February 12, 2023 | Personal Injury
If you have ever heard a lawyer joke, you know the stereotype. Many assume that lawyers are out to make a quick buck instead of helping their clients. This stereotype could not be further from the truth.
While most lawyers make a decent living, they don’t make as much as other professions. In 2021, lawyers made an average of $148,030. Dentists, family physicians, and chief executives all make more on average than lawyers.
The reality is that most lawyers practice law because they want to help people. Lawyers are there for their clients at the hardest time of their life. Whether it’s during a divorce, after an accident, or in criminal court, lawyers help when there’s nowhere else to turn.
That being said, some attorneys make more than others. Read on to learn about the highest-paid types of lawyers.
How Do Lawyers Get Paid?
Lawyers who practice in different areas of law get paid in different ways. Depending on how a lawyer is paid can affect their overall income.
By The Hour
Many lawyers charge their clients by the hour. This practice is called billable hours. Lawyers who bill by the hour set an hourly rate and they keep track of their time throughout the day. In Kentucky, a lawyer’s average hourly rate was $205 in 2022.
Usually, attorneys bill in increments of 6 minutes to make sure that they don’t overcharge their clients. The lawyer sends their client a bill that lists the time, date, and work completed. The client pays monthly.
On A Contingency Fee
Some lawyers charge a contingency fee. This means that the lawyer doesn’t get paid unless they win the case. This fee arrangement is common with personal injury lawyers. When the client recovers damages after an accident, the lawyer takes a set percentage that was agreed upon before the case started. Usually, this fee is between 20-40%.
Through A Salary
Some lawyers work for corporations, non-profits, or other businesses. These lawyers are usually paid a salary like other professionals. Salary-based lawyers don’t have as much fluctuation in their annual income as lawyers paid by the hour or on a contingency fee basis.
Different Types Of Lawyers
Just because an attorney practices a particular type of law doesn’t mean that they will make more money than another. However, some areas of law tend to be more lucrative than others.
Many criminal defense lawyers charge an hourly rate depending on the severity of the charges. For example, a lawyer representing someone charged with murder will make more money than a lawyer representing someone charged with a DUI. That’s because the case is more complex and takes longer to litigate.
Personal Injury Lawyers
Personal injury lawyers help people who are hurt in accidents because of someone else’s negligence. Since most personal injury attorneys charge a contingency fee, they make more when they earn more for their clients. This incentivizes personal injury lawyers to work hard.
Personal injury lawyers handle cases like:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Wrongful death
- Civil rights violations
- Nursing home abuse
While personal injury lawyers can make a lot of money, it is common to go long periods without income when cases drag on. If they don’t win the case, they won’t get paid for their work at all. This makes personal injury law high risk, high reward.
Family Law Lawyers
Family law lawyers usually charge an hourly rate, though some may charge a flat fee for simple cases. Like other types of lawyers, their income can vary greatly depending on the case. A contested divorce or child custody matter that goes to trial may take years to complete, while drafting a simple prenuptial agreement may only take a few hours.
Corporate lawyers that work as in-house counsel for a company tend to earn a salary. Some of these lawyers make millions of dollars a year, especially if they work for a large corporation.
However, some corporate lawyers work at a law firm and handle specific matters for businesses. This includes drafting contracts, handling lawsuits against the company, and giving employment advice. In these cases, the lawyers usually charge by the hour.
Don’t Make Assumptions About Lawyer’s Income
At the end of the day, you can’t assume that a lawyer makes a lot of money just because they practice a particular area of law. Income varies greatly and some lawyers aren’t in it for the cash. Plus, lawyers with more experience and more passion, will probably earn more because they work hard and get great results.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Lexington Today To Get More Information
Minner Vines Moncus Injury Lawyers
325 W Main St #210, Lexington, KY 40507