That's exactly what all lawyers do, right? Not exactly.åÊ In the grand scheme of things, working as a lawyer/attorney is indeed a lucrative profession, but not all legal professionals have two summer homes, a boat, and a private jet. CNNMoney.com reports that the attorney/lawyer profession has an average median pay of $118,000 per year, but this number is missing a lot of the specifics. There are a lot of variables that determine a lawyer's annual salary. Let's look at a few:
Experience: As you might be able to guess, the longer a lawyer has been working in the profession, the more he/she is making. Several salary estimation websites and calculators seem to agree that starting salaries hover around $60,000. This means you shouldn't be paying the same rate to someone who's just out of law school as you would an attorney who's been practicing for 15 years. Experience vs price point cutoffs generally occur at 0-5, 5-10, 10-20, and 20+ years.
Location: Simply put, city lawyers are generally more expensive than country lawyers. This has a lot to do with cost of living or the type of industry in a particular area. Following that logic, it's not surprising that lawyers in Washington DC ask for quite a bit of money for their services.
Background: Where did the attorney attend law school? What sorts of cases has he/she worked on in the past (extra points for high profile cases)?
Legal Area: Not all lawyers are the same. Your typical family lawyer with many years of experience might be making 100 grand per year, but most of the big bucks go toward the corporate lawyers and patent lawyers.
The majority of lawyer on the market work on small claims, meaning that they're dealing with DUIs and other traffic violations, bad checks, property damage, or other issues that are valued up to $5,000. This isn't where the money is. In fact, way more lawyers work on these ordinary, everyday cases than on corporate cases. Check out this graph; it shows that the big bucks are well big, but that most lawyers aren't making them. In fact, the median salary is $72,000. That's not a 6-figure salary!
But they're still making a lot compared to other people, you say. Remember though, that a lot of lawyers work out of large cities, which means that they either live in the cities, themselves, or just outside of them. The average single family home in downtown Boston goes for around half a million dollars. Not all lawyers bill in the same way. You're probably accustomed to hearing about attorneys' hourly rates, but some firms take cases on a fixed price, which can be beneficial if you have a pretty standard case and you're on a budget. Also remember, lots of people need a lawyer at some point, so no matter what your price point is, there's an attorney out there who can accommodate your needs without breaking your bank.
This is where we come in. LexSpot is here to help you find the lawyer that best suits all of your needs, including the financial.