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Lawyer Salary: How Much Money Are Lawyers Paid?

Updated on October 4, 2015
Lawyer's Salary
Lawyer's Salary

How Much Do Lawyers Make?

Law is without doubt among the highest paying careers in the world. The other careers and professions in the top earning bracket are probably medicine and engineering. Lawyers or if you prefer to call them attorneys, are important professionals in any society or country considering the crucial things they do for us. Law is certainly finding its way into almost every aspect of our life. You need the services of lawyers for so many reasons. Lawyers hold positions of great responsibility and the expectations required of them are high. They are also expected to be professional and observe a strict code of conduct in carrying out their duties.

They are advocates as well as advisors. As advocates they represent clients in courts of law, urge about their innocence and try to clear their name from any wrong doing. As advisors they provide their clients legal advice on particular things which are of importance to them.

Factors that Determine Lawyer Salary

Not all lawyers are paid the same amount of money. Some are paid more than others and in the disparity in the salary scale is down to many factors which some of them I’m going to mention in this article. Like any other profession, lawyer salaries depend on a number of factors which are as follows;

  • Work experience = an experienced lawyer who has worked for some years earns more than a new one who has less experience. When looking to hire a lawyer for different reasons, many clients may be in search of those who have a certain level of experience because they believe that those kinds of lawyers are in good position to win a case for them. Lawyers with a lot of experience in their legal field of specialization are highly sought after which means the competition to get their services is very high and hence higher salaries for them. as for the inexperienced lawyer, clients may not be many and hence the probability of earning lower salaries.
  • Employer type = lawyer salary is also determined by the type of client the person is working for. Normally private companies or corporations pay more salary than say government or not for profit organizations. Organization size may also determine the pay scale which means a larger organization or a multinational operating in a bigger market and which has a large customer base will most likely pay higher salary and remunerations.
  • Field of specialization = this may also determine the amount of salary a lawyer is being paid. A corporate lawyer may for example be paid more than a family or divorce lawyer and this could be brought about by the fact that corporate have more finances than an individual or family. Basically the more money your client has access to the more you could be paid as a lawyer.
  • Education = the level of education the lawyer has attained will also have a say in the amount of money they are offered by clients who may need their services. A fresh graduate lawyer is definitely paid less money as compared to an attorney who has attained a higher level of education.
  • Working location = working location or where the lawyer is based is also a determining factor in the amount of salary a lawyer is paid. A huge difference in salary may be observed in lawyers who are based in different places and localities. The amount of pay offered to lawyers is different from state to state or country to country. E.g a lawyer based in New York City may be paid more than another one in London or Lisbon and vice versa.

Becoming a lawyer is without doubt an enormous undertaking because of the time you have to commit to it and the financial investments you have to make. However, if you have the desire and skills to be successful, it can be a very rewarding career. Below is the salary range for various types of lawyers.

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Types of Lawyers and Their Salaries

  • Family lawyer = a family lawyer is specifically hired by a client for issues to do with the set up of the family. They provide legal advice on issues that have to do with such things like divorce, child custody, child adoption e.t.c. their salaries are in the range of $38000 to $103,000.
  • Criminal lawyer = a criminal lawyer is specifically hired to carry out the duty of defending a person accused in a court of law and facing charges of crimes like murder, rape, robbery or any other criminal act. Their salaries range from $39,596 to $127,425
  • Corporate lawyer = corporate lawyers are hired by corporations that require legal advice in their attempt to comply with any legal requirements that are imposed by government. They help in matters to do with formation and registration of a company, representing and defending the company in court e.t.c. their salary is in the range of $48,810 to $162,504
  • Immigration lawyer = an immigration lawyer is responsible for advising clients in regards to immigration rules and regulations. They are hired by clients to advise them during times like immigrating to another country for reasons such as looking for residence or job. Immigration lawyer salary may range from $54,000 to $73,000
  • Tax lawyer = as the name may suggest to us, a tax lawyer is responsible for advising clients which are mostly businesses on issues to do with government taxation policies. They help the firm or the organization in filling out tax returns and making sure that the company complies fully with the requirements of the tax authorities. Tax lawyers earn salaries in the range of $62,961 to $118,269.

The above figures are courtesy of bureau of labor statistics, which indicates that the median salary for a lawyer was $110,590 for the year 2015.

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