Lawyer earnings by seniority

Approximate values based on highest and lowest earning segments.

Lawyer salary by state

State Name Average Salary
Alaska $111,530
Alabama $92,668
Arkansas $81,382
Arizona $94,000
California $153,010
Colorado $127,070
Connecticut $129,160
District of Columbia $164,210
Delaware $137,890
Florida $128,920
Georgia $104,940
Guam $104,000
Hawaii $111,290
Iowa $94,260
Idaho $99,360
Illinois $140,009
Indiana $107,559
Kansas $106,484
Kentucky $97,071
Louisiana $90,470
Massachusetts $142,100
Maryland $107,450
Maine $88,140
Michigan $94,990
Minnesota $103,630
Missouri $99,990
Mississippi $85,970
Montana $74,510
North Carolina $99,400
North Dakota $92,500
Nebraska $93,280
New Hampshire $99,250
New Jersey $119,540
New Mexico $87,530
Nevada $121,740
New York $167,110
Ohio $121,520
Oklahoma $90,980
Oregon $107,560
Pennsylvania $117,270
Puerto Rico $61,710
Rhode Island $103,920
South Carolina $80,990
South Dakota $82,560
Tennessee $99,600
Texas $127,550
Utah $97,010
Virginia $127,110
Virgin Islands $116,840
Vermont $87,310
Washington $115,500
Wisconsin $103,490
West Virginia $85,190
Wyoming $80,970

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 41% more than similar careers in the United States.

Career Median Salary
Judge salary $137K
Hearing officer salary $98K
Detective salary $83K
Customs inspector salary $83K

Source: CareerExplorer (Aggregated)