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Lawyer Average Salary in United States 2023

How much money does a Lawyer make in United States?

Average Yearly Salary
178,000 USD
( 14,900 USD monthly)


A person working as a Lawyer in United States typically earns around 178,000 USD per year. Salaries range from 94,600 USD (lowest) to 271,000 USD (highest).

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

Lawyer Salary Distribution in United States

Median and salary distribution yearly United States Lawyer
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The median, the maximum, the minimum, and the range

  • Salary Range

    Lawyer salaries in United States range from 94,600 USD per year (minimum salary) to 271,000 USD per year (maximum salary).

  • Median Salary

    The median salary is 168,000 USD per year, which means that half (50%) of people working as Lawyer(s) are earning less than 168,000 USD while the other half are earning more than 168,000 USD. 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 Lawyer(s) are earning less than 118,000 USD while 75% of them are earning more than 118,000 USD. Also from the diagram, 75% of Lawyer(s) are earning less than 206,000 USD while 25% are earning more than 206,000 USD.

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

Lawyer Salary Comparison by Years of Experience

How does experience and age affect your pay?

Salary comparison by years of experience yearly United States Lawyer
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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 Lawyer salaries by experience level and this is what we found.

A Lawyer with less than two years of experience makes approximately 109,000 USD per year.

While someone with an experience level between two and five years is expected to earn 133,000 USD per year, 23% more than someone with less than two year's experience.

Moving forward, an experience level between five and ten years lands a salary of 189,000 USD per year, 42% 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, Lawyer(s) whose expertise span anywhere between ten and fifteen years get a salary equivalent to 221,000 USD per year, 17% 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 243,000 USD per year, 10% more than someone with ten to fifteen years of experience.

Lastly, employees with more than twenty years of professional experience get a salary of 257,000 USD per year, 6% more than people with fifteen to twenty years of experience.

Lawyer average salary change by experience in United States

0 - 2 Years
109,000 USD
2 - 5 Years+23%
133,000 USD
5 - 10 Years+42%
189,000 USD
10 - 15 Years+17%
221,000 USD
15 - 20 Years+10%
243,000 USD
20+ Years+6%
257,000 USD
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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Lawyer Salary Comparison By Education

How do education levels affect salaries?

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

Salary comparison by education level yearly United States Lawyer
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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 Lawyer salaries by education level in order to make a comparison.

When the education level is Bachelor's Degree, the average salary of a Lawyer is 119,000 USD per year.

While someone with a Master's Degree gets a salary of 190,000 USD per year, 59% more than someone having a Bachelor's Degree degree.

A PhD gets its holder an average salary of 246,000 USD per year, 30% more than someone with a Master's Degree.

Lawyer average salary difference by education level in United States

Bachelor's Degree
119,000 USD
Master's Degree+59%
190,000 USD
246,000 USD
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 United States costs anywhere from 39,500 US Dollar(s) to 118,000 US 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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Lawyer Salary Comparison By Gender

Salary comparison by gender yearly United States Lawyer
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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 Lawyer employees in United States earn 6% more than their female counterparts on average.

183,000 USD
173,000 USD
Percentage increase and decrease are relative to the previous value

Salary Comparison By Gender in United States for all Careers

Salary comparison by gender yearly United States
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Lawyer Average Annual Salary Increment Percentage in United States

How much are annual salary increments in United States for Lawyer(s)? How often do employees get salary raises?


Lawyer(s) in United States 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 United States Lawyer
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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.

United States / 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 United States is 6%.

Annual Increment Rate By Industry 2022

Information Technology

Listed above are the average annual increase rates for each industry in United States 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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Lawyer Bonus and Incentive Rates in United States

How much and how often are bonuses being awarded?Annual Salary Bonus Rate United States Lawyer
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A Lawyer 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.

20% of surveyed staff reported that they haven't received any bonuses or incentives in the previous year while 80% said that they received at least one form of monetary bonus.

Those who got bonuses reported rates ranging from 6% to 8% 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.

Lawyer Average Hourly Wage in United States

86 USD per hour

The average hourly wage (pay per hour) in United States is 86 USD. This means that the average Lawyer in United States earns approximately 86 USD 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.

