Lawyers, judges, and magistrates
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Overview
Lawyers advise and represent individuals, businesses, and government agencies on legal issues and disputes.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for lawyers are expected to grow by 8%, and should have about 41,500 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Lawyers are less likely to be automated than 81% of other careers.
Workforce size
Lawyers, with 792,500 workers, form a larger workforce than 94% of careers.
Education
About 93% of lawyers, judges, and magistrates have a graduate-level education, and 98% have at least a bachelor's degree.
Education attained by lawyers, judges, and magistrates
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with graduate degrees
More lawyers, judges, and magistrates have graduate degrees than 99% of other careeers.
Salaries
The median (middle) salary for lawyers is higher than 96% of all other jobs' middle salaries. The graph shows inflation-adjusted salaries for most lawyers.
This job's median $121KAll jobs' median $39K$123K$38K20142015201620172018$0$50K$100K$150K$200K$250K
Note: The salaries for lawyers have been top-coded by the BLS; in 2018, all annual salaries larger than $208,000 are recorded as $208,000.
Context: Median Salary
Gender
Women account for 38% of lawyers, judges, and magistrates -- that's a larger percentage than 53% of other jobs.
Gender of lawyers, judges, and magistrates
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For lawyers, judges, and magistrates, the median men's salary was 17% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 13% of lawyers, judges, and magistrates are minority, and 7% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of lawyers, judges, and magistrates
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (7%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Lawyers per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. The darker the blue, the higher the job density.
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
Job benefits
Employer or union-sponsored pension plans are offered to 53% of lawyers, judges, and magistrates, and 67% have company-sponsored health insurance (19% have dependents enrolled in their employer's health plan).
Employer-provided health coverage for lawyers, judges, and magistrates
100% premiums covered
Partial premiums covered
Plan with no cost sharing
No health insurance
Top college degrees
Here are the top college degrees held by the 98% of people in this job who have at least a bachelor's degree. Some of degrees may link to multiple programs due to the way Census classifies college majors. Click on a program to learn more about career opportunities for people who major in that field.
The downside
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of lawyers who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Time Pressure (91%)
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations (85%)
  • Consequence of Error (70%)
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People (66%)
SOURCES:24.0 O*NET
Salary and diversity
Salary overview
What do lawyers, judges, and magistrates earn?

In this section, we want to give you a clear idea of what you can expect to earn in this career. We use two sources of data here: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which asks employers to classify their workforce and to report salaries using the SOC-specialty level of reporting, and the American Community Survey (ACS), which asks people to classify their jobs using the broad classifications that ididio uses for career profiles, and to self-report their salaries. For some jobs, the differences in survey approaches between BLS and ACS can paint a very different end-picture. In particular, the ACS data is reported for the larger career group lawyers, judges, and magistrates, which combines the data for 4 careers, including lawyers. Whenever possible, we provide data from both sources.

