Lawyer earnings by seniority

Approximate values based on highest and lowest earning segments.

Lawyer salary by state

State Name Average Salary
New York $167,110
District of Columbia $164,210
Illinois $140,009
California $153,010
Florida $128,920
Massachusetts $142,100
Ohio $121,520
Pennsylvania $117,270
Connecticut $129,160
Texas $127,550
Colorado $127,070
Virginia $127,110
New Jersey $119,540
Nevada $121,740
Washington $115,500
Kansas $106,484
Wisconsin $103,490
North Carolina $99,400
Indiana $107,559
Virgin Islands $116,840
Georgia $104,940
Maryland $107,450
New Hampshire $99,250
Rhode Island $103,920
Tennessee $99,600
Hawaii $111,290
Oregon $107,560
Minnesota $103,630
Oklahoma $90,980
Alaska $111,530
Idaho $99,360
Kentucky $97,071
Missouri $99,990
Iowa $94,260
Utah $97,010
Michigan $94,990
South Dakota $82,560
Alabama $92,668
Nebraska $93,280
Vermont $87,310
North Dakota $92,500
Maine $88,140
New Mexico $87,530
Wyoming $80,970
Louisiana $90,470
South Carolina $80,990
Arizona $94,000
Guam $104,000
West Virginia $85,190
Mississippi $85,970
Arkansas $81,382
Montana $74,510
Puerto Rico $61,710

How much does a Lawyer earn?

Becoming a lawyer is still a financially-booming career path and has significant monetary perks. According to the Bottom Line blog of MSNBC, lawyers were number five on the list with an average salary of $130,490, coming in behind petroleum engineers (average salary of $138,980), chief executive officers (average salary of $176,550), orthodontists and dentists (average salary ranging from $161,750 to $204,670), and doctors and surgeons (average salary ranging from $168,650 to $234,950).

For new lawyers who join high-paying firms like New York’s Cravath, Swaine & Moore or Los Angeles-based Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, first-year compensation for most associates is set at $160,000. Most associates at top firms receive salaries that go up in what’s known as “lockstep” compensation from year to year, from $160,000 to $170,000, $185,000, $210,000, etc. Some firms also give generous bonuses. The nation’s highest-paying firm, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, is known to pay bonuses equal to a full year’s salary.

Do Men or Women Earn More?

Sky Analytics (a legal invoicing company) analyzed $3.4 billion in invoices from more than 3,000 law firms, including many of the largest in the country. It found that no matter what tier firm women work at, determined by the number of attorneys and its geographic footprint, they will be billed at “significantly lower rates per hour” than men, on average getting $47, or 10 percent, less per hour. While 2 percent of men at top tier firms are billed at over $1,000 an hour, virtually no women make that rate, and while about half of them charge more than $500 an hour, less than a third of women bill that rate.

How do lawyer salaries compare to similar careers?

Lawyers earn 34% more than similar careers in the United States.

Career Median Salary
Compliance manager salary $107K
Judge salary $134K
Hearing officer salary $100K
Detective salary $82K

Source: CareerExplorer (Aggregated)