How Much Money Do Lawyers Make? Updated 2020 Guide

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In today’s society, being a lawyer plays a vital role in anyone’s lives and helps complete many tasks. No matter where you live and what you do, you will someday need the services of an attorney. If you are aiming to become a lawyer, that would be such a great dream. But it seems like everyone else is thinking the same too. In this hyper-competitive field, how much money do lawyers make? Is it a sustainable job?

However, one of the most common functions of becoming a lawyer is representing a case and helping your client in court. If someone has to go to court and their case is connected to your practice, then they will need you to represent their case. Of course, you need to know the case’s facts and the steps you need to take to help the defendants. The right lawyer can defend their clients with the facts of their cases in front of the court. Other than that, you may need to examine witnesses, cross-examining witnesses, and try to convince the judge and defend your client on your behalf.

Unfortunately, another responsibility you need to take care of as a lawyer is how to negotiate with your client. Attorneys are often called on to negotiate deals between businesses and individuals. With so many contracts being signed every day, it is no wonder that attorneys have become a big part of society. 

With that much work, the question now is, how much money do lawyers make?

Becoming one of the best lawyers in town can offer you great opportunities in the legal field. The salary range of a lawyer depends on expertise, practices, specialty, and location. One of the many benefits of pursuing a career as an attorney is financial compensation. And in layman’s terms, a lawyer could earn a lot. 

If you are practicing to become a lawyer someday and researching how much a lawyer can make, you came to the right place. In this article, you will know how much lawyers make and review different types of legal careers.

How much money do lawyers make?

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In the United States, the average earning of a lawyer is $73,604 per year. A starting lawyer can earn as much as $14,000 per year and reach $204,000 each year. The lawyer’s earnings depend on experience level, specialty area, impact, and geographic locations.

How much money do lawyers make by state

How much money do lawyers make vary significantly from state to state. Here is the list of salaries in a different state.

Alabama: $72,797 per yearFlorida: $71,904 per yearMaryland: $90,568 per yearNew Jersey: $67,802 per yearSouth Carolina: $73,177 per year
Alaska: $78,300 per yearHawaii: $74,955 per yearMassachusetts: $31.69 per hourNew Mexico: $57,475 per yearSouth Dakota: $71,309 per year
Arizona: $76,028 per yearIdaho: $69,277 per yearMichigan: $74,945 per yearNew York: $70,463 per yearTennessee: $73,774 per year
Arkansas: $71,909 per yearIllinois: $82,837 per yearMinnesota: $77,709 per yearNorth Carolina: $75,439 per yearTexas: $104,416 per year
California: $92,409 per yearIndiana: $72,902 per yearMississippi: $69,049 per yearNorth Dakota: $74,566 per yearUtah: $72,366 per year
Colorado: $112,994 per yearIowa: $73,850 per yearMissouri: $42.69 per hourOhio: $74,782 per yearVermont: $73,193 per year
Connecticut: $80,148 per yearKansas: $72,558 per yearMontana: $13.00 per hourOklahoma: $71,892 per yearVirginia: $60,140 per year
Delaware: $96,873 per yearKentucky: $71,343 per yearNebraska: $72,677 per yearOregon: $77,283 per yearWashington: $81,142 per year
District of Columbia: $84,740 per yearLouisiana: $52,857 per yearNevada: $56,068 per yearPennsylvania: $84,353 per yearWest Virginia: $70,136 per year
Georgia: $76,304 per yearMaine: $72,670 per yearNew Hampshire: $74,376 per yearRhode Island: $75,733 per yearWisconsin: $74,724 per year
Wyoming: $72,233 per year

How much money do I make as a ______ lawyer?

If you want to become an expert in the legal field someday, you can choose from many specialized positions. Here are the most common law careers that you can take.

1. Law Clerk – Salary: $16.61 per hour

A law clerk assists the judge in reaching legal decisions. The law clerk is assigned with all the research tasks regarding legal matters, decisions for cases, and document all legal proceedings. After thorough research, they’ll recommend decisions to the judges. 

2. Court Clerk – Salary: $16.90 per hour

Court Clerk assists judges, attorneys, and court officers in federal and local courts. Their primary task is to help  assist witnesses and jurors with oaths. They will document court appearances, track the receipt of legal documents, and update court records. Court Clerks can also assist with draft dockets and prepare agendas for court trials.

Legal Secretary can support lawyers and paralegals, providing clerical assistance in law offices. Their task is to help clients and opposing parties by drafting correspondence. They also transcribe legal documents, monitor deadlines for filing documents, and schedule meetings with clients and the other parties. The legal Secretary will also do basic case research.

4. Paralegal – Salary: $51,024 per year

Paralegal draft closing documents, perform research, assist with depositions, assist collecting evidence to support cases, take statements from witnesses, and maintain files for resolved and current cases. They do administrative tasks in law offices and assist attorneys.

5. Immigration Lawyer – Salary: $63,397 per year

Immigration lawyers work independently as they help new residents navigate the immigration process in their new country. They will help their clients completing required documents, explain laws and regulations, and represent clients in court.

6. Judge – Salary: $83,882 per year

Judges play a big role in courtrooms as they manage the legal processes. Their primary task is to listen to arguments and defenses, conducting hearings and trials in the courtroom, and researching relevant legal concerns. Judges are responsible for applying fair law, writing opinions in different cases, and administering legal decisions. They work in all levels of court systems, from local to Supreme Court.

7. Contract Lawyers – Salary: $66.65 per hour

Contract Lawyers takes all legally binding contracts, agreements, and other documents. They give advice to their clients regarding the implications and potential outcomes of the agreement. They take care of the legal documents by reviewing and revising preexisting contracts and are known for their high-level understanding of how to use and interpret legal language effectively.

8. Employment Lawyer – Salary: $146,926 per year

Labor issues and legal rights of workers and employees are represented by Employment Lawyer. They can help businesses regarding firing and dismissal to compensation and benefits. They have knowledge of understanding regulations and laws that affects employees. They can represent individuals, groups, or labor unions.

9. Corporate Lawyer – Salary: $102 per hour

Corporate Lawyers’ specialties are helping companies providing legal advice to their employees. Corporate Lawyers are also known as corporate counsels or in-house counsels. They give advice about contracts, employment agreements. They can also handle specialized matters such as patents, trademarks, and government regulations. Some of them can also handle legal issues related to taxes, properties, and unions.

10. Compliance Officer – Salary: $73,382 per year

Compliance Officers are experts in local and federal government regulations and policies. They work with companies and are responsible for understanding complex regulations, monitoring updates, and advising stakeholders about maintaining compliance strategies. They work in industries with high-level regulations, such as healthcare and banking.

11. Litigation Lawyer – Salary: $117,667 per year

They help clients with civil lawsuits. They are also known as trial lawyers, where they conduct investigations, manage the settlement process, oversee the discovery process, and represent the client in the court. Ligation lawyers are great in representing cases, either plaintiffs or defendants. They also assist with appeals when necessary.

Of course, all of these estimates are generally about those who do not have a private practice but are hired by a firm within their specialty. Those with their own practice might receive less than that, and will need to take care to promote their own business through classic marketing and digital marketing through local SEO services.

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