Senior Attorney Salary

Salaries for Senior Attorneys in the United States are generous, with average pay above six figures ($131K) per year. In the world of Senior Attorneys, overall cash allowance can occasionally include more than $41K from bonuses and, in some exceptional cases, $73K from profit sharing, causing incomes to vary widely between $82K and $223K. Location and tenure each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Almost all report receiving medical coverage from their employers and more than half collect dental insurance. Women are just slightly outnumbered, with male Senior Attorneys making up 54 percent of survey respondents. The majority of workers are highly satisfied with their job. The data for this synopsis comes from respondents who took the PayScale salary survey.

$80,642 - $194,608
(Median)
$81K
$130K
$190K
MEDIAN: $131,120
10%
50%
90%

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$17.88 - $304.05
(Median)
$18
$68
$300
MEDIAN: $67.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$80K$160K$240K
Salary
$80,642 - $194,608  
   
Bonus
$226.85 - $41,294  
Profit Sharing
$995 - $73,083  
Commission
$2,500  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$82,012 - $222,785  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 478
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$110$220$330
Hourly Rate
$17.88 - $304.05  
   
Hourly Tips
$6.25  
Overtime
$41.00  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$220K$440K$660K
Bonus
$226.85 - $41,294  
   
Commission
$2,500  
Profit Sharing
$995 - $73,083  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$82,012 - $222,785  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 18
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Job Description for Senior Attorney

A great deal of legal work, including both civil and criminal litigation, is done with teams of lawyers. A senior attorney is the person who helps to manage such teams. He or she is normally a partner in a firm or a high-level specialist retained by one. The senior attorney typically directs the preparations of the team in representing a client. The senior attorney also represents the team when meeting with the legal representatives from the adversarial side of a case. Should the case be argued in court, typically the senior attorney takes the lead in presenting his or her team's information and arguments.

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Senior Attorney Tasks

  • Gather evidence to formulate defense or to initiate legal actions; evaluate findings and develop strategies and arguments for presentation of cases.
  • Analyze and interpret laws, rulings and regulations with probable case outcomes for individuals and businesses.
  • Represent clients in court or before government agencies, present and summarize cases to judges and juries.
  • Advise clients in business transactions, claim liablility, advisability of prosecuting or defending lawsuits or legal rights and obligations.
  • Select jurors, argue motions, meet with judges and question witnesses during the course of a trial.

Common Career Paths for Senior Attorney


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As Senior Attorneys transition into upper-level roles like Senior Corporate Lawyers, it's possible that they won't see a change in salary. Senior Corporate Lawyers earn the same amount as Senior Attorneys on average. Becoming an Attorney is, more often than not, the most common role that Senior Attorneys move into when they're ready for the next step in their career. A median salary for an Attorney is $81K. Another frequent advance is for Senior Attorneys to assume a General Counsel role; in this role, workers often take home $150K.

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Popular Skills for Senior Attorney


Survey results show that Senior Attorneys use a fair number of skills. Most notably, skills in Regulatory Compliance, Intellectual Property, Contract Negotiation, and Legal Research are correlated to pay that is above average. Most people who know Contract Negotiation also know Regulatory Compliance.

Pay by Experience Level for Senior Attorney

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Senior Attorneys with more experience do not necessarily bring home bigger paychecks. In fact, experience in this field tends to impact compensation minimally. Although employees with less than five years' experience earn around $100K on average, the five-to-10 year group has a much higher, six-figure median of $139K. For Senior Attorneys, 10 to 20 years of experience on the job amounts to an average salary of $146K. Senior Attorneys with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are only modestly higher; the median for these old hands hovers around $147K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $143,050

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

Home to some of the best pay for Senior Attorneys, San Francisco offers exceptional salaries, 11 percent above the national average. Senior Attorneys will also find cushy salaries in New York (+8 percent), Houston (+5 percent), Seattle (+5 percent), and Chicago (+3 percent). Compared to the national average, Los Angeles Senior Attorneys have considerably lower salaries, 29 percent below the national average to be exact. Location appears to be a major driving force in pay for those in this profession. Not at the bottom but still paying below the median are employers in Miami and Atlanta (14 percent lower and 12 percent lower, respectively).

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Experience Affects Senior Attorney Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 3%


National Average
$143,000

Mid-Career
up arrow 3%

Entry-Level
up arrow 30%

Skills That Affect Senior Attorney Salaries

Regulatory Compliance
up arrow 19%

Intellectual Property (IP)
up arrow 8%

Contract Negotiation
up arrow 2%

Legal Research
up arrow 1%

National Average
$143,000

Litigation Case Management
up arrow 1%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 79 votes.

Gender

Female
46 %
Male
54 %

Years of Experience

1-4 years
5%
5-9 years
21%
10-19 years
45%
20 years or more
29%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 90%
dental benefits
Dental: 65%
medical benefits
Vision: 49%
dental benefits
None: 8%
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