25 of the Highest Paying Legal Jobs in 2023
The best Legal jobs can pay up to $237,500 per year.
Jobs in the legal field help provide legal services, whether by litigating a case in court or advising clients on rules and regulations in their industry. Jobs can range from legal assistants and secretaries to paralegals and lawyers. On the administrative side, you can be a court messenger, legal recruiter, conflict analyst, or compliance specialist. There are also technology jobs, like document coders and litigation support professionals who work with the litigation software crucial for managing case data. Of course, there are also traditional courtroom jobs like judges, lawyers, law clerks, mediators, or court reporters.
The qualifications needed for a career in the legal field can vary significantly by position. For most jobs, you need a bachelor’s degree. However, many positions require a law degree. While in school, you should complete an internship to gain hands-on experience in the role. Law firms are always looking to hire interns to help with cases. Entry-level jobs like a legal secretary or law clerk can also count as experience toward a higher position. You can find jobs in many different locations. While law firms are the most obvious, you can also find legal jobs at banks, corporations, non-profits, insurance companies, and within the government.
High Paying Legal Jobs
Salary range: $212,500-$237,500 per year
The duties of a banking attorney involve providing legal support and advising banks and financial organizations about regulations, contracts, and other finance issues. As a lawyer in this specialty, your responsibilities vary depending on the needs of your employer. You may help draft or review contracts or financial agreements. You may analyze a bank’s operation and assess its compliance with federal and state regulations. You could also perform research and organize a defense for litigation. You can either work as an in-house banking attorney at a bank or as a member of a law firm.
Salary range: $133,500-$226,500 per year
When a company uses a name, logo, or slogan in commercial activity, they acquire a common law trademark. To receive a higher level of protection, they can register that trademark. A trademark attorney specializes in the proactive protection and legal defense of this intellectual property. As a trademark attorney, your responsibilities include visiting clients at home or in their office, gathering information on their case, organizing and producing required documents, and filing required paperwork for patents or trademarks, when appropriate. You may also represent clients in trials in cases of trademark infringement. While your primary job is ensuring a client’s intellectual property is soundly protected from the beginning, a good trademark attorney is also an excellent courtroom advocate. You must have excellent organizational, communication, and public speaking skills in this career.
Salary range: $97,000-$205,500 per year
An energy attorney is a lawyer who is legally authorized to work in the energy sector. Energy attorneys are experts in energy use, regulation, and law. As an energy attorney, you must understand the rules that dictate how companies create and harvest energy. Your responsibilities include handling electricity, gas, coal, and energy trading work. Other duties include representing companies that mine and sell natural resources, as well as handling pipeline agreements, power purchasing, and energy-related contracts. You may also work on contracts regarding renewable energy and biofuels.
Salary range: $46,000-$202,000 per year
A corporate associate is a lawyer who works at a corporate law firm and may practice in various areas depending on their clients, from healthcare and medical malpractice to banking litigation and government relations to intellectual property and insurance coverage. As a corporate associate, your job duties involve advising the firm’s clients on numerous matters, such as regulatory compliance, contracts, transactions, and finance. Qualifications for this career include a law degree and licensure to practice law in your state. Employers prefer you to have a few years of experience in corporate law or at a large law firm as well as excellent writing and speaking skills.
Salary range: $86,000-$200,000 per year
A principal investigator, or PI, is the primary representative of an organization that requests a grant. As a principal investigator, you are responsible for the preparation and completion of the research or project being funded by the grant. Your primary goal is to provide sufficient justification for the proposal or grant request to the funding entities. Other job duties include developing research strategies to gather data, analyzing and writing up a summary of the results of the research, and ensuring the project complies with all applicable laws and regulations. A PI may be required to present the results of the study to faculty, peers, and grant approvers.
Salary range: $132,500-$196,500 per year
A privacy attorney is responsible for advising clients on their legal responsibilities regarding compliance with national and international privacy laws and data security. As a privacy attorney, you may work as counsel to a specific business or work for a firm that is contracted to provide these services for numerous clients. Your duties include drafting policies and contracts that conform to regulatory law, writing and reviewing company statements and privacy policies for customers, and handling the legal ramifications of privacy breaches or failures to comply with legal obligations.
Salary range: $125,000-$195,500 per year
A chief legal officer (CLO) is an executive-level position that oversees a company’s legal team. As a chief legal officer, you advise the organization on all legal matters, such as contracts, compliance, and regulatory issues. Your job duties include investigating issues of non-compliance, suggesting measures to avoid legal risks, and representing the company as the chief litigator in court. You are also involved in hiring, training, and directing department lawyers through corporate legal proceedings.
