Many people think that the highest-paid attorneys are corporate attorneys. While corporate lawyers can make millions of dollars, personal injury attorneys, criminal attorneys, as well as attorneys in other areas of law can also earn millions of dollars. The truth is that most lawyers make a modest living. Their passion for the law and helping people in need are the things that drive them to work in the legal field.
Factors that Affect Attorney Salary
Several factors impact the salary a lawyer might make. Some of the common factors that impact a lawyer’s salary include:
- The number of years the lawyer has been in practice
- The law school where the lawyer went to
- The type of law the lawyer decides to practice
- Whether the lawyer decides on private practice or to work in the public sector
- The geographical area where the attorney practices
- Any specialized skills, education, or certifications the attorney holds
- Whether the attorney chooses to open his own practice or join a large law firm
Just like all other careers, a person’s health, gender, age, and various other factors can also impact their salary.
Kinds of Lawyers with the Highest Salaries
Lawyers that choose to practice in areas of law that require specialized knowledge of particular laws can make more than attorneys who practice in other areas of law. Nevertheless, a specific area of law does not guarantee that an attorney will make more than lawyers working in areas of law that are in high demand.
Keeping that in mind, below are descriptions of some areas of law and how much a lawyer may make if he or she decides to practice in that area of law.
Lawyers that work for corporations can earn millions of dollars as a general counsel. The general counsel for a corporation manages everything from contracts and employment law to corporate structure, intellectual law, and litigation. Oftentimes, a general counsel oversees other attorneys and outside counsel.
Lawyers practicing criminal law work with people under investigation for a crime or who have been arrested for a crime. There is room for a substantial difference in salaries depending on the kind of criminal cases the attorney takes on. For example, a lawyer handling murder cases is likely to earn more than a lawyer who handles petty theft and traffic tickets.
Personal injury covers a wide variety of cases. It includes practically any case that involves an individual injured as a result of another party’s negligence, mistakes, or wrongdoing. It also covers cases in which another individual wrongfully kills a person.
A personal injury attorney’s salary is usually based on how much money the lawyer recovers for an accident victim. Most personal injury attorneys accept cases on a contingency fee basis. They are paid a percentage of the amount they recover for their clients.
Attorneys that handle bankruptcy issues assist people and companies in filing for bankruptcy relief. They might also work with creditors to file claims in bankruptcy cases. Since bankruptcy law is a specialized area of law, bankruptcy attorneys working with large Chapter 11 corporate cases can make big salaries.
Family law is another area of law that is in high demand. It covers all issues associated with divorce, including custody, property division, and domestic support. Family law also consists of marital agreements as well as paternity issues. Attorneys who manage high-net-worth divorces or high-profile cases may make a lot higher salaries.
Cost Isn’t Everything When It Involves Legal Counsel
It would be wrong to assume that the most expensive attorney is always the best option to handle your legal problems. When picking a Santa Ana lawyer, you need to consider more factors than just cost, including their background and education, experience, knowledge of their field, track record, and ability to serve your particular needs.