What is an Attorney

An attorney's job is to be there for people who are down on their luck, legally, of course. They provide legal advice to individuals, businesses and even government agencies (yes, the government can get into trouble too).

While a degree in law may not sound too bad, this profession also requires that you pass the bar exam. Which, if you haven't heard of before, it's pretty difficult to pass. If you're willing to put in the study hours, though, the average attorney makes $122,960 a year. So that's definitely a plus.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being an attorney. For example, did you know that they make an average of $51.96 an hour? That's $108,074 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 6% and produce 50,100 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does an Attorney Do

There are certain skills that many attorneys have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed analytical skills, interpersonal skills and problem-solving skills.

Learn more about what an Attorney does

How To Become an Attorney

If you're interested in becoming an attorney, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 39.6% of attorneys have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 5.4% of attorneys have master's degrees. Even though most attorneys have a college degree, it's impossible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become an attorney. When we researched the most common majors for an attorney, we found that they most commonly earn doctoral degree degrees or bachelor's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on attorney resumes include master's degree degrees or associate degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become an attorney. In fact, many attorney jobs require experience in a role such as law clerk. Meanwhile, many attorneys also have previous career experience in roles such as legal extern or internship.

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Average Salary
$108,074
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
6%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
8,389
Job Openings
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Attorney Career Paths

Top Careers Before Attorney

Attorney Jobs You Might Like

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Average Salary for an Attorney

Attorneys in America make an average salary of $108,074 per year or $52 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $197,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $59,000 per year.
Average Salary
$108,074
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Attorney Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming an Attorney. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write an Attorney Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Attorney resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Attorney Resume Examples And Templates

Attorney Demographics

Attorney Gender Statistics

female

48.3 %

male

46.9 %

unknown

4.8 %

Attorney Ethnicity Statistics

White

80.3 %

Hispanic or Latino

6.8 %

Asian

5.4 %

Attorney Foreign Languages Spoken Statistics

Spanish

48.9 %

French

13.4 %

Portuguese

4.9 %
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Create The Perfect Resume

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Attorney Education

Attorney Majors

51.8 %

Attorney Degrees

Doctorate

48.0 %

Bachelors

39.6 %

Masters

5.4 %

Top Colleges for Attorneys

1. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

2. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

3. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

4. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

5. Yale University

New Haven, CT • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,430
Enrollment
5,963

6. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105

7. Georgetown University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,104
Enrollment
7,089

8. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Private

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079

9. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

10. University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,391
Enrollment
8,568
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Online Courses For Attorney That You May Like

Intellectual Property Law in Digital Age
coursera

A unique course will help students to get a comprehensive legal education in the field of intellectual property in a fairly short time. The objective of the course is to be as practice-oriented as possible. The course examines the main institutions of intellectual property law: copyright and related rights, patent law, trademark law, legal regulation of domains. The course also includes sections of intellectual property in Software, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and Big Data. The c...

Employment Law Compliance Made Easy
udemy
4.6
(1,037)

A comprehensive course for management to understand key employment law issues in the workplace...

Effective Legal Office Administration
udemy
4.6
(529)

Effective Legal Office Administration...

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Top Skills For an Attorney

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 30.3% of attorneys listed legal advice on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and interpersonal skills are important as well.

  • Legal Advice, 30.3%
  • Law Firm, 10.8%
  • Legal Documents, 5.3%
  • Civil Litigation, 3.6%
  • Criminal Cases, 3.1%
  • Other Skills, 46.9%
  • See All Attorney Skills

12 Attorney RESUME EXAMPLES

Best States For an Attorney

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as an attorney. The best states for people in this position are California, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Attorneys make the most in California with an average salary of $132,423. Whereas in New York and Connecticut, they would average $131,442 and $114,304, respectively. While attorneys would only make an average of $108,184 in Massachusetts, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. New York

Total Attorney Jobs:
447
Highest 10% Earn:
$218,000
Location Quotient:
2.1
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. California

Total Attorney Jobs:
694
Highest 10% Earn:
$220,000
Location Quotient:
1.43
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. District of Columbia

Total Attorney Jobs:
229
Highest 10% Earn:
$197,000
Location Quotient:
8.23
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Attorneys

How Do Attorney Rate Their Jobs?

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5.0

Defense Attorney- PartnerFebruary 2019

5.0

Zippia Official LogoDefense Attorney- PartnerFebruary 2019

What do you like the most about working as Attorney?

As a civil litigation defense attorney I love the fact that every day is different. I enjoy assisting clients who have a problem to solve that problem in the most cost effective way, and how to avoid such problems in the future. I like that I basically set my own work schedule (other than court dates). Show More

What do you NOT like?

Billing hours. Unscrupulous opposing counsel. Occasional biased judges who do not follow the law. Show More

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Top Attorney Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ attorneys and discovered their number of attorney opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom was the best, especially with an average salary of $200,016. Robert Half International follows up with an average salary of $95,518, and then comes Law.com with an average of $123,463. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as an attorney. The employers include Robert Half International, TransPerfect, and City of Aurora

Attorney Videos

Updated August 18, 2021