Lawyer earnings by seniority

Approximate values based on highest and lowest earning segments.

Lawyer salary by state

State Name Average Salary
District of Columbia $164,210
California $152,930
New York $144,150
Massachusetts $142,100
Connecticut $129,160
Illinois $126,770
Texas $127,550
Colorado $127,070
Virginia $127,110
New Jersey $119,540
Nevada $121,740
Pennsylvania $116,860
Washington $115,500
Wisconsin $103,490
North Carolina $99,400
Virgin Islands $116,840
Georgia $104,940
Florida $100,090
Maryland $107,450
New Hampshire $99,250
Rhode Island $103,920
Tennessee $99,600
Alaska $111,530
Ohio $98,530
Oregon $107,560
Minnesota $103,630
Oklahoma $90,980
Alabama $100,530
Missouri $99,990
Indiana $91,890
Iowa $94,260
Utah $97,010
Hawaii $97,270
Michigan $94,990
South Dakota $82,560
Kansas $82,990
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
Kentucky $77,310
Guam $104,000
Idaho $81,870
Arkansas $82,570
West Virginia $85,190
Mississippi $85,970
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 29% more than similar careers in Colorado. On average, they make more than detectives.

Career Median Salary
Lawyer salary $127K
Compliance manager salary $128K
Hearing officer salary $107K
Customs inspector salary $84K
Detective salary $84K

Source: CareerExplorer (Aggregated)