Highest Paid Types Of Lawyers: Must Read

Those outside of the legal field often assume that all lawyers earn large incomes. It’s true some lawyers are very well off. Even those who aren’t as successful can earn high incomes compared to other professions.

However, there is more variation in attorneys’ earnings than many realize. According to one report, the median salary for an attorney in 2019 was $122,960. The American Bar association gives a slightly higher number, with an average earning of $144,230 per year. Some lawyers make less than this. Some make substantially more.

Numerous factors can influence how much money an attorney earns. The type of law they practice is one. To get a better sense of how this factor impacts a lawyer’s income potential, consider this overview of the highest paid types of lawyers.

Corporate Law

Corporate lawyers often serve as counsel for major organizations and businesses. Moreover, corporate lawyers often charge high hourly rates for their services. This naturally impacts their chances of earning a lot of money. 

Although not all corporate law attorneys are rich, it’s not uncommon for those practicing this type of law to earn millions.

Criminal Law

The potential earnings for criminal law attorneys can vary somewhat substantially. This is because criminal lawyers can theoretically serve a wide range of clients.

For example, an attorney representing individuals accused of white-collar crimes can earn a fairly large sum of money. On the other hand, if a lawyer primarily represents clients whose incomes are low and who are being accused of basic crimes such as minor theft, they are unlikely to have extremely high incomes.

Personal Injury Law

Personal injury law is similar to criminal law in that the term actually applies to many different types of cases. The following are just a few common examples:

Personal injury lawyers typically enter into contingency fee agreements with their clients. This type of agreement prevents a client from taking an unreasonable financial risk by hiring an attorney. Instead of charging their clients upfront, personal injury lawyers only charge their clients if they recover compensation for them first. Their fee will usually be a percentage of the compensation they recover.

Therefore, a personal injury lawyer will only earn a high income if they are litigating high-value cases. Personal injury lawyers who take on less valuable cases will not earn as high of a percentage of compensation.

Family Law

Family law attorneys typically earn within the average range. However, there are some types of family law attorneys who may earn fairly high incomes. This may happen if, for instance, a family law attorney generally handles high net with divorces or similar types of cases.

Other Factors

All that said, it’s worth noting that the type of law an attorney practices is by no means the only factor affecting their earning potential. 

Other significant factors include:

  • How long they’ve been practicing the law
  • Which law school they graduated from
  • If they work in private practice or the public sector
  • The part of the country in which the lawyer practices
  • If they open their own practice or take on a job at a large established firm
  • Whether they have any special certifications or skills that would distinguish them

However, not all lawyers get into this profession out of a desire to get rich. Many become attorneys because they have a genuine desire to serve and pursue justice for others. Consider contacting an attorney today to discuss your case.