The BLS-compiled salary data is reported by companies for their employees. This data is classified by SOC specialty, and excludes self-employed workers. We first show the distribution of salaries for lawyers, and then we show how the middle (median) salary for lawyers compares to the BLS-computed median salaries of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for lawyers (BLS Salary Data)
$121K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K$250K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$121K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K$250K
Note: The salaries for lawyers have been top-coded by the BLS; in 2018, all annual salaries larger than $208,000 are recorded as $208,000.
We compiled household data from the ACS to determine the salaries that people working at least 35 hours a week report themselves to earn. Unlike the BLS estimates, this data includes self-employed wages. Additionally, we only have ACS survey data for the larger career category and not for the specialty level. We first show the full salary distribution for all lawyers, judges, and magistrates, and then we show how the median (middle) salary for lawyers, judges, and magistrates compares to the median ACS-reported salary of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for lawyers, judges, and magistrates (ACS Salary Data)
$93K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K$250K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$93K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K$250K
Employers and salary
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, and following we show the salary distributions for these workers based on those employer types. For some careers, the salaries can be vastly different between private, government, and self-employment. As with our salary overview, we view the both the BLS economists' salary profiles and the household-reported salaries from ACS to get a thorough understanding of where lawyers work and for what salary. We have the great faith in the accuracy of economist-vetted BLS data; however, the BLS restrictions on which employers are surveyed skews the data a bit (read more in the sources), and the ACS responses provide different and useful categorizations of employers and salaries.
Employers of Lawyers, judges, and magistrates (ACS)
Private for-profit (50.1%)
Private not-for-profit (3.6%)
Local government (7.0%)
State government (8.7%)
Federal government (6.4%)
Self-employed incorporated (13.4%)
Self-employed not incorporated (10.7%)
Working without pay (0.0%)
Distribution: Salaries of lawyers, judges, and magistrates by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses. These salaries were reported for the larger career group of lawyers, judges, and magistrates, which combines the 4 specialties for this career.
$93K$90K$85K$85K$102K$67K$80K$121K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000$200,000Self-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedFederal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Note: The salaries for lawyers have been top-coded by the BLS; in 2018, all annual salaries larger than $208,000 are recorded as $208,000.
Distribution: Salaries of lawyers by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS. Remember that the BLS salaries are for the specialty lawyers, and may differ signficantly from the ACS salary estimates which combine several career specialties.
$121K$145K$95K$128K$88K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000$200,000$250,000Federal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivateAll
Note: The salaries for lawyers have been top-coded by the BLS; in 2018, all annual salaries larger than $208,000 are recorded as $208,000.
Age and career advancement
Salary growth for lawyers, judges, and magistrates

The biggest take-away from the following two charts is the relationship between salary and experience that we can infer from age. Does this job seem to attract especially younger or older workers? Does it reward experience?

Take a minute a look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working in this career changes. We only provide this data when there are enough consistent ACS survey responses to allow a reasonable margin of error, so for some careers you will see gaps in our reporting of salary by age.

$80K$95K$105K$102K$103K$102K$104K$63K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KSalary distribution20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
050K100K150KNumber employed20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Gender and Equity
Lawyers, judges, and magistrates and gender

With 38% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 53% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
38%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Lawyers, judges, and magistrates
Men (62%)
Women (38%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

As we'll illustrate at the bottom of this section, the median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 20%. The situation is a little better for lawyers, judges, and magistrates, with the median salary for men 17% higher than the median salary for women. This chart shows you the salary range for most workers by gender.

$85K$99K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

Nationwide there are twenty careers for which men do not have a higher median (middle) salary than women. The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary, for most jobs. Lawyers, judges, and magistrates have one of the middle percentage increases for men's salary, with the increase for the men's median salary over the women's median salary in this job higher than that for 50% of other jobs.

17%0%20%40%60%80%100%

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Race/Origin
Race and origin of lawyers, judges, and magistrates

The representation of minority and foreign-born workers is quite different between careers, and the relative pay of those workers also varies significantly between careers. There is a smaller percentage of minority lawyers, judges, and magistrates than for 79% of other careers. As with minority workers, there is also a smaller percentage of foreign-born workers in this career than in most other careers.

Race/origin of lawyers, judges, and magistrates
White (86% )
Black (5% )
Asian (5% )
Multiracial (2% )
Other (1% )
Hispanic (0% )
American Indian (0% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
13%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
7%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for lawyers, judges, and magistrates by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$72K$80K$84K$88K$91K$92K$95K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KOtherHispanicBlackAmerican IndianAsianMultiracialWhite
Distribution: Salaries for lawyers, judges, and magistrates by nativity
$86K$93K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KAll foreign-bornAll native citizens

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Pathways to this career
Education requirements and salary
Education attained by lawyers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), lawyers typically hold a doctoral or professional degree.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as lawyers, judges, and magistrates as reported in responses to the American Community Survey. Following, we investigate whether education level influences salary for lawyers, judges, and magistrates.

Education attained by lawyers, judges, and magistrates
None
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Deg/Doct
Doctorate
Details: Education and training recommended for lawyers

Becoming a lawyer usually takes 7 years of full-time study after high school—4 years of undergraduate study, followed by 3 years of law school. Most states and jurisdictions require lawyers to complete a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). ABA accreditation signifies that the law school—particularly its curricula and faculty—meets certain standards.

A bachelor’s degree is required for entry into most law schools, and courses in English, public speaking, government, history, economics, and mathematics are useful.

