how much does a solo practice lawyer make

by Kaya Reichert 5 min read

Solo Practitioner Attorney Salary
Annual SalaryMonthly Pay
Top Earners$127,500$10,625
75th Percentile$100,000$8,333
25th Percentile$44,500$3,708

Full Answer

How much do solo&small firm lawyers make?

Solo & Small Firm Lawyers Average $198k/year…So Why Do We Portray Solos As Losers? To paraphrase Mark Twain, the death of the solo and small firm practitioner has been greatly exaggerated.

Do solo practice attorneys make more money?

Finally, there’s so much variation in types of solo practices. Solos with big law experience or running sophisticated IP or regulatory shops serving corporate clients are likely to earn salaries more in line with junior big firm partners than with a solo divorce or disabilities benefits attorneys.

Should you start a solo law firm?

You practice the law you want, you pick the clients you want, you work the hours you want. And you keep the profits. Often, the idea of launching a solo law firm is more daunting than the reality.

How much does a lawyer make?

A lawyer working for a salary will max out at around $150,000 per year when working for a law firm unless he or she participates in a bonus pool. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts that salaried jobs for lawyers will grow 6% per year until 2028. More people are graduating from law schools than there are jobs at law firms.


How do solo lawyers make money?

Here are eight ways to start doing that.Stop wasting time with the wrong clients. ... Spend time getting better clients. ... Work smarter, not longer. ... Spend less money. ... Improve your client intake process. ... Accept credit card payments to get paid faster. ... Hire staff or use cost-effective services. ... Use technology to streamline your day.

What type of lawyer gets paid most?

Some of the highest-paid lawyers are:Medical Lawyers – Average $138,431. Medical lawyers make one of the highest median wages in the legal field. ... Intellectual Property Attorneys – Average $128,913. ... Trial Attorneys – Average $97,158. ... Tax Attorneys – Average $101,204. ... Corporate Lawyers – $116,361.

What is the lowest a lawyer can make?

The lowest recorded annual salary of a lawyer in the United States is around $61,500. Although that's significantly lower than the national average, very few jobs in this profession pay that little. Meanwhile, some lawyers make more than $200k a year. The top lawyer salary hovers around $208,000.

Do lawyers work alone?

A handful of lawyers work independently in solo practices but most practicing lawyers work as part of a larger team of lawyers. Over three-quarters of the one million-plus licensed attorneys in the nation work in private practice.

How can a lawyer make 7 figures?

4 Keys to Achieving a 7-Figure IncomeRun your law firm like a business. You studied the law as a noble profession, but to break the seven-figure barrier, you must run your law firm like a business. ... Focus on a niche. ... Identify your ideal target market. ... Pay attention to your firm's finances.

Are all lawyers rich?

The majority of lawyers, or rather attorneys, are not rich, but many of them make a decent income in exchange for complex work.

What is the easiest field of law?

Estate Planning Although being a legal clerk is the easiest career path, it is only suited for beginners. Estate planning wins the most stress-free legal practice area when practicing law for lawyers. Many lawyers avoid estate planning as it is a field of law associated with death.

What is the highest paying job in the world?

anesthesiologistThe highest-paying job in the world, in a traditional sense, holds the number one spot in this article: anesthesiologist. They are also the only job listed above $300,000 a year. The list, however, does not take into account mega-CEOs like Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos, who make considerably more than that.

How difficult is law school?

You need to put in the necessary work throughout the program if you want to succeed. In summary, law school is hard. Harder than regular college or universities, in terms of stress, workload, and required commitment. But about 40,000 people graduate from law schools every year–so it is clearly attainable.

Is starting a law firm hard?

Starting your own law firm is not easy. It's common for first-time solo practitioners to feel as if they've led themselves directly into an uphill battle. When it's all said and done, the volume of tasks required at each stage of a client's journey can be daunting.

How many hours do lawyers work a day?

While there are (admittedly rare) exceptions, most lawyers work a minimum of 10-12 hours a day, with many working until the wee hours of the morning in the weeks before an important deadline.

What are the pros of being a lawyer?

The Top 7 Benefits of Being a LawyerWide Selection of Career Options. ... Financial Rewards and Emotional Rewards. ... Mental Stimulation and Intellectual Challenges. ... Argue and Debate. ... Work Environment. ... Skills that Transfer – Alternative Legal Careers. ... Flexibility.

