How Much Does a Lawyer Make in 2023? Salary Guide for Types of Lawyers

Irfan Eralp Kavakli

· 4 min read
How Much Does a Lawyer Make in 2023? A Comprehensive Salary Guide


The legal profession is as diverse as it is rewarding, offering various avenues for specialization and career growth. Yet, one of the most frequently asked questions is about compensation: How much does a lawyer actually make? While the answer is multifaceted, depending on factors such as location, experience, and specialization, this expanded guide aims to give you an in-depth overview, focusing on data for 2023.

The Industry Landscape

The legal industry is vast, ranging from private law firms to government positions, to in-house roles in corporations. The industry sector plays a significant role in determining a lawyer's salary.

The Average Salary: A Closer Look

The average salary for a lawyer in the United States is $115,808 as of 2023. This can range widely, with salaries typically falling between $64,000 and $208,000 per year. On an hourly basis, lawyers earn an average of $55.68.

Salary Breakdown by Experience

  • Entry-Level: Around $64,000
  • Mid-Level: Approximately $115,808
  • Experienced: Can go up to $208,000 or more

Influencing Factors for Compensation

  1. Specialization: Lawyers specializing in high-demand fields like litigation or intellectual property often command higher salaries.
  2. Years of Experience: A newly minted associate will generally earn less than a seasoned attorney.
  3. Geographic Location: Compensation varies by location, with lawyers in places like New York, Massachusetts, and California earning the highest average salaries.
  4. Employer: Different employers offer varying compensation packages. For example, salaries at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough are among the highest in the industry.

Regional Salary Variations

Lawyers in certain states significantly outearn their counterparts in other regions:

  • New York: $132,472
  • Massachusetts: $127,181
  • California: $123,707

High-Earning Specializations in 2023

The following specializations are among the highest paying:

  1. Corporate Law: Involves tasks like managing contracts and mergers.
  2. Intellectual Property Law: Specializes in protecting patents, copyrights, and trademarks.
  3. Litigation: Concerned with resolving disputes in or out of court.

Comparing Law Firm and In-House Salaries

While law firm lawyers often have the potential for higher earnings, they generally have more demanding hours. In contrast, in-house attorneys may have a more balanced lifestyle but slightly lower compensation.

Additional Responsibilities

Lawyers also earn based on their ability to draft legal documents, litigate cases, and provide specialized services. These complex tasks often command higher fees, contributing to the overall compensation package.


Lawyer salaries in 2023 are influenced by a multitude of factors, including but not limited to, specialization, experience, geographic location, and the employer. Whether you are an associate just starting or a seasoned lawyer considering a change, this guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview to navigate your earning potential effectively.

Disclaimer: The salary figures are approximations and can vary. Always consult multiple reliable sources for the most current information.

About Irfan Eralp Kavakli

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