You might think that lawyers work solely, or primarily, in the legal profession. But this is not true. Lawyers actually work in a wide variety of industries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Using the latest BLS occupational data on attorneys, we’ve analyzed and compiled a roundup of the average attorney salary by industry in the United States. Read on for a full breakdown of the industries (as ranked by the BLS) lawyers make the most money, and where they earn the least, in 2022.
20 sectors where lawyers earn the most money in 2022
The BLS categorizes occupations into broad industry sectors, such as “Sector 53 – Real Estate and Rental and Leasing”, and then further into more detailed industries, such as “Rental and Leasing Services (5322, 5323 and 5324 only)”, with the first two digits “53” indicating this fall under Sector 53 – Real Estate and Rental and Leasing Industry Sector. Here we will look at the more detailed level of industries within industrial sectors.
Remember that the national average annual salary for lawyers is $148,030. Here is an overview of the top 20 industries with the highest average lawyer salaries in 2022:
- Newspaper publishers: $235,630
- Other information services: $235,280
- Research and development in the physical, engineering and life sciences: $234,780
- Manufacture of computer and peripheral equipment: $227,290
- Manufacture of aerospace products and parts: $220,720
- Manufacture of engines, turbines and power transmission equipment: $220,270
- Publishers of newspapers, periodicals, books and directories: $216,290
- Manufacture of audio and video equipment: $214,330
- Manufacture of semiconductors and other electronic components: $209,530
- Manufacture of navigation, measuring, electromedical and control instruments: $208,690
- Electronic shopping and mail order companies: $207,200
- Oil and Gas Extraction: $206,470
- Monetary authorities-Central bank: $206,160
- Cable TV and other subscription programs: $205,930
- Spectator sports: $205,810
- Manufacture of petroleum and coal products: $204,600
- Merchant Wholesalers, Consumables: $202,020
- Data processing, hosting and related services: $201,670
- Specialty hospitals – owned by the state government: $201,620
- Agents and managers of artists, athletes, entertainers and other public figures: $201,180
Across these 20 industries, the average lawyer salary is well above the corresponding national annual average for lawyers of $148,030. Here are some notable tidbits:
- The two highest-paying industries for lawyers are both in the information sector – newspaper publishers and other information services.
- The third highest-paying industry for lawyers – Research and development in the physical, engineering and life sciences – falls under the professional, scientific and technical services sector.
- Six of the highest paying industries for lawyers fall under the manufacturing sector.
- The electronic stores and mail-order houses industry, in which the average salary for lawyers is $207,200, is part of the non-store retailer sub-sector of the larger retail industry sector.
- The oil and gas extraction industry is home to little more than oil drillers and engineers, as evidenced by the average lawyer salary in this industry of $206,470.
- It is perhaps unsurprising that the average salary of a lawyer in the sector of agents and managers of artists, athletes, entertainers and other public figures ranks among the top 10 highest paid sectors. , with an average annual salary of $201,180.
- One of the most unique industries with high average salaries for lawyers is specialty hospitals – a state government-owned industry, with an average annual salary of $201,620.
10 sectors where lawyers earn the least money in 2022
At the other end of the spectrum, the industries in which lawyers earn the least money are:
- Individual and family services: $79,420
- Community food and housing, and emergency and other relief services: $82,390
- Other entertainment and leisure industries: $94,680
- State government, excluding schools and hospitals: $101,110
- Business support services: $102,130
- State government, including schools and hospitals: $102,570
- Social defense organizations: $102,600
- Other specialized contractors: $104,440
- Services for the elderly and people with disabilities: $104,540
- Temporary help services: $105,400