A lawyer, or an attorney, conducts legal research and applies her research to real-life situations. There are prosecuting attorneys and defense lawyers. Prosecuting attorneys try to convict suspected criminals while defense attorneys try to counsel clients of their rights and defend their innocence. The salary of a lawyer depends on many factors. Gender is one of these factors.
Forty percent of lawyers are female and these female lawyers earn a median annual salary of between $51,782 and $96,514, as of 2011. In contrast, 60 percent of lawyers are male; those male lawyers earn a median annual salary of between $58,703 and $113,992, PayScale reports. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of 2009, the median annual salary for lawyers, both male and female, was $113,240.
The District of Columbia was the highest-paying state for a lawyer in 2009. If a lawyer worked in DC, he earned an average annual salary of $156,750. The second highest-paying state for a lawyer was New York, where lawyers earned an average annual salary of $152,710. Delaware was the next highest-paying state for this occupation. Lawyers in Delaware earned an average salary of $152,300 per year. The next highest-paying state was California, where lawyers earned an average annual salary of $151,970. Georgia was number five, paying lawyers an average annual salary of $142,930. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA was the highest-paying city for a lawyer, where lawyers earned $192,020 per year on average, the BLS reports.
The highest-paying industry for a lawyer in 2009 was petroleum and coal products manufacturing, lawyers who worked in this industry earned an average annual salary of $196,190. Lawyers who worked as agents and managers for artists, athletes, entertainers, and other public figures earned the second highest yearly salaries; these lawyers earned $176,640 per year on average. The third highest-paying industry was semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing, where lawyers earned average salaries of $175,970. Then, the professional and commercial equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers industry; lawyers who worked in this industry earned an average salary of $172,600 per year. The computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing industry was the last on the list of the top-five highest-paying industries. Lawyers who worked in this industry earned an average annual salary of $172,430, the BLS reports.
Future Outlook for Lawyers
In 2008, there were about 759,200 lawyers working in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects for this number to increase to about 857,700 in the year 2018. This is a 13 percent increase; which is an average increase in employment, the BLS reports. For female lawyers, the Census Bureau reports that the earnings gap between females and males continues to decrease as time goes on.
2016 Salary Information for Lawyers
Lawyers earned a median annual salary of $118,160 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, lawyers earned a 25th percentile salary of $77,580, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $176,580, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 792,500 people were employed in the U.S. as lawyers.
- young lawyer image by Alexey Stiop from Fotolia.com