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Attorney Average Salary in New Zealand 2023

How much money does an Attorney make in New Zealand?

Average Yearly Salary
181,000 NZD
( 15,100 NZD monthly)


A person working as an Attorney in New Zealand typically earns around 181,000 NZD per year. Salaries range from 83,100 NZD (lowest) to 287,000 NZD (highest).

This is the average yearly salary including housing, transport, and other benefits. Attorney salaries vary drastically based on experience, skills, gender, or location. Below you will find a detailed breakdown based on many different criteria.

Attorney Salary Distribution in New Zealand

Median and salary distribution yearly New Zealand Attorney
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The median, the maximum, the minimum, and the range

  • Salary Range

    Attorney salaries in New Zealand range from 83,100 NZD per year (minimum salary) to 287,000 NZD per year (maximum salary).

  • Median Salary

    The median salary is 195,000 NZD per year, which means that half (50%) of people working as Attorney(s) are earning less than 195,000 NZD while the other half are earning more than 195,000 NZD. The median represents the middle salary value. Generally speaking, you would want to be on the right side of the graph with the group earning more than the median salary.

  • Percentiles

    Closely related to the median are two values: the 25th and the 75th percentiles. Reading from the salary distribution diagram, 25% of Attorney(s) are earning less than 125,000 NZD while 75% of them are earning more than 125,000 NZD. Also from the diagram, 75% of Attorney(s) are earning less than 260,000 NZD while 25% are earning more than 260,000 NZD.

What is the difference between the median and the average salary?

Both are indicators. If your salary is higher than both of the average and the median then you are doing very well. If your salary is lower than both, then many people are earning more than you and there is plenty of room for improvement. If your wage is between the average and the median, then things can be a bit complicated. We wrote a guide to explain all about the different scenarios. How to compare your salary

Attorney Salary Comparison by Years of Experience

How does experience and age affect your pay?

Salary comparison by years of experience yearly New Zealand Attorney
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The experience level is the most important factor in determining the salary. Naturally the more years of experience the higher your wage. We broke down Attorney salaries by experience level and this is what we found.

An Attorney with less than two years of experience makes approximately 94,300 NZD per year.

While someone with an experience level between two and five years is expected to earn 126,000 NZD per year, 34% more than someone with less than two year's experience.

Moving forward, an experience level between five and ten years lands a salary of 186,000 NZD per year, 48% more than someone with two to five years of experience.

On average, a person's salary doubles their starting salary by the time they cross the 10 years* experience mark.
* Based on the average change in salary over time. Salary variations differ from person to person.

Additionally, Attorney(s) whose expertise span anywhere between ten and fifteen years get a salary equivalent to 227,000 NZD per year, 22% more than someone with five to ten years of experience.

If the experience level is between fifteen and twenty years, then the expected wage is 247,000 NZD per year, 9% more than someone with ten to fifteen years of experience.

Lastly, employees with more than twenty years of professional experience get a salary of 268,000 NZD per year, 8% more than people with fifteen to twenty years of experience.

Attorney average salary change by experience in New Zealand

0 - 2 Years
94,300 NZD
2 - 5 Years+34%
126,000 NZD
5 - 10 Years+48%
186,000 NZD
10 - 15 Years+22%
227,000 NZD
15 - 20 Years+9%
247,000 NZD
20+ Years+8%
268,000 NZD
Percentage increase and decrease are relative to the previous value

Typical Salary Progress for Most Careers

Salary Comparison By Experience Level
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Attorney Salary Comparison By Education

How do education levels affect salaries?

Displayed below is the average salary difference between different Attorney(s) who have the same experience but different education levels.

Salary comparison by education level yearly New Zealand Attorney
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We all know that higher education equals a bigger salary, but how much more money can a degree add to your income? We broke down Attorney salaries by education level in order to make a comparison.

When the education level is Bachelor's Degree, the average salary of an Attorney is 108,000 NZD per year.

While someone with a Master's Degree gets a salary of 169,000 NZD per year, 57% more than someone having a Bachelor's Degree degree.

A PhD gets its holder an average salary of 283,000 NZD per year, 68% more than someone with a Master's Degree.

Attorney average salary difference by education level in New Zealand

Bachelor's Degree
108,000 NZD
Master's Degree+57%
169,000 NZD
283,000 NZD
Percentage increase and decrease are relative to the previous value

Is a Master's degree or an MBA worth it? Should you pursue higher education?

