Senior Attorney Salary
Generous salaries abound for Senior Attorneys in the United States, with average pay above six figures ($131K) per year. In the world of Senior Attorneys, overall cash allowance can occasionally include more than $45K from bonuses and, in some exceptional cases, $74K from profit sharing, causing incomes to vary widely between $76K and $214K. Geography and career duration each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Work is enjoyable for Senior Attorneys, who typically claim high levels of job satisfaction. Women are just slightly outnumbered, with male Senior Attorneys making up 53 percent of survey respondents. A large number report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a fair number collect dental insurance. This report is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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.Read More...
The senior attorney is typically the first conduit for the client being represented. In the case of civil litigation, this lawyer will work with the client to understand the goals of any lawsuits or court orders being sought. In criminal cases, the senior attorney will normally conduct preliminary interviews with the client to help assess how the legal team should proceed. The senior attorney will then direct other lawyers on the team to comb through evidence and report on progress. The attorney will also outline and assess the strength and evidence of the case he or she can present and begin to work towards a resolution.
A senior attorney must possess a law degree from an accredited university law school. He or she also must be a member in good standing of the bar association or accrediting organization with jurisdiction in the area. A senior attorney typically works in an office environment, but he or she should expect that long hours, field work, and travel are an integral aspect of this job.
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
It doesn't happen often, but some Senior Attorneys do move on to become Senior Counsels. The average pay for that role is slightly higher at $169K per year. 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 $152K.
Senior Attorney Job Listings
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Popular Skills for Senior Attorney
Survey results imply that Senior Attorneys put a diverse skill set to use. Fortunate workers who know Regulatory Compliance command much higher paychecks, scoring salaries 21 percent above average. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Negotiation, litigation, and Contract Management. Most people experienced in 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.
For many Senior Attorneys, more experience generally translates to higher pay. Those in the early stages of their career can expect to make around $83K; however, individuals with five to 10 years of experience bring in $132K on average — a distinctly larger sum. Senior Attorneys see a median salary of $147K after reaching one to two decades on the job. Senior Attorneys who surpass 20 years on the job report pay that isn't as high as one would expect; the median compensation for this crowd sits around $159K.
Pay Difference by Location
With a pay rate for Senior Attorneys that is 28 percent greater than the national average, San Francisco offers a comfortable salary for those in this profession. Senior Attorneys will also find cushy salaries in Boston (+13 percent), Minneapolis (+12 percent), Houston (+12 percent), and Seattle (+6 percent). Senior Attorneys in Los Angeles earn salaries far below the national average by 36 percent, proving that geography overwhelmingly affects the pay scale for those in this field. Employers pay around 26 percent less in Denver and 13 percent less in Miami, below-median salaries for those in this field.