The legal profession can be very lucrative, but not all lawyers make the same amount of money. The type of law practiced and the job setting are two of the biggest factors that determine a lawyer’s salary. In this blog post, we will explore the highest paying options for lawyers.
Average salary of a corporate lawyer is $139684 per year. Lawyers who work on corporate legal matters, such as negotiating mergers and acquisitions or IPOs tend to earn very high salaries. Top lawyers at large law firms in big cities can make over $200,000 per year. In-house corporate counsel at large companies also earn a high salary, often over $150,000 per year. Corporate law is a popular and competitive field, but the potential financial rewards are significant.
Intellectual Property Lawyers
Lawyers who specialize in intellectual property, such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets also tend to earn a high salary. These lawyers help companies legally protect their most valuable assets like technology, brands, creative works, and proprietary information. IP lawyers with an advanced degree in a technical field and experience at a large law firm can earn $200,000 per year or more. Based on salary.com average salary of Intellectual Property lawyers is between $147,527 and $174,971.
Trial lawyers, or litigators, who represent clients in court cases also have the potential to earn a very high salary. Top trial lawyers can earn well over $300,000 per year at large law firms. While the day-to-day work of a trial lawyer can be demanding, those who are successful in high-stakes cases can earn a sizable percentage of the settlement or verdict, which adds to their high base salary. The average salary of a Trial Lawyer is $108,948 based on salary.com.
Lawyers who practice environmental law also have the potential to earn a high salary, often over $150,000 per year and up to $799,563. Environmental law is a growing field, and top lawyers help corporations navigate complex regulations and litigation regarding pollution, sustainability, and climate change issues.
Environmental lawyers also commonly work for non-profits, government agencies, and public interest organizations, though salaries in these sectors tend to be lower. Still, for lawyers passionate about environmental issues, the work can be highly rewarding.
Other legal specialties that often pay very well include tax law, healthcare law, and employment law. Tax lawyers help individuals and corporations minimize their tax burden and comply with tax laws. Healthcare lawyers assist healthcare providers, insurance companies, and pharmaceutical companies with the many legal issues involved in healthcare. And employment lawyers represent both employers and employees in matters like discrimination and harassment cases, wage disputes, and compliance with workplace regulations. Lawyers in these fields typically earn over $150,000 per year.
Tips To Earn More Money as a Lawyer
- Choose a specialty with high demand like corporate law, intellectual property law or trial law. These fields typically pay very high salaries.
- Gain experience by working at a large law firm. Lawyers at big law firms tend to earn higher salaries.
- Develop expertise in your legal specialty.
- Become the “go-to” lawyer for certain types of cases or clients.
- Consider working on contingency to earn a percentage of large settlements or verdicts in addition to your base salary.
- Negotiate your salary and compensation. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you’re worth, especially if you have scarce skills or experience.
- Stay up-to-date with continuing legal education to advance in your career and open up more high-paying job opportunities.
- Consider in-house counsel positions at large companies. In-house lawyers earn a high salary and often receive additional benefits.
- Build your professional network. The more people you know, the more people who can refer new clients or job opportunities to you.
- Publish legal articles or books to establish yourself as a thought leader in your field. This can lead to new career opportunities and a higher profile.
- Obtain additional legal certifications or degrees. For example, an LLM in tax law or becoming a Certified Information Privacy Professional can qualify you for higher-paying jobs.
- Market your legal services to attract new clients. While this requires an investment of time and money, it can pay off through higher earnings.
- Open your own law firm. As the principal of your own firm, you have the potential to earn more since you keep a higher percentage of the fees you generate. However, you also face more financial risk and responsibility.
- Consider relocating to a larger city with a higher cost of living. While salaries are often higher in big cities to account for the higher costs, the increase in pay may be worth it if you can advance your career.
In the end, while a law degree provides no guarantee of a high salary, choosing a legal specialty with strong demand and high stakes, developing expertise, and excelling in your field can all help maximize your earning potential as a lawyer. With hard work and persistence, a high salary of $200,000 per year or more is an achievable goal for many lawyers over the course of their career.