In this post, we will be talking about the highest paid lawyers. As you may know, working as a lawyer can be a very rewarding career, especially if you can back it up with the necessary skillsets.
A lawyer is a skilled, professional, and qualified individual who is authorized to practice law, conduct lawsuits, and provide legal advice.
To become a lawyer, you must first complete seven years of full-time study at a postsecondary institution, followed by an examination to acquire a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from an American Bar Association-approved law school (A.B.A.).
Lawyers are among the highest paid professionals in the world. Take a peek at the world’s top ten highest paid lawyers.
Highest Paid Lawyers
Below are some of the highest paid lawyers in the world:
1. Roy Black (net worth of $100 million)
Roy Black, a University of Miami alumnus and senior partner at Black, Srebnick, Kornspan & Stumpf, is a civil and criminal defense attorney. He has defended high-profile clients such as William Kennedy Smith (acquitted on rape charges), Albertson’s, Inc., and Helio Castroneves for almost 40 years.
Most in the business see him as having “the best national reputation in Florida,” and he also serves as a legal expert on “The Today Show” and “Good Morning America,” as well as teaching advanced criminal evidence at the University of Miami.
2. Gary, Willie E (net worth of $100 million.)
Willie Gary, dubbed “The Giant Killer,” has taken on several of the country’s largest firms, including Anheuser-Busch and Disney.
He has received some of the greatest settlements and jury awards in the United States, including numerous lawsuits worth more than $30 billion.
He graduated from Shaw University and is now the managing partner of Gary, Williams, Parenti, Watson, and Gary, P.L.L.C., as well as a motivational speaker and legal expert on “The Early Show.”
3. Judy Sheindlin (net worth $150 – $250 million)
Judge Judy is most recognized for her role as a no-nonsense T.V. judge, and she earns $47 million each year. Judge Sheindlin, a 1965 graduate of New York Law School, began her career as a business attorney before deciding to become a family court prosecutor.
She was appointed as a criminal court judge in 1982, where she established a reputation as a “tough” judge and presided over 20,000 cases. She authored numerous novels which piqued the interest of T.V. executives, leading to the creation of her T.V. show.
4. Bill Neukom (net worth of $850 million)
Bill Neukom is a corporate attorney who is well-known for his philanthropic activities.
He is currently the founder and C.E.O. of the World Justice Project, which is dedicated to strengthening the rule of law worldwide.
He worked at a small business after graduating from Stanford Law School in 1967 until he was approached to perform work for Microsoft, which was still in its early phases. He eventually rose through the ranks to become Microsoft’s legal counsel, a post he held for 25 years.
5. William Lerach (net worth of $900,000,000)
Although he was forbidden from practicing law in 2009 for his involvement in a bribe scheme, William Lerach had a prosperous career as a corporate lawyer specializing in private securities class action litigation for more than 30 years, which is how he earned his substantial fortune.
Lerach, a University of Pittsburg School of Law graduate, is known as the “King of Pain” and was often referred to as the most feared lawyer in America during his heyday. He holds the record for the largest sum ever recovered in a group of securities class action lawsuits for the $7.12 billion judgment he received against Enron.
6. Wichai Thongtang (net worth of $1.1 billion)
Wichai Thongtang is a powerful lawyer in Thailand, regarded by many in the field as “one of the top names in the profession from around the world.”
After graduating from Thammasat University in 1970, he practiced business law, representing several prominent Thai executives and corporations while also learning about the stock market and investing.
Thongtang is the Chairman of Cable Thai Holding P.L.C. and controls 15% of Dusit Medical, a Bangkok healthcare corporation, in addition to his legal career.
7. Joe Jamail (net worth of $1.7 billion)
Even though he died in December 2015 at the age of 90, Joe Jamail made our list since he was the wealthiest practicing lawyer in the United States at the time of his death.
He was known as the “King of Torts” after representing Pennzoil in a 1985 lawsuit against rival Texaco. After the courts ruled in Pennzoil’s favor, his contingency fee was $335.
The 1953 University of Texas School of Law graduate was a former marine with a long history of being aggressive, impolite, and vulgar in court.
8. Richard Scruggs (net worth of $1.7 billion)
Richard Scruggs, a 1976 graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Law and a notable trial lawyer, is most known for his passion for tobacco and asbestos cases and winning more than $1 billion in judgments against numerous firms.
He was also heavily involved in the Ritalin class action lawsuits of the 2000s and the 2003 case against Lehman Brothers, in which he received a $51 million verdict.
However, he was charged with judicial bribery in 2007. He pled guilty in 2008 and was sentenced to six years in federal prison. He is now 70 years old, has served his time, and has retained his vast riches.
Highest Paid Types of Lawyers
Oddly, some lawyers appear to be incredibly rich while others struggle to make ends meet. It may be difficult to grasp the variance in the quantities of money that one lawyer earns over another unless you are familiar with the field.
