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Salary, Wages, Pay: Lawyers




In 2002, the median annual earnings of all lawyers was $90,290. The middle half of the occupation earned between $61,060 and $136,810. The lowest paid 10 percent earned less than $44,490; at least 10 percent earned more than $145,600. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of lawyers in 2002 are given in the following tabulation:

Management of companies and enterprises $131,970
Federal government 98,790
Legal services 93,970
Local government 69,710
State government 67,910

Median salaries of lawyers 6 months after graduation from law school in 2001 varied by type of work, as indicated by table 1.

Table 1. Median salaries of lawyers 6 months after graduation, 2001
Type of work Salary

All graduates

$60,000

 

 

Private practice

$90,000

Business/industry

$60,000

Judicial clerkship and government

$40,300

Academe

$40,000

 

 

Footnotes:
(1) Source: National Association of Law Placement

Salaries of experienced attorneys vary widely according to the type, size, and location of their employer. Lawyers who own their own practices usually earn less than do those who are partners in law firms. Lawyers starting their own practice may need to work part time in other occupations to supplement their income until their practice is well established.

Most salaried lawyers are provided health and life insurance, and contributions are made on their behalf to retirement plans. Lawyers who practice independently are covered only if they arrange and pay for such benefits themselves.