Legal aid lawyers provide advice to people who cannot afford their own lawyer. These are public interest jobs that many lawyers get great satisfaction with, even if they don't make a large amount of money. In the United States, one in five criminal defendants cannot afford a lawyer, and public defenders are the heroes who defend the vast majority of people accused of crimes. It is important to understand that not all types of lawyers earn the same salary and that public-interest jobs tend to pay less than those in private practice.
Read on for a full breakdown of where lawyers make the most money and where they earn the least.
Where Do Lawyers Make the Most Money?Those who work for large or medium-sized firms or directly for a particular private company tend to earn more than most other types of lawyers. Using occupational data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we have analyzed and compiled a summary of the average salary of lawyers by state in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, lawyers who own their own offices generally earn less than those who work as partners in firms, and public sector lawyers earn the least of all lawyers.
What Factors Affect a Lawyer's Salary?The researchers surveyed 6,200 lawyers about their work and health and found that the factors that are most often associated with success in the legal field, such as high incomes or working with a partner in a prestigious firm, had “almost no correlation with happiness and well-being”, reports the New York Times. The 10 poorest states where lawyers earn the least money tend to be the least densely populated, either in the south or in the mountainous states in the west.
The fifth state that pays lawyers the least, Idaho, has seen its average annual salary drop by 5.7% over the past five years, one of the worst rates in the country. Newly appointed lawyers select an area of expertise and not all types of lawyers earn the same salary. For example, firm lawyers tend to work longer hours and face greater stress due to the types of cases they handle. This is why it is important to understand which type of lawyer makes the least money before deciding on a career path.
Which States Pay Lawyers The Most?When it comes to financial compensation, it is important to note that public-interest jobs tend to pay less than those in private practice. However, many lawyers find great satisfaction in these roles despite their lower salaries.
Additionally, some states pay their lawyers more than others. For instance, California has one of the highest average salaries for lawyers at $144,000 per year.