Lawyer VS Other Jobs

Salary Comparison Between Lawyer and Legal yearly United States
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The average salary for Lawyer is 56% 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 Judge247,000 USD+38%
Arbitrator120,000 USD-33%
Associate Attorney118,000 USD-34%
Attorney192,000 USD+8%
Bailiff58,300 USD-67%
Barrister48,600 USD-73%
Candidate Attorney113,000 USD-37%
Conciliator94,300 USD-47%
Contracts Manager110,000 USD-38%
Contracts Negotiator89,500 USD-50%
Conveyancing Secretary48,100 USD-73%
Corporate Counsel136,000 USD-24%
Counsel135,000 USD-24%
Court Clerk43,800 USD-75%
Court Judicial Assistant75,000 USD-58%
Court Liaison Specialist81,100 USD-55%
Court Reporter74,700 USD-58%
Court Representative57,600 USD-68%
Crown Prosecution Service Lawyer258,000 USD+45%
Immigration Executive129,000 USD-28%
In House Counsel144,000 USD-19%
Intellectual Property Specialist98,200 USD-45%
Judge Advocate192,000 USD+8%
Law Clerk44,200 USD-75%
Lawyer178,000 USD-0%
Legal Administrative Assistant51,100 USD-71%
Legal Advisor115,000 USD-36%
Legal Assistant48,200 USD-73%
Legal Associate86,400 USD-52%
Legal Consultant119,000 USD-33%
Legal Counsel133,000 USD-25%
Legal Editor92,600 USD-48%
Legal Executive168,000 USD-6%
Legal Executive Secretary51,900 USD-71%
Legal IP Officer43,900 USD-75%
Legal Officer59,100 USD-67%
Legal Services Director213,000 USD+19%
Legal Services Manager210,000 USD+18%
Legal Support Worker35,000 USD-80%
Legislative Liaison92,700 USD-48%
Litigation Attorney225,000 USD+26%
Litigation Paralegal110,000 USD-38%
Magistrate Judge278,000 USD+56%
Paralegal70,900 USD-60%
Patent Attorney146,000 USD-18%
Staff Attorney146,000 USD-18%

Salary Comparison By City

CityAverage Salary
Atlanta174,000 USD
Austin206,000 USD
Baltimore178,000 USD
Boston185,000 USD
Bristol147,000 USD
Chicago225,000 USD
Cincinnati164,000 USD
Cleveland168,000 USD
Dallas208,000 USD
Denver206,000 USD
Detroit196,000 USD
Honolulu155,000 USD
Houston215,000 USD
Indianapolis198,000 USD
Iowa City154,000 USD
Jacksonville206,000 USD
Kansas City172,000 USD
Kent155,000 USD
Las Vegas177,000 USD
Long Beach178,000 USD
Los Angeles217,000 USD
Memphis192,000 USD
Miami177,000 USD
Minneapolis170,000 USD
New Orleans166,000 USD
New York228,000 USD
Oakland176,000 USD
Oklahoma City182,000 USD
Orlando165,000 USD
Philadelphia218,000 USD
Phoenix227,000 USD
Sacramento183,000 USD
San Antonio211,000 USD
San Diego207,000 USD
San Francisco201,000 USD
San Jose205,000 USD
Seattle205,000 USD
Tampa169,000 USD
Vancouver150,000 USD
Washington D.C.195,000 USD

Salary Comparison By State

StateAverage Salary
Alabama196,000 USD
Alaska173,000 USD
Arizona207,000 USD
Arkansas193,000 USD
California221,000 USD
Colorado182,000 USD
Connecticut178,000 USD
Delaware167,000 USD
District of Columbia164,000 USD
Florida206,000 USD
Georgia204,000 USD
Hawaii175,000 USD
Idaho176,000 USD
Illinois210,000 USD
Indiana202,000 USD
Iowa188,000 USD
Kansas189,000 USD
Kentucky196,000 USD
Louisiana198,000 USD
Maine166,000 USD
Maryland189,000 USD
Massachusetts190,000 USD
Michigan199,000 USD
Minnesota189,000 USD
Mississippi179,000 USD
Missouri194,000 USD
Montana172,000 USD
Nebraska179,000 USD
Nevada184,000 USD
New Hampshire178,000 USD
New Jersey208,000 USD
New Mexico186,000 USD
New York219,000 USD
North Carolina194,000 USD
North Dakota159,000 USD
Ohio199,000 USD
Oklahoma182,000 USD
Oregon183,000 USD
Pennsylvania205,000 USD
Rhode Island169,000 USD
South Carolina191,000 USD
South Dakota171,000 USD
Tennessee201,000 USD
Texas216,000 USD
Utah185,000 USD
Vermont172,000 USD
Virginia210,000 USD
Washington210,000 USD
West Virginia170,000 USD
Wisconsin187,000 USD
Wyoming160,000 USD

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 United States earn 5% more than their private sector counterparts on average across all sectors.

Private Sector
92,400 USD
Public Sector+5%
97,100 USD
Percentage increase and decrease are relative to the previous value

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