How Much Do Lawyers Make

How Much Do Lawyers Make and How to Become One of the Highest Paid Lawyers


It’s normal for an attorney to wonder if he or she makes more than the average salary for their state and practice area type. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for lawyers in the United States is $144,230. But, what if you feel like your legal expertise and legal career should be worth much more than that?

We’ve put together an interactive chart that shows how much lawyers make in each state in the United States. The data source was compiled from the US Department of Labor.

The top 10% of attorneys in America make over $208,000, and the top 1% make well over $500,000 per year.

How does that top percent of the highest-paid lawyers in America make so much more than the rest? What makes these lawyers so much better than the other 99% of those with legal careers out there?

What makes the highest-paid lawyers so much better at making money is that they’ve capitalized on something that other lawyers have not.

They leverage a simple marketing formula that provides them with an unfair advantage. Because they’ve invested in professional law firm marketing strategies, they’re able to live in the houses they want (or purchase multiple homes), drive the cars they want, and have the ability to float in whichever cases they’d like.

How Much Does a Top Lawyer Make?

There are a number of factors that determine the standard lawyer salary, such as the state they practice law in, the type of law they practice, and obviously, their ability as a lawyer.

Your legal salary will largely depend on which state you practice law in.

The top five states with the highest annual salary for lawyers include:

  1. California
  2. New York
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Connecticut
  5. Illinois

The states with the lowest average annual salary include:

  1. Montant
  2. Mississippi
  3. West Virginia
  4. Arkansas

How Do Lawyers Get Paid?

The two factors that make up the majority of any lawyer’s salary include: time and legal advice.

The amount you’re able to charge for your services will vary depending on:

  • your location
  • the specific area of law that your specialize in
  • your experience
  • your reputation

You can choose to be compensated either directly or indirectly through:

  • flat fees
  • hourly fees
  • retainers
  • contingency fees

How the Highest Paid Attorneys Make More Money With Digital Marketing

Digital marketing for law firms helps attorneys sell their services online. Specifically, this refers to marketing law firms on search engines, like Google, law firm websites, and through social media.

The best legal marketing agencies are able to provide lawyers and law firms with high-impact legal marketing campaigns that provide a high return on investment through user engagement techniques.

(Here’s how to choose a law firm marketing company.)

User engagement drives legal marketing by creating important interactions with potential clients, based on an array of analytical data.

When your law firm marketing agency helps you connect with potential customers online, you’re also able to build your law firm’s brand awareness more quickly, insert yourself as a local industry leader, and position your law firm at the forefront when a potential client searches for your services online.

An effective legal marketing strategy can help your law firm meet your potential clients wherever they are in their customer journey and gently guide them through the education process until they’re ready to hire you as their attorney.

Additionally, working with a professional digital marketing agency can help you understand how your clients search for your legal services and eventually hire you as their lawyer. Being equipped with attribution information like this helps you make better legal marketing and budgeting decisions.

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How Digital Marketing Can Help Your Law Firm Make More Money

Your law firm needs a constant influx of quality leads. Partnering with a digital marketing agency that understands how to help those practicing law achieve this goal is the key to making exponentially more than the average law practice.

The basic marketing formula that we use to help our clients become some of the highest-paid lawyers includes but isn’t limited to the following:

Here are a few more advertising ideas for law firm growth.

Professionally Designed Law Firm Website

Law firm web design

Every attorney and law firm out there has a website. Whether you’re with a firm of corporate lawyers or if you’re a solo personal injury lawyer trying to market your firm, you’ve at least got a single page to which you can send your online traffic. Many lawyers use large legal platforms, like FindLaw, to host their web pages.

But, this isn’t what we’re talking about. We mean a high-quality legal website that converts leads into paying clients.

The standard, run-of-the-mill legal website may attract and convert a few online visitors into paying clients, but they don’t consistently bring in more money. Not all websites are created equally.

What’s the difference between the traditional, cookie-cutter legal website and performance-driven legal website? And, how can having a better quality website increase a lawyer’s salary?

Law Firms Who Earn More Than The Average Annual Salary Harness the Power of Google

The first page of Google’s search engine results includes around 4 paid legal listings, a few directory results and 10 organic listings. Landing on the first page of Google is extremely important if you want to earn more than the average starting lawyer salary.

The good news is that Google helps both small law firms and large law firms alike. It levels the playing field for all practicing the legal profession. Every field of law firm can benefit from having a high-quality, professionally designed legal website.

If you invest in a website that’s designed to foster a great user experience and is optimized for search engines, then your site will generate more quality traffic and narrowly increase leads, right off the bat.

But, like everything else in life, the most value doesn’t come from one, single decision.

In order to make more than the average lawyer salary, you’ll need to master a few other important tactics.

Performance-Driven Legal Content

Lawyers who consistently make more than median salary know how to draw the right people in organically. The best way to do this is through performance-driven legal content services.

Now, we know that every legal website has some form of legal content. But, is the content designed to rank well on Google or other search engines? Does the content meet your potential clients where they are and answer the relevant legal questions that need answering?

From intellectual property lawyers to real estate attorneys, the attorneys that generate the most money have website content that is well written and optimized for search engines.

Law firms that use their legal content marketing as an investment will increase their average income.

Well Crafted Legal Ads

Attorney local service ads

The highest-paid types of lawyers spend a decent chunk of their income advertising their legal services.

