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Where Do Lawyers Work & What Are Salaries Like Now?

Where do lawyers work? 

According to the American Bar Foundation's 2005 Lawyer Statistical Report (updated in January 2012), pp. 7–8:

  • 75 percent of American lawyers are in private practice; of these
    • 62 percent work as solo practitioners or in offices of 5 or fewer lawyers,
    • 18 percent work in offices of between 6 and 50 lawyers, and
    • 20 percent work in firms of more than 50 lawyers.
  • 7.5 percent of the profession work for government agencies.
  • 8.5 percent work for private industries and associations as salaried lawyers or as managers.
  • 1 percent work for legal aid or as public defenders.
  • 1 percent work in legal education.
  • 2.5 percent work in the judiciary.
  • 4.4 percent are retired or inactive.

Many lawyers develop expertise in a particular field of law (link to Large law firms that provide a full range of legal services tend to employ more specialists. The solo practitioner, who must handle a variety of problems alone, may have greater opportunity to work in several areas. Of course, there are lawyers in large firms who maintain general practices, and lawyers in one-person offices who concentrate on a particular legal issue. Both specialized and general practice can be rewarding. One offers the satisfaction of mastering a particular legal discipline, and the other the challenge of exploring new fields.

Salaries and compensation for lawyers

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