Making More or Making Less?

When comparing their 2018 earnings to their 2017 pay, close to half of the respondents reported increases .

Who Is Earning the Most?

The highest-earning practice area this year is medical malpractice, which boasts an average salary of $267,000.

The Report

The full Attorney Compensation Report offers a more detailed picture with details such as:

Featured Content

New research shows that each woman experiences the disparity of gender pay gap in different ways, depending on her position, age, race and education.

What is the Pay by Experience Level for Attorney, Solo Practitioners?

An early career Attorney, Solo Practitioner with 1-4 years of experience earns an average total compensation (includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of $57,500 based on 5 salaries. A mid-career Attorney, Solo Practitioner with 5-9 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $85,000 based on 12 salaries. An …Read more

What Do Attorney, Solo Practitioners Do?

Solo practitioner attorneys are self-employed individuals work in a variety of areas of law.

Job Satisfaction for Attorney, Solo Practitioner

We currently don't have any reviews for this job and need at least 5 ratings before we can calculate a satisfaction score. Are you an Attorney, Solo Practitioner? Take our survey to help us meet this goal.

Gender Breakdown

This data is based on 10 survey responses. Learn more about the gender pay gap.

How much do criminal lawyers make?

Compared to other attorneys, criminal lawyers earn the lowest salaries of any type of lawyers. The average salary for a criminal lawyer is $78,500. Those who work for themselves can make a lot more.

How much do P.I. attorneys make?

Some create a kind of factory to churn out lawsuits. The average salary, if you work for them as an attorney, is $73,000. Large firms pay salaries from $81,000 to $164,000 per year.

Why do lawyers take loans?

Lawyers need to be sure to explain to their clients that they can lose their money because nothing is 100% certain in the legal arena. Lawyer’s loans are available for any type of legal need.

How much was Paul McCartney's divorce?

Paul McCartney Divorce of Heather Mills. Reuters reported that the case settled on March 17, 2008, was the equivalent of $48.7 million to Mills. The estimated total legal fees for the case were over $5 million. Mills had only been married to McCartney for four years when they divorced.

How much do medical malpractice lawyers make?

Legal specialists in the medical lawsuits for malpractice cases are paid the most. They earn, on average, $150,991 for their annual salary. The largest win on record as of March 2020, is the class action lawsuit where a cumulative group of tobaccos settlements totaled $206 billion.

How much is a student loan payment for 2020?

To pay this off in ten years, for a $500,000 student loan with 6.55% annual interest (current rate in March 2020), the monthly payment will be $5,690. After you finish paying the loan, you will have repaid the $500,000 borrowed plus $182,816 in interest.

How much is a student loan payment if you pay off over 30 years?

If you stretch out the student loan debt to pay it off over 30 years, your monthly payment will be $3,177, which equals $38,124 to pay each year. That leaves you with $42,226. You buy a median-priced home for $226, 800 with a low-down-payment loan of 5% down for a first-time homebuyer.

What do I need to manage my money as a solo lawyer?

When it comes to managing your money as a solo lawyer, you’ll need an operating account, as well as an IOLTA (Interest on Lawyers Trust Account) account, at the very least. You’ll also want to review the rules for maintaining the IOLTA. They’re not difficult to understand, but they are important.

How do I start a solo law practice?

Do the math. First, you need to take a hard look at the numbers and fully assess your finances.

Do I need a website for my immigration lawyer?

Yes, you need a website, even as a small solo law practice. How fancy does it need to be? That probably depends on your practice; the transactional lawyer’s website looks different from the immigration lawyer’s. But remember that your website often makes your first impression for you—so make it a good one.

Do I need a website for a small law practice?

5. Get your website and other materials in order. Yes, you need a website, even as a small solo law practice.

Is solo law firm rewarding?

On the other hand, it is tremendously rewarding. You practice the law you want, you pick the clients you want, you work the hours you want. And you keep the profits. Often, the idea of launching a solo law firm is more daunting than the reality.

Which state has the highest hourly rate for lawyers?

