Legal Sector

Legal Occupation
America’s legal system is based on a federal constitution that is held supreme, but each state also has a constitution of its own which governs the people of that state, although the laws enacted at the state level cannot override those of the federal constitution. There is yet another level of government that deals with Native American law, giving the country three separate areas of law. In general, though, the law of the state is the main one that people must be concerned with in their day to day lives.

Employment Options

Over a million people are employed in some aspect of the legal system in America. When we think of the legal profession, we tend to think only of lawyers and judges, but there are many other occupations within this category. There are legal secretaries, court clerks, judicial law clerks, title examiners, legal support workers, paralegals and legal assistants, magistrate judges and magistrates, arbitrators, conciliators, and mediators, and many more.

Median Wage Range

The median wage for the legal profession, with half the people making less and half making more, is $80,080.00 per year. The pay scale reflects the great diversity of the jobs, with court clerks (average wage approximately $30,000) and legal secretaries (averaging $47,468) at the lower end, court reporters (earning an average of $60,060 a year) and Paralegals ($53,910.00) in the middle of the pack, and Judges (averaging $121050.00) and lawyers (average wage $141,890.00) at the top.

Lawyer Salary Ranges

People becoming lawyers can choose between several specialties within the field. They can choose to do tax law, which can earn them about $100,000.00 a year, family law, with an average salary of $70,000.00 a year, patent law or intellectual property law, both paying about $130,000.00 per year, or real estate law, which brings in around $90,000.00 a year. Criminal lawyers who work for the government can expect to make an average of $51,810.00 a year, while criminal lawyers in private practice earn much more – an average of $115,000.00 per year. At the very top of the lawyer pay scale are the medical lawyers, earning an average salary of $150,881.00 yearly.