We’ve been working with lawyers for a long time now. From everything we’ve seen, the vast majority of lawyers get about a third of their business transactions from referrals. The rest comes from paid search ads and organic search results.

How Attorneys Increase Income with Paid Ads

Some paid search advertising works great, and some don’t. Why is this?

The highest-paid lawyers understand that they need to invest in the right keywords to draw in the right types of leads. These words aren’t always the standard high-value keywords, like “bankruptcy attorneys” or “patent lawyers”. Sometimes, some of the best-converting keywords are those that the big-box marketing agencies haven’t found yet!

In either case, investing in online ads without working with a seasoned ads professional is going to be a waste of your law firm’s marketing budget.

Additionally, attorneys that make more than the median lawyer salaries always work closely with digital marketing agencies that serve the legal field. The key is to find a company with extensive experience in marketing for legal services

These agencies already know which keywords and online strategies drive the best, most qualified traffic at the lowest price. They know which SEO keywords and web pages to concentrate on early in the campaigns in order to get the best return on investment for their clients.

Finding a law firm digital marketing company that has a great combination of law firm SEO performance, Google Ads for lawyers, and Local Service Ads for Attorneys is something that most attorneys miss.

Consistent Online Listings

law firm website design

Not only does your law firm website need to be optimized for search engines, you also need for your reviews and directory listings to help drive more traffic. You want your potential clients to be able to find you everywhere!

Big law firms understand one thing better than the rest. They don’t discriminate where they want to get their traffic. And, lawyers that earn more than average salaries understand the importance of working with a digital marketing agency that can help harness the power of online directories.

Business is business, but in order for lawyers to rank well within all the online directories, they need to ensure that their information is consistent, across the board. Their information needs to be updated and remain up to date on every possible online directory.

Do you know every single online directory on which a potential client could search for you? A digital marketing agency with extensive experience in this field will.

The highest-paid lawyers have an omnipresent marketing strategy. This means that wherever a potential lead is searching, there they are.

They show up with professional ads and great content and are everywhere online. That’s why they make the most money.

We provide more on this here: Legal Referral Service: How to Market with Lawyer Directories

Great Online Reputation Management

The top-paid attorneys are also highly vigilant about managing their online reputation.

Obviously, a large law firm will have more opportunities for online reviews than a small law firm or solo practitioner. But, even small legal firms can harness the power of online reviews, if they work with a marketing agency that knows how to make the most of every single positive review received.

Marketing for small law firms and solo law firm marketing are not impossible, even with a tight budget. 

How Digital Logic Can Help You Become One of the Highest Paid Lawyers

social media for divorce lawyers

We’ve shared all of this information with you because our law firm marketing agency has helped many of our clients become some of those “top 1% earning lawyers”. Our client base ranges from marketing for family law attorneys to trial lawyers, marketing for criminal defense firms and personal injury lawyers to corporate lawyers, and more.

Digital marketing for lawyers is our business. So, we know that whatever field of law you work in, we can help you achieve a much higher return on investment than what you currently have. If we can’t, we’ll let you know upfront. To be fair, though, this hasn’t happened yet!

Our legal marketing professionals can help your firm reach its financial goals, even if those goals mean making that “top 1%”.

A better return on investment means more money and a higher salary for everyone.

At Digital Logic, we offer a free competitive analysis for lawyers and a free website audit to find out how we can help your law firm make exponentially more than the average salary. Once we’ve assessed your website and online footprint, we will provide a recommended legal marketing strategy to take your business to the next level!

If you’re considering law school or if you’ve just graduated from law school and trying to financially prepare to tackle your student debt, it’s normal to wonder if you can actually make decent money as a lawyer. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the median salary for lawyers in the US is $144,230. The top 10% of lawyers make over $208,000. The top 1% of attorneys make over $500,000 annually.

On average, medical lawyers make the most annually. Medical attorneys provide their clients with legal advice pertaining to medical law. This can include personal injury, medical malpractice, health care law, and other similar fields.

At Digital Logic, we’ve helped many medical lawyers reach their financial goals using our proprietary marketing methods.

The average salary for lawyers in the United States is $144,230.

How Much Do Patent Attorneys Make?

According to, the top patent attorneys make anywhere from $180,000-$340,000 per year.

How Much Do Criminal Defense Lawyers Make?

According to, the average criminal defense lawyer salary is $81,300 per year.

How Much Do Personal Injury Lawyers Make?

According to, the average salary for personal injury lawyers is $85,571. However, personal injury law is one of the more highly paid legal specialties, so there is a much greater chance of earning substantially more in this specific area.

How Much Do Family Law Attorneys Make?

According to, lawyers working in the family law sector average around $213,447.

How Much Do Medical Lawyers Make?

According to, the average medical lawyer salary is $107,848.

How Much Do Tax Attorneys Make?

According to, the salaries of tax attorneys range from right under $21,000 to over $560,000. The median salary for tax lawyers is $100,904 per year with the middle 57% of those practicing tax law making between $100,910 and $254,255.

How Much Do Intellectual Property Attorneys Make?

According to, the average salaries of IP lawyers range from $146,361 to $173,580, with $161,292 being the median salary for those types of lawyers. states that lawyers that focus on protecting intellectual property can expect to take home around $97,383 annually after taxes.

A side benefit to a career in intellectual property law is the potential exposure to new developments and cutting-edge technologies. Additionally, many IP attorneys find their work to be extremely compelling most of the time.

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