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What is the salary of a lawyer.

I am a middle school student who took a test that said I should be a lawyer. #lawyer #student #school #law #law-school #students

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Miko’s Answer

Hi Maggie.....Great career choice! We need more women in the field so I found this link to be very helpful. Let me know your thoughts?


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LaToya’s Answer

Great question. The answer is it depends on the type of law and the type of practice. By the type of law I mean subject matter like family law or criminal law. By the type of practice I mean private practice like a law firm or public interest like working for legal aid.

In my experience salary can range $40,000 a year in public interest to over $100,000 a year in a law firm.

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Charles’s Answer

Hi JWilly H,

As you might expect, there is an extremely large salary range for starting lawyers fresh out of law school. Salaries vary by geographic region, state, specialty, whether you are a certified specialist and experience. Although I don't have precise figures, recent graduates of top tier law school with excellent grades can earn over $100,000 per year in large urban centers. On the other hand, if you start out in business for yourself ("hang out your shingle"), you might have a net loss for a couple of years, surviving on loans while you develop your practice. High-end specialties (patent law, securities litigation and other fields that require a mastery of a difficult practice area) pay much more than, for example, working as a staff counsel for a rural county in the South.

In general, you can expect a higher salary in urban vs. rural areas. (But the cost of living is generally higher.) Also, it depends on whether you are interested in relative certainty (salary) or uncertainty (contingency fee, such as 33% - 50% for tort settlements and jury verdicts). You have some certainty but a ceiling with a salary; whereas, your income has no theoretical cap if you agree to accept no salary unless you win. (But a string of losses can be extremely painful economically.) Finally, owners of successful firms receive a much higher reward (often multiple hundred thousands of dollars per year), although the potential downside risk is higher, given the personal investment that you must make in the firm as owner, partner or shareholder..

In summary, while many lawyers are extremely well-paid, the remuneration for most attorneys is no greater than the amount received by successful sales or businesspersons. So, my recommendation to those considering a career in law, is to not enroll in law school if your primary motivation is to get rich. Most law schools are expensive. In addition, you have to invest three hard-working years in classes before studying for the one exam that you must pass before you can be licensed. In California, where I practice, many people fail the Bar Exam every year (typically close to 50%).

I hope that I was able to provide you with useful information. Good luck to you as you consider your fields of study and career options.