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How Much Money Do Lawyers Make?

Thinking of making a career change? In college and trying to decide on an academic path? One significant consideration when it comes to education and career is money. While pursuing passions is also crucial, everyone has to make a living. So, it’s no surprise that many people look for stable, well-paying careers.  

When thinking of lucrative careers, lawyers are often at the top of the list. Many people have heard that attorneys make a large salary, and there’s a general belief in society that it’s one of the best jobs for getting rich.  

So, does reality match this belief? How much do lawyers make, and does it vary depending on the type of lawyer?  

Learn the answers to these questions and more below. 

The Average Lawyer’s Salary

 The first statistic to help determine how much lawyers actually make is the median wage. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for lawyers in the United States is $127,990.  

It’s clear this is a relatively high number compared to the average U.S. worker’s salary, which is just shy of $60k per year. So, just looking at this number makes it appear that being a lawyer is always a sound financial decision. However, there are other factors to consider. 

The first of these is the type of lawyer. Some areas of law, such as criminal defense, may pay more on average. On the other hand, working for non-profits or in the public sector isn’t as lucrative.  

It’s also worth noting that the $127k number is just an average. Many attorneys make much more than this, while others make much less.  

Highest-Paying Areas Of Law & Specialties

As mentioned above, not all attorneys make a substantial yearly salary. The amount a lawyer makes each year will be dampened by the type of law they practice, their experience level, and more. 

However, some law specialists and practice areas are generally higher-paying than others. If you want to make the most money as a lawyer, these are the exact types of jobs you should look for: 

  • Healthcare Attorney
  • Corporate Counsel
  • Tax Attorney
  • Environmental Attorney 

Of course, the money you would make in these fields will still vary. Another significant factor that determines a lawyer’s salary is location. Attorneys have the highest salaries in major cities like New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, and D.C. 

However, these areas also have a higher average cost of living, so the salary might not go as far as it would elsewhere.  

What Does It Cost To Become An Attorney?

While many lawyers make more money than the average American, it does take a significant amount of money and time to become an attorney.  

To practice law, an individual must complete an undergraduate degree and then law school. The average cost of law school is around 50k a year, or about 220k, to complete the degree. But this figure doesn’t even include the price of an undergraduate degree. 

Many attorneys take out student loans to complete law school, and paying back these loans can take decades. 

Is It Worth It To Become A Lawyer?

After receiving a law degree, it’s possible to make a great living. However, becoming a lawyer isn’t simple. It takes a significant investment of time, energy, and money. It’s also a very competitive field, so even after getting a degree, individuals need experience and must work hard to get the best jobs. 

These are all factors to consider if you want to become a lawyer, although it’s often worth it for the quality of life and satisfaction of helping other people. 

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