Salary range: $108,500-$190,000 per year
A general counsel, also known as a chief counsel or a Chief Legal Officer (CLO), acts as the primary legal advisor to the senior leadership board of a business or law firm. Like corporate attorneys, a general counsel is well versed in laws, regulations, and negotiating skills. However, unlike corporate lawyers, these specialists have a broader knowledge base and must be able to identify legal issues in a variety of industries, including engineering, marketing, finance, human resources, and business policy. CEOs depend on a general counsel to give confidential feedback and suggestions on firm cases and internal attorney activity.
Salary range: $76,500-$187,000 per year
Bankruptcy attorneys help debtors file for bankruptcy, understand the legal proceedings surrounding bankruptcy, and manage their court petitions. Most bankruptcy attorneys focus on Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies, which are the most common types of bankruptcy filings. They involve liquidation and wage earner plans. Some bankruptcy attorneys focus on the less common bankruptcy cases, such as Chapter 9 (municipal bankruptcy), Chapter 11 (corporate reorganization), Chapter 12 (farmers and fishermen), and Chapter 15 (ancillary or international cases). As a bankruptcy attorney, you occasionally need to travel to courts in different districts, depending on where your client's assets are and where they live.
Salary range: $130,000-$183,500 per year
As corporate counsel, your duties are to advise a business, corporation, or other large organization on all legal matters. This could include overseeing regulatory compliance, financial reporting, contract negotiation, mergers and acquisitions, or the litigation of lawsuits and internal worker complaints. As corporate counsel, you also have a significant number of duties related to public relations and interacting with internal and external stakeholders, such as shareholders and regulators. You often work in tandem with lawyers attached to other departments to ensure that you coordinate the company’s legal compliance efforts.
Salary range: $88,500-$180,000 per year
An employee benefits attorney counsels employers on different benefit plan options and ensures compliance with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, a federal law also known as ERISA. As a lawyer in this type of law practice, responsibilities involve assisting HR with the development, implementation, and compliance of all pension, health, and disability plans. They also advise clients on other labor laws as well as executive benefits, addressing concerns surrounding equity-based compensation, bonuses, and supplemental retirement. An employee benefits attorney typically works for a law firm or in-house.
Salary range: $112,000-$175,000 per year
As a patent attorney, you work with clients to protect their inventions and intellectual property, ensuring that they have exclusive rights to it for a period. You may be asked to file patents with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to protect your client’s right to market and manufacture a product. You may also appear in court to settle disputes over patents and protect your client’s rights and profits.
Salary range: $103,000-$174,000 per year
Corporate lawyers specialize in corporate law practice. Their job is to serve corporation entities such as LLCs, partnerships, and alliances with legal matters, such as formation, operation, and governance. A corporate lawyer may also represent clients in court when necessary. The day-to-day job duties of a corporate lawyer vary widely, depending on their current client and case. At the start of cases, the corporate lawyer meets with the clients and assesses their needs, strategizes legal solutions, and provides legal counsel. Daily duties may include the initiation of incorporation articles or extensive case preparation.
Salary range: $118,500-$172,000 per year
Businesses hire lawyers as in-house counsel to oversee legal matters in the company. In-house counsel, also called corporate counsel, may consist of one attorney or a large legal department, depending on the size of the organization. These attorneys provide legal advice on a variety of issues that affect the company, including employment, taxes, and other regulations. Unlike lawyers at a big firm that specialize in certain types of law, in-house counsel needs to have a broad understanding of many different types of legal codes. Corporations usually outsource litigious cases to law firms, so in-house counsel also oversees the work of the outside attorneys.
Salary range: $99,500-$171,500 per year
As a contracts director, your main responsibilities are to negotiate contracts, monitor subcontractors, communicate with employees and clients, oversee and resolve disputes, and process changes. Your job duties include communicating with subcontractors, organizing labor, collaborating with teams of employees, managing concurrent projects, handling client expectations, implementing policies and guidelines, and visiting multiple work sites. You need exceptional communication abilities, strong negotiating skills, positive leadership traits, and experience overseeing multiple projects at once. You can find contracts director roles in many industries including construction, education, public service, the private sector, and others.
Salary range: $91,500-$171,500 per year
Real estate attorneys, also known as property real estate attorneys, are lawyers who specialize in real estate related legal matters. Property buyers and sellers often rely on real estate attorneys during the closing process on real estate deals and when real estates disputes arise. During real estate transactions, a real estate attorney draws up purchase agreements, title documents, and mortgage contracts. All documentation must be thoroughly reviewed and audited by the real estate attorney to ensure accuracy. In the case of a real estate dispute, such as line lot problems, contract disagreements, or chain of title discrepancies, a real estate attorney steps in to mediate. Issues that are not resolved through mediation go to court, where the real estate attorney represents their client.
