Research reveals what lawyers earn

March 10, 2011
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Ever wonder how much money attorneys in Hamilton County, Ind., or Hamilton County, N.Y., make? Now you can find out, thanks to research by the ABA Journal and William D. Henderson of the Center on the Global Legal Profession at Indiana University Maurer School of Law.

Using salary data and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on employed lawyers, the publication has created a handy map and breaks down county by county of the mean, and median wage per year, the number of lawyers employed in the area, and other data. Keep in mind that the data doesn’t include equity partners or solo practitioners. Check out the article for specifics and information on where lawyers earn the most or where law firm payrolls are the largest (Spoiler Alert: Indiana’s not on either list).

If you just glance at the map of the U.S., you can see where attorneys on average earn more, and it’s mostly markets you would expect – New York City; northern and southern California; Chicago; Washington, D.C.

Indiana attorneys make anywhere from $40,820 to $125,000, depending on where you live, according to the map. More populated areas like central Indiana and northwestern Indiana typically have attorneys making more than those who live in less populated areas. In Marion County, the mean wage per year is $105,999; the median wage per year is $95,030, with 3,250 attorneys employed in the Indianapolis-Carmel area. In Lake County, the mean wage per year is $92,390, and the median wage per year is $72,080 with 670 attorneys employed in the Gary metropolitan region.

In Lawrence County, there are 230 attorneys in the area with the mean and median wage per year pretty similar at around $80,000. In Kosciusko County, there are 350 attorneys in the area with the mean wage per year at $65,130 and the median wage per year just under $50,000.

It’s pretty interesting to see each county broken down. You can check it out for yourself on the ABA Journal’s website. Are you surprised by the results of the research?

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  5. I whole-heartedly agree with Doug Church's comment, above. Indiana lawyers were especially fortunate to benefit from Tom Pyrz' leadership and foresight at a time when there has been unprecedented change in the legal profession. Consider how dramatically computer technology and its role in the practice of law have changed over the last 25 years. The impact of the great recession of 2008 dramatically changed the composition and structure of law firms across the country. Economic pressures altered what had long been a routine, robust annual recruitment process for law students and recent law school graduates. That has, in turn, impacted law school enrollment across the country, placing upward pressure on law school tuition. The internet continues to drive significant changes in the provision of legal services in both public and private sectors. The ISBA has worked to make quality legal representation accessible and affordable for all who need it and to raise general public understanding of Indiana laws and procedures. How difficult it would have been to tackle each of these issues without Tom's leadership. Tom has set the tone for positive change at the ISBA to meet the evolving practice needs of lawyers of all backgrounds and ages. He has led the organization with vision, patience, flexibility, commitment, thoughtfulness & even humor. He will, indeed, be a tough act to follow. Thank you, Tom, for all you've done and all the energy you've invested in making the ISBA an excellent, progressive, highly responsive, all-inclusive, respectful & respected professional association during his tenure there.

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