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The 5 Most Lucrative Areas of Practice For Solo Lawyers And Small Firms

Solo lawyers and those at small firms show a drop in earnings, with women attorneys making over one-third less income than their male counterparts, according to the latest Martindale-Avvo survey.

But the survey also shows the most lucrative areas of practice for lawyers operating in small firms.

The latest survey shows lawyers making an average of $194,000 last year, in the second annual survey run by the company.

Based on information from 7,800 lawyers in solo practice and small firms from across the United States and responded throughout the first quarter of the year.

The lawyers cover a range of different practice areas, serving individuals, businesses or both, as well as providing some expert witness and other, specialist services.

Stable Compensation – Overall

The report shows a slight decrease in overall income.Compared to a mean of $198,000 and a median of $140,000 in 2017, 2018 saw attorneys earning a mean of $194,000 and a median of $135,000. 

Making More or Making Less?

When comparing their 2018 earnings to their 2017 pay, close to half of the respondents reported increases

  • 19 percent said that their pay increased by more than 10 percent, 
  • 30 percent made up to 10 percent more, 
  • 31 percent saw no measurable change, and 
  • 20 percent reported decreases. 

Who Is Earning the Most?

The highest-earning practice area this year is medical malpractice, which boasts an average salary of $267,000.  

This category is up from seventh place last year when medical malpractice lawyers earned $214,000 on average. The average salary in last year’s highest-paying practice area, intellectual property, dropped by almost 7 percent from $240,000 to $224,000.   

This means that the most lucrative practice areas are now:

  1. Medical malpractice (avg. $267,000)
  2. Personal injury (avg. $254,000)
  3. Workers compensation (avg $226,000)
  4. Intellectual property (avg $224,000)
  5. Business (avg $218,000) 

Immigration is still the least lucrative practice area reported, but immigration attorneys may take some comfort in knowing that their cohort’s average pay has increased by $3,000 to $131,000. 

The Report

The full Attorney Compensation Report offers a more detailed picture with details such as:

  • the persisting gender pay gap,
  • average pay by region,
  • typical employee benefits, and
  • attitudes toward compensation.

Download the report at this link.

>> Read More – “The Challenge Ahead for Law Firms”

Webb Henderson

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