Almost all law schools, particularly those approved by the ABA, require applicants to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). This test measures applicants’ aptitude for the study of law.

A J.D. degree program includes courses such as constitutional law, contracts, property law, civil procedure, and legal writing. Law students may choose specialized courses in areas such as tax, labor, and corporate law.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for lawyers

Prospective lawyers take licensing exams called “bar exams.” Lawyers who receive a license to practice law are “admitted to the bar.”

To practice law in any state, a person must be admitted to the state’s bar under rules established by the jurisdiction’s highest court. The requirements vary by state and jurisdiction. For more details on individual state and jurisdiction requirements, visit the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

Most states require that applicants graduate from an ABA-accredited law school, pass one or more written bar exams, and be found by an admitting board to have the character to represent and advise others. Prior felony convictions, academic misconduct, and a history of substance abuse are just some factors that may disqualify an applicant from being admitted to the bar.

Lawyers who want to practice in more than one state often must take the bar exam in each state.

After graduation, lawyers must keep informed about legal developments that affect their practices. Almost all states require lawyers to participate in continuing legal education either every year or every 3 years.

Many law schools and state and local bar associations provide continuing legal education courses that help lawyers stay current with recent developments. Courses vary by state and generally cover a subject within the practice of law, such as legal ethics, taxes and tax fraud, and healthcare. Some states allow lawyers to take continuing education credits through online courses.

Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for lawyers, judges, and magistrates? Below we see the distribution of lawyers, judges, and magistrates salaries based on the education attained. You may have noticed in the dashboard and elsewhere that BLS top-codes salaries. ACS also engages in a form of top-coding, but by looking at the broader field of lawyers, judges, and magistrates and using the ACS, we are able to see some of the higher salaries and can give a better idea of the range of salaries for this field. These comparisons are based on all survey responses by those who identified themselves as lawyers, judges, and magistrates, and are not intended as a statistical analysis of salary differences that would correct for non-educational factors that could contribute to high or low earnings.

$76K$70K$65K$66K$84K$85K$96K$88K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KNone (0%)High School (0%)Some College (1%)Associate's Degree (0%)Bachelor's Degree (5%)Master's Degree (4%)Professional Deg/Doct (80%)Doctorate (9%)
Bachelor's degree pathways
College majors held by lawyers, judges, and magistrates

This table shows the college majors held by people working as lawyers, judges, and magistrates. Select any degree to see detailed information. We are able to connect careers to degrees using the American Community Survey (ACS), and their degrees are defined a little differently from our programs, which are based on standard CIP classifications. Therefore, selecting some degrees will lead to a selection of CIP-level programs from which to choose.

If you see "**" before the name of a degree/program, that means this field is one that the Department of Education believes is preparatory for this career. However, you can see from this list that those recommendations are far from your only path to this job!

Degree
Select any title to learn more about that degree
Percentage of Lawyers, judges, and magistrates with this degree
Salary for all majors
Salary distribution (across jobs). Showing 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
Final education level of all people with this major
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Gender of people this bachelor's degree
Men
Women
8.5%
$0$200K$60K
5.6%
$0$200K$73K
4.7%
$0$200K$53K
3.3%
$0$200K$63K
2.7%
$0$200K$67K
2.6%
$0$200K$72K
2.3%
$0$200K$54K
2.2%
$0$200K$56K
1.7%
$0$200K$63K
1.4%
$0$200K$57K
1.1%
$0$200K$55K
The link between degrees and careers
The link between degrees and careers

With the following "sankey" diagram, you can follow the top ten bachelor's degrees held by people working as lawyers, judges, and magistrates, and then, in turn, you can see the 10 occupations that hire the most of each degree's graduates. This visualization links fields of studies and careers, suggesting both similar careers and options for degrees. The full list of bachelor's degrees held by lawyers, judges, and magistrates given in the previous section reminds us that there are many paths to these careers beyond what we can summarize here.

