How Rich Are Lawyers Actually in the United States?

There is always talk of how rich lawyers are. They are said to earn a lot of money, much more than the average citizen. In the United States, it is always a bit bigger, at least according to the wild stories. Lawyers do earn money, but probably not as much as told in the stories, at least on average, the outliers being just that, outliers.

The Average Salary of a United States Lawyer

Sometimes, it is difficult to get the correct number of the average salary of any profession. With lawyers, it is that much more difficult, due to some lawyers earning millions per year. An average salary of 130,000 dollars per year was reported in 2011 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This seems like an incredible amount, yet as we know, averages can be swayed one way or another, and in this case, the actual average number isn’t even that high.

Lowering the number by 15,000 gets us the median salary, which is also misleading, unfortunately for those hoping for such a salary in their first years of being a lawyer. The average salary of 84,000 dollars is more accurate for lawyers and is definitely above the overall average salary for US citizens which sits around 50,000 dollars.

Variance in Salaries – A Large Gap

There is definitely a large gap between the reported average salaries of 150,000 dollars and the average of 84,000 dollars. That gap is due to many lawyers working for large corporations which pay them around a million a year, some even more, much more. Lawyers like Joe Jamail got upwards of 100 million dollars per corporate case.

On the other end, there are lawyers working in the civil rights part of the law, earning as much as the average US citizen, around 50,000 dollars a year. Add to that the cost of living, the taxes, and the overall stress of trying to be altruistic and the inflated salaries seem like a dream.

Success Through  Determination and Work

Working as a lawyer requires patience and consistency. A couple of years and any lawyer could get a job with a bigger company, and if not the largest ones with humongous salaries, then closer to the 100,000 mark.

Not all lawyers are in it to climb the financial ladder of success, however, and some choose the less paying jobs for their own personal reasons. Many lawyers do not make it in their quest for success, finding a new job profession. Those who stay and remain determined, opting to work for larger law firms, get better salaries. Corporate lawyers probably earn the most, as shown by examples like Joe Jamail. Lawyers suing giant companies also, when successful, earn more than their colleagues.

Even though lawyers in the United States earn less than the reported average, they still manage to earn more than the average citizen, provided they stay determined and show initiative to join larger firms and companies