What Kind of Lawyer Pays the Most?

what kind of lawyer pays the most

Many individuals aspire to become lawyers because they wish to fight for justice and assist those in need. Unfortunately, however, which type of law practice pays the best depends on several factors including specialization and location.

Attorneys working in large firms typically earn more than solo practitioners or smaller law offices. Below are some of the highest earning legal careers.

General Practice Lawyers

There is no simple answer to this question as the amount of money made by lawyers depends on various factors. Some key drivers include practice area, law firm size and geography.

Large law firms tend to pay their attorneys more, as these larger entities typically possess the resources and quality assurance to draw in higher-paying clients, while also offering more opportunities for advancement that could increase an attorney’s salary.

Big law firms often pay associates using the Cravath scale, an innovative system first created at New York-based Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP in 1987. These firms compete to attract top talent from top law schools around the country and often set market trends with their salaries; those making partner at these firms tend to earn well into six figures while lawyers working at private-sector firms or solo practice also enjoy impressive compensation packages.

Business Lawyers

Business lawyers provide services for companies across various legal areas, including dispute resolution, business formation and structuring, compliance issues and mergers and acquisitions. They may also advise businesses on ways to avoid lawsuits.

Most business attorneys charge hourly rates; rates can range anywhere from $150 per hour for junior attorneys in small towns up to over $1,000 an hour in major cities. Some also offer flat fees for straightforward projects like setting up an entity or drafting short contracts.

Intellectual property lawyers often earn significant salaries due to the specialized nature of intellectual property law practice and its high value assets such as patents, trademarks, copyrights and brands. Some intellectual property law specialists may accept equity in exchange for legal services provided – although this arrangement should usually only be considered for established businesses as it can add significant risks into operation.

Civil Rights Lawyers

Civil rights attorneys specialize in upholding laws prohibiting harassment and discrimination based on age, sex, race, religion and national origin. In addition, they handle cases relating to freedom of speech, privacy rights and lawful public demonstration.

Civil rights attorneys utilize research, writing and negotiation skills to fight for the legal rights of individuals or groups of people. Additionally, they are known for their empathetic listening abilities; empathy being particularly key as these attorneys often deal with clients who have experienced deeply upsetting events.

If you are the victim of civil rights violation, it’s imperative that you seek legal advice quickly. FindLaw’s Lawyer Directory makes finding an experienced civil rights attorney convenient by connecting you to someone within your region who understands state-specific laws.

Securities Lawyers

Securities attorneys provide essential support to businesses and institutions navigating high-stakes finance matters. With experience litigating class actions, derivative claims and books and records cases that require special skills both inside and outside the courtroom, these experts help businesses and institutions navigate these matters successfully.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP has long been recognized as a go-to firm for financial institutions involved in bet-the-company securities law disputes and for representing banks as underwriters of stock offerings. One client described them as being “a force to reckon with”. Recently, partner David Sheeren successfully represented PIMCO and BlackRock in a long-running mortgage-backed securities dispute case, successfully securing a $266m settlement for them both.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in New York has earned rave reviews from clients for its exceptional capabilities in handling large-ticket disputes. Partners Carol Villegas (securing a $175m settlement for pharmaceutical company Allergan in a securities class action), Roger Cooper and SEC expert Jeroen van Kwawegen stand out. Additionally, up-and-coming New York partner Rebecca Boon – known for her MeToo expertise – are highly acclaimed.

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