Senior Attorney Salary

Salaries for Senior Attorneys in the United States are generous, with average pay above six figures ($129K) per year. Including potential for bonuses and profit sharing — peaking near $41K and $46K, respectively — total cash payment to Senior Attorneys can bottom out near $82K or peak near $216K depending on individual performance. Career length and the particular city each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Medical benefits are awarded to a large number, and more than half earn dental coverage. For the most part, Senior Attorneys enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. Women are just slightly outnumbered, with male Senior Attorneys making up 54 percent of survey respondents. The numbers in this rundown were provided by PayScale's salary survey participants.

$80,733 - $191,644
(Median)
$81K
$130K
$190K
MEDIAN: $128,578
10%
50%
90%

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$17.45 - $310.94
(Median)
$17
$75
$310
MEDIAN: $75.00
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
$80,733 - $191,644  
   
Bonus
$983 - $40,833  
Profit Sharing
$986 - $45,958  
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).
)
$82,046 - $215,675  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 458
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
$17.45 - $310.94  
   
Overtime
$0.00 - $240.00  
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
$983 - $40,833  
   
Profit Sharing
$986 - $45,958  
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).
)
$82,046 - $215,675  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 15
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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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Senior Attorneys sometimes move into a Senior Corporate Lawyer role, where the salary is similar. 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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Just a handful of professional skills are reported by Senior Attorneys who took the survey. Those who have experience with Contract Negotiation, Legal Research, and Litigation Case Management can expect to be compensated well for these skills. Experience with Contract Negotiation is often linked with knowledge of Litigation Case Management.

Pay by Experience Level for Senior Attorney

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


Even the relatively untried can take home bulky six-figure salaries; employees who have worked for fewer than five years report earning $101K on average. For Senior Attorneys, 10 to 20 years of experience on the job amounts to an average salary of $145K. People who have worked for more than 20 years report a median income no higher than the median for folks with 10 to 20 years of experience.

Pay Difference by Location


For Senior Attorneys, busy New York offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 10 percent above the national average. Senior Attorneys will also find cushy salaries in San Francisco (+8 percent) and Houston (+6 percent). Those in the field find the lowest salaries in Atlanta, 15 percent below the national average. Two other places where employers salaries are below the median are Miami and Los Angeles (13 percent lower).

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Experience Affects Senior Attorney Salaries


Late-Career
up arrow 3%

National Average
$141,000

Mid-Career
up arrow 3%

Entry-Level
up arrow 28%

Skills That Affect Senior Attorney Salaries

Contract Negotiation
up arrow 3%

Legal Research
up arrow 2%

National Average
$141,000

Litigation Case Management
up arrow 2%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 85 votes.

Gender

Female
46 %
Male
54 %

Years of Experience

1-4 years
5%
5-9 years
22%
10-19 years
47%
20 years or more
27%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 89% dental benefits Dental: 61%
vision benefits Vision: 46% employee benefits None: 10%
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