This job
Top 10 majors
Each major's top ten jobs
Lawyers, judges, and magistratesManagers (specialized areas)Elementary and middle school teachersChief executives and legislatorsPostsecondary teachersManagement analystsEducation administratorsFinancial managersMarketing and sales managersFirst-line supervisors of retail sales workersSecondary school teachersWholesale and manufacturing sales representativesSecretaries and administrative assistantsEditorsWriters and authorsAccountants and auditorsPersonal financial advisorsFirst-line supervisors of non-retail sales workersCounselorsSocial workersPsychologistsPhysicians and surgeonsHuman resources workersRetail salespersonsClergyApplications and systems software developersBookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerksFirst-line supervisors of office and administrative support workersFinancial analystsPolice officersProbation officers and correctional treatment specialistsSecurity Guards and Gaming Surveillance OfficersBailiffs, correctional officers, and jailersDetectives and criminal investigatorsFirst-Line Supervisors of Police and DetectivesPolitical Science andGovernmentHistoryEnglish Language andLiteratureEconomicsPsychologyBusiness Management andAdministrationGeneral BusinessPhilosophy and ReligiousStudiesAccountingCriminal Justice and FireProtectionAll other degrees
Switching Careers
Most common new jobs
The most common next careers for lawyers, judges, and magistrates

What jobs will most lawyers, judges, and magistrates hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of lawyers, judges, and magistrates reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list? For lawyers, judges, and magistrates, there isn't a lot of action in this chart! This isn't a career that invites much moving around.

Lawyers, judges, and magistratesManagers (specialized areas)
Full prior and next career listings
Prior and next careers for lawyers, judges, and magistrates: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as lawyers, judges, and magistrates? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of lawyers, judges, and magistrates surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Prior careers for lawyers, judges, and magistrates
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Percentage Transitioning
What percentage worked in this job the previous year?
Lawyers, judges, and magistrates
44,000
$0$200K$93K
84.3%
No occupation
2.9%
Read about lawyers
Responsibilities and activities
Responsibilities and activities

Lawyers typically do the following:

  • Advise and represent clients in courts, before government agencies, and in private legal matters
  • Communicate with their clients, colleagues, judges, and others involved in the case
  • Conduct research and analysis of legal problems
  • Interpret laws, rulings, and regulations for individuals and businesses
  • Present facts in writing and verbally to their clients or others, and argue on behalf of their clients
  • Prepare and file legal documents, such as lawsuits, appeals, wills, contracts, and deeds

Lawyers, also called attorneys, act as both advocates and advisors.

As advocates, they represent one of the parties in a criminal or civil trial by presenting evidence and arguing in support of their client.

As advisors, lawyers counsel their clients about their legal rights and obligations and suggest courses of action in business and personal matters. All attorneys research the intent of laws and judicial decisions and apply the laws to the specific circumstances that their clients face.

Lawyers often oversee the work of support staff, such as paralegals and legal assistants and legal secretaries.

Lawyers may have different titles and different duties, depending on where they work.

In law firms, lawyers, sometimes called associates, perform legal work for individuals or businesses. Those who represent and defend the accused may be called criminal law attorneys or defense attorneys.

Attorneys also work for federal, state, and local governments. Prosecutors typically work for the government to file a lawsuit, or charge, against an individual or corporation accused of violating the law. Some may also work as public defense attorneys, representing individuals who could not afford to hire their own private attorney.

Others may work as government counsels for administrative bodies and executive or legislative branches of government. They write and interpret laws and regulations and set up procedures to enforce them. Government counsels also write legal reviews of agency decisions. They argue civil and criminal cases on behalf of the government.

Corporate counsels, also called in-house counsels, are lawyers who work for corporations. They advise a corporation’s executives about legal issues related to the corporation’s business activities. These issues may involve patents, government regulations, contracts with other companies, property interests, taxes, or collective-bargaining agreements with unions.

Public-interest lawyers work for private, nonprofit organizations that provide legal services to disadvantaged people or others who otherwise might not be able to afford legal representation. They generally handle civil cases, such as those having to do with leases, job discrimination, and wage disputes, rather than criminal cases.

In addition to working in different industries, lawyers may specialize in particular legal fields. Following are examples of types of lawyers in these fields:

Environmental lawyers deal with issues and regulations that are related to the environment. For example, they may work for advocacy groups, waste disposal companies, or government agencies to help ensure compliance with relevant laws.

