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Senior Attorney Salary

Senior Attorneys enjoy a hefty income, with average pay passing six figures ($128K) annually in the United States. Total cash compensation to Senior Attorneys bottoms out near $83K and approaches $217K on the high end; the biggest paychecks include approximately $41K from bonuses and almost $45K from profit sharing. Geography is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career duration. Medical benefits are awarded to most, and the greater part earn dental coverage. Women are just slightly outnumbered, with male Senior Attorneys making up 52 percent of survey respondents. The majority of workers are highly satisfied with their job. Respondents to the PayScale salary survey provided the data for this report.

$81,564 - $192,971
(Median)
$82K
$130K
$190K
MEDIAN: $128,041
10%
50%
90%

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$17.62 - $309.15
(Median)
$18
$82
$310
MEDIAN: $82.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$80K$160K$240K
Salary
$81,564 - $192,971  
   
Bonus
$966 - $40,732  
Profit Sharing
$970 - $45,302  
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).
)
$82,951 - $217,263  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 453
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$110$220$330
Hourly Rate
$17.62 - $309.15  
   
Overtime
$-0.49 - $235.83  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$220K$440K$660K
Bonus
$966 - $40,732  
   
Profit Sharing
$970 - $45,302  
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).
)
$82,951 - $217,263  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 16

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)


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Job Description for Senior Attorney

Typically, senior attorneys are partners at firms who have supervising authority on cases and litigation. They are generally the lawyers who help develop overall case strategies and assign other lawyers, investigators, and researchers to execute those plans. When cases go to trial, senior attorneys may be responsible for them, although it is not uncommon to delegate them to capable associates, as well. In situations where settlements are sought, senior attorneys take the lead and set the parameters for acceptable ranges of compensation.

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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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For Senior Attorneys, advancing into a Senior Corporate Lawyer role, for which the median salary is $155K, is not common but it does happen. An Attorney role is the most common promotion for Senior Attorneys moving up the ladder. Pay for this role tends to be $81K per year. Another typical, albeit less common, transition for Senior Attorneys is a General Counsel position, where earnings are usually $149K.

Senior Attorney Job Listings

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Survey takers who work as Senior Attorneys report a focused set of job skills. Those who have experience with Contract Negotiation, Legal Research, and Litigation Case Management can expect to be compensated well for these skills. Many workers who know Contract Negotiation also know Litigation Case Management.

Pay by Experience Level for Senior Attorney

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


For Senior Attorneys, experience does not seem to be a major factor in determining pay. New workers enjoy hefty six-figure paychecks when they take on this position — $101K per year is the median for people who claim less than five years' experience. Senior Attorneys with one to two decades of relevant experience report an average salary of approximately $144K. 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 $148K.

Pay Difference by Location


For Senior Attorneys, working in the bustling city of New York has its advantages, including an above-average pay rate. Senior Attorneys can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Detroit (+18 percent), San Francisco (+8 percent), Houston (+7 percent), and Los Angeles (+6 percent). In Miami, salaries are 17 percent below the national average and represent the lowest-paying market. Two other places where employers offer below-median salaries are Atlanta (15 percent less) and Minneapolis (10 percent less).

Related Job Salaries

United States (change)

Experience Affects Senior Attorney Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 5%


National Average
$140,000

Mid-Career
up arrow 6%

Entry-Level
up arrow 28%

Skills That Affect Senior Attorney Salaries

Contract Negotiation
up arrow 4%

Legal Research
up arrow 3%

National Average
$140,000

Litigation Case Management
up arrow 1%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 101 votes.

Gender

Female
48 %
Male
52 %

Years of Experience

1-4 years
4%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
47%
20 years or more
28%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 88% dental benefits Dental: 61%
vision benefits Vision: 45% employee benefits None: 10%
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