Top Paying Law Careers


Most of America's highest-paying jobs are in the medical field; however, law careers are also well known for their lucrative pay and prestige. Lawyers and other law-related professions consistently rank among America's highest-paying jobs. Most law careers require extensive education and preparation, and they can have demanding hours and work requirements.


  • Attorneys, or lawyers, were ranked 15th in CNN's ranking of the top-paying jobs in the U.S., and 16th by Forbes online. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), lawyers made an average annual salary of $110,590. Becoming a lawyer requires an undergraduate degree, three years of law school and passing the bar examination. Many lawyers are self-employed or work as partners in law firms. According to the BLS, 33 percent of lawyers work more than 50 hours per week.

Law Professors

  • Law professors at the postsecondary level were ranked among America's top-paying jobs by both CNN (25th) and Forbes (24th). Professors teach law courses to students at the undergraduate or graduate level. They can work in colleges, universities or junior colleges. Some law teachers focus solely on teaching classes; others combine teaching and research. According to the BLS, law professors make an average annual income of $99,040. Professors who work in colleges and universities make an average income of $112,320.


  • Judges and magistrates were ranked 29th on CNN's list of the top-paying American careers. Judges can work at the local, state or federal level. These careers require a minimum of a bachelor's degree and experience in the field. State and federal judges must have completed law school and passed the bar exams. According to the BLS, many states require that judges complete continuing education classes during their term. Average annual income for judges, magistrates and other judicial careers was $110,220 as of May 2008, as noted by the BLS.

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