Here’s How Much US Legal Pros Earn in Every State

Here’s How Much US Legal Pros Earn in Every State

The legal profession is well-known for its intense intellectual challenges, role in upholding justice, and the potential for significant financial rewards. However, it’s essential to note that earnings in this field are not uniform.

There can be considerable variation, especially when analyzing the average starting salary for lawyers by state. This article seeks to unpack the factors that shape a lawyer’s salary, shedding light on the range of earnings across the U.S.

What Determines the Lawyer Salary by State

The lawyer’s salary changes depending on various factors, especially when looking at it state-by-state. Here are key elements that drive these differences in state lawyer salary:

  • Cost of living: Where you practice law extensively impacts your income. For instance, a dollar earned in Mississippi won’t stretch as far as one in New York due to differences in living costs.
  • Supply and demand: The balance between the availability of lawyers and the demand for legal roles in specialized areas significantly affects attorney salary by state.
  • Experience and skill level: Legal professionals expect their income to increase as they gain more knowledge and refine their skills.

Understanding these typical driving forces behind salary figures can provide helpful insight for anyone considering entering the legal profession.

Factors for Raising Salaries

Attaining a higher income within the field of law usually involves careful navigation around various influential factors. Let’s look at some of these factors:

  1. Specialization: One of the major decision points in a career in law is the area of specialization. Specific subsets of the legal profession, such as intellectual property or corporate law, are heralded for higher remuneration. Choosing a niche in high demand yet with less expert supply, typically yields larger paychecks.
  2. Experience and reputation: It’s a universal truth across most professions — more excellent expertise and a fortified reputation result in a higher earning potential. As legal professionals delve deeper into their careers and their expertise becomes more recognized and sought after, income levels increase progressively.
  3. Geographical location: The physical location where law is practiced carries an impact. Metropolises, brimming with corporations and substantial economic activities, yield more lucrative opportunities. The higher cost and standard of living in such areas often dictate higher wages.
  4. Law firm prestige and resources: Wealth isn’t generated in a vacuum. The prestige of a law firm and the resources it can offer contribute significantly to a lawyer’s earning potential. Higher-income is often associated with law firms with a solid reputation, a strong client pipeline, and abundant resources.

Leveraging these factors can significantly increase attorney salaries by state, but it requires strategic decision-making and, occasionally, careful trade-offs. Decisions made in the early stage of one’s career can lay the foundation for financial outcomes in the later stages. Balancing personal preferences against these income-propelling factors is an intricate part of carving out a successful career in law.

Average Annual Salary of Lawyers by State

Now let’s delve into data. Here’s a glimpse at the estimated lawyer salaries by state. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently published this data:

StateAverage Annual Salary
New Hampshire$130,130
New Jersey$163,690
New Mexico$110,970
New York$188,900
North Carolina$146,890
North Dakota$120,780
Rhode Island$156,300
South Carolina$115,230
South Dakota$109,190
West Virginia$122,070

In what state do lawyers make the most money?

The financial rewards of a legal career can vary greatly across the United States. If you’ve wondered “what state pays lawyers the most,” you’re not alone. This question is pertinent for aspiring lawyers and established law professionals as they evaluate potential career paths. Let’s delve into this matter to provide a clearer picture.

StateHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage 
District of Columbia$108.90$226,510
New York$90.82$188,900

What is the median attorney salary by state for various legal roles?

A lawyer’s role or position also affects the salary range. For instance, a partner at a top law firm will reach different financial milestones than a public defender. Here’s a look at different roles and their corresponding estimated salaries (average rate across the country):

Job TitleSalary
Big Law Associate$190,000-350,000
Small Law Firm$45,000-120,000
Tops in Public Service$150,000-200,000
Non-Law Firm Positions$60,000-150,000
Public Interest Lawyers$40,000-65,000


The legal profession provides remarkable flexibility in shaping one’s career trajectory. Lawyers keen to boost their earning potential have an array of strategies at their disposal. They can increase their average attorney salary by state by specializing in some high-demand regions, accumulating experience, or positioning themselves in bustling legal markets. Understanding these dynamics can guide aspiring lawyers and seasoned practitioners toward more lucrative practices.

One handy resource for lawyers looking to maximize their career potential is Lawrina. This platform provides an array of tools and resources tailored specifically for law professionals, making it far easier to find job opportunities, connect with potential clients, and stay updated on legal news and updates.

Article by Yevheniia Savchenko

Yevheniia Savchenko is a Product Content Manager at Lawrina. Yevheniia creates user interface copies for Lawrina products, writes release notes, and helps customers get the best user experience from all Lawrina products. Also, Yevheniia is in charge of creating helpful content on legal template pages (Lawrina Templates) and up-to-date information on US law (Lawrina Guides). In her spare time, Yevheniia takes up swimming, travels, and goes for a walk in her home city.

Thank You! Welcome on board