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What Type of Lawyer Makes the Most Money? (+Salaries)


As anyone who works as a lawyer can tell you, there is a common conception that every lawyer is wealthy beyond their wildest dreams. However, this is a more nuanced discussion than most realize. Every lawyer does not earn the same amount and there is much to be learned about the highest paid types of lawyers.

The “what type of lawyer makes the most money?” question is an understandable one. Unless you are someone who has already spent a great deal of time studying the industry, you may not which lawyers are getting paid the most. In order to know what lawyers make the most money, you must also learn more about the different specializations that they will choose.

Lawyers are similar to doctors in this sense. The pay scales will differ immensely depending on the area of specialization that they have chosen. With all that being said, the following guide is here to explain it all. Read on to learn more about the types of lawyers that make the most money.

Our Methodology

We pride ourselves on providing the most accurate information possible. All of the data that is provided in the following list has been corroborated by the good folks at Indeed. This is all part of our carefully chosen criteria, which is as follows:


Much like Santa Claus, we have made our list and we are checking it twice. These are the steps that we take in order to ensure that our readers are receiving the best possible information.

Remaining Open Minded

Because you never have to be wrong, you can merely change your mind when new information is presented to you! As specializations in the world of law evolve, the data that we provide is sure to evolve as well.

Maintaining The Freshest Info

What good is a list like this one if it is not fully up to date? We put in the necessary time and effort to make sure that all of the information that we have to offer is as up-to-date as possible. The Indeed list that we are using as a cross-reference here was updated during July 2023. Glassdoor was also used as a means of checking over various salaries.

The 5 Types of Lawyers That Make The Most Money

5. Bankruptcy Lawyer – $125,048 annually

The pay range for a bankruptcy lawyer falls between $114,000 and $187,000, with a national average of $125,048 annually. A bankruptcy lawyer will work in lending institutions, corporations and public agencies.

Proofs of claims are prepared and filed on behalf of their clients, which tend to be companies that are in the process of filing for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy lawyers have a strong understanding of regulations and financial laws that govern bankruptcy claims.

They will also help a client to prepare financial documents, claim applications and any other required documentation for their case. These clients are usually companies filing for bankruptcy and their unique understanding of the process makes them an invaluable asset.

The company’s financial information is also analyzed and projections are made based on the info. This information includes how much the company is making now, how much it will make later and which type of bankruptcy will be most beneficial to the client.

A bachelor’s degree and a Juris Doctor degree are both required to work as a bankruptcy lawyer. The state’s bar exam must be passed as well.

4. Family Lawyer – $128,809 annually

A family lawyer earns a national average of $128,809 annually, as some family lawyers earn as little as $60,828 per year, with a high of up to $147,800. A family lawyer will be contacted if the client requires assistance with a child custody, divorce, social services, adoption or tax and finance law case.

These lawyers spend a great deal of time meeting with and interviewing various clients. They are also tasked with the collection of documentation. These documents are often centered around individuals who have been involved in a domestic dispute.

Documents and paperwork will also be organized when child custody or divorce cases are taking place. A family lawyer may also go to court and argue cases before a judge.

In order to become a family lawyer, at least seven years of education must be obtained. The process starts by obtaining a four-year undergraduate degree.

From there, an aspiring family lawyer must spend three years at law school. This is where the necessary JD (Juris Doctor) degree is obtained.

3. Tax Attorney – $134,222 annually

Tax attorneys make between $130,000 and $212,000 annually with an average annual salary of $134,222. This type of attorney represents an organization when they are dealing with government taxing agencies which include federal, state and local entities.

Tax attorneys are responsible to their clients for the preparation of legal documents that involve liabilities and for developing plans that help in saving taxes.

The tax structure within the United States is an ever-changing animal and tax attorneys are required to stay on top of all changes to the law as they are enacted and when they are proposed.

They must know if and when proposed changes to the law are scheduled to take place. This requires constant research and study in addition to their day-to-day responsibilities.

Tax lawyers must complete a Juris Doctor degree and must be admitted by a state bar. They must also have previous experience as the leader of a department with between 2 to 4 years of experience in the tax arena.

2. Corporate Lawyer – $137,364 annually

Corporate lawyers make an average of $137,364 annually, but some of the more successful ones can make up to $251,161 in annual salary, while some make as low as $87,890, according to Indeed.

The average is $137,364 per year. A corporate lawyer provides clients with counsel on legal matters pertaining to a variety of different business transactions including the sale of businesses, acquisitions, and mergers.

They perform a lot of contract preparations and read through offers to ensure that the legalese is in the best interests of their clients, which are usually corporations and businesses.

They also assist in the creation of new companies, drafting myriads of contracts, they assist in sourcing venture capital, selling and purchasing ownership interests and a variety of major business transactions.

Lawyers working in corporate law possess a high intellectual level with a keen knowledge of the law as it pertains to business and the corporation as well as impeccable client skills.

1. Patent Attorney – $143,492 per year

When it comes to patent lawyers, there is a misconception that they are performing the same duties as intellectual property lawyers. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. These are two completely different areas of specialization and must be treated as such.

According to Investopedia, patent attorneys differ from intellectual property attorneys and patent agents because their certification process is more rigorous. A patent agent, for example, does not have to pass the bar exam in a US state of territory. Intellectual property attorneys have a different specialization entirely.

A patent attorney specializes solely in patents, as opposed to an intellectual property attorney, who works in a less specialized manner. They are handling intellectual property cases in a more broad sense.

Unlike agents, they must pass the bar exam in at least one state or territory in the U.S., and unlike IP attorneys, they specialize in patents, not other forms of intellectual property broadly.

The processes and legal implications that surround the patenting of intellectual property are handled by patent attorneys. Inventors are assisted with the preparation, filing and submission of patent applications.

Typically, patent attorneys help inventors prepare, file and submit their patent applications. If another individual or entity tries to infringe upon their client’s patent once it has been obtained, the attorney will assist them in raising the necessary lawsuits.

Patent attorneys bring home an average of $143,492 per year, with some making as little as $99,366 and others earning a higher-end salary of up to $284,859.

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Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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