Being a lawyer, and being a highly paid lawyer, are two very different things.
Now, when we talk about highly paid lawyers, most of you will think that we are talking about lawyers with more experience.
Well, you are right up to a certain extent. But having more experience is not the only factor that helps you become the highest-paid lawyer.
In this post, we will discuss everything about the types of lawyers that are highest paid, factors that affect a lawyer’s salary, how to become a highly paid lawyer, and more.
Want to fetch all the information linked with it? Make sure to follow our post till the end.
Isn’t Experience everything?
Experience is not everything. Let’s take the example of lawyers X & Y.
Both X & Y are different types of lawyers.
Lawyer X salary ranges from $63,000 – $84,000 annually. This means if the lawyer is experienced, he will have a max salary of $84,000 per annum.
While in the case of lawyer Y, the salary ranges from $134,000 – $164,000. This makes us understand that lawyer Y is in that type of law activity that offers them a starting salary of $134,000 per annum, which is way more than the experienced level salary of lawyer X.
That’s how the law industry works; there are a few limitations linked to different types of lawyers.
For example, if you are trying to become a Divorce attorney, you would be able to get a max salary of $84,000 per annum.
Table of Contents
- 1 Elements That Affects A Lawyer’s Salary
- 2 Does A Law Firm Size Affect The Lawyer’s Salary?
- 3 Highest Paid Types of Lawyers: A Complete List
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
Elements That Affects A Lawyer’s Salary
Numerous elements are going to affect a lawyer’s salary. Here we are going to discuss some of the most important ones so that you can make the right choice and select a career as a lawyer that pays you the best.
- Education: You must have heard people suggesting law aspirants get admission to good and trusted colleges. Do you know why they are suggested so? The reason is that if you are getting admission to a trusted college for your law course, you would be able to get a better salary package. Hence your education + from where you have done the course greatly affects a lawyer’s salary.
- Experience: We have already discussed above that experience is not the only element that affects a lawyer’s salary, but it is one of the major factors. If you are new to the law field or have more than 5 years of practice in the field, your salary will have a lot of differences. A lawyer with experience will always be paid more than a fresher in the field.
- Type of law: If you look at the salary of a divorce attorney, that’s $84,000 per annum, while if you check out the salary of a public defender, that’s around $63,000 per annum. That’s how the type of law affects your salary as a lawyer. Although it also depends upon your interests, if you have more interest in being a divorce attorney, then you should get into that field, while if you want to be a public defender, then you should not be looking at the salary and get into something that you love to do.
- Location: Geographical locations always play a crucial role in every person’s salary, not just lawyers. The bigger and better the area is, the more the salary there is.
- The number of cases handled: Here comes a factor that is quite in the hands of the lawyers, which is the number of cases they have handled. The more cases handled, the more would be their salary or charges.
- Fee rate: Whenever you go for a law firm opportunity, you always negotiate with them on your salary, and that negotiation helps you get close to the salary you want. That becomes your fee rate in case you are linked with additional cases where you are charging them based on per hour or any other method that helps you figure out your fee rate.
Does A Law Firm Size Affect The Lawyer’s Salary?
Yes, if you are getting into a bigger law firm situated in a good location, you would be able to get a better salary. While if you get a job in a smaller law firm there, the salary will be comparatively less.
Highest Paid Types of Lawyers: A Complete List
Different law sectors offer different salary packages. Based on data collected around the median income of different lawyers, we have developed a previous list that talks about the highest-paid types of lawyers.
This list is as follows:
Medical Lawyers – Package: $137,000
Do most people think that why would anyone need a medical lawyer? Well, there are several reasons behind it. First, medical lawyers are mostly hired by hospitals and larger corporations within which the lawyer represents that hospital or corporation while handling their cases linked with medical claims, injuries, malpractices, and more.
Just assume you are a person X who was admitted to a hospital for minimal surgery. The hospital did surgery, but once it was done, you came to know that the hospital’s doctors made a mistake in the surgery, for which you would have to face medical consequences.
In such cases, a medical lawyer is hired by both parties, by you and your hospital. Whenever hiring a medical lawyer make sure to have their background check, with the help of which you would be able to know if the medical lawyer you hired is capable of handling cases in which you are stuck right now.
Intellectual Property Attorneys – Package $127,000
You must be aware of the law-related issues linked with trademarks, copyrights, patents, and many more in big companies and firms. Hence to solve all such issues, an Intellectual Property Attorney is hired by the company/firm.
The biggest reason such attorneys are getting highly paid is because of the enhanced growth rate of companies. Also, many people are unaware of copyright and trademark terms, and because of this, they tend to make more mistakes.
Corporate Lawyers – Package $115,000
It looks like corporate business transactions are done the easy way, but there are several complications linked with it in terms of the laws. Hence, a corporate lawyer is hired to keep companies and their clients safe from such complications.
