Senior Attorney Salary

Senior Attorneys in the United States see excellent average salaries — about $131K annually. Overall cash earnings for Senior Attorneys stretch from $82K on the lower end to $223K near the top, and the heftiest packages can encompass around $41K from bonuses and $73K from profit sharing. Geographic location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career duration. Women are just slightly outnumbered, with male Senior Attorneys making up 54 percent of survey respondents. Nearly all report receiving medical coverage from their employers and the larger part collect dental insurance. The majority of workers are highly satisfied with their job.

$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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Senior Attorneys tend not to experience significant pay changes as they move up the career ladder to roles like Senior Corporate Lawyer. The two jobs pay about the same 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


Senior Attorneys who responded to the survey report just a handful of professional skills. Most notably, skills in Regulatory Compliance, Intellectual Property, Contract Negotiation, and Legal Research are correlated to pay that is above average. 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.


Experience does not seem to be a strong driver of pay increase in this role. Relatively untried employees who have less than five years' experience make $100K, but folks with five to 10 years under their belts enjoy an appreciably larger median of $139K. Senior Attorneys with one to two decades of relevant experience report an average salary of approximately $146K. Individuals who have achieved more than 20 years of experience don't seem to earn much more than people who have 10 to 20 years under their belts; the more senior group reports an average income of $147K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $143,050

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

San Francisco offers some of the highest pay in the country for Senior Attorneys, 11 percent above the national average. Senior Attorneys can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like New York (+8 percent), Houston (+5 percent), Seattle (+5 percent), and Chicago (+3 percent). One of the biggest compensable factors for Senior Attorneys is geography, with workers in Los Angeles earning a whopping 29 percent below the national average. Not at the bottom but still paying below the median are employers in Miami and Atlanta (14 percent lower and 12 percent lower, respectively).

Related Job Salaries

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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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