The truth is that lawyers, like surgeons, can choose to specialize in certain areas of law practice, and the compensation scales are vastly different. With this in mind, these are some of the highest paid types of lawyers.
1. Corporate Lawyer Salary – $98,822 Yearly
Corporate Layers earn an average of $98,000 a year, but some of the more successful ones might earn well into the triple digits, while others can earn as little as $66,000.
A corporate lawyer advises clients on legal issues relating to a wide range of commercial transactions, such as business sales, acquisitions, and mergers. They prepare contracts and read through offers to ensure that the legalese is in the best interests of their clients, who are mainly corporations and businesses.
They also help with the formation of new firms, the drafting of numerous contracts, the sourcing of venture capital, the sale and purchase of ownership interests, and various key business transactions.
2. Tax Lawyer Salary – $99,690 Yearly
Tax attorneys earn between $80,000 and $105,000 per year, with an annual salary of $99,640 being the average.
This type of attorney represents a company while dealing with government taxing authorities such as the federal, state, and municipal governments.
Tax attorneys are accountable to their clients for the drafting of legal documents involving obligations as well as the development of tax-saving strategies.
3. Trial Attorney Salary – $101,086
The trial attorney must have a thorough understanding of the law. They are also responsible for staying abreast of current trends and changes in the law as they arise throughout their careers.
Trail attorneys must have sharp intuition and the ability to detect minor details that could substantially impact their cases. In many circumstances, they must be able to think on their feet, organize their thoughts, and absorb new information while forming a plan or strategy and speaking.
4. Patent lawyer Salary– $140,972 per year
Patent lawyers are also referred to as Intellectual Property attorneys. In most circumstances, these are the second-highest paid types of lawyers.
Intellectual property lawyers are expected to be well-versed and knowledgeable of three distinct kinds of intellectual property law. Patents, trademarks, and copyrights are all examples of intellectual property.
5. Medical Lawyer Salary – $150,881 Yearly
Medical lawyers should probably top the list of the Highest Paid Lawyers. This type of lawyer offers their customers a wide range of legal advice and services pertaining to medical law. This encompasses health care law, personal injury, medical malpractice, and a range of other relevant fields. Generally, medical lawyers represent health care clinics and hospitals.
Highest Paid Lawyers In New York
The average annual salary for a Lawyer in New York City is $85,873 as of November 1, 2021. This equates to $1,651 each week or $7,156 per month.
However, some lawyers in New York can earn as high as $155,207, while others may earn low as $16,453. The bulk of Lawyer salaries in New York City now vary from $65,811 (25th percentile) to $105,847 (75th percentile), with top earners (90th percentile) earning $142,044 each year.
How Much Do Lawyers Make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of lawyers is expected to grow by 50,100 between 2018 and 2028.
That is significant growth for most occupations, but with the current number of legal jobs at 823,900, it is only a 6% increase, which is approximately the same as the average growth for all occupations.
One of the many benefits of choosing a profession as a lawyer is that it pays well. An overview of the average lawyer income by states in the United States using occupational data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the following statistic:
- New York average lawyer salary: $167,110
- California average lawyer salary: $171,550
- Colorado average lawyer salary: $147,560
- Massachusetts average lawyer salary: $165,610
- Illinois average lawyer salary: $152,980
- Connecticut average lawyer salary: $153,640
- Texas average lawyer salary: $150,250
- Arizona average lawyer salary: $145,750
- Virginia average lawyer salary: $139,180
- New Jersey average lawyer salary: $139,020
Types Of Lawyers
The path to becoming a lawyer may appear straightforward: acquire a Juris Doctor (J.D.), pass the Bar test, and begin practicing. However, with so many different types of lawyers, determining what form of law you want to practice may not be as straightforward. Below are some types of lawyers:
1. Bankruptcy Lawyers
Bankruptcy lawyers are professionals in the United States Bankruptcy Code who deal with insolvency difficulties for individuals or organizations. Bankruptcy attorneys typically specialize in either consumer or commercial bankruptcy.
These lawyers represent people or creditors in consumer bankruptcy; in commercial bankruptcy, they represent corporate creditors and debtors
2. Business Lawyers (Corporate Lawyer)
Business lawyers, sometimes known as corporate lawyers, handle legal concerns for companies and verify that all company transactions comply with local, state, and federal regulations.
Mergers and acquisitions, corporate establishment or dissolution, patents, intellectual property, and liability issues are all examples of common legal practice. A business lawyer may perform legal research, draft and edit legal papers, and negotiate contracts daily.
3. Constitutional Lawyer
Constitutional lawyers are concerned with the interpretation and application of the United States Constitution, and they must balance the interests of government institutions with the interests of individuals.
A constitutional lawyer’s various tasks may include contesting the constitutionality of a piece of legislation, defending individuals in discrimination actions, or working as a constitutional law expert at a university. Constitutional attorneys may be involved in civil rights disputes, and some debate legal matters before state supreme courts of the United States Supreme Court.