A few processes of corporate lawyers are contract development, invoice reviews, terms and conditions creation, and more. In case you are a funded company or looking for funding, you would also need a corporate lawyer.
Tax Attorneys – Package $100,000
We are sure that you must be aware of the work of tax attorneys; these are the experts in tax laws. Individuals and organizations hire tax attorneys to handle their tax laws and anything linked with it.
If we check out precisely, we will notice that the tax laws in Australia and other such countries are extremely complex, making it impossible for normal people to handle these things on their own. That’s why we need tax attorneys. It also becomes a major reason behind tax attorneys being highly paid.
Trial Attorneys – Package $97,000
Here are the lawyers we have heard about the most, court or trial lawyers. Such attorneys must have exceptional communication skills because they are the ones who would be directly dealing with the judge based on their clients.
Secondly, trial attorneys have a good memory, with the help of which they can keep in mind every detail of their clients and the opposition so that they can use that information in trials. Not just that, a trial attorney should be aware of all the laws they have read during their studies and must make sure that they are aware of all the latest updates in the laws.
Divorce Attorney – Package $84,000
A divorce attorney helps individuals with divorce and other such family-related issues and provides them with complete legal ways to sort out their family matters. Whenever you are looking for a diverse attorney a referral from a friend or family is a better option.
Right after connecting with a divorce attorney you would be able to fulfill your requirements and fetch solutions to your complex legal systems of divorce filing that includes significant paperwork, billing systems, waiting period, custody of kids and more.
Criminal Attorneys – Package $68,310
A criminal attorney is one who fulfills various important roles during a criminal case. He/She is incharge of dealing with the court on your behalf, hence the major role is to protect you from criminal charges against you.
There are various factors that are controlled by the criminal attorneys such as assignment of the case where they interact with the person or client and get to know about every detail of the case on the client’s behalf.
Right after that interview and investigation of the case are done from the lawyer’s end. With the help of this, they can pick proof to save their clients. The major reason for which a criminal attorney is higher is the research and strategic approach required to fulfil the job.
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Frequently Asked Questions
No, having a lot of experience as a lawyer is not the only thing with the help of which you would be able to make a lot of money. There are plenty of other factors, such as the law firm you are connected with. For example, if you are linked with a big law firm, you may notice a salary hike, while you would not be able to notice that with a small law firm.
Factors like location, education, college, and several cases also play a crucial role in figuring out your salary.
Yes, we have noticed that the salary difference between a public defender and a patent attorney is a lot. But, if you are someone interested in the public defender section, then we suggest you move forward with that law type only.
Because if you are into a field which you know a lot about, you would be able to notice a better growth rate there. While if you move into a different law type about which you know nothing, then, in that case, your growth rate will be extremely slow. Hence we would suggest you think about this thing from a future perspective.
Firstly, you need to know more about yourself and figure out what type of lawyer studies you have done. Based on this, you would be able to figure out the salary range from minimum to maximum.
Along with that, you should look at your experience; if you are fresher, you can only expect a base salary. While if you are an experienced lawyer, you can expect a higher salary range.
While finding the right higher-paid lawyer job for yourself, you should also look at your location. It has been noticed that lawyers are paid more at better locations than in smaller locations.
Absolutely not; you would have to study a lot and gain a lot of experience, after which you would be able to become the highest-paid lawyer.
Also, you should look at your interests in which lawyer type you want to get in. For example, we have noticed that some people get into medical attorneys just because of the higher salary available in that type of lawyer section.
Make sure you are making your decisions based on your liking and not just on a higher salary.
If a law type requires more research to deal with or the lawyer has to face more pressure on themselves while doing the work, that law type directly gets highly paid.
Most people think that the salaries of different law types are based on baseless information. But if we compare two different law types, one of which is a low salary opportunity, the second option is a highly paid opportunity.
You will notice that a high salary opportunity requires a lot more work comparatively.
Yes, well, the major reason most lawyers join a big law firm is for a higher salary only. Within a big law firm, you would be handling high-profile cases linked to your industry, which will pay you more for the services involved.
Also, people think that the work in a small law firm and a large law firm is the same. But when you look into the work, that’s completely different from each other.
Here are a few steps that you can take to make a lot of money as a lawyer:
- If you work in a smaller firm, you can start finding a job in a larger firm. While if you deal individually, then you should opt for high-quality clients.
- If you are up for changing your location for better opportunities, you can do that too. Find a better location and start your law practice from there.
- You can work on your fee rate to make a lot of money.
It has been noticed that most of the lawyers in the US make less than $120k per year, while the top 10% make around $250k, and the top 1% make more than $500k per year.
Although they have made several decisions to get where they are right now, they have opted for big firms, while some of those from the top 1% are running their law firms.