How much does a lawyer make may depend on the specialty the law firm is focused on. It also depends upon the location. But the special area a lawyer practices may generate more money in any location as compared to a general law practice. Entry level attorneys that specialize in patents may do very well for just starting out. Depending on the market, a new patent lawyer may get up to $150,000 right out of law school. Corporate lawyers also have opportunity for large sums.
Still, how much a lawyer makes depends not just on the type of law practiced , but what kind of law firm, how many hours worked, what kind of clients, etc. A lot depends on the reputation of the attorney, the market, the attorney’s business contacts, etc. Class action lawsuit attorneys seem to be awarded large sums “on behalf of their clients”. There are so many opportunities to represent mass amount of clients in personal injury suits. These clients may be thousands of people harmed by a drug or improper manufacturing. The unfortunate thing for the clients, that in a class action suit the victim or person harmed usually doesn’t receive much of the “award”. Although it does take a lot of research to win a case usually, the lawyer or law firm is the beneficiary of enormous sums. Corporate attorneys have the security of being on retainer for their company. They can start at $80,000 and move up to $160,000. This doesn’t include commissions, bonuses and profit sharing that can range from $90,000 to $175,000. Attorneys that win big cases also win a “name” for themselves and can later go out on their own. Often these lawyers or law firm can command a much higher premium for have the high profile reputation and experience. An attorney that can win against a huge corporation or government entity can set the price for the next conquest! In this case, how much does a lawyer make is all relative. Even lawyers who represent the average person needs to be mindful of the reputation it portrays. It’s the lawyers who don’t take a client’s issues seriously and just slide them through for the extra volume and don’t really care what happens to the client that give attorneys a bad name. As with anything in life, what goes around does come around.
With the rise of internet companies and technologies, the opportunity to represent clients for intellectual property infringement has escalated. Entertainment law and the rise of huge salaries for sports figures and celebrity endorsements has allowed lawyers to negotiate high end contracts and secure enormous percentages of the deal. This field would seem to offer a lot of other perks.
New York, California, Illinois and Texas appear to offer the most for corporate attorneys. Being places that offer many international companies and large US companies, this offers lots of opportunity for how much a lawyer can make. New York comes in with a higher average at $175,000 with California and Illinois at $167,00 and Texas at $155,000. Be mindful that large corporate attorneys are factored in with the smaller law firms.
As this blog is based on the research of the writer and personal experiences, it is meant for educational and informative purposes. Trends evolve and the demand for specialty lawyers will follow suit. Being informed with occupational journals and an awareness of current legal issues can help decide which specialty would be most profitable. As with any income or business, there is no guarantees of income. It is always based on a lot of variables including how much experience, education and marketing skills, reputation that an attorney or law firm posesses. How much does a lawyer make is also based on how much the lawyer has to spend in expenses for education, location, etc.