Different Types of Lawyers and Their Salaries


So, how much are their salaries?

Compiling settlement data for specializations within the legal field is next to impossible, at least if you intend to do it accurately as well as on a national scale. In the beginning, the goal of this article was to research, identify, and report the specific average salaries for civil rights, corporate, criminal, labor, environmental, health, immigration, international, real estate, sports and entertainment, and tax attorneys, but there is no one remarkable credible resource that benchmarks salary and compensation and breaks it down into those groups. Instead, I had to piecemeal data from a number of references, use my own judgment, and normalize the averages to represent national annual wages.

Public Sector Attorneys

Public sector lawyers include people who work for public schools, counties, state agencies, cities and universities and other government organizations. Examples include public defenders, who represent defendants in legal matters, and prosecuting attorneys, who represent the men and women in criminal and some civil cases. As stated by the Princeton Review, salaries for public defenders and prosecutors are generally quite similar, but some communities pay somewhat less to public defenders. A 2011 Association for Legal Career Professionals salary survey of new lawyers found that public sector attorneys earned a median salary of $45,000 to $52,000. Smaller and more rural communities tended to pay less, and larger, more urban communities paid public sector attorneys more. As an example, the median starting salary for San Francisco was $70,000. For Columbus, Ohio, it was $43,000.

Intellectual Property Attorneys

Intellectual property law focuses on the protection of inventor’s and businesses’ legal rights in protecting their discoveries, innovations, logos, and patents. Most IP lawyers specialize in a specific sector or area. If a lawyer has technical or engineering skills, he/she may be interested in patent law regarding technology and trade negotiations, whereas a copyright lawyer will represent authors, artists, production companies, and studios. In addition to litigation, IP attorneys can be involved in negotiating contracts, mergers and acquisitions, and the valuation of intellectual property. The top intellectual property lawyers usually work in companies that represent Silicon Valley giants, like Apple, Google, Facebook, Oracle, Yahoo, eBay, Netflix, etc. The typical wages of an Intellectual Property Lawyers is $170,000, depending on expertise and clients. Settlement can reach millions.

Family Lawyer

A family or divorce lawyer is hired to execute legal formalities regarding family issues for example divorce, child adoption, child custody, child support, and so on. The salary range for a family attorney changes depending upon the degree of the place of living, education, qualification, reputation, as well as experience. According to the website, PayScale, their salary range is USD 48,366 – USD 118,644, per annum. After including additional earnings for example profit sharing and bonus, they may earn up to USD 145,437. The following table is made from the state-wise median wages information of family attorneys, as obtained from the site, Indeed.

Real Estate Attorney

A lawyer specialist in the field of real estate helps customers to deal with matters that involve buying a house, selling a property, tenancy conflicts, lease formalities, and the like. All these affairs need proper legal documentation and other formalities which require professional expertise. The salary range of the attorney falls within the range of USD 50,904 to USD 155,071 per year, according to the website, PayScale. The same website states that when profit sharing, bonus, and other forms of earnings are included, the earnings may raise up to USD 176,036.

Corporate Lawyers

Corporate lawyers represent private sector clients. They serve as mediators for companies. They frequently handle litigation and fiscal matters, including bankruptcies and tax issues. These lawyers tend to work for a private company that is particular directly for large- to medium-sized firms or work and often make more than most other sorts of attorneys. Their high earning potential comes partly from working for customers who need frequent representation and partially from representing firms with substantial assets to protect and considerable profits from which to cover legal expenses. Corporate attorneys representing businesses and enterprises earned an average mean salary of $163,510 in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Marathon Oil paid more than $3 million to its top legal executive, and Verizon paid $4.5 million to its top company lawyer.

Immigration and Civil Rights Attorneys

With an average rate of $125,000, Immigration lawyers focus on government policies relating to foreign nationals immigrating temporarily or permanently. Immigration law deals with the legal rights and duties of aliens, the procedure for naturalization (immigrants becoming U.S. citizens), the care and treatment of refugees, cases of illegal immigration, etc. On the other hand, civil rights lawyers specialize in the balance of power between the government and its people. Most civil rights lawyers work for government agencies, nonprofits, or supporter groups. The most well-known employer for civil rights attorneys is the NAACP, also known as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The organization’s mission is to encourage educational political, social and economic equality amongst all races.

Personal Injury Lawyer

A personal injury lawyer is necessary for assistance in case of an unintentional injury, be it physical or emotional in nature, due to the wrongdoing or negligence of someone else. This professional also fights for wrongful deaths. He/she takes care of everything from medical damages to filing legal charges against the accused to insurance claims. Depending on the essence of work, the salary range of an experienced attorney may range within USD 41,583 to USD 124,247, according to the website, THE MOST AFFLUENT. Note that these figures may vary depending upon many other factors.

The area of law is quite vast and complex. Any individual who is willing to make a career in this area should be ready for competition, hard work, and sheer dedication to be successful. While salary plays a crucial role in deciding the specialization one may take, it is essential to introspect your true passion for the area you choose. For instance, specializing in animal law and working with animal welfare organizations would be more rewarding for those who love animals. The overall job satisfaction hit would be worth much more, although their pay scale is not as much as those attorneys in the corporate field.