4. Criminal Defense Lawyer
Criminal defense attorneys advocate for persons accused of criminal activity, ensuring that their freedoms and fundamental rights are respected properly within the legal system. A criminal defense attorney may practice as a public defender or as a private counsel.
In either capacity, their job is to use the law to the accused’s advantage. Within the confines of the law, they must safeguard their client’s best interests. Criminal defense lawyers may have to appear in court more frequently than other types of lawyers, particularly if the case goes to trial.
5. Employment and Labor Lawyer
Employment and labor lawyers deal with the connections that exist between unions, employers, and employees. They deal with employment discrimination and harassment, wage and hour standards, benefits, and pension security.
While the duties of labor lawyers and employment lawyers often overlap, labor lawyers specialize in union-management interactions and collective bargaining, whereas employment lawyers deal with issues in non-union workplaces.
6. Entertainment Lawyer
Athletes, artists, musicians, actors, and other media-related clients or brands are all represented by entertainment lawyers. They assist their clients in protecting their intellectual property, which might range from a singer’s lyrics to a comedian’s comedy routine. Furthermore, entertainment lawyers may negotiate contracts and price arrangements, secure talent releases, function as a liaison between agents or venues, or monitor union and guild membership.
7. Estate Planning Lawyer
An estate planning lawyer understands the complexities of property rights, wills, probate, and trusts. They give legal advice and support to ensure that client assets pass correctly both inside and outside the will or trust, as well as that tax and legal issues are properly addressed.
Choosing how to care for diverse family members is a sensitive procedure. These estate planning attorneys may employ questionnaires to assist clients in evaluating their assets and obligations and making decisions.
8. Immigration Lawyer
Obtaining citizenship or legal status can be a daunting task. Immigration lawyers serve a critical role in assisting individuals and families in navigating the necessary criteria to live, work, or study in the United States.
Immigration lawyers may also aid refugees and asylum seekers on occasion. Employers and employees engaging in work-visa programs may also seek the assistance of immigration lawyers in the process of obtaining lawful work status.
9. Personal Injury Lawyer
Personal injury lawyers primarily defend individuals who have been injured in civil litigation. These injuries are frequently caused by car accidents, medical malpractice, product liability, or occupational mishaps.
Personal injury attorneys must establish that the responsible party—typically another person or a corporation—is culpable and owes their client damages. Many of these instances are resolved outside of the courtroom.
District Attorney Salary
District Attorney salaries in the United States range from $13,279 to $356,999, with a median income of $64,623. The average District Attorneys earn between $64,627 and $162,013 per year, with the top 86 percent earning $356,999.
Real Estate Lawyer Salary
Real estate lawyers are responsible for assisting clients in disputes involving commercial or residential real estate concerns or challenges about tenants, zoning, and property development.
They also represent their clients in court, such as when a landlord sues a tenant for unpaid rent, among other things.
The average income for an estate lawyer is around $90,125, but this varies depending on experience and area.
Immigration Lawyer Salary
As of October 29, 2021, the average Immigration Attorney salary in the United States is $80,035; however, the salary range frequently ranges between $68,232 and $92,575.
Salary varies depending on a variety of factors such as education, certifications, supplemental skills, and the number of years you have worked in your area.
Patent Lawyer Salary
A patent lawyer’s job is to determine whether something is patentable or not, as well as issues concerning designs and trademarks. According to PayScale, the average salary for a patent lawyer is $129,500.
Tax Attorney Salary
Tax attorneys primarily represent a firm, organization, or individual in dealings with federal, state, and municipal taxing authorities. Their annual pay is $99,690.
Starting salaries in the field of tax law typically range between $55,000 and $83,000; lawyers who stay in the field can expect a consistent increase in annual earnings as their career continues.
Criminal Lawyer Salary
The responsibility of a criminal lawyer is to defend people, individuals, businesses, and society in court against criminal charges.
They investigate cases, conduct interviews, build defenses, oppose proposals, and may sometimes negotiate an out-of-court settlement.
The average wage for a criminal lawyer is $51,000, with some associates earning up to $115,000.
What Kind of Lawyer Makes the Most Money?
Medical lawyers earn one of the highest salaries in the legal profession. A medical attorney’s job will differ depending on the company for which they work.
Many lawyers in this sector focus on representing hospitals and medical firms. Others handle personal injury or medical malpractice lawsuits.
How Much Do Public Defenders Make?
In the United States, the average annual salary for a registered public defender is $68,511. A public defender’s income will vary depending on their degree, license, area, the number of hours spent, and level of experience.
Conclusion on Highest Paid Lawyers
Admittedly, studying to be a lawyer is not exactly an easy task. Depending on the type of law, some will require you to earn a master’s degree in law, LL.M.
However, one thing is for certain; the legal profession is wonderful lucrative.
We hope this post provided you with a comprehensive list of some of the highest paid lawyers and more general information about the legal profession.