The Average Salary of Criminal Lawyers


According to the website, the average salary of a criminal lawyer is $78,500 annually, with a salary range of $45,000 to $130,000. Public defenders and prosecuting district attorneys both belong to the public employee criminal lawyer community. The SimplyHired careers website says assistant public defenders earn an average 2014 salary of $46,000 while assistant district attorneys earn about $55,000. Criminal lawyers in individual private practices earn the lowest salaries among lawyers, however.

Defense Versus Prosecution

  • In a 2010 survey, the National Association for Law Placement found that salaries for criminal defense lawyers in established law firms ranged from $80,000 to $172,500. NALP's 2012 survey of public interest attorneys says that public defenders earned average salaries of $50,500 to $78,600. Assistant district attorney salaries from $62,800 to $72,600, according to NALP. Nationally, SimplyHired says average salary for all criminal defense attorneys, public and private, is $58,000 as of 2014.

Criminal Lawyer Salaries by Location

  • According to the Salary Expert website, a New York criminal defense lawyer in private practice earns a 2014 salary of about $118,000 while one in Abilene, Texas makes about $63,000. As of 2014, the Texas Tribune website says the salary range for non-management prosecuting attorneys in Dallas County is $53,783 to $119,055. By contrast, the starting salary for a prosecuting attorney in the Miami-Dade County region of Florida is $40,000 as of 2014.

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