Federal Executive Branch: $126,080
o Legal services: &116,550
o Management of companies and enterprises: $145,770
• Median Lawyer salary nine months after law school graduation in 2007
o Business: $69,100
o Government: $50,000
o Private practice: $108,500
o Academic/judicial clerkships: $48,000
o All graduates: $68,500