A Master's degree program or any post-graduate program in New Zealand costs anywhere from 40,500 New Zealand Dollar(s) to 122,000 New Zealand Dollar(s) and lasts approximately two years. That is quite an investment.

You can't really expect any salary increases during the study period, assuming you already have a job. In most cases, a salary review is conducted once education is completed and the degree has been attained.

Many people pursue higher education as a tactic to switch into a higher paying job. The numbers seem to support the thoery. The average increase in compensation while changing jobs is approximately 10% more than the customary salary increment.

If you can afford the costs of higher education, the return on investment is definitely worth it. You should be able to recover the costs in roughly a year or so.

Typical Salary Difference by Education for Most Careers

Salary Comparison By Education Level
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Attorney Salary Comparison By Gender

Salary comparison by gender yearly New Zealand Attorney
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Though gender should not have an effect on pay, in reality, it does. So who gets paid more: men or women? Male Attorney employees in New Zealand earn 6% more than their female counterparts on average.

186,000 NZD
176,000 NZD
Percentage increase and decrease are relative to the previous value

Salary Comparison By Gender in New Zealand for all Careers

Salary comparison by gender yearly New Zealand
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Attorney Average Annual Salary Increment Percentage in New Zealand

How much are annual salary increments in New Zealand for Attorney(s)? How often do employees get salary raises?


Attorney(s) in New Zealand are likely to observe a salary increase of approximately 12% every 16 months. The national average annual increment for all professions combined is 8% granted to employees every 16 months.

Annual Salary Increment Rate New Zealand Attorney
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The figures provided here are averages of numbers. Those figures should be taken as general guidelines. Salary increments will vary from person to person and depend on many factors, but your performance and contribution to the success of the organization remain the most important factors in determining how much and how often you will be granted a raise.

New Zealand / All Professions

The term 'Annual Salary Increase' usually refers to the increase in 12 calendar month period, but because it is rarely that people get their salaries reviewed exactly on the one year mark, it is more meaningful to know the frequency and the rate at the time of the increase.

How to calculate the salary increment percentage?

The annual salary Increase in a calendar year (12 months) can be easily calculated as follows: Annual Salary Increase = Increase Rate x 12 ÷ Increase Frequency

The average salary increase in one year (12 months) in New Zealand is 6%.

Annual Increment Rate By Industry 2022

Information Technology

Listed above are the average annual increase rates for each industry in New Zealand for the year 2022. Companies within thriving industries tend to provide higher and more frequent raises. Exceptions do exist, but generally speaking, the situation of any company is closely related to the economic situation in the country or region. These figures tend to change frequently.

Worldwide Salary Raises: All Countries and All Jobs

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Attorney Bonus and Incentive Rates in New Zealand

How much and how often are bonuses being awarded?Annual Salary Bonus Rate New Zealand Attorney
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An Attorney is considered to be a high bonus-based job due to the generally limited involvement in direct revenue generation, with exceptions of course. The people who get the highest bonuses are usually somehow involved in the revenue generation cycle.

13% of surveyed staff reported that they haven't received any bonuses or incentives in the previous year while 87% said that they received at least one form of monetary bonus.

Those who got bonuses reported rates ranging from 5% to 9% of their annual salary.

Received Bonus
No Bonus

Types of Bonuses Considered

Individual Performance-Based Bonuses

The most standard form of bonus where the employee is awarded based on their exceptional performance.

Company Performance Bonuses

Occasionally, some companies like to celebrate excess earnings and profits with their staff collectively in the form of bonuses that are granted to everyone. The amount of the bonus will probably be different from person to person depending on their role within the organization.

Goal-Based Bonuses

Granted upon achieving an important goal or milestone.

Holiday / End of Year Bonuses

These types of bonuses are given without a reason and usually resemble an appreciation token.

Bonuses Are Not Commissions!

People tend to confuse bonuses with commissions. A commission is a prefixed rate at which someone gets paid for items sold or deals completed while a bonus is in most cases arbitrary and unplanned.

What makes a position worthy of good bonuses and a high salary?

The main two types of jobs

Revenue GeneratorsSupporting Cast

Employees that are directly involved in generating revenue or profit for the organization. Their field of expertise usually matches the type of business.

Employees that support and facilitate the work of revenue generators. Their expertise is usually different from that of the core business operations.

A graphics designer working for a graphics designing company.

A graphic designer in the marketing department of a hospital.

