I’m Angela Vorpahl, of the Law Tribe Network.I make videos on law school, the legal world and being a lawyer in general every singleTuesday, so be sure to hit subscribe and tap that notification bell so you can be notifiedevery single Tuesday when new videos come out.Angela Vorpahl: Today’s video is in response to a question I get asked a lot, which ishow much money do lawyers make?
Now I made a video on the entry level salary and bonus of a big law law firm associate,but what about all the other jobs out there?What about all the other different levels of experience for lawyers?What can you expect to make during your career as a lawyer?If you are excited and interested to find out, go ahead and hit that like button andlet’s get on it.
Angela Vorpahl: Now it’s important to know that the amount of money that you’ll makeas a lawyer will depend on several important factors.Most importantly, the type of law that you’re practicing, the sector that you’re practicingit in, the size of the institution where you’re practicing and your geographical location.Angela Vorpahl: The type of law that you practice can absolutely influence the amount of moneyyou make, because certain types of law are catered to larger clients, so wealthy individuals,corporations.So these are things like mergers and acquisitions, IP litigation, securities law.Whereas other types of law are catered more to individuals.
So family law, criminal law, immigration law.And when you’re talking about these different types of clients, the larger clients are ableand willing to pay these high rates because you are in turn making them a lot of money.Whereas when you’re talking about working in a field where your client base is individuals,they obviously don’t have the same economic resources and you might not actually be makingthem money at all.
You might be offering them a service that improves their livelihood.Angela Vorpahl: The sector where you’re working is also going to be a big player in how muchmoney you make.And when I say sector, I mean what part of the legal market are you working in?Is it a law firm?Is it in house at a corporation?Is it a nonprofit?Is it a government agency?Is it in academia?And generally speaking, if you’re working in the private sector, you’re going to bemaking more than working in the public sector.So working at a law firm or a corporation is generally going to have a higher salarythan working in a government agency, working in a university as a professor or workingas a judge.
Angela Vorpahl: The size of the institution also of course matters.So within each of the five sectors that I mentioned, the size of the place where you’reworking is going to have an impact on how much money you make.Angela Vorpahl: So if we’re talking about law firms, for example, if you’re talkingabout a 1500 lawyer law firm, yes, they’re going to pay you the high market rate salaryand bonus, whereas a solo practitioner is going to be making as much money as he orshe can bring through the door.If you’re talking about a corporation going in house, yes, there are multinational corporationsthat will pay you a really great salary.
If you’re talking about a smaller company that’s maybe two or three people, they’regoing to be able to pay you what they can afford based on their client base.Angela Vorpahl: Nonprofit, same thing.Some nonprofits are very well funded and you can make a really good salary there.Others are smaller, more local and they don’t have those resources.Angela Vorpahl: Also, if you’re talking about government agencies, if you’re talking abouta big federal government agency like the DOJ or the FCC, that’s going to be a higher salarythan maybe your local district attorney’s office for example.Angela Vorpahl: And finally in academia, there is such of run of a gamut in terms of thoseincomes and those salaries because you could work anywhere from a nationally renowned prestigiousuniversity or law school all the way down to your local university where you live.
And so those are all going to be factors in determining how much you are going to makeas a lawyer.Angela Vorpahl: And finally, geographic location.And as we’re going to see in a minute, and larger markets like New York, San Francisco,Chicago, DC, are going to pay their lawyers more on average than regional markets, likeTallahassee or Phoenix or Birmingham, Alabama.Angela Vorpahl: Now let’s get to the actual numbers.
So the most recent data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics is that the median annualincome for lawyers is $121,000 per year.Now keep in mind that this number includes lawyers from all sectors, all cities, alldifferent levels of experience.Angela Vorpahl: To give you guys a deeper dive into how that median annual income playsout, the lowest 10% of practicing attorneys are earning $58,220.The 25th percentile of practicing attorneys is making $79,160 per year.
And the top 75th percentile is making $182,490 per year.And if you’re talking about where the highest concentration of lawyers are working, so wherethe most legal jobs are, the top five list is California, New York, Florida, Texas, andDC.Angela Vorpahl: So now you know what the annual median income of lawyers is, you know wherethe highest concentration of those lawyers work, but what about the cities that pay theirlawyers the highest?
The top paying States for legal jobs, our DC with an average salary of 193,000 per year,California with an average salary of 172,000 per year, New York with an average salaryof 167,000 per year, Massachusetts with an average salary of 166,000 per year and Connecticutwith an average salary of 154,000 per year.Angela Vorpahl: We could keep breaking down these statistics all day long, but insteadof doing that, I’m going to leave you guys a link in the description below so you cancheck them out for yourself,
do as deep a dive as you possibly want.And instead, I’m going to leave you with this one last piece of information, which is allof these stats and all of the numbers that we’ve been looking at so far are median salariesand average city incomes for lawyers who are currently practicing, meaning they includelawyers who’ve been practicing for 30, 40, 50 years.Angela Vorpahl: But what can you expect as a recent law school graduate to be makingright off the bat?Well, in 2018 NALP reported that the median income for entry level legal positions was$90,000, but keep in mind that this amount is actually very bi-modal in nature, meaningthat there are jobs concentrated at the very high end of the spectrum and jobs concentratedat
the very low end of the spectrum.Angela Vorpahl: And so when you’re looking at the breakdown, 20% of those jobs fall intothe highest tier category of $180,000 or more.Whereas the biggest chunk, 50% of those recent graduates fall into the lowest tier, whichis 45,000 to $75,000 per year.So just keep that in mind when you’re making your financial plans.
Make sure you have realistic expectations about what your income is going to look likewhen you first leave law school.Angela Vorpahl: If you guys are interested in learning more about legal jobs, make sureyou check out my video here about the legal job market now and in the future, and hereabout how much lawyers actually work at those jobs.Angela Vorpahl: Thank you guys so much for watching.I hope you enjoyed it.Be sure to check out the description below.It’s chock full of resources, especially a link to the Law Tribe Network Facebook groupwhere you can connect with people just like you, looking to build fulfilling and sustainablecareers in the law.So I hope you guys check that out.Have an amazing week and I will see you guys next Tuesday.Bye.