How Much Do Lawyers Make?

March 28, 2023

On average, lawyers do very well financially, making an average of $10,075 a month while the average full-time worker only makes $3,744 a month!

What Do Lawyers Do?

Lawyers can also be called attorneys. They are people who have gone to law school, passed the bar exam in their state, and now practice law. They advise their clients on legal matters and represent their clients during court and other legal proceedings. 

Lawyers work for many kinds of clients. Sometimes they work as private attorneys to represent and counsel individuals, companies, or organizations. Some lawyers work for the government as prosecutors who go up against individuals and organizations that have broken the law. They can also be public defense attorneys who represent the people who can't afford their own lawyer. 

Lawyers are your counsel and representation in front of the law. They help you handle legal disputes, lawsuits, appeals, wills, contracts, and other matters regarding you and the law. 

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How to Become a Lawyer

Many professions that offer higher salaries include a bachelor's degree and some kind of graduate level of education. Becoming a well-paid lawyer is no different, but of all the high-paying jobs, the number of years it takes to become a lawyer is arguably less than other professions like becoming a surgeon

1. Get a Bachelor's Degree

+4 year 

The first step to becoming a lawyer is completing the traditional 4 years of college. You'll need to complete your undergraduate in order to get a bachelor's degree so you can go to law school. Many prospective lawyers major in English, public speaking, government history, economics, or math for their bachelor's degree. 

graduating students

2. Pass the LSAT

After you've graduated college it's time to get into a law school. But before you can get into a law school you'll have to take and pass the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). This test will determine whether you have the skills necessary to succeed in law school.

3. Go to Law School

+3 years 

Once you've been admitted into a law school you can start earning your official law degree. First of all, you'll want to apply for law schools that are accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). Then you can go on to complete your Juris Doctor degree (JD).

While in law school you will study topics like constitutional law, contracts, property law, civil procedure, and legal writing. But you can also specialize in subjects like tax law, labor laws, and corporate law. 

Gavel on top of text books

4. Pass the Bar Exam

Now that you have completed all the necessary education, it's time to take the bar exam. You have to pass the bar exam for any state you wish to practice law in. 

Once you pass the bar exam you will officially be a practicing lawyer. Depending on your state you might be required to participate in continued education every year or every 3 years.

How long does it take to become a lawyer?

Considering all of the education required to become a lawyer, it takes a minimum of 7 years to become a lawyer. 

Skills Lawyers Need

Analytical Skills:

Lawyers deal with a great amount of information in all of their cases. There are many facets of the law to consider and all the individual details of each case. Because of this, lawyers need to be able to analyze large amounts of information in order to effectively argue their case and find solutions to complex legal problems. 

Social Skills:

Lawyers need to be able to communicate and work with many other people all the time. They have to work alongside other lawyers, other workers within the law, and their clients. Because of this lawyers need to be able to work well with others and gain the trust of their clients and fellow colleagues.

people gathered in a circle talking

Research Skills:

The job of a lawyer involves lots and lots of research. They need to know how to search databases to find all the laws and regulations that apply to their case. They also need to know how to research similar cases. 

Public Speaking:

Another big part of a lawyer's job is public speaking. Lawyers address judges, juries, the court, and conference rooms full of individuals involved in the case. They have to be comfortable and prepared public speakers in order to communicate to both small and large groups of people. 

Technical Writing:

Lawyers also need the ability to write technical documents full of legal jargon. They need to be precise, specific, and clear in their writing in order to accurately communicate in all their writing. 

How Much Do Lawyers Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), lawyers make a median annual wage of $120,910 per year and a median hourly wage of $58.13 per hour. This is over twice as much as the average full-time American worker.
Gavel on top of 100 dollar ills

How Much Do Lawyers Make a Year?

The lowest 10% of lawyers make around $61,400 a year, the median annual wage for lawyers is $127,990 a year, and the highest 10% of lawyers make $208,000 a year.

How much you earn as a lawyer can also depend on where you work. For instance, lawyers who work for the federal government make an average annual salary of $152,590, lawyers who work in legal services make $127,530, and lawyers who work in local government make $100,240 while lawyers working for the state government make an average of $100,330 a year. 

How Much Do Lawyers Make In A Month?

On average, lawyers in the lower 10% of their earning potential can expect to make about $5,116 a month, lawyers on average make about $10,665 a month, and lawyers in the highest 10% make an average of $17,333 a month. 

How Much Do Lawyers Make In A Week?

On average, lawyers make about $49.10 an hour, meaning that if a lawyer works a regular 40-hour workweek, they can make about $2,325 a week. According to Payscale lawyers in the lower 10% make about $20.37 an hour, a median wage of $49.10 an hour, and the highest 10% make about $266.67 an hour. This means that each lawyer in the lower 10% can expect to make about $814 a week, lawyers in the median pay range can make about $1,964 a week, and lawyers in the highest 10% make up to $10,666 a week.

Lawyers Pay by Location

The earning potential of lawyers can also vary by state. According to the BLS, the top-paying states where lawyers have the most earning potential are the District of Columbia ($192,530), California ($171,550), New York ($167,110), Massachusetts ($165,610), and Connecticut ($153,640).

Lawyers Pay by Experience

Lawyers with more experience can also make more than lawyers with less experience. For example, lawyers with less than 1 year of experience can make about $61,146, 1 to 4 years of experience make $71,637, 5 to 9 years of experience make $95,478, 10 to 19 years of experience make $109,945, and lawyers with 20 years or more make about $126,391 a year. 

Related Jobs

BLS also has some information about jobs related to being a lawyer. Besides becoming a lawyer you could also become a paralegal, legal assistant, or legal secretary. Paralegals and legal assistants do all kinds of work, research, and writing to help lawyers do their jobs. They make a median income of $50,940 per year. Legal secretaries have a similar job of performing administrative and secretarial tasks to help lawyers do their jobs. They handle a lot of legal paperwork and correspondence. They make a similar salary to paralegals with a median income of $50,040 per year.