Civil litigation attorneys are legal professionals who specialize in representing clients in legal disputes that do not involve criminal charges. They handle a wide variety of cases, including personal injury claims, contract disputes, and employment law cases. In this article, we’ll explore the salary of civil trial lawyers in the US, including their earning potential, education requirements, and factors that affect their compensation.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for attorneys, including civil trial attorneys, was $126,930 as of May 2020. However, the earning potential for trial attorneys civilians varies widely based on several factors, such as location, experience, and area of expertise.
One of the biggest factors influencing civil trial lawyer salary is location. Different states and cities have different demands on lawyers and different costs of living. For example, the BLS reported that lawyers in California had the highest median annual salary at $183,120, while those in Montana had the lowest at $84,710. Additionally, within a state, there can be significant variation in wages due to the size of the city and the local economy. For example, civil litigation lawyers in Los Angeles and San Francisco earn much higher salaries than those in rural California.
Another important factor that affects the salary of civil trial lawyers is experience. As with most professions, the longer a lawyer practices, the more likely they are to win. The BLS reported that lawyers with less than one year of experience had a median annual salary of $61,490, while those with more than 10 years of experience earned a median salary of $186,350.
Area of Specialization
Civil litigation lawyers can specialize in various areas of law, such as employment law, personal injury law, and intellectual property law. The area of specialization can also affect your salary. For example, according to a survey by the National Association of Law Placement (NALP), lawyers specializing in intellectual property law had the highest median salary at $210,000, while those specializing in employment law had a median salary of $145,000.
To become a civil trial attorney in the US, you must earn a law degree and pass the bar exam in the state where you wish to practice. Law school typically takes three years to complete, and students must have a bachelor’s degree to be eligible for admission. Additionally, many law schools require applicants to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) as part of the admissions process.
After completing law school, graduates must pass their state’s bar exam to obtain a license to practice law. The bar exam is a comprehensive test that assesses an individual’s knowledge of legal principles and their ability to apply them to real-world situations. Each state has its own bar exam, and passing scores vary.
Factors That Affect Civil Litigation Attorney Salaries
- In addition to location, experience, and area of expertise, several other factors can influence the salary of civil trial attorneys, including:
- Firm Size: Lawyers who work for large law firms with more than 500 attorneys tend to earn higher salaries than those who work for smaller firms.
- Practice Area: Demand for attorneys in certain areas of law, such as intellectual property law, can lead to higher salaries.
- Employer type: Lawyers who work for government agencies or non-profit organizations may earn lower salaries than those who work for private law firms.
- Labor Market: The labor market for lawyers can affect salaries. In areas with a surplus of lawyers, salaries may be lower due to increased competition for jobs.
Civil litigation lawyers play a vital role in the legal system by representing clients in a wide range of legal disputes. The average annual salary of lawyers, including civil litigants,