What Lawyers Earn: typically from $120,000 to $185,700 in Chicago

law firm marketing, lawyer salary salarisEverybody loves to know what other lawyers make.  There are lots of good reports on starting salaries, and the Robert Half Legal 2008 Salary Guide breaks it down for experienced lawyers.

So for example, a lawyer in Chicago with 4 to 9 years experience in a midsize law firm (35-75 attorneys) can expect an income of $120,00 to $185,700.  Naturally, your earnings rise with more years of experience, if you work for a large law firm (75+ attorneys) or practice in the following high-paying cities:

  • Atlanta
  • Boston
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Chicago
  • Detroit (surprisingly to me)
  • Hartford and New Haven
  • Houston and Dallas
  • Los Angeles, Irvine, Oakland, Ontario, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose, CA
  • Manchester, NH
  • Miami
  • New York City ($160K for new grads at megafirms) and White Plains, NY
  • Philadelphia
  • Phoenix
  • Paramus, NJ
  • Providence, RI
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Seattle
  • Washington, DC (naturally)

The industries that are paying lawyers top dollar include:

  • Healthcare
  • Financial services
  • Information technology
  • Commercial Real Estate (in the Southeastern US only)
  • Manufacturing (in the Midwestern US only)

The hot jobs offering the biggest increases in compensation are first year associates because there is a declining supply of laws graduates. Job candidates who finished in the top 20 percent of their class or have specific practice experience are highly sought. First-year associates at large law firms (75+ attorneys) will see the greatest jump in compensation. Average base compensation for this role is expected to rise 9.1 percent, to the range of $111,750 to $137,000 annually.

Other hot practices include lawyers experienced in commercial litigation, intellectual property, commercial real estate and product liability, particularly for pharmaceutical companies.  The globalization of law is creating demand for lawyers with international litigation and enforcement experience, and ability to speak multiple languages and function in different cultures. Robert Half predicts that attorneys with one to three years of experience at large law firms will earn between $114,000 and $147,500 per year, an 8.2 percent increase over 2007 projections. Senior attorneys with 10 or more years of experience at large firms will see starting salaries rise 7.9 percent, to the range of $167,500 to $234,000 annually.  

Read more detail on Legal News Directory – Legal Marketing

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