Angela Vorpahl: Hey guys, welcome back.
If you're new to the channel, I'm Angela Vorpahl, of the Law Tribe Network.
I make videos on law school, the legal world and being a lawyer in general every single
Tuesday, so be sure to hit subscribe and tap that notification bell so you can be notified
every single Tuesday when new videos come out.
Angela Vorpahl: Today's video is in response to a question I get asked a lot, which is
how much money do lawyers make?
Now I made a video on the entry level salary and bonus of a big law law firm associate,
but what about all the other jobs out there?
What about all the other different levels of experience for lawyers?
What can you expect to make during your career as a lawyer?
If you are excited and interested to find out, go ahead and hit that like button and
let's get on it.
Angela Vorpahl: Now it's important to know that the amount of money that you'll make
as a lawyer will depend on several important factors.
Most importantly, the type of law that you're practicing, the sector that you're practicing
it in, the size of the institution where you're practicing and your geographical location.
Angela Vorpahl: The type of law that you practice can absolutely influence the amount of money
you make, because certain types of law are catered to larger clients, so wealthy individuals,
So these are things like mergers and acquisitions, IP litigation, securities law.
Whereas other types of law are catered more to individuals.
So family law, criminal law, immigration law.
And when you're talking about these different types of clients, the larger clients are able
and willing to pay these high rates because you are in turn making them a lot of money.
Whereas when you're talking about working in a field where your client base is individuals,
they obviously don't have the same economic resources and you might not actually be making
them money at all.
You might be offering them a service that improves their livelihood.
Angela Vorpahl: The sector where you're working is also going to be a big player in how much
money you make.
And when I say sector, I mean what part of the legal market are you working in?
Is it a law firm?
Is it in house at a corporation?
Is it a nonprofit?
Is it a government agency?
Is it in academia?
And generally speaking, if you're working in the private sector, you're going to be
making more than working in the public sector.
So working at a law firm or a corporation is generally going to have a higher salary
than working in a government agency, working in a university as a professor or working
as a judge.
Angela Vorpahl: The size of the institution also of course matters.
So within each of the five sectors that I mentioned, the size of the place where you're
working is going to have an impact on how much money you make.
Angela Vorpahl: So if we're talking about law firms, for example, if you're talking
about a 1500 lawyer law firm, yes, they're going to pay you the high market rate salary
and bonus, whereas a solo practitioner is going to be making as much money as he or
she can bring through the door.
If you're talking about a corporation going in house, yes, there are multinational corporations
that will pay you a really great salary.
If you're talking about a smaller company that's maybe two or three people, they're
going to be able to pay you what they can afford based on their client base.
Angela Vorpahl: Nonprofit, same thing.
Some nonprofits are very well funded and you can make a really good salary there.
Others are smaller, more local and they don't have those resources.
Angela Vorpahl: Also, if you're talking about government agencies, if you're talking about
a big federal government agency like the DOJ or the FCC, that's going to be a higher salary
than maybe your local district attorney's office for example.
Angela Vorpahl: And finally in academia, there is such of run of a gamut in terms of those
incomes and those salaries because you could work anywhere from a nationally renowned prestigious
university or law school all the way down to your local university where you live.
And so those are all going to be factors in determining how much you are going to make
as a lawyer.
Angela Vorpahl: And finally, geographic location.
And as we're going to see in a minute, and larger markets like New York, San Francisco,
Chicago, DC, are going to pay their lawyers more on average than regional markets, like
Tallahassee or Phoenix or Birmingham, Alabama.
Angela Vorpahl: Now let's get to the actual numbers.
So the most recent data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics is that the median annual
income for lawyers is $121,000 per year.
Now keep in mind that this number includes lawyers from all sectors, all cities, all
different levels of experience.
Angela Vorpahl: To give you guys a deeper dive into how that median annual income plays
out, the lowest 10% of practicing attorneys are earning $58,220.
The 25th percentile of practicing attorneys is making $79,160 per year.
And the top 75th percentile is making $182,490 per year.
And if you're talking about where the highest concentration of lawyers are working, so where
the most legal jobs are, the top five list is California, New York, Florida, Texas, and
Angela Vorpahl: So now you know what the annual median income of lawyers is, you know where
the highest concentration of those lawyers work, but what about the cities that pay their
lawyers the highest?
The top paying States for legal jobs, our DC with an average salary of 193,000 per year,
California with an average salary of 172,000 per year, New York with an average salary
of 167,000 per year, Massachusetts with an average salary of 166,000 per year and Connecticut
with an average salary of 154,000 per year.
Angela Vorpahl: We could keep breaking down these statistics all day long, but instead
of doing that, I'm going to leave you guys a link in the description below so you can
check them out for yourself, do as deep a dive as you possibly want.
And instead, I'm going to leave you with this one last piece of information, which is all
of these stats and all of the numbers that we've been looking at so far are median salaries
and average city incomes for lawyers who are currently practicing, meaning they include
lawyers who've been practicing for 30, 40, 50 years.
Angela Vorpahl: But what can you expect as a recent law school graduate to be making
right off the bat?
Well, in 2018 NALP reported that the median income for entry level legal positions was
$90,000, but keep in mind that this amount is actually very bi-modal in nature, meaning
that there are jobs concentrated at the very high end of the spectrum and jobs concentrated
at the very low end of the spectrum.
Angela Vorpahl: And so when you're looking at the breakdown, 20% of those jobs fall into
the highest tier category of $180,000 or more.
Whereas the biggest chunk, 50% of those recent graduates fall into the lowest tier, which
is 45,000 to $75,000 per year.
So just keep that in mind when you're making your financial plans.
Make sure you have realistic expectations about what your income is going to look like
when you first leave law school.
Angela Vorpahl: If you guys are interested in learning more about legal jobs, make sure
you check out my video here about the legal job market now and in the future, and here
about how much lawyers actually work at those jobs.
Angela Vorpahl: Thank you guys so much for watching.
I hope you enjoyed it.
Be sure to check out the description below.
It's chock full of resources, especially a link to the Law Tribe Network Facebook group
where you can connect with people just like you, looking to build fulfilling and sustainable
careers in the law.
So I hope you guys check that out.
Have an amazing week and I will see you guys next Tuesday.