Tax lawyers handle a variety of tax-related issues for individuals and corporations. They may help clients navigate complex tax regulations, so that clients pay the appropriate tax on items such as income, profits, and property. For example, tax lawyers may advise a corporation on how much tax it needs to pay from profits made in different states in order to comply with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules.

Intellectual property lawyers deal with the laws related to inventions, patents, trademarks, and creative works, such as music, books, and movies. For example, an intellectual property lawyer may advise a client about whether it is okay to use published material in the client’s forthcoming book.

Family lawyers handle a variety of legal issues that pertain to the family. They may advise clients regarding divorce, child custody, and adoption proceedings.

Securities lawyers work on legal issues arising from the buying and selling of stocks, ensuring that all disclosure requirements are met. They may advise corporations that are interested in listing in the stock exchange through an initial public offering (IPO) or in buying shares in another corporation.

Personality and skills
Personality and skills

Can you see yourself in the ranks of lawyers? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.

Analytical skills
Lawyers help their clients resolve problems and issues. As a result, they must be able to analyze large amounts of information, determine relevant facts, and propose viable solutions.
Interpersonal skills
Lawyers must win the respect and confidence of their clients by building a trusting relationship so that clients feel comfortable enough to share personal information related to their case.
Problem-solving skills
Lawyers must separate their emotions and prejudice from their clients’ problems and objectively evaluate the relevant applicable information. Therefore, good problem-solving skills are important for lawyers, to prepare the best defense and recommendations for their clients.
Research skills
Lawyers need to be able to find those laws and regulations which apply to a specific matter, in order to provide the appropriate legal advice for their clients.
Speaking skills
Lawyers must be able to clearly present and explain their case to arbitrators, mediators, opposing parties, judges, or juries, because they are speaking on behalf of their clients.
Writing skills
Lawyers need to be precise and specific when preparing documents, such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorney.
Trends in employment
Salary trends
Distribution and trends: Salaries for lawyers
Choose actual dollars or inflation-adjusted dollars to view
Adjusted for inflation
Historic dollars

In 2018, the median (middle) salary for lawyers was higher than 96% of all other jobs' middle salaries. This graphic shows how the salary distribution (adjusted for inflation) has changed for this job over recent years. The gray line, as a comparison, shows the median salary of all US workers.

This job's median $121KAll jobs' median $39K$125K$38K200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018$0$50K$100K$150K$200K$250K

Note: The salaries for lawyers have been top-coded by the BLS; in 2018, all annual salaries larger than $208,000 are recorded as $208,000.

Projected versus actual employment
Exploring actual employment trends versus projected trends

Currently, jobs for lawyers are anticipated to grow by 8% over the next decade, which is faster growth than is predicted for 49% of other jobs.

The projected employment for lawyers is the best guess created by talented economists and statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, as you look through several careers you'll notice that the projections are heavily influenced by past performance and may miss current trends. No one can tell the future, and as new information and better techniques are developed, actual counts and future projections may change. Here's a glimpse at the actual counts versus the projections over time.

20002010202020300200,000400,000600,000800,0001,000,000
Employment counts
Actual measured employment
BLS 10-year predictions
Variation by state
Employment
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most lawyers? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as lawyers. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

One important factor in the differences between ACS and BLS data is that the ACS numbers are for all lawyers, judges, and magistrates, comprised of all specialities listed in the menu bar, and you can choose to view the BLS at the specialty or full career level.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS for this specialty
Number of Lawyers per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.010.020.030.040.050.0
Salary
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where lawyers earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for lawyers, judges, and magistrates compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for lawyers, judges, and magistrates.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information. The ACS salaries are for all lawyers, judges, and magistrates, which combines the specialities from which you can choose at the top of the page.

Choose the metric to review
In-state comparisions
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS for this specialty
Median salary ratio: Lawyers to all workers (BLS for this specialty)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which lawyers earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.01.02.03.04.0
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the dots below to find other jobs you might like. The dots closer to the top represent jobs that are like Lawyers, judges, and magistrates (shown with a blue star). Look for the dots to the right to find the best salaries! (We pulled salary data from BLS, and they give a top salary value of just over $200K to protect privacy, so our graph would go much higher if the salaries were not top coded.)

How should the career similarity be computed

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?
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