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The average salary for a Legal in U.S. is $113,100.

Annual Average Salary Information

Annual Average Salary: $113,100

Hourly Pay Information

Hourly Average Salary: $54.38

What does a Legal earn?

On average, lawyers in the U.S. earn around $113,100 per year. Lawyers can be found working in a variety of legal settings such as corporations, government organisations, and private practice. Lawyers often specialise in a certain field, like taxation, family law, or intellectual property.

How to earn more as a Legal

To become a lawyer, you will need a degree in law, criminology, or a related degree. Alternatively, you can gain a legal apprenticeship or a degree apprenticeship. To progress your career as a lawyer, you may wish to move into specialised law such as professional negligence or personal injury. Alternatively, you could become a manager of a law firm, take on self-employed work, or open up your own profitable practice.

Legal responsibilities

The average legal salary greatly depends on several factors, such as the law firm, law school attended, whether you work in one of the highest-paying states, and the responsibilities of the job title. The job title could be for an entry-level position, senior, or leadership roles, such as Adjudicator, Arbitrator, Judge, Judicial Law Clerk, Lawyer, Paralegal, or Title Examiner.

Most careers working as legal counsel for a law firm will see you earn an average lawyer salary for completing responsibilities such as preparing legal documents, representing clients in court, filing litigation, advising clients of various laws, arbitrating agreements, and working in a team with other attorneys, paralegals, or the justice department. 

Legal leaders and experienced lawyers earn higher salaries focusing on key customers, business clients, and junior employee management.

Skills and education level

Your education level will also affect your legal or lawyer salary. Most companies will pay the national average annual wage if you have a high school diploma and relevant certification for entry-level jobs. You should be paid higher salaries and compensation if you work for law firms or organizations requesting a high school degree, associate degree, or a bachelor's or master’s in law.

If you have not graduated with a U.S. high school diploma, you can take the (GED) General Education Development Test to demonstrate you have the same level of knowledge and education as a high school graduate. You can take the GED test within the United States or from 90 other countries.

Lawyers make a good average base salary if they have the right skills. It is more straightforward to find jobs as an attorney or lawyer if you can demonstrate your legal knowledge, attention to detail, teamwork, accuracy, time management, and client-facing professionalism.

What to expect from Legal careers

You can start your legal career and profession as a trainee or junior legal professional. Graduate-level jobs are also available, with the average annual salary reflecting the education attained. You will most likely be expected to work in an office environment, at a law firm, client’s premises, court, or similar. Your caseload and variety of tasks may be dictated by the law firm’s size or the industry if you work for a large company.

Variable hours exist and may be long, depending on the job. You may work into the evening and at weekends. Flexible working, with a degree of remote work, is often possible.

You will be expected to be organized and efficient, handle confidential company and client data, and follow company policies, laws, and state or U.S. regulations. Your working day could follow the same routine, but different cases and clients bring interest and new challenges, which many employees thrive on.

Legal job title

There are numerous job titles within the legal industry. Examples of legal-related job titles that offer a good average salary include Lawyer, Paralegal, Judge, Arbitrator, and Adjudicator. Specialized roles requiring extensive knowledge and experience command higher salaries and pay.

You can search for Lawyer and Attorney vacancies and salaries on with our average salary data comprising figures from job boards, aggregators, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Highest-paying locations for Legal jobs

The location of your legal job in the United States can greatly impact your pay and compensation. You can use our Salary Calculator to check the annual salary and hourly average salary for jobs in various locations such as California, New York, Washington, Colorado, Virginia and more. Relocating can improve compensation, but it is not the only option. A shorter commute and working in an urban area can also offer higher salaries. Use our salary data to compare if employers in rural or urban locations are offering above, below, or average salaries.

Legal professional development

The pay for legal professionals can vary based on the individual’s career level and experience in the field. Entry-level positions typically have lower pay, while fully qualified workers, senior staff, and management earn more. Graduates with relevant qualifications may be able to negotiate higher starting salaries. To increase your earning potential, consider taking training opportunities such as workshops or online courses. Our salary data can provide guidance on the hourly and annual wages for junior, intermediate, and senior industry roles.

Legal work experience

Obtaining prior legal work experience in your chosen career path can significantly enhance your chances of getting hired and earning a competitive salary. Practical experiences such as internships, apprenticeships, shadowing, and vacation work can provide valuable skills and knowledge in the field. If it is not possible to find work experience directly for your prospective job, showcasing transferable skills gained from other experiences can also be beneficial to potential employers and demonstrate your experience level.

Legal working hours

Having prior work experience in the legal field can greatly improve your chances of getting hired and earning a competitive salary. Gaining practical experience through internships, apprenticeships, shadowing, and vacation work can provide valuable skills and knowledge in the field. Even if direct work experience for your desired job is not available, highlighting transferable skills from other experiences can impress potential employers and demonstrate your level of experience.

Legal salary negotiations

When preparing for salary negotiations in the legal field, it’s essential to research and have a clear understanding of typical salaries and other compensation factors, such as average bonuses, for the positions you are interested in. Utilize salary comparison tools to search for different job titles and locations to determine your market value. Remember that compensation is not limited to financial benefits and performance-related commissions and consider other benefits such as the ability to work from home, extra paid vacation, gym membership, or private healthcare.

Annual salary, median salary, and taxes

When assessing the median salary or annual salary for a legal position, it’s important to keep in mind that you will be subject to taxes on your earned income. Your pay may be subject to various employment taxes, which can be deducted by your employer or required to be paid by you. Some of the taxes that may apply include Federal Income Tax, Federal and State Unemployment Tax, Social Security and Medicare Tax, and Additional Medicare Taxes in the United States.

Legal job search

If you are seeking a better salary, start your legal job search today. You can search for jobs by job title and set up job alerts to get notified as soon as an employer posts their vacancy.