The Top 10 States for Lawyer Hourly Rates. Just as it did last year, the District of Columbia has the highest lawyer hourly rate, an average of $380, up 8.4% from 2019, when the average was $348. After D.C., the top jurisdictions are, in order, New York at $357 (+3%), California at $338 (+4.4%), Delaware at $333 (+7.2%) and Nevada at $312 (+1.2%).

What states have increased attorney fees?

Attorneys in states with the largest increase in rates include Wyoming at $251, up 9.9% from the previous year, and Iowa at $175, up 9.1% from the previous year. However, one could argue that with such low rates for Iowans with a bar card, there was optimistically no place to go but up.

1. Corporate Law

The primary role of a corporate lawyer in a large law firm is to ensure the legality of company transactions. In most cases, attorneys' salaries with big law firms will start somewhere between $30,000 and $100,000 a year, depending on the size, location and financial condition of the employer.

2. Criminal Law

Criminal defense lawyers represent individuals under investigation for a crime or who have been arrested for a crime. There is room for a huge difference in salaries depending on the type of criminal cases the attorney handles. The salary trajectory based on the type of criminal lawyer and years of experience is:

3. Bankruptcy Law

Attorneys who handle bankruptcy matters assist individuals and companies in filing for bankruptcy relief. They may also work with creditors to file claims in bankruptcy cases.

4. Family Law

Family law is another area of law that is in high demand. It covers all matters related to divorce, including custody, property division, and domestic support. Family law also includes martial agreements and paternity questions.

5. Immigration Law

When it comes to types of private practice lawyers that make the most compensation, immigration lawyers round up the bottom of the list, according to labor statistics. Immigration lawyers are people who work in the field of helping citizens obtain legal documentation of their current status in the United States.

6. Civil Rights Lawyer

A person that focuses on cases that revolve around things like equality, social freedom, human rights, and discrimination are civil rights lawyers. Often, they handle cases where citizens are put under scrutiny for things they cannot control—the color of their skin, sexual orientation, etc.

7. Personal Injury Lawyer

How much money personal injury lawyers made in the United States during 2019 was $122,960 per year, according to the American Bar Association.

Thinking of starting your own solo practice? Here's a cautionary tale

A few weeks ago, I asked for stories from former solo practitioners who have closed up shop and their reasons why. I received a fair number of responses. Some did well, moving on to BigGov, better larger law firms, or decent non-legal jobs, and some even started profitable businesses.

How Legal, Engineering Teams Can Collaborate To Reduce Open Source Risk

Our friends at FOSSA provide concrete best practices for law departments in this free white paper.

Introducing The Complete Legal Tech-To-English Dictionary!

I got average 1L grades and that got me nowhere with OCI. I got no summer associate positions with the large firms. I got some temporary law clerk positions, but the cheap small firms I worked for would only take me on an academic credit internship basis. And none of them offered me a full-time position once I graduated.

Lesson No. 1

I left my job before making any preparations for my new law firm as a solo practitioner. So, in the first few months, I spent a significant amount of time setting up my website, writing website copy ( nearly 10,000 words ), incorporating my practice, buying malpractice insurance, and dealing with technology issues.

Lesson No. 2

Imagining my new practice as a solo practitioner was pure joy and excitement. The possibilities were endless, and I was the boss. I have pages and pages of notes detailing all the technology services I planned on using. ( Shiny Object Syndrome? Guilty as charged.)

Lesson No. 3

Have you ever watched a pro basketball player miss 10 shots in a row and then, without hesitation, take the 11th? When the ball is in his hands, he isn’t worried about those misses. You need to adopt that mindset.

Lesson No. 4

Obvious advice, right? But I sure had a tough time following it. I had so many balls up in the air — client work, marketing, finance, technology, website, and on and on — that knowing what to work on was a challenge.

Lesson No. 6

I would love to have a highly sophisticated Facebook ad campaign that used targeting to capture email addresses from my ideal clients, funneled them into an email drip campaign designed to sign them up for a webinar, and then led them to sign up for an initial consultation. But that’s the holy grail.

Why Do Lawyers Really Struggle for Work-Life Balance?

Successful lawyers adapt and learn new ways to operate their firms so they can keep building their practices while having (or recovering) a life.

Subscribe to Attorney at Work

Get really good ideas every day for your law practice: Subscribe to the Daily Dispatch (it’s free). Follow us on Twitter @attnyatwork.