Salary range: $134,000-$170,500 per year
As a mergers and acquisitions attorney, your responsibilities revolve around providing legal guidance and advice for a company that is merging with or acquiring another company. You provide legal advice and mediate negotiations before the merge and ensure that all finalizing paperwork is completed in full and filed with the appropriate agencies. You ensure the parties involved meet all regulatory requirements while merging with, absorbing, or acquiring one another. In some situations, you may represent a company during legal proceedings related to a merger.
Salary range: $102,000-$170,500 per year
An employment attorney is a lawyer that specializes in cases that involve employees, employers, and employment-related issues. In this role, you are responsible for advising your clients on the various employment regulations and alerting them to illegal activity. Your job duties include representing employers at Equal Employment Opportunities Commission hearings and advising on issues related to the National Labor Relations Board. The qualifications needed for a career as an employment attorney include a law degree, experience with employment law, and excellent communication and negotiation skills.
Salary range: $100,000-$170,000 per year
A legal entity controller, or a legal entity consultant, is involved in the financial management of a company. In this career, your duties involve organizing financial controls around all the different entities within your firm. This career requires skills in technical accounting. You must also be able to work with the financial department team and have experience communicating information with executives and management. Job qualifications generally include a bachelor’s degree and certification in accounting. Investment firms and other financial companies often hire legal entity controllers.
Salary range: $111,500-$167,000 per year
The general counsel of a company is the lead attorney in a company or organization. A deputy general counsel is second-in-command, helping the general counsel oversee the other lawyers in the department and provide legal advice to cases affecting the business. As a deputy general counsel, your job duties include conducting legal research, preparing legal documents, reviewing contracts, and appearing in court for legal proceedings. You report directly to the general counsel. Attorneys aspiring to become a deputy general counsel typically work in the business sector for several years before moving into this career.
Salary range: $110,500-$166,000 per year
A commercial litigation attorney handles all legal disputes that occur in a business context for an organization. Your main job duties include preparing information for a court case by interviewing witnesses and reviewing documents. You should have experience working through licensing and real estate disputes, as well as issues with shareholders or partners. You must complete law school and become a licensed attorney by passing the bar exam. Additional career qualifications include excellent analytical reasoning and critical thinking skills. You must effectively interact with clients and witnesses in a variety of contexts.
Salary range: $100,000-$166,000 per year
As a regulatory attorney, you ensure that your clients follow all regulations relevant to their industry. Your primary duties involve advising clients on business transactions, analyzing laws and regulations, and assisting with legal counsel. You may also represent your clients in court and specialize in an industry, such as renewable energy, telecommunications, or pharmaceutical. Some regulatory attorneys work for a company, government agency, or organization while others work in private practice. To pursue a career as a regulatory attorney, you must earn a bachelor’s degree, complete law school, and pass the state bar exam. Additional qualifications include work experience at a law firm and excellent analytical, research, and communication skills.
Salary range: $100,000-$163,500 per year
A workers’ compensation attorney helps employees injured on the job get benefits during their recovery period when they can not work. As a workers’ compensation lawyer, you have a strong background in workers’ compensation law and medical insurance and know how to file and pursue claims against an employer. The goal is to secure the most benefits possible for your client. You interview witnesses, gather data and information related to a claims case, and prepare arguments and documentation to go to court when an employer chooses not to settle a claim.
Salary range: $105,500-$163,000 per year
A workers compensation defense attorney works with employers to settle workers compensation cases when an insurance adjuster is unable to resolve the case. In this career, your duties are to protect the interests of the employer, assess claimant documentation and legal benefits, and tend to other matters connected to a workman’s comp case. Qualifications for the job include a mix of career experience, education, and skills. You need a law degree and should be an admitted member of the bar in your state. Excellent grasp of employment law and regulations is also necessary.
Salary range: $108,500-$161,500 per year
A managing attorney is a partner at a law firm and oversees the daily operations of the business. As a managing attorney, your job duties include handling budgeting, scheduling, and hiring practices, as well as promoting relationships with clients and associates. At a smaller firm, you may also continue to maintain a caseload and handle trials and settlements. To pursue a career as a managing attorney, you typically need to complete law school, pass the state bar exam, and gain extensive legal experience as a practicing lawyer before you can move up to a management position. Additional qualifications include excellent leadership, communication, and negotiation skills, along with the ability to bring in clients and supervise employees.
1,513+ Legal Jobs in the Ashburn, VA area
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