These Are The 10 Highest Attorney Salaries By State

Chris Kolmar
by Chris Kolmar
Best States For Professions, Rankings - 2 years ago
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Without fail, in surveys across basically every demographic, the number one most important aspect of a job for most people is the salary — how much do attorneys get paid where I live?

And while there are many things to go into how much you can expect to make, there’s really good data for average salaries for attorneys by state across America broken down by seniority level. So while your city may be slightly different than the state average, these averages give you a rough sense of what to expect for your salary.

So to better understand how attorney salaries change across America, we decided to take a look the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on average pay for attorneys by state.

Additionally, we wanted to adjust the salary based on the cost of living in a state — because your salary goes further in North Carolina than it does in California.

The state with the best salary for attorneys after this adjustment? That would be Texas. Here’s a quick snapshot of the top ten states for attorney salaries:

  1. Texas
  2. Delaware
  3. California
  4. Georgia
  5. Tennessee
  6. Pennsylvania
  7. New York
  8. New Jersey
  9. Massachusetts
  10. Colorado

Let’s take a look at how we got here and a full ranking of all the states.

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How we determined attorney pay by state

As we mentioned earlier, we took the average annual salary data for attorneys from the 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics — specifically their “Occupational Employment Statistics”.

However, to make the comparison of salaries apples to apples across states, we also took into account the living wage in each state as defined by MIT.

We then created an index by dividing the average wage for a state by the living wage in that state. As an example, the living wage in California is $57,315 and the average attorney pay is $163,020, so our index value would be:

$163,020 / $57,315 = 2.84

We then ranked every state on this criteria with the state with the highest salary index ranking as highest average salary for attorneys.

Here’s a look at the full ranking for all states.

Detailed List Of Attorney Salaries By State

Rank State Adjusted Salary Average Wage Living Wage
1 Texas $150,313 $143,490 $48,160
2 Delaware $144,696 $152,330 $53,112
3 California $143,494 $163,020 $57,315
4 Georgia $137,537 $130,710 $47,946
5 Tennessee $135,364 $125,530 $46,785
6 Pennsylvania $132,498 $131,090 $49,914
7 New York $132,294 $155,050 $59,128
8 New Jersey $131,248 $145,970 $56,109
9 Massachusetts $129,590 $152,990 $59,560
10 Colorado $127,438 $135,880 $53,792
11 Oklahoma $126,523 $116,900 $46,613
12 Alabama $126,412 $114,820 $45,824
13 North Carolina $126,128 $123,940 $49,575
14 Virginia $125,679 $135,180 $54,264
15 Missouri $125,123 $114,480 $46,159
16 Ohio $124,725 $113,360 $45,853
17 Connecticut $124,722 $147,100 $59,502
18 Minnesota $124,221 $128,320 $52,115
19 Florida $123,743 $128,050 $52,206
20 Arizona $123,480 $125,660 $51,341
21 Rhode Island $122,335 $129,100 $53,240
22 Washington $122,015 $124,000 $51,271
23 Illinois $121,457 $125,920 $52,304
24 Utah $119,540 $113,550 $47,922
25 Indiana $118,742 $110,240 $46,838
26 South Carolina $118,358 $109,250 $46,568
27 Louisiana $116,979 $111,240 $47,975
28 Nevada $115,226 $120,360 $52,698
29 Michigan $114,584 $110,920 $48,837
30 Oregon $114,509 $117,800 $51,900
31 Arkansas $113,553 $100,320 $44,571
32 Alaska $113,058 $121,910 $54,400
33 Mississippi $112,955 $103,180 $46,084
34 Nebraska $111,717 $106,460 $48,076
35 Kansas $111,065 $105,790 $48,054
36 West Virginia $110,607 $98,270 $44,823
37 Iowa $110,247 $106,820 $48,882
38 North Dakota $109,750 $101,840 $46,814
39 Kentucky $108,989 $93,560 $43,308
40 Wyoming $107,453 $102,130 $47,951
41 South Dakota $107,299 $96,580 $45,410
42 Idaho $106,736 $96,900 $45,801
43 Maryland $105,387 $121,530 $58,178
44 New Hampshire $104,804 $114,470 $55,103
45 Vermont $103,478 $106,610 $51,977
46 Wisconsin $100,653 $101,990 $51,120
47 Maine $97,606 $99,260 $51,305
48 New Mexico $95,997 $91,430 $48,050
49 Montana $87,939 $82,070 $47,083
50 Hawaii $86,588 $104,180 $60,700

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