The legal industry often provides you with a good paycheck. This field also comes with several other benefits like flexible, intellectually challenging, fulfilling, financially rewarding and diverse career options.
In this article, we will share a list of the highest paying legal jobs, tips on getting a lucrative position and the average salary according to the latest statistics.
How to get jobs in the legal field that pay well
Jurisprudence is a vast and varied field in which many types of specialties are available. You can work as a lawyer, paralegal, secretary, librarian or clerk.
More and more legal employers are looking for job candidates who can get started immediately. To get a job, you need to acquire the necessary education and skills and study the current vacancies.
Obtain the necessary education
You must have a seven-year education to become a lawyer in the United States. The studying consists of a four-year bachelor's degree and a three-year JD degree.
For your undergraduate degree, you can study anything. However, it would be better if you decide on the direction of your specialty in advance, as this will give you some experience. For example, if you want to become an intellectual property attorney, employers will prefer candidates who have studied hard science or computer science.
For training, choose only a law school that is accredited by the American Bar Association. Some states offer part-time and accelerated two-year programs.
Get a license
To obtain a license, you need to pass the bar exam. Typically, to become a lawyer, you need to pass a two-day examination. It consists of a multiple-choice test followed by essay questions.
You must also show that you have the necessary characteristics to work as a lawyer. It is important that you do not have financial problems or a criminal record. If a problem is identified, the character and fitness committee will interview you to determine the cause of the problem.
Prepare job application documents
The essential documents for employment are a resume and a cover letter. Resumes can be of different types: chronological, functional, targeted, federal, CV. For government work, a federal resume is best. The resume should contain information about education, work experience, certificates received and personal contact information. If you do not have work experience, then it is worth starting a career as a paralegal.
Usually, a cover letter plays a significant role in employment. If the job description does not indicate the requirement for its presence, many job seekers do not send a CL. But it needs to be sent because most employers consider resumes with cover letters first. This dramatically increases your chances of getting an interview invitation.
If you still don't know and are thinking about how to write a paralegal cover letter, for example, then here are some tips for you:
- The cover letter should be no more than one page long.
- The structure consists of an introductory part (one paragraph), the main body (two to three paragraphs), a final part (one paragraph) and contact details.
- In the central part, tell how the acquired skills will help you in your work and how this will affect the company’s development.
- In the end, you need to make a call to action, for example, negotiate a call.
- The cover letter should be written in a business style.
Use all available services to find a job
Jobs in your city or state can be searched using online job search resources. There, the database is updated every day. You can independently choose the vacancies you like and track the progress of your resume.
Recruitment agencies are one of the easiest ways to find a job. Experts will select a vacancy for you following your wishes, education and skills. All you need to do is bring all the necessary documentation, such as a diploma, license, ID, etc.
Top 10 paying law jobs
Before starting law school, you should decide on a faculty. Although you should not just consider the size of your salary when choosing a specialization, you still need to be aware. Knowing which are the highest paying law jobs and their responsibilities will help you make an informed decision about your future after law school. Below is a list of the highest paying fields of law, their primary responsibilities and the national average salary.
Lawyers represent their clients in government agencies, in the courtroom and in various legal matters. They communicate directly with clients and others involved in the case, including judges and their colleagues. Lawyers provide their clients with legal advice, interpret laws and regulations, and conduct legal research.
Depending on the specifics of the job, lawyers are divided into the following types:
- Corporate lawyer
- Criminal lawyer
- Intellectual property lawyer
- Family lawyer
- Tax lawyer
- Immigration lawyer
- Personal injury lawyer
- Employment lawyer
- Divorce lawyer
- Bankruptcy lawyer
- Real estate lawyer
- Trial lawyer
The average salary for a lawyer is $122,960 per year.
Typically, attorneys advise their clients on litigation and explain the various legal issues they are dealing with. They can interpret other courts and case law decisions, conduct research on legal cases, prepare statements and appear in court to defend their clients, and develop case strategies.
Attorneys’ responsibilities differ depending on the direction in which they work. Types of attorneys:
- Environmental and intellectual property attorneys
- Civil versus criminal attorneys
- Corporate versus individual attorneys
The average salary for an attorney is $98,871 per year.
3. Intellectual property paralegal
For the most part, assistants deal with patents, copyrights and trademark law, and create, store and edit patent documents, and manage communications with clients. Therefore, it is not necessary to have a law degree to work as an intellectual property paralegal, but it is desirable.
The average salary for a professional worker is $98,482 per year.
4. Litigation support director
A litigation support director is responsible for firm-wide litigation support and technology resources. The demand for litigation support is growing every year, but there is a shortage of experienced professionals. Therefore, an increase in the salary of the director of litigation support is projected.
The average salary at the moment is $78,848 per year.
Judges participate in litigation in federal, state and local courts. The highest-paid workers are federal judges. In addition to good salaries, most judges receive health benefits, contributions and retirement benefits, which add to their compensation packages.
It takes years of experience to become a judge in the United States. The primary responsibilities include leading trials in the courtroom. Powers and functions vary depending on their specialization. Judges conduct legal proceedings, pronounce judgment on a person, keep order in court and interpret the law's meaning and significance.
The median salary for a judge is $120,090 per year.
6. General counsel
This is one of the highest paying law careers. The general counsel's duties consist of advising the company’s executive management and senior management on legal matters and laws. They also manage the organization's legal issues, draw up required agreements such as employment contracts, and assess the contribution and impact of company decisions.
The average salary is $138,417 per year.
7. Law firm administrator
Law firm administrators manage the administrative and business aspects of a law firm. Their responsibilities include financial management and reporting, human resources, business development, asset management, marketing, technology and practice management.
Law firm administrators usually work fewer hours than most large firm lawyers, and only a bachelor's degree is required for this specialty. So it is the best career option for anyone looking for and wanting to start a lucrative legal career.
The average salary for law firm administrators is $91,690 per year.
8. Law School Professor
Experienced law school professors conduct research, teach law courses and publish research papers in their field of expertise.
This position is competitive. Professional requirements for candidates usually include a law degree, a legal review, judicial clerkship experience, a high reputation, legal practice experience and regular publication in scientific journals.
In most cases, law school professors work more consistently than lawyers, so many prefer this vacancy.
The average salary for a law professor is $117,594 per year.
9. Chief legal officer
Chief Legal Officers (CLOs) head the legal departments of corporations. Responsibilities include helping the company mitigate potential legal risks, advising company officials and board members, providing management support on any legal and regulatory issues, and keeping the company informed of legal changes that may affect them.
In addition to basic salaries, professionals receive significant bonuses, stock options and other perks to improve their compensation packages.
However, getting a CLO position takes time, and most importantly, there are very few such vacancies, and many employers require at least ten years of experience.
The average salary is $332,670 per year.
10. Member of Congress
Working as a member of Congress is an excellent opportunity to advance in the political field. This position is perfect for anyone who enjoys working in the law-changing business to improve an entire state and country. In most cases, a law degree is not a mandatory requirement for employment, but it will significantly advance you among other applicants.
The average salary is $193,400.
In most cases, to get a high-paying job in law, you need to have a specialized education. But there are always exceptions. You can start your career as an assistant and, at the same time, continue your studies to obtain the desired degree for advancement up the career ladder.