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.

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.

Learn More About How To Become an Attorney

Attorney Career Paths

Average Salary for an Attorney

Attorneys in America make an average salary of $109,476 per year or $53 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $172,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $69,000 per year.
Average Attorney Salary
$109,476 Yearly
$52.63 hourly
$69,000
10 %
$109,000
Median
$172,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

salary-calculator
How To Become an Attorney
How To Become an Attorney Career Overview

States With The Most Attorney Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active attorney jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where attorneys earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Attorney Jobs By State

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

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, 18.7% of attorneys listed litigation on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and interpersonal skills are important as well.

  • Litigation, 18.7%
  • Legal Research, 9.0%
  • Law Firm, 8.2%
  • Legal Issues, 6.1%
  • Legal Advice, 5.0%
  • Other Skills, 53.0%

Choose From 10+ Customizable Attorney Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Attorney templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Attorney resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Attorney Demographics

Attorney Gender Distribution

Female
Female
50%
Male
Male
50%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among attorneys, 50.1% of them are women, while 49.9% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among attorneys is White, which makes up 79.3% of all attorneys.

  • The most common foreign language among attorneys is Spanish at 48.9%.

Work Experience Programs For Attorneys

Virtual work experience programs replicate work at top companies and help you gain the skills to be successful when applying and working there. In only a few hours, learn the relevant tools necessary to complete a typical work day at that company. Virtual work experience programs are 100% free, open-access, and self-paced. No experience or application is required!

Intellectual Property Litigation Program

Company: Latham & Watkins

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-5.5 hours

Intellectual Property Program

Company: Shepherd and Wedderburn

Cost: Free

Duration: 1-2 hours

Law School Experience Program

Company: Winston & Strawn

Cost: Free

Duration: 6-7 hours

Introduction to Law Program

Company: Monash University

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Consulting Solutions in the Legal Industry Program

Company: MinterEllison

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Human Rights Law Program

Company: Leo Cussen

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Disputes, Competition & Insurance Program

Company: MinterEllison

Cost: Free

Duration: 3-4 hours

Intellectual Property and Competition Program

Company: Ashurst UK

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Restructuring & Special Situations Program

Company: Latham & Watkins

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Commercial Law Program

Company: White & Case Australia

Cost: Free

Duration: 10-13 hours

Online Courses For Attorney That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  
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
4.4
(1,259)

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

Effective Legal Office Administration
udemy
4.3
(760)

Effective Legal Office Administration...

Show More Attorney Courses
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Full Time
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Internship
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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 New York, California, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Attorneys make the most in New York with an average salary of $130,648. Whereas in California and Massachusetts, they would average $125,659 and $115,902, respectively. While attorneys would only make an average of $107,945 in Connecticut, 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:
$199,000
Location Quotient:
2.1

2. District of Columbia

Total Attorney Jobs:
229
Highest 10% Earn:
$195,000
Location Quotient:
8.23

3. California

Total Attorney Jobs:
694
Highest 10% Earn:
$197,000
Location Quotient:
1.43
Full List Of Best States For Attorneys

How Do Attorney Rate Their Jobs?

Zippia Official Logo

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 was the best, especially with an average salary of $201,744. Robert Half follows up with an average salary of $106,497, and then comes Davis Polk & Wardwell with an average of $193,421. 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 Ford Motor, Mercury Insurance, and Axiom Global

Most Common Employers For Attorney

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Skadden$201,744$96.99329
2Willkie Farr & Gallagher$201,411$96.8351
3Latham & Watkins$201,160$96.71220
4Baker McKenzie$198,430$95.4035
5Perkins Coie$193,869$93.2142
6Davis Polk & Wardwell$193,421$92.99220
7Clifford Chance$192,789$92.6948
8Morrison & Foerster$176,794$85.00137
9King & Spalding$164,425$79.0534
10SpecialCounsel$158,608$76.2554

Attorney Videos

Becoming an Attorney FAQs

How Long Does It Take To Become An Attorney?

It takes 5 years of professional experience to become an attorney. That is the time it takes to learn specific attorney skills, but does not account for time spent in formal education. If you include the normal education requirements to complete a doctorate degree, then it takes 14 to 16 years years to become an attorney.

Can I Become A Lawyer At 30?

Yes, you can become a lawyer at 30. While the path to becoming a lawyer is a long one - between going to college then law school and taking a bar exam - it is possible to become a lawyer after you turn 30.

How Many Years Does It Take To Become An Attorney?

It takes around seven years to become an attorney. Earning a law degree typically involves four years of college to complete a bachelor's degree followed by three years of law school, for a total of 7 years of formal education.

How Much Do Attorneys Make?

An attorney makes $86,000 a year, on average. There is a considerable range, however, and how much an attorney can make. This can start as low as $50,000 to as high as $200,000 a year. Boxers such as the location and company type all impact how much an attorney can make.

Is It Hard To Become A Lawyer?

Yes, it's hard to become a lawyer. The process of becoming a lawyer isn't for the faint of heart. It takes seven years of full-time post-secondary education to become a lawyer. This breaks down to 4 years for a Bachelor's degree, followed by three years of law school.

What Is The Difference Between A Lawyer And An Attorney?

The difference between a lawyer and an attorney comes down to whether or not you can practice law in court. A lawyer is someone who has gone to law school but doesn't practice law in court. In contrast, an attorney has completed law school, passed the bar exam, and can practice law in the courtroom.

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