City Attorney Careers

The city attorney position is one that you are either elected for or appointed to serve the municipal government. As the city attorney, you will handle traffic tickets and civil lawsuits. Your responsibility is extended to the prosecution of misdemeanors and the handling of property violations.

Furthermore, you will provide counsel to the municipal government on legal matters, monitor changes made to state and federal law, and draw up city contracts and laws. For this reason, you need to have extensive knowledge of how the law affects civilians, human resources, taxes, and criminals. As a city attorney, you need to have excellent research skills as you will be providing counsel on a range of legal matters. You need to have brilliant verbal and written skills as communication is something you will carry out on a daily basis.

To become a city attorney, you need to have undertaken an undergraduate degree followed by three years of law school. To obtain your license, you need to pass the bar exam set for the state you would like to practice law and eventually be appointed city attorney.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a city attorney. For example, did you know that they make an average of $44.8 an hour? That's $93,187 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 a City Attorney Do

There are certain skills that many city 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.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a city attorney, we found that a lot of resumes listed 29.3% of city attorneys included legal advice, while 9.4% of resumes included city staff, and 7.3% of resumes included legal documents. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the city attorney job title. But what industry to start with? Most city attorneys actually find jobs in the government and hospitality industries.

How To Become a City Attorney

If you're interested in becoming a city attorney, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 37.8% of city attorneys have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 3.1% of city attorneys have master's degrees. Even though most city 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 a city attorney. When we researched the most common majors for a city attorney, we found that they most commonly earn doctoral degree degrees or bachelor's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on city attorney resumes include associate degree degrees or master's degree degrees.

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

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Average Salary
$93,187
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
6%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
6,609
Job Openings

City Attorney Career Paths

Top Careers Before City Attorney

Law Clerk
17.2 %
Attorney
12.8 %

Top Careers After City Attorney

Attorney
24.5 %

City Attorney Jobs You Might Like

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Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a City Attorney

City Attorneys in America make an average salary of $93,187 per year or $45 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $140,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $61,000 per year.
Average Salary
$93,187
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Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Oakland, CA
Salary Range101k - 196k$141k$141,394
Medford, OR
Salary Range74k - 135k$101k$100,518
Las Cruces, NM
Salary Range64k - 124k$90k$89,582
El Paso, TX
Salary Range63k - 123k$89k$88,580
Seattle, WA
Salary Range67k - 114k$88k$87,612
Glendale, AZ
Salary Range58k - 114k$82k$81,668
$45k
$196k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Assistant City Attorney
Assistant City Attorney
City of Iowa City
City of Iowa City
06/29/2021
06/29/2021
$72,98706/29/2021
$72,987
Assistant City Attorney
Assistant City Attorney
City of San Antonio, Tx
City of San Antonio, Tx
06/19/2021
06/19/2021
$63,74606/19/2021
$63,746
Principal Assistant City Attorney
Principal Assistant City Attorney
City of Tucson
City of Tucson
06/19/2021
06/19/2021
$79,64306/19/2021
$79,643
Assistant City Attorney I (Neighborhood Services)
Assistant City Attorney I (Neighborhood Services)
The City of Houston
The City of Houston
06/18/2021
06/18/2021
$73,82106/18/2021
$73,821
Senior Assistant City Attorney
Senior Assistant City Attorney
City of Ann Arbor
City of Ann Arbor
06/10/2021
06/10/2021
$80,00006/10/2021
$80,000
See More Recent Salaries

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City Attorney Demographics

Gender

male

49.8 %

female

45.3 %

unknown

4.9 %

Ethnicity

White

79.7 %

Hispanic or Latino

7.0 %

Black or African American

5.6 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

43.2 %

French

9.1 %

Japanese

6.8 %
See More Demographics

City Attorney Education

Degrees

Doctorate

49.2 %

Bachelors

37.8 %

Certificate

4.8 %

Top Colleges for City 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
See More Education Info

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Top Skills For a City 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, 29.3% of city attorneys listed legal advice on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and interpersonal skills are important as well.

Best States For a City Attorney

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a city attorney. The best states for people in this position are California, Nevada, Virginia, and Tennessee. City attorneys make the most in California with an average salary of $125,645. Whereas in Nevada and Virginia, they would average $102,695 and $95,561, respectively. While city attorneys would only make an average of $94,679 in Tennessee, 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. California

Total City Attorney Jobs:
473
Highest 10% Earn:
$213,000
Location Quotient:
1.27
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. Nevada

Total City Attorney Jobs:
28
Highest 10% Earn:
$180,000
Location Quotient:
1.05
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 City Attorney Jobs:
133
Highest 10% Earn:
$175,000
Location Quotient:
6.23
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
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Top City Attorney Employers

1. City Of Atlanta Employee Benefits Office
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$71,096
City Attorneys Hired: 
18+
2. Dallas City Attorney
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$67,921
City Attorneys Hired: 
17+
3. Environmental health
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$86,912
City Attorneys Hired: 
16+
4. Miami Beach
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$134,489
City Attorneys Hired: 
12+
5. Santa Barbara
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$138,868
City Attorneys Hired: 
9+
6. City and County of Denver
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$65,218
City Attorneys Hired: 
9+
Updated October 2, 2020