Lawyers have a very important job in our country. They defend their clients in court, and they also work to deliver justice unto those who deserve it. It requires a lot of work and schooling in order to become a lawyer, and so it’s no secret that this is a very high-paying position. Being a lawyer is one of the most highly paying jobs in the country, and even if someone doesn’t find the profession itself to be romantic, a lot of people aspire to become lawyers because of the hefty paycheck that is involved. It’s a job that your family would certainly approve of. Is a career in law actually worth all of the schooling that goes into it, though?
Although pretty much everyone knows that lawyers make a lot of money, not everyone completely understands the specifics of your average lawyer’s income. In this article, I’ll discuss how the salary of a lawyer can be affected by factors like experience, location, and education. I’ll also be sure to talk about what process someone actually has to go through in order to become a lawyer. Without further ado, let’s learn a little bit more about this occupation.
Average Lawyer Salary – $136,260
The average lawyer makes about $136,260 per year, which is a highly respectable salary to go with a highly respectable job. In order to become a lawyer, one needs to get through a lot of rigorous schooling. This isn’t something that just anyone can do, and so lawyers are logically paid much more for their work. This may seem surprising to you, but the salary of a lawyer can vary quite wildly from state to state, city to city. For instance, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that some of the highest paid lawyers in the country work in Washington, D.C.. Outside of that city, lawyers living in cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, New York City, and Indianapolis are also in high demand. If you live in one of those places as a lawyer, you should have an easier time finding work. You should also be able to negotiate a slightly higher salary.
I know that it may be hard to believe that a lawyer can actually make more than $136,000 per year, but it’s true. One of the most common reasons behind a higher salary is difference in experience. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to you that, in law, someone with more experience is paid more than someone with less experience. A lawyer with over twenty years of experience can be paid up to $65,000 more than someone with less experience. What in the world could account for such a massive difference in income? Well, a more experienced lawyer is typically more independent. You’re more familiar with the technical side of your work, and you also possess the intangibles needed to really thrive in the field. Law firms are willing to pay more for this independence. Not only that, but late career lawyers will often start up their own independent practices, where they’re obviously able to take home a much larger piece of the pie.
Finally, let’s consider how education may affect the salary of a lawyer. As you can probably figure, every single legal practicing lawyer out there has gone to law school. Much like in medicine, the strictly regulated rules regarding the practice of law has made it to where it’s difficult for large discrepancies in education to exist from person to person. However, it’s still possible for different backgrounds to exist. For instance, suppose you’re someone who acquired an undergraduate degree in business. Due to this experience in business, you’re primarily a corporate lawyer. Your salary may be very different from someone who acquired an undergraduate degree in criminal justice, since they practice a different kind of law. This is really the main way that education is capable of affecting the average salary of a lawyer.
How to become a lawyer – Do you need to go to school?
If you’ve read all of that information above, then you may be interested in the prospect of becoming a lawyer. Although it takes a lot of work, it pays well and it can also be very rewarding if you decide to represent causes that are important to you. What does someone have to actually do in order to become a lawyer? First of all, you need to be prepared to go through a lot of school. The first thing that you need to do is to have graduated high school. If you happened to drop out of high school, then you can still obtain a high school equivalence like a GED or something else. It’s important that you have a high school education so that you can get begin working on your undergraduate degree. So if you’re still in high school, keep your grades up so that you can get into the best college possible.
You can study pretty much anything at an undergraduate level in order to become a lawyer. As I mentioned before, your undergraduate degree can potentially affect your specialty as a lawyer later on. Certain degrees, like political science, journalism, philosophy, and business, obviously have a much more broad reach than degrees like biology or supply chain management. However, the degree that you have shouldn’t necessarily affect your ability to get into law school, which is your next task. The first thing that you need to do is take the LSAT, or the Law School Admission Test. (You may have thought that your standardized testing days were over once you graduated high school, but that is unfortunately not the case.)
Once you get into law school, you obviously need to graduate. It typically takes three years of schooling to obtain your juris doctor degree, but it can sometimes take up to four years. Your time in law school will be very rigorous, involving a ton of reading and writing as you study up on what you will soon be practicing. Once you’re through with law school, it’s up to you to pass the bar exam. The difficulty of this exam often depends upon the state that you are taking it in. I suggest that you do plenty of research in deciding which state you want to practice law in. Once you have passed your bar examination, you’re free to practice law however you please. You can work at a law firm or at a much smaller practice, but either way, as long as you put the work in, you can make a lot of money in this particular line of work.