Revenue generators usually get more and higher bonuses, higher salaries, and more frequent salary increments. The reason is quite simple: it is easier to quantify your value to the company in monetary terms when you participate in revenue generation.

Try to work for companies where your skills can generate revenue. We can't all generate revenue and that's perfectly fine.

Bonus Comparison by Seniority Level

Top management personnel and senior employees naturally exhibit higher bonus rates and frequencies than juniors. This is very predictable due to the inherent responsibilities of being higher in the hierarchy. People in top positions can easily get double or triple bonus rates than employees down the pyramid.

Attorney Average Hourly Wage in New Zealand

87 NZD per hour

The average hourly wage (pay per hour) in New Zealand is 87 NZD. This means that the average Attorney in New Zealand earns approximately 87 NZD for every worked hour.

Hourly Wage = Annual Salary ÷ ( 52 x 5 x 8 )

The hourly wage is the salary paid in one worked hour. Usually jobs are classified into two categories: salaried jobs and hourly jobs. Salaried jobs pay a fix amount regardless of the hours worked. Hourly jobs pay per worked hour. To convert salary into hourly wage the above formula is used (assuming 5 working days in a week and 8 working hours per day which is the standard for most jobs). The hourly wage calculation may differ slightly depending on the worked hours per week and the annual vacation allowance. The figures mentioned above are good approximations and are considered to be the standard. One major difference between salaried employees and hourly paid employees is overtime eligibility. Salaried employees are usually exempt from overtime as opposed to hourly paid staff.

Attorney VS Other Jobs

Salary Comparison Between Attorney and Legal yearly New Zealand
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The average salary for Attorney is 54% more than that of Legal. Also, Legal salaries are 21% more than those of All Jobs.

Salary comparison with similar jobs

Job TitleAverage Salary
Administrative Law Judge270,000 NZD+49%
Arbitrator119,000 NZD-34%
Associate Attorney121,000 NZD-33%
Attorney181,000 NZD+0%
Bailiff56,700 NZD-69%
Barrister49,400 NZD-73%
Candidate Attorney105,000 NZD-42%
Conciliator90,300 NZD-50%
Contracts Manager106,000 NZD-41%
Contracts Negotiator88,100 NZD-51%
Conveyancing Secretary51,700 NZD-71%
Corporate Counsel141,000 NZD-22%
Counsel130,000 NZD-28%
Court Clerk44,700 NZD-75%
Court Judicial Assistant71,300 NZD-61%
Court Liaison Specialist87,300 NZD-52%
Court Reporter73,100 NZD-60%
Court Representative57,600 NZD-68%
Crown Prosecution Service Lawyer266,000 NZD+47%
Immigration Executive133,000 NZD-26%
In House Counsel131,000 NZD-27%
Intellectual Property Specialist89,400 NZD-51%
Judge Advocate211,000 NZD+17%
Law Clerk42,300 NZD-77%
Lawyer194,000 NZD+7%
Legal Administrative Assistant51,900 NZD-71%
Legal Advisor115,000 NZD-36%
Legal Assistant51,400 NZD-72%
Legal Associate85,000 NZD-53%
Legal Consultant109,000 NZD-40%
Legal Counsel142,000 NZD-21%
Legal Editor87,500 NZD-52%
Legal Executive179,000 NZD-1%
Legal Executive Secretary51,600 NZD-71%
Legal IP Officer47,900 NZD-73%
Legal Officer55,900 NZD-69%
Legal Services Director211,000 NZD+17%
Legal Services Manager225,000 NZD+25%
Legal Support Worker37,300 NZD-79%
Legislative Liaison85,500 NZD-53%
Litigation Attorney235,000 NZD+30%
Litigation Paralegal116,000 NZD-36%
Magistrate Judge279,000 NZD+54%
Paralegal70,200 NZD-61%
Patent Attorney147,000 NZD-19%
Staff Attorney147,000 NZD-19%

Salary Comparison By City

CityAverage Salary
Auckland202,000 NZD
Christchurch196,000 NZD
Hamilton182,000 NZD
Rotorua171,000 NZD
Wellington191,000 NZD

Government vs Private Sector Salary Comparison

Where can you get paid more, working for a private company or for the government? Public sector employees in New Zealand earn 5% more than their private sector counterparts on average across all sectors.

Private Sector
94,600 NZD
Public Sector+5%
99,600 NZD
Percentage increase and decrease are relative to the previous value

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